Picnic tables at Elbow Lake Backcountry Campground

Elbow Lake Backcountry Campground

Near Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Picnic table Bench Fire pit Firewood Primitive (unplumbed) washrooms
No reviews
Created by Sean on Sept. 30, 2023, 5:20 p.m.
Updated by Sean on Sept. 30, 2023, 5:38 p.m.


Elbow Lake is a small, remote lake located in Alberta, Canada. It is situated within Kananaskis Country, which is part of the Canadian Rockies. The lake is known for its tranquil and pristine natural surroundings, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a serene wilderness experience.

The lake itself is relatively modest in size, measuring approximately 0.5 kilometers in length and 0.3 kilometers in width. It is surrounded by dense forests of coniferous trees, primarily spruce and pine, which contribute to the area's remote and secluded atmosphere.

Elbow Lake is accessible via a moderately challenging hiking trail that covers a distance of approximately 2 kilometers one way with 174 meters of elevation gain. The trailhead begins at the Elbow Pass Day Use Area and follows a well-maintained path through the forest, quickly gaining elevation. The average incline of the trail is a bit less than 10%, which may require a reasonable level of physical fitness.

The lake itself is an attractive spot for picnicking, fishing, and photography. The clear, pristine waters reflect the surrounding mountains, providing ample opportunities for scenic views and wildlife observation. It's worth noting that camping is only permitted at Elbow Lake Backcountry Campground, and visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the area's natural beauty.

Picnicing facilities are available at the campground where there are benches, picnic tables, and fire pits which offer scenic views out over the lake. The campground has firewood available and unplumbed toilets.

Elbow Lake offers a peaceful and unspoiled setting for those seeking a more understated outdoor experience. Its accessibility via a well-marked trail makes it a manageable day trip for hikers and nature enthusiasts looking to explore the Canadian Rockies.

Benches and firepit at Elbow Lake Backcountry Campground
Bench overlooking Elbow Lake

Location and reservations

Open seasonally
Admission fee
Not available
Walk / hike

Picnic facilities

  • Picnic table Picnic table
  • Bench Bench
  • Fire pit Fire pit
  • Firewood Firewood
  • Primitive (unplumbed) washrooms Primitive (unplumbed) washrooms

Other amenities

  • Scenic view Scenic view
  • Hiking trail Hiking trail
  • Cycling trail Cycling trail
  • Equestrian trail Equestrian trail
  • Fishing Fishing
  • Flatwater kayaking / canoeing Flatwater kayaking / canoeing