Awesome Alberta: Carnarvon Lake is a gorgeous hidden treasure (PHOTOS)

Aug 26 2020, 6:30 pm

COVID-19 still presents a very real and dangerous threat to public health. While much of Alberta’s outdoors have been reopened to visitors, it is recommended to plan ahead, check local restrictions and current public health measures, and avoid any areas that may be too crowded. 

One of the most beautiful lakes in all of Alberta is hidden at the tail end of a trail in the Highwood area of Kananaskis Country.

Sitting high on the alpine – right on the top of the Great Divide at the edge of the Alberta/BC border – the crystalline turquoise and Caribbean blue waters of Carnarvon Lake are so endlessly iridescent that you will never want to leave its shores.

Like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, the lake is the gift at the end of a somewhat arduous trek that involves some hiking, maybe a bit of biking, and finally an up-the-wall climb using chains — this one is definitely not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from and AdventureSmart. Parks Canada visitor guidelines are available here. Always remember to leave no trace, pack out what you pack in, stick to designated trails, and refrain from feeding wildlife — and please note that irresponsibly taken selfies (even if they look great for the ‘gram) can be fatal


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Darialn P. (@_dareia) on

Where is it?

Carnarvon Lake is at the end of a 20.4 km roundtrip trail that features an exquisite waterfall. The trail is best visited between the months of April and October. Its high elevation ⁠— at 857 metres ⁠— means that snow sometimes lingers even in July.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Geoff Costigan (@geoffcostigan) on

How do you get there?

Located one hour southwest of Calgary and about four hours from Edmonton, the trail starts at the Cat Creek picnic area along the banks of the Highwood River.

From the parking lot of the Cat Creek picnic area, the lake is 8 km away, mainly uphill.

Once you get to the saddle of the lake, you can have a scenic lunch and contemplate a quick jaunt over into British Columbia.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Taryn (@tarynls) on

What’s there?

Carnarvon Lake is undoubtedly the most beautiful of the three headwall lakes located here — Lake of the Horns and Loomis Lake being other two.

If you’re a speed freak, we recommend you take your mountain bike along, given that the path back from the lake is all downhill and very fast. You can walk this hike, too.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Carlos G (@ceelos.skills) on


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Macey | Paleo Yogi (@0m.nivore) on


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Richard Palmer (@rpalmer31) on


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Annette (@penguintakeover) on

Lakshmi SadhuLakshmi Sadhu

+ Curated
+ Outdoors