Confused about the location of Cascade Fire road

Skiers at the start of the trail. This is actually the paved Lake Minnewanka road which you follow for 700 metres. Notice the grooming equipment in the background.

(Click on photos for a larger image)

I’m posting this email from Meg because it’s the second occasion where we’ve had someone uncertain about the location of Cascade Fire road. To make things even more confusing, the name of this trail has officially changed to Cascade Valley.

I don’t think Meg even made it to the Lake Minnewanka parking lot. That would be the first step. From there, the easiest way to find Cascade valley trail would be to follow the machine-made tracksetting. It starts at the barrier and continues on the wide paved road which takes you downhill for 700 metres. You then turn right into a meadow, which goes a further 200 metres. At that point you’ll turn right again, and you’ll be on Cascade valley trail.

This is NOT the start of Cascade fire road. You need to drive a further 9K to the Lake Minnewanka parking lot.

Regarding the three Pipestone trails, Hector, Drummond, and Merlin, have you checked this link which is under Resources – Maps on my menu? It shows them all on a map, and gives a description of each: Lake Louise winter trails

Hello Bob,

I’m a new classic XC skier and have found your blog tremendously helpful. I enjoy getting out so much so that I’ve organized two ski nights with friends to get others out and enjoying it! Thank you for all the great information.
I’m wondering if you can help me –  I can’t get my head around what trail is the Cascade Fireroad – people seem to use that name to refer to a number of trails in the Cascade area…. I planned to meet with friends there, thinking that I was going to the Lake Minnewanka main parking lot near the fancy new washroom building and going to set off down the closed road tracks.  However, as I drove there, I passed my friends waiting at the over flow parking lot just after you turn onto the Minnewanka loop at the road closure – they said that was the Cascade Fireroad trail and we ended up going through the woods until we came into the lower Bankhead site, followed the trail around, and did what can only be called xc ski 4X4ing to get back up to the main road and then we skied back almost all the way to the road closure; cutting back down to the little parking lot – if that’s not the Fireroad, do you know what it’s called?
Ive also heard C Cirque (sp?) used to describe the route that leaves from the Lake Minnewanka main parking lot area — I’m just not finding the maps and route descriptions helpful at the Parks Canada site.
Oh – and on that topic – are Hector, Drummond, and Merlin all part of the Pipestone trail? I clicked on the Parks “maps” link but it doesn’t actually take me to a map that I can zoom in and read properly 🙁
Many kind thanks,
Meg (newbie xc skier)


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  1. A bunch of us want to ski the Cascade Fire Road (Cascade Valley) come Thursday and wonder what the conditions are like.

    Thank you Anne Pal….

  2. THANK YOU!!! So great – and so helpful 🙂 YAY! We’re off to the Cascade Valley trail 😉 then this week – can’ t wait. Still not sure the little trail we did through lower bankhead – it was beautiful and fun – the tracks were skier-set but was a lovely little (flatter) loop – in case anyone is interested in exploring the Ghost Town of lower Bankhead by skis.

    Happy skiing everyone! Thanks again Bob

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