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Lake Minnewanka

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.

How about making your time spent at Lake Minnewanka even more unique? Don't forget to try out a few of these things to do:

When preparing for your excursion, you may want to think about purchasing a Lake Minnewanka Cruise and a Banff Gondola & Lake Minnewanka Cruise.

If you'd like even more activities, check out our Banff things to do page.


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Lake Minnewanka

See all 124 properties near Lake Minnewanka
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort CA $109
Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

1029 Banff Ave, Banff, AB
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Banff condominium resort is located in a national park, within 3 mi (5 km) of Canadian Ski Museum West, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau. Banff National Park Information Centre and Canada House Gallery are also within 3 miles (5 km).

    Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa CA $109
    Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa

    Banff Caribou Lodge and Spa

    521 Banff Ave, Box 1070, Banff, AB
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      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 Site and Tunnel Mountain. Banff Springs Golf Club and Upper Hot Springs are also within 3 mi (5 km). Banff Station is 17 minutes by foot.

      Hidden Ridge Resort CA $129
      Hidden Ridge Resort

      Hidden Ridge Resort

      901 Hidden Ridge Way, Banff, AB
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in a national park, this condo is within 3 miles (5 km) of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Cave and Basin National Historic Site and Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau. Tunnel Mountain is 2.4 mi (3.8 km) away.

        Rustic Budget Banff Condo With Fireplace Access to 2 Hot Tubs!
        Rustic Budget Banff Condo With Fireplace Access to 2 Hot Tubs!

        Rustic Budget Banff Condo With Fireplace Access to 2 Hot Tubs!

        1029 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in the mountains, this condo is within 3 miles (5 km) of Canadian Ski Museum West, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau. Banff National Park Information Centre and Canada House Gallery are also within 3 miles (5 km).

          NEW + Unique Wolf Condo Hot Tub Access
          NEW + Unique Wolf Condo Hot Tub Access

          NEW + Unique Wolf Condo Hot Tub Access

          1029 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Banff, this condo is within 3 miles (5 km) of Canadian Ski Museum West, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau. Banff National Park Information Centre and Canada House Gallery are also within 3 miles (5 km).

            Spacious + Deluxe Rockies Condo Great Location!
            Spacious + Deluxe Rockies Condo Great Location!

            Spacious + Deluxe Rockies Condo Great Location!

            1029 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Banff, this condo is within 3 miles (5 km) of Canadian Ski Museum West, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau. Banff National Park Information Centre and Canada House Gallery are also within 3 miles (5 km).

              Deluxe, Bright, Spacious Base of Tunnel Mountain
              Deluxe, Bright, Spacious Base of Tunnel Mountain

              Deluxe, Bright, Spacious Base of Tunnel Mountain

              1029 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Banff, this condo is within 3 miles (5 km) of Canadian Ski Museum West, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau. Banff National Park Information Centre and Canada House Gallery are also within 3 miles (5 km).

                Banff Resort 2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom up to 6 People Feb 9-16, 2020
                Banff Resort 2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom up to 6 People Feb 9-16, 2020

                Banff Resort 2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom up to 6 People Feb 9-16, 2020

                1029 Banff Avenue, Banff, AB
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Banff, this resort is within 3 miles (5 km) of Canadian Ski Museum West, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Banff Lake Louise Tourism Bureau. Banff National Park Information Centre and Canada House Gallery are also within 3 miles (5 km).