May 23, 2017
This is kinda my staple spring trip; been doing it for ~15 yrs now. Usually end of March / beginning of April, but this year has been something else and I went ~2 months later than usual.
Shoreline trail to LM8 is dry (and popular with cyclists). Creek under log bridge near LM8 flowing pretty good and mostly enclosed in snow. I expected snow higher up but drier than expected, just odd snow patch near Aylmer Pass/Lookout junction, and dry afterwards. I am quite sure though Aylmer Pass would still be snowbound; Aylmer itself was all white and totally not in shape. Very windy at lookout, but had it to myself and couldn't help myself but take another pano; this is kinda my sweet spot, almost made it for CT banner maybe next time :)
Seriously clouded over on the way back and started raining. Btw Minnewanka will be a ZOO this summer; there is already "Park and Ride" operational from Cascade Ponds, and huge lineup for Boat Cruise.
Nice photo! That's like 2 different days on left and right.
Thanks Phil. 2 different days is right; that front quickly moved in & it was quite a stormy sky luckily with just few drops as I was making my way back along the shore.
Here are few more images for conditions:
Aylmer Ridge. Knowing the terrain well I am quite sure there are quite a few snowy spots along shady east (right) side. Note Aylmer -- totally white
Closer look at Aylmer
This one for woodenshoes; zoom at Stenton Area
Of course looks different today because of this horror snowfall, but this will melt in day or two
1 more... don't you just want to sit in these chairs and spend rest of the day :)
It is amazing how fast weather changes in matter of hours in this part of the world
Late Oct '17
Thought I'd just go stretch my legs to Stewart bridge & back, but I kept going ("just few minutes more") and before you know it I was at LM8 junction. I guess for most Minnewanka lakeshore trail is primarily interesting as MTB trail but I love walking there any time of the year. Trail runners probably enjoy it as well. Quite a bit of deadfall across the trail from recent wind which must be annoying for all the cyclists; bypasses already developing. Descended to LM8 campground for couple of photos but it was too windy to linger. To my surprise someone was still camping there. Dusting of snow was visible on the lookout. Pic from lakeshore just below the campground announcing arrival of winter to Rockies
Nov 8, 2018
I really like hiking by lake Minnewanka & having trailhead less than 1/2 hour drive I come here often. Beauty of the day, dusting of snow & just so calm and clean. Leisurely walked to LM8 junction and had lunch at little rise on Aylmer Pass trail enjoying beautiful views and silence. Debated continuing to lookout (boot prints in snow), but decided to follow lakeshore trail instead -- never went past LM8 junction. Went to Aylmer Canyon (LM9). LM8 - LM9 distance felt >1km one would expect, and indeed after getting back it is 1.5km (LM8 = 7.8km, LM9 = 9.3km). This part is very beautiful through impressive forest and then crosses large drainage coming off Aylmer. LM9 camp is very nice, smaller but prettier than LM8. Spent about an hour here just enjoying the beach and playing skids waiting for sunset.
[Pano from tourist area at the start, very beautiful]
[Views across the lake ~3km]
[View towards eastern half of the lake from little rise above LM8 junction]
[View east from the beach below LM9]
[Google map - trying to figure the name of peak with "X" -- I thought it was Townsend but it is not, Townsend is further back. I think it is unnamed; correct me please if I am mistaken]
[Closer look at "Unknown" peak -- east side of Carrot Creek]
[Beautiful and peaceful sunset from LM9 beach]
Minnewanka really speaks to me but although I visited east end from Ghost side I never hiked entire length of the lake. Next spring I will probably do that, it is just 21km to Narrows & perfect base for 2 nights to fully explore the area.
Edit: Found out the name of "Unknown". It is -- surprise, surprise -- Carrot Peak (thanks PhilR). There is good report online here. Approach is not from Minnewanka side, but from the south via South Ghost River (nicely visible on Google Map snapshot above).
Mid November '19
Minnewanka is my happy place. Once summer and tourists are gone, it is so beautiful and I absolutely love walking the lakeshore trail. Calm and quiet and pristine with vistas unfolding as you walk by. Went as usual to LM8, then a bit up on Aylmer Pass trail for late lunch on snow free meadow just before trail dips into forest. Dusting of snow throughout with some sections that melted then froze, but it is easy going all the way. Set of boot prints to LM8 and down to campground, but nothing further east or up towards pass. Around 5km mark fresh cougar tracks --correct me if I am wrong-- going east, and followed lakeshore trail for ~2km before vanishing; was a bit nervous but nothing transpired. Couple of pics:
[That little bay near trailhead, think I have over 100 pics made at this place over the years and it never gets old]
[Pano above LM8 junction; I always stop here for break (even if I picked up a tick here couple of years ago)]
[Kitty prints, with ugly hand or yours truly for reference]
Mid October '20
9 out of 10 people think of Minnewanka shoreline trail as boring but I love it to death & it is one of best places in Rockies to me. Undemanding, wondering through variety of terrain with great views throughout & every corner seems to have something new. I missed usual spring walk this year due to COVID but it is just as nice in the fall. Snow already lying on the ground, nature seems to be preparing for winter. Walked to LM8, had lunch at the beach just below campground, then came back the same way. Couple of pics:
[Yes, it's been snowing already. And major winter blast coming]
[Stewart canyon bridge, there is something mysterious gazing deep into front ranges from here. Some nice scrambles further up (Astley) I intend to explore down the line]
[Shoulder rise ~45min from parking & if you are out of province or out of country & going for a walk, don't stop at Stewart junction, continue at least to here as views will blow you away]
Following two are from LM8 campground, one of nicest Parks Canada campgrounds I have seen. It's right by the beach, there are 10 tent pads, couple of outhouses, metal boxes for food and couple of very nice fire pits with wood benches in aspen forest right by the beach
Everything so beautiful and pristine, I'll be doing this as long as I can walk.
Lovely photos, looks fantastic with the snow cover. We hiked up to Aylmer Pass two weeks ago, beautiful day, didn't meet one hiker, went to the lookout on the return. I see we should have gone down to the lake too.
Thank you. LM8 Beach is very nice, but often windy. Even nicer is beach at LM9 campsite. There is also ranger station, very neat in stand of aspen trees further east. I want for several years now to walk length of Minnewanka to Ghost Lakes, then highline return via Stenton Lake to Cougar Canyon and Canmore, maybe next spring
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