Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive is a wonderful scenic drive in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in the eastern area of Banff, in Canada.

Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive

How long is Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive?

Tucked away in the eastern area of Banff National Park, the scenic road to Banff's largest lake, a glacial deep blue lake fed by Cascade river, is totally paved. It’s called Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive. It’s a 13.0 km (8.07 miles) loop road starting and ending at the paved Trans-Canada Highway. Lake Minnewanka means “Lake of the Spirits” in the Stoney Indian language.

Is the road to Lake Minnewanka open?

Set high in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the road, also known as Lake Minnewanka Scenic Loop, tops out at 1.537m (5,042ft) above the sea level. It is open all year round, but some parts of the road are closed from November through April.

How long does it take to drive the road to Lake Minnewanka?

Located just outside the town of Banff, in Alberta, on the western part of the country, to drive the road without stopping will take most people between 20 and 30 minutes. However, due its beauty, plan a longer time. Enjoy this drive in the early morning or later in the evening. This loop road takes you past Two Jack Lake, Johnson Lake, Lake Minnewanka and the ghost town of Bankhead. Keep your eyes peeled. This route offers an excellent opportunity to see wildlife, particularly in the spring. Look for bighorn sheep next to the road and up on the cliff sides on the section from Two Jack Lake to Lake Minnewanka. You may also see elk, mule deer, white tail deer, fox, wolves, coyotes and a bear if you’re really lucky. During the winter it is one of the best places in Banff National Park to view the Northern Lights.