Rawson Lake & Ridge
Distance: 3.9 km to lake; our GPS watch: 4.2 km (but we started at the boat launch)
Elevation gain: 305 m; our GPS watch: 280 m
High point: 2027 m; our GPS watch: 2007 m
Note: Park as close to the lake as you can - don't make the mistake of settling for the first gravel parking lot. Add if you do end up in the gravel overflow lot, follow the road up to the lake. We has a slight misadventure following what looked like a trail but headed away from Upper Kananaskis Lake.
An nice easy start along Upper Kananaskis Lake. The trail meanders along the lakeshore for approximately one km. The flood of 2013 took out the bridge over Sarrail Creek, but luckily for us, some enterprising individuals set up a makeshift log bridge across the creek. (Update: as of July 2019, the bridge is back.) It's also a very pretty waterfall. Shortly after Sarrail Creek, the trail branches with Rawson Lake Trail to the left and Upper Kananaskis Lake Trail to the right. From there, it's steady switchbacks for 2 to 3 km until you reach Rawson Lake. The official trail continues partway along the south (left) shore of the lake. Past the end of the official trail, there will be lots of anglers trying their luck.
Distance: 1.4 km; our GPS: approx 1.5 km from the far end of Rawson Lake
Elevation: 366 m; our GPS: 350 m
Hogh point: 2392 m; our GPS: 2350 m
Continue along the lakeshore past the sign denoting the end of the official trail. The trail wraps around the west side of the lake, crossing a small creek before heading towards the grassy ridge on the northwest side of the lake. The trail is narrow and follows a creek bed up the hill; part of the trail is washed out. It very quickly comes unpleasantly steep, and the trail is narrow enough you wonder if it's a trail or just a runoff channel. Who knows what it is, but if you keep heading up you reach a small waterfall, and the trail heads right, away from the creek bed. Keep going. The trail is now an even worse slog through dense alpine meadow (if there is such a thing) tucked into a narrow gully. Thirty minutes later you should reach the top and you'll be glad you did.
Looking south, you see Rawson Lake and the mountains beyond - the Turret and the Elk Range. Looking north, you see Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes; Mount Indefatigable is the closest, between the lakes. Beyond Indefatigable are the Spray Mountains and Haig Glacier. Spectacular and well worth the effort.