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2013 Update: For three weeks through early summer after record
rainfall, the Cascade River poured through Cascade Ponds, making the loop
trail detailed below impassable until major repairs are undertaken.
Compare the two photos on this page for a before and after perspective.
1.2 km (0.7 mi) roundtrip
Cascade Mountain and its namesake waterfall is your constant companion on this short stroll around linked ponds.
Cascade Ponds was created when gravel pits were transformed to a day use area, complete with wooden bridges, grassy banks, picnic tables, firepits, and cooking shelters. It’s a popular spot for dog walkers and picnicking, while the brave swim in the cold water. The entire area is encircled by a walking trail, with a shortcut over two bridges dividing the lake into two “ponds.” Heading off in a counter-clockwise direction from the parking lot, the pathway follows the ponds to their outlet, where water flows over a concrete wall into a shallow pool. Across the barrier and looping around the lake’s deepest point, Cascade Mountain, with its distinctive waterfall, rises majestically across the water. From this point, it’s easy to see why the natives knew the mountain as minihapa, which translates to “mountain where the water falls.” Continuing around the ponds, distinctive Mt. Alymer can be seen to the north.
Options: The cascade from which the ponds take their name can be reached along the Cascade Falls Trail. This short walk begins across Lake Minnewanka Rd. from the Cascade Ponds access road. After skirting the end of an airfield, this rocky trail climbs through a forest of aspen poplar. Around 600 metres (0.4 miles) from the road, it emerges beside a creek bed. Above this point, the lower of two ledges is wide and offers valley views. The panorama is better from above, where the sweeping panorama includes Cascade Ponds, Mount Rundle, and mountain peaks beyond Canmore. In winter, this is one of the park’s most popular ice-climbing spots.
Content from 50 Walks and Hikes in Banff National Park
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