Revered for its beauty, Lake Minnewanka or Minn-waki (Lake of Spirits), is unlike anything else in Alberta, but in the wintertime – it’s something else!

Located just outside of Banff, this enchanting reservoir has a spectacular view of mountains and is beloved by adventure seekers no matter the time of year.

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In the summer, paddle, take a booze cruise or go scuba diving in the bright blue water and in the winter go sightseeing, wander and feel the wind through your hair as you glide along its sheet of ice.

While it’s important to remember that there will always be risks to skating ‘wild ice,’ locals and tourists often visit the area for a day of frosty fun.

According to Parks Canada, it’s likely safe to visit and even play hockey as long as its thickness exceeds 20 cm – but there are a few things worth noting!

“The west end of the lake, near the Lake Minnewanka Road, is the last part of the lake to freeze each winter,” they explain.

“As this is an artificial reservoir, water level varies throughout the winter and ice can be cracked near the shoreline. Winds can be strong on this 30 km long lake. Skaters can be pushed out by the winds and may not be able to skate back. Bring boots to walk back or stay close to your starting point.”

Another thing that we think is important to mention? Lake Minnewanka is no ordinary lagoon!

Well below the surface, lies an entire ghost town incredibly preserved by the cold water.

While you can’t see it, the thrill of knowing there’s an old hotel, sidewalk, cellars and several housing foundations below is a unique to Alberta experience – one that you can’t pass up this season.

Be safe, enjoy and happy skating!

Lake Minnewanka, Alberta

Where: Improvement District No. 9, AB