Hike to Lillian Lake and Galatea Lakes

9.3 miles 3018.4 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

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!  

Read More


Dog Friendly


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 


over 3 years ago

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!

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike up Galatea Creek to Lillian Lake

    Located on Highway 40 (Kananaskis Trail) and marked by the "Galatea" sign, there's not much more to this hike other than putting one foot in front of the other, but the amount of traffic it sees is a testament to the quality of this hike.Even on t...

  • Photograph Wedge Pond

    Just off Highway 1 in Kananaskis Country is a beautiful pond that makes for a wonderful spot to enjoy the first light on the Canadian Rockies. Bring warm clothes as this place can be especially cold. Don't forget a camera and a blanket. I recommen...

    0.25 miles 10 ft gain

  • Scramble the Wedge

    Drive south on Highway 40 and your adventure begins at Wedge Pond. Parking in the parking lot is easy enough if you're there early enough in the day (before 10:00). The trail up the Wedge starts near the bathrooms, and heads south - not southwest ...

    5 miles 3444.9 ft gain

  • Hike Old Baldy Ridge

    Park at the Evan Thomas parking lot to and the trailhead is in the south of that parking lot. It follows a well-defined trail up for most of the way before you start gaining elevation. When the trail starts heading south, keep an eye out for a sma...

    9.3 miles 2952.8 ft gain