Rae Glacier
an easy hike in the Highwood to the source of Calgary's water.


Click to view full map

Distance - 4km Elevation gain - 550m



The trail begins by hiking up old road to Elbow Lake, which is quite pretty when it has some sun.

Old road up to Elbow Lake.

Pretty Elbow Lake and edge of Mount Rae.

Elbow Lake.

The trail then passes through the campsite, around the southeast side of the lake, and turns off at a large cairn at river.
The now unofficial trail follows the creek upstream to its source, through a steep valley.

Trail around the lake.

Large cairn marking glacier turnoff.

Waterfalls from Mount Rae.

Recent snowfall on Mount Rae.

Streams flow from the glacier.

Side valley with more glacial remnant.

View back down the valley to Pass between Elpoca and Tombstone.

After ascending paths on trail, then moraine, you reach the base of the glacier.
In winter this extends the whole length of the valley, but in august you can walk a fair way up the side.
We stopped for lunch, then took a little hike up the glacier.
There was a large recent rockfall littering the glacier, emphasizing the necessity to be careful if travelling any higher.
There were a couple snowboarders out for some turns, but the rocks made problematic what would otherwise be a nice midsummer ski.

Rae Glacier.

Tombstone South beyond the end of the glacier.

Hiking up for a view.

Recent rockfall we're not approaching.

Heading back down the valley.

The collection basin.

Despite darkening clouds, the return was uneventful, including a washroom break at the new composting lats in Elbow Lake campground.

Waterfall from the side valley.

Last view of the glacial valley.

Returning along the suprisingly clear outflow stream.

The trail home.

Photos taken by Rachel

Back to Photos on Foot Index
Back to Photos Index