Best time to travel to Banff & Jasper National Parks

Lake Minnewanka Cruise in Banff & Jasper National Parks 2024

Untouched natural beauty all around you

Best time: late May–early October

Lake Minnewanka Cruise
Lake Minnewanka Cruise

Minnewanka is a glacial lake on the east of Banff National Park. It is 21 km long, and 142 m deep and is considered to be the second longest lake in the mountain areas of the Canadian Rockies. The Cascade River flows east of Cascade Mountain and runs through the Stewart Canyon as it empties into the western end of the lake.

Hiking and biking along the northern shore takes you through six backcountry campsites and Stewart Canyon, which is a pure pleasure for visitors. The area is so rich in wildlife that you can easily meet mountain sheep, bears, elk or mule deer on your way. Not to mention that beneath the cold jewel-like glacial meltwater, brave ones have a unique chance of discovering the remnants of Minnewanka Landing.

While visiting the lake, keep in mind that the western section of Lake Minnewanka Loop is open from June to October only. Swimming is allowed at one's own risk but not recommended as the water is freezing cold even in the hottest summer months.

The very best time to visit is during cruising season, which runs from late May to early October. Keep in mind that some boat tours operate only until early September. During the tour, you will not only witness peaks rising from the edge of the emerald water, you will also be able to listen to entertaining and informative stories from the experienced captains.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Lake Minnewanka for hiking and biking?

Late May to early October is the best time for hiking and biking on Lake Minnewanka, as it is open to visitors during this period. There are six backcountry campsites to explore, and the Stewart Canyon hike is a highlight. The weather during this period is usually mild, making it ideal for outdoor activities. Show more

Where can visitors explore the remnants of Minnewanka Landing?

The remnants of Minnewanka Landing can be explored on the lake bed, and scuba diving in the area is an option. Those who prefer to stay dry can take the Lake Minnewanka Cruise to view the ruins. The cruise offers an up-close look at the location's natural beauty and is a comfortable way to enjoy the scenery. Show more

What wildlife can visitors expect to see around Lake Minnewanka?

Mountain sheep, bears, elk, and mule deer are a few of the wildlife species that visitors can expect to see near Lake Minnewanka. Visitors must be cautious while hiking, especially near bears, and not approach or feed any wildlife they encounter during their visit. Show more

When is swimming allowed at Lake Minnewanka and is it recommended?

Swimming at Lake Minnewanka is allowed but not advisable even in the warmest months since the water is freezing cold throughout the year. The reason for the cold temperature is that the lake is fed by glacial runoff. The water is too cold for most swimmers, and visitors are advised to avoid swimming unless they are experienced and equipped to handle cold-water swimming. Show more

What can visitors expect during the boat tour of Lake Minnewanka?

The boat tour of Lake Minnewanka offers visitors the chance to enjoy the stunning natural beauty of the area while experiencing peaks rising from the edge of the water. Visitors will learn about the history of the area and the wildlife that lives there during the informative and entertaining tour provided by experienced captains. The tour is a pleasant and relaxing way to see the breathtaking scenery of Lake Minnewanka. Show more

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