Rawson Lake

Elevation: 2025 m
Elevation Gain: 300 m
Rawson Lake is a scenic cirque lake in Kananaskis Country. Dr. Donald S. Rawson specialized in limnology (the study of lakes). After obtaining a PhD at the University of Toronto in 1922, he went on to become a professor at the University of Saskatchewan. During his tenure, Rawson studied many Canadian lakes including those of the Rocky Mountain parks. His work was internationally acclaimed and Rawson received many honors before passing away at the height of his career in 1961. Rawson’s final honor was awarded posthumously when Rawson Lake was named for him in 1977.
My Ascents:
March 26 2016.

After spending a “blah” Good Friday in the city, some mountain therapy was in order for Easter Saturday. With clear skies forecast, I woke up early to make lunches and ready the family’s hiking gear. An hour or so later, Brianne, Mera and Crux rolled out of bed to discover that they were mountain-bound (you can’t exactly say “no” to a hike when you wake up and are ambushed with a packed bag)! After debating a few potential mountain destinations, we decided to make our way deep into Kananaskis Country to enjoy the spectacular (albeit, still wintery) scenery around the Kananaskis Lakes.

Mount Lyautey rises skyward above Upper Kananaskis Lake on a beautiful Saturday morning. On the drive out, we debated the merits of going for an actual hike to Rawson Lake vs. just enjoying a sunny walk along the Upper Kananaskis lakeshore. When we arrived, frigid gales gusting off Upper K-Lake quickly convinced us that the more sheltered, more vertical option was preferable!

From the “Upper Kananaskis Lake” parking lot, we set out along the sheltered (but shaded) south shore of the Upper Lake. Despite warnings at the trailhead, we quickly discovered that the bridge over Sarrail Creek (destroyed in the Great Flood of 2013) is back in place and that a ford is no longer required.

The ford of Sarrail Creek would probably have been pretty easy at this time of year anyways! ;-) Nevertheless, the discovery of a new bridge was welcome (particularly for Brianne who has a weird rule about not fording mountain streams in the winter while carrying our infant daughter)!

After 1.2 km of up-and-down hiking along the lakeshore, we reached a fork in the path and followed the left-hand Rawson Lake trail which finally started to gain elevation.

The reason that people don’t take many photos along the Rawson Lake trail; there’s not much to see until the lake!

A fishing permit sign/box signals that the lake must be nearby. The fact that the 4 foot-tall sign/box is buried under snow, however, suggests that the fishing, on this day, will be poor.

The 3.9 km hike through the trees may not be inspiring but the panorama from Rawson Lake more than made up for it (besides, 3.9 km is nothing)! Click to see larger.

Brianne and Mera enjoying a spectacular day in K-Country! Mouse over to see a world-class photobomb!

Giving our other (fur) baby some love too.

Mount Sarrail is the real scene-stealer, with its pyramidal summit soaring nearly 1,200 m above Rawson Lake.

The sheer east wall of Mount Sarrail: a good place to watch avalanches on a warm spring day like this!

Sarrail’s northern outlier and the summer hiking route up the grassy snowy ridge in the foreground. The summer route follows the obvious avalanche slope on the lower right. Obviously it should be avoided in the winter although summer travel here is not without its risks (there’s a decent chance of finding grizzlies on this slope)!

Soaking up the sun with Sarrail!

Piggy-back Post-holing ride with Daddy.

Despite the wintery conditions, the Easter Bunny still managed to make it to Rawson Lake (must be a snowshoe hare)!

Happy Easter Mera!

One nice family portrait before heading back down. As before, mouse over to see the photo bomber at work!

After a speedy descent, we made it down to the Upper Kananaskis Lake parking lot just in time for Mera to enjoy some lunch in the car while Daddy enjoyed some photography along the lakeshore! From left to right: Mount Foch, Mount Sarrail, Mount Lyautey, Mount Putnik, Mount Beaty and Mount Indefatigable. Click to see larger.

Mount Putnik (left) and Mount Beatty (right) highlight the view beyond the Upper Lake.

Our Mera’s fancy new ride! (Look how impressed Mom looks from the passenger seat while Dad takes pictures of our Mera’s new toy.)