Thursday, October 23, 2014

Elbow Lake

Trip Date: October 2014

Over the Thanksgiving weekend Christine's family and I decided to head out to Kananaskis and hike up to Elbow Lake.  The lake sits at the bottom of a valley in the Elbow Pass are of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, which is part of the Kananaskis Country park system.  The trailhead is at the Elbow Pass Day-Use Area, which is approximately 60km south of the Trans-Canada Highway along Highway 40.  Elbow Lake Trail is relatively short (only 1.4km one-way), but it's steep and gains 120m of elevation rather quickly.

Looking towards the Elk Range and the Little Elbow Pass (right)
The lake itself lies at an elevation of 2,120m (6,960ft.) and is the headwater for the Elbow River that eventually meets the Bow River in Calgary.  The trail is open to a variety of users including hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and even anglers, so be prepared to meet a variety of different people along the trail.  

A section of the trail, which is actually an old road
Elbow Lake
There's a backcountry campground along the lake's southern shoreline.  The Elbow Lake Backcountry Campground features 15 sites and has vault toilets, fire wood, and bear-proof food storage lockers.  It would be a great place to do some camping in the summertime, but remember backcountry permits are required.

The southern end of Elpoca Mountain 
The northern slopes of Mount Rae
Christine and I standing on the lakeshore
One last look at the picturesque lake before heading back to the parking lot
Overall it was a pretty good day in the mountains.  The wind was quite chilly, but the sun was shining and that can make all the difference.  I'll have to remember this spot for future hiking and/or camping trips.  

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