Backpack the Northover Ridge Loop

Canada Rawson Lake Trailhead

Added by Kyle Frost

  • Distance: 25 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation gain: 4,000 ft
  • Duration: 1-3 days
  • Ridgeline hike with epic mountain views
  • Visit alpine lakes, rivers, and waterfalls

While most people opt to hike this route as a 2 or 3 day trip, camping at Aster and Three Isle Lakes, this description is for a 1 day loop. This is NOT an easy hike to do in 1 day, however, and the ridge is no pushover for any length trip. Exercise caution and don't be afraid to backtrack if weather proves an issue. Hike safe!

To get an early start on the day, spend the night near the trailhead. When you are ready to head out, skirt the edge of Upper Kananaskis Lake before cutting through the trees around Hidden Lake. From the back of the lake, the trail is easy to follow, taking you towards Fossil Falls and the headwall of Aster Lake.

After you reach Aster, you can choose to go around either the north or south side – both may require getting a little wet. If you choose to head south, the trail is narrow and constantly skirts very close to the lakeshore. The trail may disappear, briefly, in the drainage above the lake – keep to your right as you cross the drainage, and the trail will eventually become visible heading up the ridge.

After 10 miles of climbing (about 4,000 ft gain) you will reach the top of Northover Ridge, a several kilometer stretch of ridge line that straddles BC and Alberta. The trail stays along the ridge, so please be careful of slipping – a fall to either side may not be fatal, but would put you in a pretty serious condition.

The sketchiest part of the ridge is a 25-foot portion of trail, about 1.5 feet wide, with a severe drop on each side. To cross safely, you can either crawl across, or time your crossings with the wind.

You will then come down the ridge, through snowbanks and skree, to Three Isle Lake. The trail climbs a bit over the headwall, here, but the rest of the day will be mostly downhill, with 13 knee-killing miles to cover.

Depending on whether you parked at the north or south parking lot, you will follow a wide (seemingly never-ending) trail around Upper Kananaskis Lake. It is recommended to park at the north lot, so that you don't have to suffer the last, demoralizing push between the two lots.

Pack List

  • 10 essentials
  • Plenty of water and potentially a filter or iodine tablets
  • Cold weather gear
  • Topo map and compass
  • Camera
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Hiking

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Loop

Distance:

25 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4000 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Forest
Lake
Scenic
Waterfall

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

9 months ago

Best In Kananaskis

The best ridge walk you can do in K-Country - highly recommended to take your time and split it over three days. Way too much scenery to miss otherwise!

9 months ago

Added by Kyle Frost

Designer and Adventure Photographer based in Boulder, Colorado. Fan of mountains, coffee, beer, and witty banter. Available for commissions and collaborations. I'm @kylefrost pretty much everywhere.

More Adventures Nearby

Hike Cirque Lake

Canada / Callaghan Lake Parking Area, Whistler

Cirque Lake can only be accessed by boating across Callaghan Lake. Start from the Callaghan parking/camping area and take your boat over to the lake.

Max Zedler
1 Saves

Stroll through Redwood Park in Surrey, BC

Canada / Redwood Park

Redwood Park is large beautiful forested park in South Surrey. The park is a legacy of one of Surrey's early pioneer's, David Brown, who in 1893 gave the property to his twin sons, David and Peter.

Tara Stamnes
8 Saves

Backcountry Hike and Hut Camp the Northern Portion of the Sunshine Coast Trail

Canada / Sunshine Coast Trail at Dixon Road

This adventure is a 50km backcountry hiking and camping trip and should not be attempted without prior backcountry experience.  It is recommended you attempt this trail in a group.

Rory Court
2 Saves