• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • RT Distance:

    11.8 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2772.3 Feet

Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall

This scenic hike takes about 6 hours and comes with gorgeous views of Mount Birdwood from the summit.

The trailhead is is located at the first left after the bridge past Engandine Lodge in Kananaskis. The trail forks after a while and you need to take a right which takes you into Smuts Pass. This trail is actually really cool and fun to walk - undulating, narrow, rooted, and right along the edge of Commonwealth Creek.

Once at the end of the pass, you'll gain elevation very quickly on the north side. Luckily you can take your time and enjoy the larches if you hit them at the right time of the year. Follow the trail - could be faint at times - up through the col and you'll see the first of Birdwood Lakes. This is really where the scenery becomes very unique, starting with the ridge separating the two lakes.

The trail is well defined the rest of the way to the false summit and true summit -- one tip is to keep to the ridge after skirting around the base of the false summit. The view of Mount Birdwood from the summit of Smutwood might make it the prettiest mountain I've seen in the area. It's almost unbelievable how perfect it is, including the two lakes at its base.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking poles
  • Appropriate clothing and layers
  • Water and snacks
  • Camera
  • Bear spray
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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

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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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As time's passed, I've had a chance to reflect on this adventure and figured it'd be worth sharing. The view of Birdwood from Smutwood is surreal. As with other phenomenal places in the area, Smutwood draws a bit more traffic - obviously for good reason. For some of us, it's important to leave the crowd's behind and be immersed in nature, and the added traffic to Smutwood could viewed as a pain and not worth the hassle. As much as I can become frustrated with large crowds and easy objectives, this hike is far from easy. I hope everyone realizes a) how awesome it is that everybody is able to enjoy this objective, and b) people getting outside and doing a 19 km hike is worth encouraging. Now get out there and do it!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

James Hueser Explorer

Some call me the Jerry Macguire of the outdoors. The places special to me should be special to everyone. It is not my intention to hoard the best views around me. It's my responsibility to invite everyone to join, and give them every opportunity to do so.

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