Aylmer Lookout Hike

  Ratings:    Ratings 3 Star
Level: Difficult Time/Dist: 10 to 12 hours / 22K return Elevation Gain: 840m

Trailhead: Located at the Lake Minnewanka parking lot in Banff National Park 4.5kms north east of Banff.

Description: Hikers should expect to share the trail with loads of mountain bikers during the summer months. Follow the trail along the lakeshore until you cross the bridge over the Cascade River. Just after you cross the bridge the trail forks in three directions. Avoid the trail to your far left that leads up the Cascade River to Stewart Canyon and another trail to your far right that runs along the Cascade River towards Lake Minnewanka. Stay on the main trail as it continues on through a spruce and lodge pole pine forest that eventually turns back east towards the Lake. After approximately 1km the trail opens up to views of Lake Minnewanka and the surrounding mountains. In another 4.5kms you'll reach the Aylmer Pass - Aylmer Junction LM8 campground junction. You can't miss the signs here regarding Grizzly Bears and hiking in groups of 4 or more. Take these grizzly bear signs seriously and carry bear spray and maybe a signal horn. Bear spray is mandatory here and enforced by Parks Canada. Aylmer Pass and the surrounding area is prime grizzly bear habitat. Seven bear attacks have occurred in this area. Two were near fatal. We safely viewed a grizzly sow with two cubs on our outing below, see pictures. At the signed Aylmer Pass Junction take the left trail that leads westward through a grassy aspen forest up towards Aylmer Pass. Stay on the trail for another 2.3kms until you reach an intersection that is signed "Aylmer Lookout 1.6kms to your right". Follow the trail until you reach the Lookout.

Once you arrive you will be rewarded with outstanding panoramic views of Lake Minnewanka, Mount Inglismaldie, Mount Girouard and Mount Aylmer. Aylmer Lookout was once a fire lookout and was removed in 1985. The concrete footings and some old wiring still remain. The remains of a forest fire that you see in the Valley to your left was a prescribed burn in 1990.

Near Here: Local campgrounds include Tunnel Mountain, Two Jack Lake, Bow River and Three Sisters Campground. Trailheads to Taylor Lake, Twin Lakes, Obrien Lake, Hoodoos Hike, Rockbound Lake, Boom Lake, Johnston Canyon, are all located near here. You are in bear country.

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Lake Minnewanka  
Bridge Over Cascade River  
  Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka Looking Northeast Lake Minnewanka Looking South
Lake Minnewanka  
Aylmer Junction LM8 campground  
Aylmer Pass Junction Aylmer Pass Junction
Lake Minnewanka Trail Up Aylmer Pass
Lake Minnewanka  
Aylmer Junction LM8 campground and Lake Minnewanka  
Lake Minnewanka Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka  
  Grizzly Sow Near Aylmer Lookout
Grizzly Sow, Two Cubs Near Aylmer Lookout.  
Aylmer Lookout Remnants Lake Minnewanka
Mount Aylmer  
Lake Minnewanka Viewed From Aylmer Lookout  
Aylmer Lookout Aylmer Lookout
Mount Aylmer on right. Aylmer Lookout
Trail To Aylmer Lookout  
Aylmer Junction LM8 campground