Lake Minnewanka

Vacation Travel Guide
Lake Minnewanka featuring landscape views and mountains

The “Lake of the Spirits” offers fishing, boating and hiking facilities not far from Banff village.

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.

Top Hotels Close to Lake Minnewanka

Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
3 out of 5
1029 Banff Ave, Banff, AB
The price is CA $105 per night from Oct 31 to Oct 31
This family-friendly Banff aparthotel is located in a national park, within 3 mi (5 km) of Canadian Ski Museum West, Banff Park Museum and Banff National Park ...
4/5 Very Good! (2,721 reviews)
"Love the kitchen and the wood burning fireplace."

Reviewed on Oct. 25, 2021

Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa
Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa
3.5 out of 5
521 Banff Ave, Box 1070, Banff, AB
The price is CA $119 per night from Oct 31 to Oct 31
Located in the heart of Banff, this spa hotel is 0.6 mi (0.9 km) from Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau and within 3 mi (5 km) of Cave and Basin National Historic ...
4/5 Very Good! (2,420 reviews)
"Beautiful spot, stayed here before and loved it. Great that there's a restaurant right on-site. Dtaff were super friendly and helpful."

Reviewed on Oct. 22, 2021

Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa
Moose Hotel And Suites
Moose Hotel And Suites
3.5 out of 5
345 Banff Ave, Banff, AB
The price is CA $179 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in the heart of Banff, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Banff National Park Information Centre, Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau, and Canadian ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (2,069 reviews)
"Everything was better than expected!"

Reviewed on Oct. 25, 2021

Moose Hotel And Suites
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Plan a trip to see Lake Minnewanka

The Summit at Grande Rockies
The Westin Calgary
Mystic Springs Chalets & Hot Pools
Don't see what you're looking for?
See all available trips from Ashburn to Lake Minnewanka
View all trips

Popular places to visit in Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka

Choose two or more items and save on your trip:

Best Lodging Options Near Lake Minnewanka

Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
3 out of 5
1029 Banff Ave, Banff, AB
The price is CA $105 per night from Oct 31 to Oct 31
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort
Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa
Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa
3.5 out of 5
521 Banff Ave, Box 1070, Banff, AB
The price is CA $119 per night from Oct 31 to Oct 31
Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa
Moose Hotel And Suites
Moose Hotel And Suites
3.5 out of 5
345 Banff Ave, Banff, AB
The price is CA $179 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Moose Hotel And Suites
Rustic Budget Banff Condo with Fireplace | Access to 2 Hot Tubs!
Rustic Budget Banff Condo with Fireplace | Access to 2 Hot Tubs!
Banff, AB
The price is CA $115 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Rustic Budget Banff Condo with Fireplace | Access to 2 Hot Tubs!
NEW + Unique Wolf Condo | Hot Tub Access
NEW + Unique Wolf Condo | Hot Tub Access
Banff, AB
The price is CA $149 per night from Nov 18 to Nov 18
NEW + Unique Wolf Condo | Hot Tub Access
Spacious + Deluxe Rockies Condo | Great Location!
Spacious + Deluxe Rockies Condo | Great Location!
Banff, AB
The price is CA $145 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Spacious + Deluxe Rockies Condo | Great Location!
Deluxe, Bright, Spacious | Base of Tunnel Mountain
Deluxe, Bright, Spacious | Base of Tunnel Mountain
Banff, AB
The price is CA $175 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Deluxe, Bright, Spacious | Base of Tunnel Mountain
Hidden Ridge Resort
Hidden Ridge Resort
3.5 out of 5
901 Hidden Ridge Way, Banff, AB
The price is CA $149 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Hidden Ridge Resort
Tunnel Mountain Resort
Tunnel Mountain Resort
3.5 out of 5
502 Tunnel Mountain Road, Box 1137, Banff, AB
The price is CA $109 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Tunnel Mountain Resort
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.