Lake Minnewanka Lakeside Trail

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Banff National Park

Lake Minnewanka Lakeside Trail is a 16.3 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Banff, Alberta, Canada that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 16.3 km Elevation Gain: 523 m Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wildlife

Note: Bikes and dogs are NOT allowed on the trail from mid-July to August due to increased bear activity in the area. Please check with the park page for information.

3 months ago

entrance location 51°14'53"N 115°30'00"W

hiking
snow
3 months ago

Beautiful in the winter too.

4 months ago

Aufgrund eines extremen Wetterumschwungs nicht beendet. Aber das was wir geschafft und gesehen haben, lässt uns in schöner Erinnerung. Sehr einfach, sehr sauber und immer eine tolle Aussicht.

Didn’t finish the trail as I wasn’t prepared for rain. Nice walk along the lake.

Nice views. Easy lakeside trail. Nothing spectacular in terms of a hike. Just went to the bridge. Very nice lake.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice fairly gentle hike that follows the lake. At the first bridge to carry on you do need to be in a group of 4+ and have spray.

hiking
8 months ago

Very nice. We crossed over bridge lots of bear activity, so when another newly wed couple said they walk with us. We went on didn’t go to far heard growl and turned back. Beautiful though the length we went. Thankful to the couple that came with us. Had 3 children I did 4-11-17 very doable with children

hiking
8 months ago

Aufgrund von Bärenaktivitäten nicht weiter gegangen aber sehr schön dort.

hiking
9 months ago

Great trail, mostly flat with a few gentle undulating sections. We found it very easy. FYI - To complete the full trail, park rangers require groups of at least four adults (with at least one person carrying bear spray). As we were just two, we waited for another group at the bridge, and joined up with them. We encountered a grizzly bear family directly on the trail, around 2pm, about 7.8 - 8 km from the trailhead. We made quite a bit of noise and had our bear spray ready, but they scampered off quickly so there was no confrontation. Nevertheless, would highly recommend being prepared/alert! ***We were planning on completing the additional hike up to the lookout mountain, however, there were extensive signs at the trail fork noting that grizzly bears frequented the trail to the lookout and had attacked in the past. We played it safe and turned back. Date: 20 August 2019

We couldn't complete the trail, there was a bear on the bridge.

hiking
9 months ago

We couldn't cross the bridge because of a grizzly bear cub and the likely presence of the mother around. We had to use a horn to scare the cub off because it was chasing us. So a bear spray and horns are a must on this trail.

hiking
9 months ago

You don’t have to do the whole trail. We walked around the lake and sat for lunch. This lake is prettier than lake Louise. It’s a scenic drive with several other lakes along the way and plenty of places to stop for pictures.

hiking
9 months ago

Great hike along the lake! Need a group of 4 and bear spray so luckily our group of 3 met up with some people who let us tag along! Great trail to get some nice elevated photos of the lake.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful and well maintained trail. Parking area and area by docks is quite crowded but thins out quickly as you walk along trail. Easy hike with breathtaking views. We hiked for a bit then came back and picnicked in a shady spot near the lake. Family friendly and easy for all skill levels.

hiking
9 months ago

beautiful views with mix of forest and lake views. lake side is sunny with limited shade. currently park officials require traveling in groups of 4 or more with bear spray. recommend hiking boots due to Rocky areas

Great trail with the family. Family friendly as long as you have a bear spray. A mother with the cubs were found at the part after the bridge. That part is actually a good way to have a great high view of the lake. Great scenery overall !

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail amazing views and stunning lake. Once over the bridge it was fairly quiet and passed only 2 groups coming down. Went about 6km and turned back. Will defiantly do this one again. One short steep part but otherwise fairly easy.

hiking
10 months ago

Turned around shortly after the bridge, as we didn’t have bear spray with us. Saw two (huge) grizzly bears just off the road near the entrance for the parking lot.

hiking
muddy
rocky
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful trail with amazing views on the lake the whole way! We even saw some mountain goats... A bit long, but fairly easy (not steep and well maintained path). We barely crossed anyone and had the beach for ourselves once at the campground!

hiking
11 months ago

Paved parking, washrooms & picnic tables at trail head. Parking is painful during high season, consider taking the bus from Banff. There is a little sandwich shop at the trail head during the summer. Good for an ice cream or cool drink after a good hike. The trail is well marked and in excellent condition for most of the way. There are a couple of narrow spots around a tight corner that might be hard to navigate for people with mobility challenges. Most visitors don't venture much beyond the bridge over the first river, so if you're adverse to crowds be patient, most casual hikers turn back in the first mile. The hike itself has wide paths through forested sections and narrow rocky parts above the shore of the lake. The views are beautiful but mile 2 might be intimidating if you don't like heights. It's a great trail with something for everyone. Make sure to head to the shore of the lake and skip some stones once you get to camping section #8 at the junction for the Aylmer Pass.

11 months ago

Well-marked beautiful trail that mixes forest and open views of the lake and mountains. It is a multi-use trail so watch out for bikers. Fairly flat so no overly strenuous areas to ascend/descend; just lots of rocks so be sure to wear comfortable shoes! The day area fills-up fast so get there early as it is very close to Banff so there's lots of tourists as well as campers. Take the side-route to the end of Stewart Canyon as well for extra photo opps. FYI *no dogs/bikes allowed from mid-July through August due to increased bear activity in the area. Only large hiking groups at that time*

hiking
11 months ago

After a couple days of long hikes we weren’t quite down to do the full trip but the bit that we did complete was great. This is a very popular trail with leashed dogs and a ton of mountain bikers. Nice views of the lake after you get out from behind the burnt trees.

hiking
bugs
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

sunny

hiking
11 months ago

Had an amazing hike on this trail today. Parking lot was full so we parked down the road a bit. Started at about 12 and reached LM8 around 2. Spent a half hour at the water and we’re back at our car at about 5. Saw a lot of mountain bikers and hikers, but wouldn’t say the trail is crowded. The first hill just past the bridge is the biggest push you’ll have. Lots of rolling hills, also lots of rocks and roots so watch your footing. A few bugs when you’re closer to the water but nothing crazy. We did see a few deer off the trail, and a group near us said they saw a black bear about halfway to LM8 at the beach. Definitely recommend bear spray.

Thu May 23 2019

Trail dry & clear. 22 May 2019. Walked a half hour past the LM8 campsites then turned around. Saw 5 deer, but no bears. (Whew!) Beautiful views across the lake. Trail in good shape.

Tue May 21 2019

Beautiful look outs. I only got past the bend before I had to turn back. Wish I was able to continue all the way to Aylmers Lookout

hiking
Wed Apr 24 2019

will go on April 27. Checked park website, it is open now, not closed.

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