Lake Minnewanka offers some of the best year-round running in the Rockies. It's also a great option if you are looking for a long run that will allow for fast progress if you're on a schedule. The trail to the Warden cabin (13 km from the parking lot) is smooth and flowy, and there are only one or two significant climbs each way. During the Winter months the trail still sees tons of sunlight and as a result the trail is rarely very snowy. An absolute classic!
Want to spice it up a bit? The climb to Aylmer lookout offers amazing views and a solid amount of elevation gain for those who are looking for some more vertical.
- Distance: 20 to 30 km - 10 km to the Aylmer junction, 15 km to the warden cabin, 7.5 km for the out-and-back to Aylmer Lookout
- Time: 3 to 5 hours roundtrip
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
- Total Elevation Gain:
- Minimal along Lake Minnewanka (less than 100 m)
- 600 meters to Aylmer Lookout
- Where to park: Lake Minnewanka
- Surface: Semi-Technical and Technical (Aylmer Lookout)
- Seasonal Restriction: Lake Minnewanka is on the edge of one of three “core areas” for grizzly bears in Banff National Park. These core areas contain critical bear habitat, and a concentration of female grizzlies live and raise their cubs here. Female grizzly bears are dependent upon an important food source, buffaloberries, which grow in abundance here. Surprise bear encounters involving cyclists have occurred along the Minnewanka Trail.
- From July 10th to September 15th: *Group Access legally requires people to travel in a tight group of four or more.*
Group Access applies to: Lake Minnewanka Trail (from Stewart Canyon Bridge to the East Park Boundary), Aylmer Pass Trail, Aylmer Lookout Trail
- Hikers - Must hike in tight groups of 4 or more, and carry bear spray at all times.
- Cyclists - Cycling is not permitted along the Lake Minnewanka Trail.
- Dogs - Dogs are not permitted beyond Stewart Canyon Bridge.