Stewart Canyon is a simple trail perfect for families looking to explore the Lake Minnewanka area without crowding around the boat docks. It winds through the forest leading to an unsuspecting canyon that will take your breath away.
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Route Description for Stewart Canyon
Lake Minnewanka can be extremely busy in the summer months. Many visitors come here for boat tours and scenic viewing. This makes the parking lot busy and often full. A shuttle from town runs regularly with stops unveiling other famed viewpoints along the route. This is a great option to avoid the crowds and the difficult parking. Within the time frame of July 10 to September 15, hikers must carry bear spray and travel in a group of four if they go south after the Stewart Canyon Bridge as per Parks Canada. Continuing North along Stewart Canyon is not subject to the restriction. Cyclists and dogs are not welcome during this restriction.
Once at Lake Minnewanka, choosing to explore Stewart Canyon is a great way to ditch the crowds and explore the quieter side of the lakeshore. This is a shared trail in the early season, so watch for cyclists. You may also see climbers heading into the canyon, and if you are lucky, you’ll spot some rock climbers in action.
The simple trail starts at the day-use area and passes by the main docks, many picnic tables and shelters, a food outlet, and some small buildings. You’ll find yourself at the end of the paved area at a turnaround. This is where trail signs will direct you to the dirt trail to Stewart Canyon.
Enter the forest here and enjoy the solitude as you stroll through the woods on your way to the canyon. A bridge crosses the water over the canyon, where you will find a small trail junction leading to the canyon. The bridge you will cross has now been upgraded. It’s the bridge featured in River of no Return, a 1953 Marilyn Monroe film.
Enjoy the scenic canyon and return the way you came. Keep in mind that a seasonal restriction exists on this trail.
Insider Hints for Stewart Canyon
- Take the ROAM bus from Banff to avoid dealing with stressful parking situations
- Check Parks Canada for any seasonal restrictions.
- Check out the Minnewanka shore before or after your trip
Getting to the Stewart Canyon Trailhead
To get to Stewart Canyon Trailhead, from Banff, head north on Banff Avenue passing under the Trans-Canada Highway until you find yourself on Lake Minnewanka drive. Continue along this scenic route until you find yourself at Lake Minnewanka day-use area. The trail starts beyond the main dock area. Follow the paved road and sidewalk until you reach a dirt path into the woods where you will find appropriate trail signage.
Stewart Canyon Elevation Graph
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Stewart Canyon Reviews
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