The trail to Rae Glacier is accessed from the Elbow Pass day use area. Take the wide hiking trail up to the very, very popular Elbow Lake. It’s less than 1.5 km. and ~150m. gain in altitude so you’ll see families of all ages and sizes along with the campers, fishermen, bikers and horses. At the lake follow the path through the camp sites then along the south side of lake heading roughly east until you reach the creek. From here it is ~2.5 km. and ~400m. gain to glacier. Follow creek south, upstream, and ascend up the rib to a nice viewpoint. The trail now descends back to creek where you stay on the right side. When the creek veers left stay straight, you’ll see the trail unless it’s snowy. You are ascending again, just keep right at the paths fork and soon the glacier will appear. Look back behind you. Wow!
Now here’s the sad part. 10 or 11 so years ago Rae Glacier was thick and filled the whole cirque, see Gillean Daffern’s “Kananaskis Country Trail Guide” hike #110 for a photo. Today the glacier has receded so far as to be just a blotch on the mountain slope, see photos above.
We thoroughly enjoyed this hike with its great views and spectacular mountain vistas but, if you’re looking for K-Country’s most easternmost glacier, you will be disappointed.
Elbow Pass day use area on Kananaskis Trail - (Hiway 40)
Note: This aection of Hiway 40 is closed from Dec. 01 to June 15.
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Posted By: ChrisMarry
- Mon Oct 08 18:33:16 UTC 2018
UpsideThe valley up at Elbow Lake is beautiful with nice views of surrounding peaks like Elpoca, Rae and Tombstone. DownsideBusy trail. Rae Glacier is pretty much gone, sad... CommentOct 7, 2018 - Snow Conditions
9.4 km, 2-4 hours
// Elevation of 438 m NET, 485 m TOT & max 2396 m
We hiked up to Rae Glacier in snow conditions, about 3 feet of snow to open the trail where people stopped before the last slope up to the glacier. There's really nothing to see there anymore unfortunately but the surroundings and Elbow Lake were beautiful with all that snow. Short and easy hike worth a visit.
Posted By: TheDevilishgoat
- Thu Jun 29 17:50:59 UTC 2017
UpsideScenic hike with impressive Kananaskis peaks, beautiful lake and creeks. DownsideGlacier almost non existent.
Posted By: tongie
- Sun Aug 05 15:02:53 UTC 2012
UpsideScenic, casual, lake and creek, great fun sliding on the snow at the glacier. DownsideGlacier is almost gone. CommentVery doable with kids. You can get a double chariot in and ditch it at the end of the camp sites where the trail gets rougher. This cuts down almost 2km of walking for the kids each way, so little ones have a chance of getting to the glacier before you need to carry them. Then they sleep on the way out! If you have a hiking conversion for the Chariot I strongly recommend it for the steep hike up to the camping area.
Posted By: trigirl
- Mon Oct 04 03:01:35 UTC 2010
Upsidethis is a very scenic route, the lake on the way on is a great place to stop for a picnic, to fish or if you are prepared and wish to have a camp fire. This trail starats like an old road, shared with horse and hikers, and changes thoughout, form dirt, to rock, sheltered to exposure, by the lake by the creek. the view is great as you climb up towqrd the glacier. the campground is well kept and clean. Downsideit was a slow up hill walk al lthe way in, but it was very appropriate for our entire family.
Posted By: longleggedhiker
- Thu May 13 00:57:20 UTC 2010
UpsideEasy access to Kananaskis Country's easternmost glacier DownsideYou will be disappointed as the glacier has receded. CommentThis hike provides spectacular views the whole way however, the glacier is disappointing. It is not the hilight of the hike.