Rawson Lake is the perfect half day hike localed in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park near the Upper Kananaskis Lake - or whole day if you have little ones or want to explore the terrain around the lake.
We hiked this one with 4 adults, 4 kids (6, 8, 10, 12) and 2 dogs along with half the population of Calgary on the August long weekend! :-) It was a beautiful day - hardly a cloud in the sky. Even my wife thought there was too many people so that should give an idea of how busy it was.
The hike is easy along the lake before steeply gaining roughly 300 meters to the lake. Make sure you traverse around the lake (good trail, continues from the first view point) to at least the rocky slopes with the signage indicating 'end of trail'.
Most of our party was content to nap and ponder the beautiful views from this spot but I of course wanted to go a bit higher. Most people going higher were circling the lake entirely and following a steep trail up to a ridge on the north side of the lake. I decided to head up a talus / snow slope directly under Mount Sarrail for a view of the lake and the Opal Range beyond. Rockfall was a bit of a concern as I trudged up steep snow to the top of the talus 'hill' but the hill slopes prevented rockfall from hitting me.
Once I worked my way higher up the slope I realized that there was a surprise waiting for me at the top. Hundreds and thousands of wildflowers plastered the upper slopes of this rock pile! I was not expecting such an array of color and life up there. Paintbrushes, Vetch, Forget-me-not, Aster, Arnica and many others. I snapped pictures for quite a while - the view of Rawson Lake and the Opal Range wasn't too shabby either.
Rawson Lake is a great little hike but be warned if you do it on a nice weekend - you will have LOTS of company.