Day 3 : Lake Minnewanka Mountain Bike ride - Banff National Park

 
 
 
 
  Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
  
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
During the night it had been very windy and the air conditioning vent in the ceiling made a clunking noise throughout the night which meant we didn't have too good a nights sleep, so we got up early. Looking outside we could see it had been raining over night, and there were quite a few black clouds in the sky. We had a very good breakfast at the Hotel, great fresh pastries. We asked if there were any other rooms available but the rooms they had were next to very noisy air vents, so we stayed put in our room. Then we packed up the bikes in the SUV and headed to Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail As we arrived at the car park it started to rain lightly but we decided to head out anyway. We rode from the car park along the edge of the lake, there were loads of people walking around near the car park. We stopped and looked at the information boards which had loads of dire warnings about bears. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail As we crossed Stewart Canyon the crowds of people thinned right out, and luckily for us it stopped raining half way up the first climb. The trail was very good alternating between smooth dirt and loose scree. After a fairly stiff climb the trail went up and down a bit before dropping steeply. The trail went along open scree slopes and in out of the trees, the view of the lake was great. We were puff huffing and puffing due to the altitude on this ride as well. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail The trail had plenty of ups and downs even after the first major climb, but nothing was that severe that you had to push. Just nice singletrack. There were several bridges to cross as well over various streams. At times the trail went away from the lake and went through wide open areas with lots of berry bushes. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
We stopped at the Alymer pass trail head, to take pictures of the sign with a Grizzly bear on it little did we know we would be seeing the real thing soon enough !!, the trail at this point headed along tight single track with loads of berry bushes lining the trail. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Where the trail was crossing a rocky out wash plain we headed down to the beach to look at the view and eat some snacks, as it felt a lot safer here than in the tightly packed trees. We went a bit mad taking pictures here. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail As we carried on along the trail we came to a section where it the trail contoured round a steep slope with the trees packed quite tightly on the trail, as I rode round a blind corner I came to an abrupt halt as I saw two Grizzly bears abut 15 feet away on the trail. They looked at me and I looked at them, I got off my bike and put it between me and them and started talking very loudly at them, and they moved up the slope away from me, they then stopped and started looking back at us , so we both started shouting and waving our arms above our heads and the bears finally disappeared up the slope. I managed to get a shot of one of the bears as it disappeared up the slope (No close ups as we were to worried about being eaten !!). Clare didn't want to carry on, but I persuaded her that we should carry on to the Warden's station , as who knows how many bears we'd also been past a we rode along the trail. From that point on we were pining our bears and hollering whenever the undergrowth became dense or we couldn't see round a corner.

Video trail just after bears (4.5 MB)

Video trail up to Wardens Cabin (3 MB)

Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
We stopped at the beach below the Wardens Cabin, had some snacks and took some pictures. I couldn't persuade Clare to ride any further as the bear encounter had scared her up. We had ridden 10 miles up to this point.
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
     
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail

Video riding back along the trail (24 MB)

Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail On the way back we saw a herd of Big Horn Sheep , but because we had been making a lot of noise didn't get a chance to take close up pictures of them, we also saw geese down by the lake shore. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Here's a picture of the berries that the bears like to eat that line the trail. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail

Video riding back through meadows near Alymer pass

Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Near one of the many bridges along the trail we came across fresh bear scat that hadn't been there as we rode out on the trail. We both started to make more noise as we rode along, just to be on the safe side. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail

Video climbing back up trail (42 MB)

Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
The climb back up to the high point of the ride was up loose scree, I got a breather part way up to wait for Clare.

Video riding down the trail (10 MB)

Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
The trail which had been a slog on the way out was a blast going down, and was almost completely dried out from the rain first thing. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail

Video the final descent (7 MB)

Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail
Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail

We finished the ride which was 20 miles and took 5.5 hours. Asides from the bear encounter the trail had been a great ride, nothing too hairy, with enough features on the trail to keep you on your toes, and NO hike a bike. I got bitten by mosquitoes twice , both times when i was faffing about taking photos.

We then headed in Banff to have a look round the town and bought some fudge and cakes, we were glad we hadn't stayed in Banff as it was a right tourist trap. We went over to the hot springs in Banff but it was a zoo with coach loads of people there. So we decided to just head back to Canmore and find something to eat there. Lake Minnewanka singletrack mountain bike trail

Lake Minnewanaka MTb Ride Profile

Profile of ride (Note: changing atmospheric pressure has caused altitude to vary)

 

Chef Studio Japan

In Canmore we ate at Chef Studio Japan restaurant. I had teriyaki beef (which was very spicy) and Clare had buckwheat noodle miso soup with tempura.  The food was fantastic, and was very good value for money.

After this I bought a great ice cream from the school bus ice cream shop. Then we went back to the hotel.  I had a swim in the hotel pool which was very busy full of kids !!, then we went to bed.

Chef Studio Japan

DAY 4