Frequently Asked Questions

The Lake Minnewanka Cruise (formerly Banff Lake Cruise) is a unique sightseeing tour exploring Lake Minnewanka, the largest lake in Banff National Park. Your voyage will be an approximate one hour interpretive cruise with an experienced captain and entertaining guide who will introduce you to the rugged paradise, native folklore and geology of the area.

For up-to-date Lake Minnewanka Cruise daily operating hours please visit the Hours & Rates page.

The Lake Minnewanka Cruise tour is approximately one hour long including the safety briefing and loading.
We recommend arriving 30 minutes prior to your cruise departure.

Our tours depart every hour on the hour, with half hour departures during peak times. See the Hours & Rates for more information

The Lake Minnewanka Cruise is located on Lake Minnewanka Loop — a short 10 minute drive from the town of Banff.

If you prefer not to drive, Bow Valley Roam Transit offers regular service from the townsite to the lake.

Yes. We are accessible to most standard wheelchairs. We recommend you contact the boathouse prior to your arrival.

The allowance of pets are up to the discretion of the boat captain and other cruise passengers, so there is no guarantee. For the safety of your pet and the comfort of our passengers, we recommend keeping your pets on leash.

Although wildlife such as bald eagles, big horn sheep, wolves and grizzly bears frequent the Lake Minnewanka area, they can be difficult to find and we cannot guarantee that you will see them.

Unfortunately, for safety reasons, we are unable to accommodate for a stroller on the boats. They can be left at the boat docks.

We have four different cruise boats:

The Daughter of the Peaks II has a capacity of 60 passengers.
The Alberta Explorer has a capacity of 60 passengers.
The Minnewanka II has a capacity of 40 passengers.
The Sandra Lynne has a capacity of 38 passengers.

Generally, no. Our cruise boats are covered, but there may be a bit of water spray if the windows are open when the boat picks up speed.

Weather can be unpredictable. The lake tends to be cooler than the temperature in the town of Banff so a light jacket is recommended.

The Black Anchor Snack shop is available for a variety of snacks and to-go food and drink items right off the lakeshore. Washroom facilities are available at the parking lot and there are also plentiful picnic and recreational areas around Lake Minnewanka.

No. Parks Canada requires all adult visitors to Canada’s national parks to buy a permit for the duration of their stay to support visitor services and facilities. Day Passes or a yearly Discovery Pass are available to buy in-person at Parks Canada's park gates and information centres in Banff and Jasper. Admission for youth 17 and under is free.

Lake Minnewanka is one of the most popular recreational areas in Banff National Park. There are plenty of great trails for hiking and biking in addition to picnic areas. In addition to these, you can also rent kayaks, fishing boats or visit the Lake Minnewanka Cruise for an interpretive voyage across the lake.

You may swim in Lake Minnewanka at your own risk. We caution visitors against swimming here because Lake Minnewanka's waters are extremely cold, even in the hot summer months.

Yes. Lake Minnewanka is known as a "fisherman's paradise" and ranks in the top ten lake trout fisheries in Canada.

We offer chartered and private fishing trips. Our guides have years of experience and know all the secret spots to help you locate that prized Lake Trout.

You will require a national park fishing license which can be purchased onsite at the boathouse.
A daily fishing permit from Parks Canada costs $9.80 per person, or an annual permit can be purchased for $34.30.

Yes. The Lake Minnewanka Cruise boathouse has a limited number of boats and guides available. Reservations are required to ensure availability.

Yes. We will provide fishing rods, reels, tackle and modern electronic and sonar equipment on all our guided trips. Each person is allowed to keep two fish, and our guides will gut, clean and prep them for you.

To ensure we have a boat available for you, we recommend you call the boathouse in advance at 403.762.3473. Otherwise, the boats are available for rent at the docks on a first-come, first-serve basis.

No permits are necessary if you are operating a boat under 10 horsepower. Credit card deposits will be required upon your rental.

The boats are tin boats, 16 feet long and can seat 4 or 5 people.

Safety briefings and instructions are provided prior to your departure. Staff will also provide you with emergency phone numbers. You will be instructed to stay within a certain area so that your boat can remain visible to the lake staff. Our boats are designed to avoid flipping and lifejackets will be provided as a safety precaution.

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