Stewart Canyon is a family-friendly hike in Banff National Park. Up until recently I had avoided this hike due to the overwhelming crowds, but recently I found myself in Banff with a couple of hours to spare so I thought I'd give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised with the beauty offered by this hike and in the middle of October I basically had the entire place to myself! The hike is 1.5km one-way, but that distance can be easily extended. The elevation gain is negligible, which makes it perfect for an easy outing. The trailhead for this hike is the Lake Minnewanka Day-Use Area.
|Lake Minnewanka definitely isn't hard on the eyes!|
|Before reaching the trailhead you'll pass a set of Parks Canada's Red Chairs on Minnewanka's shoreline. You can read all about the Red Chair Program right here.|
|The trailhead for Stewart Canyon|
The trail follows the Lake Minnewanka shoreline and ends at a bridge that spans the steep walls of Stewart Canyon. Beneath the bridge the Cascade River flows into Lake Minnewanka. Officially this marks the end of the Stewart Canyon Trail, but is also the beginning of the Minnewanka Shoreline Trail, which continues for another 15km until reaching the backcountry warden's cabin.
|A typical section of the trail|
|Another section of the trail with a great view of Mount Inglismaldie|
|The bridge that spans Stewart Canyon|
|Looking up Stewart Canyon|
|The Cascade River flowing into Lake Minnewanka|
|The boulder field with the Cascade River down below|
|The Cascade River flowing beneath Mount Astley|
If you're like me and want to avoid the crowds give this hike a try in shoulder season or maybe even in the winter for a completely difference perspective on things.