Boat tours of the sparkling, mountain-ringed waters of Banff National Park’s Lake Minnewanka have been conducted for more than 100 years, but this season the experience has been enhanced by a $1.2 million investment by Brewster, Lake Minnewanka Boat Tours’ new owner. A new 50-foot cruiser, the Alberta Explorer, has been added to the fleet, while existing boats have been refurbished and retrofitted with quiet and clean burning diesel engines. The 1.5-hour narrated cruise of Min-waki—or “Lake of the Spirits” as the Stoney Natives called it—in boats with heated cabins (and windows that open on nice days) covers the history of the lake from First Nation settlements to hydroelectric installations. Wildlife commonly seen includes Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, deer, elk, bald eagles and osprey—occasionally black and grizzly bears are spotted. Private fishing charters are also available aboard new 23-foot boats, and there are hiking and mountain biking trails, picnic areas and a snack bar.
Lake Minnewanka Boat Tours, Lake Minnewanka Loop, 15 min drive from downtown Banff, 403-762-3473.