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    Cascade Valley

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    22.6 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    500 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Overall Rating
    This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
    Physical Difficulty
    This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
    Advanced (Diamond)
    Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
    Technical Difficulty
    This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Read Reviews
    Directions to Trailhead
    Panorama of Cascade Valley XC ski trail in Banff National Park, Alberta

    This sunny, wide trail through the forest is the gateway to Banff’s backcountry. Ski as far as the Cascade Bridge (7.2 km one-way) for an enjoyable tour, or continue to Stoney Bridge near doubling your trip distance (15.4 km). With some wonderful views and a tranquil setting, this is a great day out cross-country skiing.

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    Route Description for Cascade Valley

    The cross-country ski in the Cascade Valley is a wonderful day out in Banff National Park. The farther you go the fewer skiers you’ll find. Many skiers come to only ski part of the route, however this is a great route for experienced skiers looking for a long trail in nature.

    Unfortunately, the Cascade Valley isn’t a great cross-country ski for beginners, as you almost immediately ascend 100 m on a steep path, and descending it can be difficult for novice skiers.

    From the Lake Minnewanka Day Use Area parking lot, turn right and walk down to the barrier. From here you can ski a short distance down Lake Minnewanka Drive until you see signs for route 6 and the Cascade Valley, where the trail heads off to the right.

    The trail descends a bit more before you embark on a steep uphill, which gains over 100 m in elevation very quickly. This part of the trail is usually fairly busy.

    Once you’ve completed this initial ascent, you can enjoy a pleasant XC-ski along the sunny Cascade Fire Road. This is a broad road you are following. If it has been recently track-set, you can expect a quick and exciting cross-country ski through the historic Cascade Valley.

    Take in views as you gain more elevation before descending to the Cascade River Bridge, which is at 7.2 km. The views as you cross over the bridge are one of the highlights of this cross-country ski trip.

    For many, the Cascade River Bridge is the turn-around point on this ski. If you have the energy, we urge you to continue an additional 8.2 km to the Stoney Bridge, as the views on this next stage of the ski are wonderful, however this makes for a lengthy and more difficult day.

    This moderate xc-ski trail is a great way to spend the day close to Banff Townsite while taking in some superb viewpoints along the way.

    Insider Hints for Cascade Valley

    • Combine this cross-country ski with exploring Lake Minnewanka. You can walk along the edge of Lake Minnewanka towards Stewart Canyon, a fine, short walk with exceptional Rockies views. You can snowshoe or walk with cleats 1.5 km along the Minnewanka Lakeshore to Stewart Canyon for a multi-sport adventure.
    • This XC-ski doesn’t seem to get track set as often as other cross-country ski trails in Banff National Park, so check the trail report to make sure there has been a recent track set.

    Getting to the Cascade Valley Trailhead

    From Banff, head out of town on Banff Avenue, passing the blocks of hotels. Cross over the TransCanada Highway and follow the road until the winter barrier, where you go right onto Lake Minnewanka Scenic Drive. This will take you to the Lake Minnewanka Day Use Area parking lot.

    Route Information

    • When to do

      Mid-November to April

    • Backcountry Campsites


    • Toilets

      Lake Minnewanka

    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Avalanche Risk


    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    • Type of XC Route

      Double Track-set

    Cascade Valley Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather

    Cascade Valley Reviews

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