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Galatea Lakes
Kananaskis, Alberta
September 8, 2021

Distance: 16.5 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 758 m

Dinah and I used Galatea Creek trail to access and scramble up Mount Kidd and Mount Kidd South, but now we turned our attention to hiking up the trail to Lillian Lake and Galatea Lakes. A huge parking lot serves the popular trail. We weren't surprised to see a couple of dozen vehicles parked there, including cars belonging to backpackers staying at Lillian Lake campground.

We started down the trail, down, because the trail loses 20 m to cross the suspension bridge over Kananaskis River. We would cross nine more footbridges before reaching Lillian Lake, the first lake. It's a long trail, mostly cloaked in forest, but the bridges, burbling Galatea Creek and a few clearings helped stave off monotony. The trail climbs steadily but steepens slightly after the last bridge.

After hiking for two hours, we reached Lillian Lake. The west end offers the best view of the lake, along with benches to relax. But the lake is ringed with trees and can't compete with the two higher alpine lakes. We continued up the trail as it quickly climbs above Lillian Lake, exits the forest and reaches Lower Galatea Lake. We relaxed for a time and watched pikas foraging for the winter. Then Dinah stayed behind while I paid a visit to the upper Galatea Lake. I reached it in 15 minutes and took several photos before rejoining Dinah.

As we returned down the trail, we noticed wildfire smoke obscured the views of mountains. Given that scenery would have been disappointing had we climbed a peak, Galatea Lakes proved to be a satisfying alternative in the mountains.

KML and GPX Tracks

A few minutes after starting, we crossed the first bridge

We soon crossed two more bridges

Picturesque scene from the third bridge

Tree by the trail appeared ready to topple

Most of the hike is in the trees

A few robust wildflowers remained

But fall colours were also kicking in

The trail passes a canyon

At the eighth bridge, the trail forks: left for Lost Lake, right for Lillian Lake

Crossing the ninth bridge

Looking at Lillian Lake from the east end

The west end of the lake

Continuing to Galatea Lakes

The trail quickly climbs above Lillian Lake. Smoke obscured the background.

The trail climbs out of the trees

Looking back

The trail to Galatea Lakes goes left, while Guinn's Pass trail cuts into the slope on the right

Looking down at Lower Galatea Lake

Wasp nest next to the trail

A few pikas scampered around

The trail follows the north shore and runs to the notch on the far left

The lower lake is the largest of the two

Looking back from the far end of the lake. Dinah watched me from the other end (centre, mouse over).

Upper Galatea Lake

Dinah snapped this photo as I took the panorama (top) of both lakes from a bump

I found some wee bones on the bump

I returned the same way, but a trail runs back on the south side of the lower lake. In the centre are Guinn's Peak and Mount Kidd South.

Heading back to Lillian Lake. Left are Mount Kidd South and Mount Kidd.

Curious D-shaped tree

82 J/14 Kananaskis Lakes

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