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6 to 8 hours / 19.5K return

Elevation Gain



Trailhead: Park in the Cat Creek recreation area parking lot 129kms west of Calgary located on Highwood Trail #40 highway. Note: Highway #40 is closed at the Upper Lakes and Highwood House Junction from Dec 1st to June 14th for wildlife preservation.


Description: Wow, possibly the nicest tarn lake in Alberta. This is part of Lake of The Horns and Loomis Lake trails You will have to cross the Highwood River so expect to get your feet wet. Locate the old logging road at the end of the parking lot heading north along the Highwood River. Follow the logging road approximately 2.5kms to the Highwood River, cross the river and take the left Carnarvon logging road fork.

The right fork leads to another gem called Lake Of The Horns. Follow the old road along Carnarvon Creek. Cross the creek and continue on the road as it slowly starts to climb up the valley. Make lots of noise and keep your eye’s out for bears. All the valleys in this area are prime Grizzly Bear habitat. At about 5.5kms the trail intersects with another logging road that drops down to your left. Stay on the main road straight until you arrive at a high open point looking down towards the bottom of the headwall.

Stash your bikes here then hike down the scree trail leading to the bottom of the headwall. Near the bottom keep your eyes out for a faint trail junction leading off to your right. It may be marked by ground rocks and a few logs pointing the direction. Take the trail on your right and work your way up the rock and scree slope towards the bottom of the headwalls waterfall.

Once you reach the base of the waterfall locate a chain to your right that is bolted to the rock face. If you’re faint of heart you may want to avoid this hike as a fall from here could be fatal. Work your way up approximately 20ms of chain until you reach safe ground then hike a short distance to the top of the headwall. As you crest the headwall, Carnarvon Lake lies at your feet.

Carnarvon Lake is absolutely stunning. It’s crystal clear and a beautiful Caribbean blue color. It may be the nicest of the three headwall lakes located in this area. Lake Of The Horns and Loomis Lake being the other two. Continue on hiking along the right shore of the lake towards a few small campsites that are tucked in some low brush. From here hike up towards the saddle overlooking the lake.

Views from the saddle are even better. It’s a great place to eat your lunch while you ponder the thought of stepping into British Columbia. The top of the saddle marks the Alberta British Columbia boundary. Carnarvon Lake is stocked with Cutthroat Trout however their growth rate is very slow due to the lack of food at higher elevations.

Sheep River Valley Map PDF

Items Reviewed - 1

5.0Very Good
Mark Townsend

Awesome hike and bike. Chains up the headwall and a beautiful lake make this one of the best.

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