First Come or Reserve
Location: Backcountry Campground located 8.1kms north of the Lake Minnewanka parking lot. Banff National Park.
Description: Locate the trailhead along the west shore of Lake Minnewanka, just north of the picnic area. The hike in is considered easy with a total elevation gain of 160ms. You can also ride a mountain bike right to the LM8 campground. 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. Stay on the trail straight ahead of you avoiding two left and right forks. Work your way up through a spruce and lodge pole pine forest that eventually turns back east towards Lake Minnewanka.
After 1km the trail opens up to views of Lake Minnewanka. 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. Bear spray is mandatory here and enforced by Parks Canada. Aylmer Pass and the surrounding area is prime Grizzly Bear habitat. From 1998 to 2010 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.
From the signed Aylmer Pass junction take the right hand trail that heads down towards Lake Minnewanka. The campground contains 12 tent sites. Some are located near the lakeshore however only a few are level. Amenities include two dry outhouses, hanging truss for safe food storage and a cooking area located south of the campsites. A backcountry camping permit is required. Lake Minnewanka has a total of 7 backcountry campsites. Night skies here rank # 4 on the Bortle Scale. See the official web site link below for fees, opening and closing dates.