Lake Minnewanka is the largest lake in Banff National Park. It is a popular recreational spot for fishing, boating, hiking, scuba diving and picnicking. A car park and picnic area on the lake is just over three miles (five kilometers) northeast of the town of Banff.
Lake Minnewanka means “Lake of the Spirits” in the Stoney Indian language. Indigenous people who lived around the lake believed it was inhabited by spirits. Early Europeans called it “Devil’s Lake.”
In the late 19th century, a small summer town was built on the edge of the water, with hotels, wharves and restaurants frequented by vacationers. In 1941, a dam was built that raised the lake’s water level by 98 feet (30 meters) and submerged the town. Today, the underwater town is an attraction for scuba divers.
The lake is 466 feet (142 meters) deep in the middle and 17 miles (28 kilometers) long. Several companies run boat tours on the lake. Cruise the water for photo opportunities of the surrounding mountains. Book the cruise on the day from the main car park. Fishing tours can also be booked here. Spend a day on the lake fishing for lake trout.
Many hiking trails run around the lake, ranging from short strolls to day-long walks. Rent a bike in Banff and ride the entire circumference of about 15.5 miles (25 kilometers). Watch for wildlife and have a camera ready to take photographs. Deer, bears, mountain sheep and eagles roam the area. Stay well clear of the bears, and never hike alone.
Summer is the most popular time to visit. Facilities such as car parks and sheltered picnic spots fill up quickly, so come early in the day.
The lake freezes in winter. Many of the facilities close, but wildlife is easier to spot, because there are fewer people around.
Would you like to make your stop at Lake Minnewanka even more memorable? Don't miss the chance to try a few of these things to do:
Why not think about buying a Banff Lake Cruise? It's one of the most popular activities on offer here.
For even more things to do, examine our Banff things to do page.
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Amazing experience. Every time we stay here. We like open areas and this property is open and spacious compared to most hotels in banff
Always good space and great view. Disappointing the hot tub is not functional. We weren’t aware of that before we booked. This should be communicated.
Pillows were not very comfortable and the bottom sheet on the bed was not a fitted sheet. It kept coming untucked. Hot pool was great! Parking for a large SUV- did not fit in underground parking, limited available street parking adjacent to hotel
2 of us stayed for a few days of running around the mountains in Banff. The temps were sub 25, so we were happy to return to our lodge and get the fire going. It was great to have access to a well equipped kitchen. Check in was quick and easy. Would definitely stay again.
Clean and the staff was helpful and nice. It was very convenient to Banff. Try to stay in upstairs room if you're a light sleeper because we heard our upstairs neighbors walking around until early in the morning. Also, bed was small for taller people. TV in front room was dim and hard to see and ...
Located in East Kootenay G, this resort is within 3 mi (5 km) of Banff National Park Information Centre, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau. Canadian Ski Museum West and Canada House Gallery are also within 3 mi (5 km).