Lake Minnewanka is recreation and activity lake destination located east of the Village of Banff. Alberta, Canada in Banff National Park. It is the longest glacial lake in the park system measuring 28 kilometres long and 143 metres deep.
Lake Minnewanka and the surrounding mountains are a popular destination in Banff National Park for many summer activities like boating, canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, picnicking, sightseeing, wilderness camping, hiking, boat cruises and scuba diving.
In the winter months, after the lake freezes and the snow falls, the attention of people turn to activities like cross country skiing and ice fishing.
On the western side of the lake is a recreation area with access to a boat launch, sandy beach and marine docks. Boat cruises operate from the boat houses.
Some of the services located in the Lake Minnewanka Day Use Area include picnic tables, picnic shelters, viewing benches, beach access trails, grass lawns, information boards, washrooms, concession stand, sightseeing viewpoints and a recreation trail.
Lake Minnewanka is also the site of hiking trails, both tough and short. Trails in this Banff National Park region include the very challenging Aylmer Pass and Look Out Trails, the scenic Stewart Canyon Trail and the mountainous C-Level Cirque Trail.
Lake Minnewanka has a long history with the Stoney First Nation people who, at one time, lived and hunted here on Lake Minnewanka which means the "Lake of the Spirits". Back then the lake was said to have good and evil spirits.
Even the early Europeans, who settled in this Banff National Park region, believed in these spirits as they called the lake Devil's Lake. It was not too long later a small village was constructed on the shores of Lake Minnewanka and it was called Minnewanka Landing.
However... in 1912 the lake was dammed to make room for the Cascade River power plant and Minnewanka Village was flooded and is now underwater. The village is now an attraction for scuba divers.