August 12, 2022

Tombstone Lakes Hike & Camping Trip in Kananaskis

Albertas Kananaskis Country provides an incredible variety of treking experiences that are almost on par with what youll discover in the Rocky Mountain national parks– specifically Banff, Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay. The Tombstone Lakes hike in Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park is just such a hike. Youll end at the spectacular upper Tombstone Lake tucked underneath the twin peaks of Tombstone Mountain.

Tombstone Lakes Hike & Camping Trip In Kananaskis

The 18.8 km return hike to the Tombstone Lakes is a moderate one– however thats because of the range, and not some horrific elevation gain. The journey into the lakes can be done as a day hike from the Elbow Pass Day-use area but it likewise makes for an excellent one-or-two-night backpacking trip using the Tombstone Campground as a base.

Tombstone Lakes Hike & Camping Trip In Kananaskis

No matter how you hike it, be sure to take a look at trail reports before you go and acquire a Kananaskis Conservation Pass. Always hike with the 10 fundamentals and bring bear spray thats simple to access– and not hanging from the back of your pack. The access to the trailhead is only open from June 15th till November 30th.

Tombstone Lakes Hike & Camping Trip In Kananaskis

Elbow Lake is a stunning emerald green colour

Tombstone Lakes Hike & Camping Trip In Kananaskis

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Tombstone Lakes Hike & Camping Trip In Kananaskis

Tombstone Lakes trek route description

Tombstone Lakes Hike & Camping Trip In Kananaskis

Easy walking along a road like path in the direction of Tombstone Campground.

Tombstone Lakes Hike & Camping Trip In Kananaskis

Elevation gain to Tombstone Lakes from Tombstone Campground: 190 m.

Further reading on multi-day walkings.

Descend on the roadway like trail however beware as there are lots of small rocks and pebbles so its simple to review on an ankle. Part way down, youll see a roadway on your right heading into the woods. The Tombstone Campground remains in those woods. Cross the Elbow River bridge and in a couple of more minutes reach the campground at 7.3 km..

Time needed: 6– 8 hours or do as an over night.

After a detour to Edworthy Falls, keep your eyes peeled for a cairn on the left– with a path heading into the woods. It will take you to marvelous Piper Pass– an excellent day trek from the Tombstone Campground. This one goes to Rae Lake though I d suggest doing this walking as a clockwise loop, so you d complete the Rae Lake loop at the cairn.

The camping site has 11 websites. Ours was simply steps away from a place where we could look at the Big Elbow River and enjoy the mountains at the very same time.

Our pet cooling down on in a freezing cold stream.

When you reach a T-junction at the end of the road, 6.5 km from the trailhead, youll see a map. Go left. You d reach the other gain access to point to Rae Lake if you went right.

Start treking at a steeper grade up a rooty trail.

Start the walking at the Elbow Pass Day-use location on Highway 40– 62 km south of the Trans-Canada Highway. There is also an outstanding camping area next to the lake that is perfect for families.

We simply backtracked our actions to the campground though there is the option to trek to Tombstone Pass in what is described by Kathy and Craig Copeland as a “heather-and-grass meadow ringed by larches.” If you go to the pass you can do a loop, returning on the Little Elbow trail– the one you used up from the campground. We discovered signage to be rather excellent– and with a map you ought to have the ability to quickly determine the loop.

One final bridge to cross prior to reaching the Tombstone Campground.

The Tombstone Campground in Elbow Sheep Wildland Provincial Park is one of the nicer ones Ive visited. It can be accessed from numerous various directions. The majority of people trek or mtb (we fulfilled a father, his mother-in-law and 5-year old child who had actually biked in) the 7.3 km in from the Elbow Pass Day-use area situated on Highway 40 in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. There is secondary gain access to through a 20.4 km route on Big Elbow Trail from the Little Elbow Trailhead Parking. When youre there, next door to the hikers-bikers camping area is an equestrian campground however you d never know it. Reserve camping areas online through Alberta Parks.

Walk the west shore of the lake, stopping to appreciate the crystal-clear water. At the north end of the lake cross on a log over a creek and continue left. Follow the trail– that has the look and feel of a road– through some wet locations, at least early in the season. The hiking is easy, and the views are splendid.

I did this walking in the heat and could not think of enduring without a sun hat with a bandana and a brim I could routinely take in the cold river water. If its hot when you trek this path, youll desire a means to filter water as youll consume a lot– perhaps as numerous as 4 litres which is too much to carry. We just utilized cleansing tablets however if youre with a group think about having someone carry a gravity water filter.

I d highly suggest a short detour to Edworthy Falls, a popular location. The majority of the traffic on the trail switches off at the falls, 2.4 km below where you hopped the creeklet. The turnoff is marked by big stone with composing on it, on the left-hand side of the trail. Its a narrow steep path to the waters edge. Some of you might be content with a view instead of the complete descent..

If youre preparing to invest the night, I d advise picking a campground, pitching your tent and putting your food in the bearproof locker before continuing. As its just a 75– 90-minute return hike to the Tombstone Lakes from the campsite, you might always do the rest of the hike after supper or very first thing in the morning.

As a map enthusiast I d recommend carrying a copy of the Gem Trek Kananaskis Lakes map..

This road which you can see near the T-junction takes you to the Tombstone Campground and onto the lakes.

Very picturesque strolling to Tombstones Lakes– and extremely little elevation gain.

Distance: 18.8 km from the Elbow Pass Day-use location

A few things I d advise.

Youll also find a communal cooking area with great deals of picnic tables, bear-proof lockers, albeit in a bad place that gets complete sun in the heat of the day, a grey water disposal area, quick access to water– though youll need to treat it, firewood and a lovely sitting location where you can enjoy a campfire with a view.

Elevation gain to Tombstone Campground: 175 m.

In late June pass masses of glacier lilies– with the majority of simply past their prime.

Crossing the outlet to Elbow Lake on route to the Tombstone Lakes.

Stop in at the gas station throughout from the gated entrance to Fortress Mountain if youre heading back to the Trans-Canada Highway post walking on a hot day. You can buy ice cream and cold beverages.

The very first of the Tombstone Lakes is more of a puddle.

Continue up a road past the camping area. Go left on the Little Elbow Trail. The path steepens.

Just 10 minutes from the Tombstone Campground.

Edworthy Falls detour.

Tombstone Campground in Kananaskis Country.

Theres a huge cooking location with lots of picnic tables.

Delighting in good views on the descent back to Tombstone Campground.

Continue the road past the camping area to reach Tombstone Lakes– theres a much better map soon after this sign.

You can take pleasure in an early morning coffee with these views from a seating location around fire rings.

Upper Tombstone Lake is extremely quite– its a popular location for fishing.

Youll reach the lower Tombstone Lake at the 9.2 km point. Upper Tombstone Lake is simply a couple of minutes hike away near a camping site– though Im uncertain its a legitimate one. The last stretch is extremely muddy and braided thanks to horse travel.

Its worth making a brief detour to Edworthy Falls.

Tent platforms are on well-drained gravel in the trees– and a lot of have a reasonable degree of personal privacy; we did see people using hammocks too.

Upper Tombstone Lake is especially quite in the morning. Tombstone Mountain at 3035 m towers over it. It was buggy in June so do not forget the bug spray.

Delighting in night views just steps from our tent with practically no bugs at this location in late June.

At a T-junction there is a map showing the Tombstone Lakes and the Tombstone Campground– go.

Tombstone Campground to Tombstone Lakes.

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The Tombstone Lakes hike in Elbow-Sheep Wildland Provincial Park is simply such a walking. The 18.8 km return hike to the Tombstone Lakes is a moderate one– but thats since of the distance, and not some horrific elevation gain. The trip into the lakes can be done as a day trek from the Elbow Pass Day-use location but it likewise makes for an excellent one-or-two-night backpacking trip using the Tombstone Campground as a base. It will take you to wonderful Piper Pass– an exceptional day trek from the Tombstone Campground. Upper Tombstone Lake is just a few minutes trek away near a campground– though Im not sure its a legitimate one.