Warspite Lake follows the Black Prince Cirque trail to a pristine lake with a stunning backdrop of towering mountains. The climb is challenging for kids but the memorable views make the grind worth the effort. It is the perfect hike for families that want a challenge and have already tackled hikes like Ptarmigan Cirque. For a more adventurous outing, pack swim suits, towels and life jackets and enjoy a quick (really quick) dip in the cold Warspite Lake before heading back down the trail.

To explore the Canmore area then try these 12 Easy Hikes Near Canmore.

For over 45 hikes within the Banff, Canmore, Kananaskis and Calgary area, purchase the eBook or paperback book “Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies”.

Hiking book for families
Black Prince Cirque

Warspite Lake via Black Prince Cirque Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Distance and Elevation: 4.3 km, 95 m

Facilities: Outhouses, Benches

Hike Highlights: Mountain Views, Lake, Bridges

Optional Gear: Carrier

Trailrider Rating: Difficult

Insider Tip :

Download the interpretive trail pamphlet before heading on your hike to learn more about the area as you hike along the interpretive trail.


Drive down the Kananaskis Trail HWY 40 until you reach the entrance into Peter Lougheed. Turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail. Soon after turn right onto the Smith Dorrien Trail. Continue onto the Smith Dorrien Trail for about 20 minutes until you see the sign for Black Prince Cirque Trail. Turn left into the parking lot.

Trail Head:

The trailhead is located on the right as you enter the Black Prince Cirque Parking lot. Follow the trail head sign that reads Black Prince Cirque. Outhouses are located further down in the parking lot.

Trail Description:

The trail starts alongside the Smith Dorrien Creek. After a short distance you cross a bridge and the trail connects with an old logging road where the climb begins. The logging road is not too dense allowing you to soak in some of the views between breathes. Once you reach the 3rd interpretive trail post you are about 2/3s the way to the top. After about .2 km you will reach the bench at the top for a well deserved rest.

The trail narrows as it descends though the forest and roots and rocks occasionally scatter the trail. At about 1.4 km you will reach a junction. Go straight to begin the loop to the lake. Cross over a bridge over a small creek and then head up the trail.

At 1.92 km the trees open up to an area with some rocks, boulders and mountain views. Continue on the trail to Warspite Lake. At trail stop 8, enjoy the following the little trails to the water to soak up the stunning mountain views or head in the water for a quick swim. There can be lots of water in the spring/early summer after lots of snow and rainfall but sometimes there is hardly any especially in the later summer/fall.

Once your done enjoying the incredible back drop, head back to the original trail. Continue hiking the same direction (counter clockwise) on the trail by the lake for a short distance. Pass the rock piles and say goodbye to the views as you leave the lake. Continue across a small bridge over Old Creek before heading back into the forest to finish the loop. Cross another bridge before hiking downhill to the end of the loop. At the junction, head down the service road and continue on the trail until you reach the parking lot.

Want some more fun kid-friendly hikes? Check out these 10 Waterfall Hikes for kids!

Want more hikes like this one?

PRE-ORDER the paperback book Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies here.

Purchase (Ebook) Hikes for Families: A Guide to the Canadian Rockies here.

Hikes for Families
By Annika Mang
Warspite Lake Black Prince Cirque
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