Panorama of the Aylmer Lookout hike in Banff National Park, Alberta
Panorama of the Aylmer Lookout hike in Banff National Park, Alberta

Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka hike

Around Banff
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Walking along the lake on the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffTrail in the woods on the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffBeautiful lake views from the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffTrail along the lake on the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffBeautiful walk along the lake on the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffLady sitting near the lake on the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffAylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near Banff is often crossed by deerHiker on the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffViews from the lookout on the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffTrail of the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffLady on a trail of the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffMountains from the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffView from the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffBeautiful views from the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near BanffScenery of the Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike near Banff

Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka hike

Distance: 15.2mi
Elevation: 3,560ft
Time: 7.5-10.5h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.9 Overall Rating
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For one of the most beautiful views near Banff, the hike to Aylmer Lookout is a must-see. It’s especially great for shoulder season, when there is still too much snow up high. The trail includes great views of Lake Minnewanka and the surrounding Fairholme range.

Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka Hike Map

Getting there

Drive to Lake Minnewanka, either from the Trans-Canada turnoff or take Banff Avenue North over the Trans-Canada Highway. Once on Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive, head to the parking lot by the dam.

I’ve done this 32 people have done this
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About

When to do

June through October

Backcountry Campsites

Yes

Toilets

Trailhead

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Aylmer Lookout via Lake Minnewanka

This is an excellent trail, suitable for all types of hikers, as there are options to tailor the distance depending on your fitness level – and the longer you go, the fewer people you’ll encounter. Just make sure to be aware of mountain bikers on the trail.

From the parking lot, go in the direction of the lake and continue to follow the road. There will be a few buildings on your left and the lake below. You will pass above the boat launch for the Minnewanka River cruises. Continue on the road, as it becomes a path, passing several picnic areas.

The path now follows the lake, but first you must cross over Stewart Canyon (1.0mi), before ascending the trail through the forest. Continue on this route, with lovely views out across the lake. Beware of the steep drop off on your right at times.

Continue along the trail, crossing some basic bridges until you approach LM8, a backcountry campground roughly 5.5mi from the parking lot. There are frequently deer sightings here. This is also a great place for lunch, particularly if you walk down to the beach and savor the views. From here you can assess if you have enough energy to climb to Aylmer Lookout, or you could also continue on to LM9 or LM11, two other backcountry campgrounds.

Return back up to the main path and cross it, heading uphill. You now have 2.5mi ascent with 1837ft of elevation gain. The path is typically good and dry surprisingly early in the year. Continue on the trail by heading through a forest across a few switchbacks. Keep looking for Aylmer Lookout, however you’ll find you don’t see it until you’re nearly upon it.

From the lookout, there are exceptional views across to Mt. Inglismaldie, Mt. Girouard as well as down Lake Minnewanka. Beware of ticks, as this is a common place to pick them up. Just over the summit are the foundations of the original fire lookout. On a nice day you can easily spend 45 minutes here enjoying the view.

On the way back down, retrace your steps on the gentle route out. You may even be surprised how easy the day is despite the elevation and length.

Insider Hints

  • Watch out for ticks on this trip. Aylmer Lookout is famous for early season ticks.

  • Consider a boat cruise on Lake Minnewanka, it’s a lovely journey.

Comments

FellWalker 2 years ago

The spectacular view of Lake Minnewanka is totally worth the calories burned during this hike. What an awesome reward.

9.0 Overall Rating
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Shelly Winston 3 years ago

The trail was exceptional! It's not that hard despite the high elevation. Surely there were few steep inclines, and it was a long climb, but it's not that technical.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Jackson D. 3 years ago

It was a spectacular hike. It is long and strenuous, but it goes with amazing views throughout and especially at the end!

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romeoM 3 years ago

My tip for you is to wear appropriate clothes and shoes! I see so many climbing the boulders with pretty city sandals or flip flops. Why take the chance of slipping and falling on a hike?

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Parker L. 3 years ago

Outstanding hike with nice expansive views. The snowy tops were incredible. No photo can give justice to it.

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Frinces L. 3 years ago

Great views. Lake Minnewanka looks great in the background.

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Calel P. 3 years ago

For me ascending was easier than descending. It's really hard to fight gravity, especially when you're exhausted.

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Matt Ducker 3 years ago

This is a really demanding hike. Don't go here if you're not physically fit because it would be troublesome to faint while in the midst of the trail.

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Rocco Ellysia 3 years ago

There was occasional drizzle the entire time while we were hiking. The weather was freaking hard to predict these days.

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Margaret Theroux 3 years ago

This was a calf burner. 24km is no joke, but it's a great view of Minnewanka.

15 Comments Show all

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