Kananaskis, Alberta

Hike to Lillian Lake and Galatea Lakes

9.3 Miles Total - 3018.4 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Cassidy Vanderhoek

A wonderful day hike filled with amazing scenery in Kananaskis.

Make the trek down Hwy. 40 (about 33 km’s) to the trail head - Galatea Day Use Area. It’s very easy to find, as this is one of Kananaskis most popular day hikes. The trail leads into the forest, crossing a suspension bridge and a couple more bridges after that. Due to some flood damage, the bridges don't line up perfectly with the old trail. For that reason, stay left. We made the mistake of taking a right after the second bridge crossing and ended up hiking 2 extra km's. You should be heading west on the trail - not North. Alternatively, make sure you are following the creek.  

The hike to Lillian lake is a steady 5-6 km incline with numerous bridge crossings and great photo op's. Once you reach the lake you will find numerous spots along the shore to take a break. If you are continuing on to Galatea Lakes, continue heading west on the trail as it makes a steep incline. This is probably the steepest park of the hike, so pace yourself.  Once you break the treeline, make sure to look back for a nice view of Lillian Lake. Next is a steady climb over shale and rock until you make your way to the right side of lower Galatea Lake. 

Since we were going on to Upper Galatea Lake, we didn't take much of a break here, but if Lower Galatea lake is your final destination make sure to head down to the water and take in the beautiful views. We trekked on, heading around the right side of lake. Once you pass through some more forest, you come out on the far side of Upper Galatea Lake. Not many hikers make it this far in the day so we had the whole lake to ourselves. 

On the way back down, we ended up taking the upper trail around the opposite side of Lower Galatea Lake. This was a good choice. While we weren't close to the water, we had stunning views of the lake and saw some really great rock structures perfect for climbing on. The only downside of taking this trail was the section heading back down to Lillian Lake - it’s pretty steep and the trail is not as easy to follow. Press on until you make you way back to Lillian Lake. 

From there, it’s just a matter of retracing your steps 5 km's to the trail head. In total, the hike to upper Galatea Lake is about 15-16 km. There is a reason this hike is popular, so if you don’t mind sharing the trail with other friendly hikers, I would most definitely give it a shot. 

Happy Trails!  

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Overall rating: 

Great Views, Lovely Coloured Lake

While Lillian Lake is definitely worth seeing once it's not something I would ever hike to again. There was a lot of inclines and the lake was super crowded. Beautiful views along the way though!

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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