Marl Lake Interpretive Trail ends at a beautiful dock that extends into a lake surrounded by mountain views in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. This less traveled trail makes the slightly confusing start worth the effort.
Marl Lake Interpretive Trail, Kananaskis
Distance: 3.1 km* (1.9 mi) out and back
Highlights: Lake, Mountain Views, Interpretive Signs
Facilites: Outhouse, Camping, Benches
Optional Gear: Carrier, Stroller,* Wheelchair,*
TrailRider Rating: Moderate*
Camp at Elkwood Campground and enjoy hiking without having to drive to the trailhead.
From Trans Canada Highway AB-1 W take the 118 exit and turn onto Highway AB-40 S Kananaskis Trail. Drive down Kananaskis Trail Highway AB-40 S until you reach the entrance into Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Turn right onto Kananaskis Lakes Trail. Follow the road until you reach the Elkwood Amphitheatre parking lot on the left just past the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre. Do not park or start from the campground unless you are camping at Elkwood Campground.
The trail starts from Elkwood Amphitheatre parking lot to the left of the outhouses.
*The official trailhead starts between campsites C and D in Elkwood Campground. From this route the hike is only a 1.5 km loop. Adding in the Elkwood Amphitheatre adds an additional 1.6 km out and back of hiking from the trailhead.
The trail from the Elkwood Amphitheatre to the official Marl Lake Interpretive trailhead is at times confusing. From the Elkwood Amphitheatre, walk past the outhouses to the left and hike on the wide, paved bike trail. Watch for bikes along the trail and try to stay on the right-hand side.
Keep straight at the junction and continue walking past the amphitheatre on the right. Follow the road as you walk straight past the amphitheatre until you reach a T-intersection. Turn left at the T-intersection.
With the Amphitheatre still on your left, turn right onto a wide, packed gravel trail. There is a sign for Marl Lake to assure you that you are following the correct path.
Cross another campground road before heading back into the trees. At the next T-intersection, follow the trail straight. After 5 minutes you will see the official sign for Marl Lake Loop. Yeah, you made it! Bikes are not allowed on this trail. Soon after beginning the hike, the trail opens to a beautiful view across a clearing with a small pond.
At the next junction, turn left. Follow the trail, taking in the views and enjoy learning about the area through the interpretive signs. There is an occasional bench scattered along the trail to take a rest.
After the eighth interpretive sign, there is a bench with a view of Marl Lake and the surrounding mountains. As you near the water, there is a bench and a platform. Enjoy the stunning reflection of the mountains in the water before finishing the loop. Follow the amphitheatre signs back to the parking lot from the Marl Lake Trailhead.
*There are stairs to get closer to the lake that can be avoided if you are using a stroller, wheelchair or TrailRider.
Drive the short distance to the Peter Lougheed Discovery Centre to learn more about the animals and plants in the area.
Want more hikes like this one?
Purchase 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.