Lake Minnewanka is probably one of Alberta’s most beautiful lakes. It might not have the turquoise waters you can find in the upper reaches of the Rockies, but it more than makes up for it with its beautiful skies and picture perfect surroundings.
The lake itself is 21 kilometres long and 142 metres deep, taking the silver for second largest lake in the Canadian Rockies. Visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and even ice diving, in and around its expansive waters.
For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from Albertaparks.ca and AdventureSmart.
Lake Minnewanka is located on the eastern part of the Banff National Park, and is surrounded by numerous mountains, such as Cascade Mountain, Mount Inglismaldie, Mount Girouard, and Mount Peechee. Its glacier waters are fed by the Cascade River and other smaller streams.
Located 130km east of Calgary, the fastest way to get to Lake Minnewanka is by car. With normal traffic, you can get there in just an hour and half. Take the Highway 1 and exit toward the Banff/Minnewanka loop. Then, follow signs to Cascade Pond/Two Jack Lake and merge onto the beautiful Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive.
Not in the mood for driving? You can take public transportation from Calgary to Banff town using the lines 5153, 5159, and 5155 provided by Greyhound Canada. In Banff, you can cab your way to Lake Minnewanka. Last summer, On-It Regional Transit had a line operating from Calgary to Banff for only $10 one-way, with all public transit in Banff included. Roam Transit also offered a shuttle service from the city of Banff all the way to the lake last summer. No words yet if the route is going to be restored for the summer of 2018.
With year round activities, Lake Minnewanka is an awesome destination for winter or summer lovers alike. You can relax while enjoying the beautiful scenery with a picnic.
With lots of trail options, you can hike or bike along the rocky shoreline. Go for a boat cruise, rent a boat, or, if you prefer, paddle your way through the lake while canoeing or kayaking. One of the favourites activities at the lake is scuba diving and ice diving (in the winter, naturally). Numerous dams have been built in the lake over the years, and the most recent in 1941 raised the water level 30m, making the submerged village of Minnewanka Landing a diver’s paradise.
Before heading up for your next adventure at the lake, make sure you check updated weather and trail conditions at the Parks Canada website.