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.