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  • Writer's pictureSarah Magyar

Lake Minnewanka Hike - Banff

Lake Minnewanka is a glacial lake located in Banff National Park, and one of my first hikes in Alberta! It was one of my first days off and Anna and I were itching explore our new home, we would have summited Temple Mountain if someone suggested it. We did the hike with 3 new friends and were laughing and breathing heavy the entire time. 

Generally, Lake Minnewanka is known for their boat cruise, but we went when the lake was still frozen so the boats weren't in the water yet. Because it was early May, and the tourists were still in hibernation, and there weren't many people walking the trail, however it can be a pretty popular destination. The entire trail is 20km long and follows along the length of the lake.

We parked at the Lake Minnewanka parking lot and the trail was on our left. This is also the parking for the lake cruise so if you are going during the summer months it may be busy.

When you drive in you get a beautiful view of the lake and you will see the docks (and boats if the water isn't frozen) in the water, as well as picnic areas.

We didn't complete the full trail, we travelled about 5km in and decided to turn around. The hike, at the time, was difficult as I wasn't used to the altitude or just generally walking up hill, but looking back at it, it was one of the easier hikes from this summer. 

When you first start on the trail you will cross a bridge and continue doing switch backs uphill for about 2km, but then your jaw will drop as you finally get a beautiful view of the lake. From there the lake is in view the entire time (at least for the first 5km).

There are unofficial paths leading down to beside the lake where you can stand on the beach and throw rocks (something that must be done on every hike if you ask me). Be cautious if you are going to be using these paths as they are not meant to be travelled on and may not be the safest. 

We were told that at some point there was a campsite and saw many people travelling with backpacks. Unfortunately, we didn't make it that far. 

The views during this hike are unbelievable. The lake and mountains were beautiful then again when are they not? It's a good hike that will get your legs and butt working, all while working up a good sweat and being close to the mountains. A perfect hike for an Alberta newbie. 

For the first 5km:

Level: Beginner 

Difficulty: 4/10

Elevation Gain: 260m

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