Distance: 7 km
Elevation gain: 610 mView mapDownload GPS track
Little Lawson Peak, also known as the "South end of Lawson", is the southern highpoint of Mt. Lawson in Kananaskis. Approaching the Kananaskis Lakes turnoff from the north on Highway 40, Mt. Lawson is the wall-like mountain to the west that drops to ground level near the exit.
The route up Little Lawson follows the ridgecrest and begins at the northernmost point of Lower Kananaskis Lake at the Peninsula day use area. In the winter, a small parking area is plowed here. From this point, head approximately 100 m south along the road until you reach the wide, gated, snowshoe trail heading north. This is part of the Penstock Loop snowshoe trail and will be well packed and signed with a neon orange snowshoe sign. Follow this trail north for about 1.4 km; it will eventually parallel an old wooden aquaduct. At the point where the end of the aquaduct comes into view the Penstock snowshoe trail turns right. From this general area continue north and begin ascending the ridge of Little Lawson. It is well worth looking in this area for any trails that have been broken. As of this writing, there is an excellent trail beginning from the Penstock trail about 10 m after it has turned off the aquaduct trail.
From this point forward the route simply follows the highpoint of the ridge north to Little Lawson Peak. Rising over 600 m in a little over 2 km it is steep, but there are less steep sections along the way that allow you to catch your breath. Be cautious about approaching the eastern edge of the ridge for better views. If you recall the view from Highway 40, this edge is largely a cliff and in winter can have surprisingly large cornices - you may be standing on snow, not rock!
After a little under 2 km of travel, emerge into a small clearing that grants spectacular views to the south, west, and east. The clearing is spacious, but be particularly cautious of cornices here. From here the trail rises about 25 m very steeply to the false south summit (somewhat difficult on snowshoes). The extra ascent grants somewhat better views, but if you want good views to the north you'll need to ascend another 50 m or so over 500 m to the true summit. We didn't do this as we were nearly frozen in the -30+ windchill and the last section to the true summit of Little Lawson gets somewhat scrambly, something we weren't prepared for with numb hands and minds. Regardless, the views from where we stopped were spectacular and well worth the trip.