Distance: 16.5 km
Elevation gain: 1000 m+View mapDownload GPS track
This hike accesses a rarely visited lake north of Upper Kananaskis Lake. The trail is steep, intermittent, and littered with deadfall, but the final destination is worth it for those with suitable skills and endurance. NOTE: Stats given in at least one hiking book terribly underestimate the elevation gain on this hike!
The trail begins at the North Interlakes parking lot and follows the northern shore of Upper Kananaskis Lakes to Invincible Creek. Immediately after crossing the bridge, turn right onto a faint trail paralleling the creek. Very shortly this trail begins following an overgrown logging road heading roughly west. Follow the trail along this road, stumbling over frequent deadfall, until you encounter a large cairn in the middle of the trail about 1.3 km from the bridge. Turn right at the cairn and begin ascending steeply - 450 m over a little more than 1 km. There is initially an obvious trail, but this disappears once you enter an old burn. As the trail fades, stick to the top of the rib you have been following, contouring to the right around a small cliff further up. Deadfall is everywhere, but it is all on the ground and very easy to either walk around or step on or over.
Eventually, reach the top of the ridge and ascend the discernible trail west along the ridgecrest. At a small dip, follow the trail off the ridge to the right. This trail shortly becomes much fainter and forks. The higher path appears to be better traveled, but this trail later disappears on steep scree. The lower trail, while still faint, offers much better crossings of two steep scree slopes. When the trail approaches the gully it disappears and we found it easiest to simply walk up the dry gully. When meadowy slopes appear to your left, move onto them. Stay low on the meadow if you want to emerge near Invincible Lake, or angle higher if you want to be treated to an aerial view of the lake.
From the lake it is easily possible to ascend Mt. Nomad or continue to the hill beyond the north shore. If time permits it is also possible to continue further into the basin. With ridiculously strong winds and cold temperatures we did neither, but both would be great in better weather.