Upper Bankhead and Cascade Valley

Upper Bankhead

The conditions at Upper Bankhead and Cascade Valley are wonderful. At the end of the day, Pat and I were able to go down the big hill with no fear and no snowplowing, so you know it’s good. 

The temperature at 1:20 pm at the Lake Minnewanka parking lot was -7°C and I would guess the snow was about the same. It was a blue wax day. My VR40(-4/-12) worked well to get me up the big hill. It was overcast when we started out, but blue skies appeared as we were making our way back. 

It’s always a pleasure to meet Helen Read on the trail

Many of our popular ski trails start with a strenuous climb and Cascade Valley is one of them. If you make it over the hill, you are rewarded with a beautiful trail consisting of gentle, rolling terrain and numerous interesting features. 

If you are a novice skier and want to avoid the big hill, the Upper Bankhead trail would be a good trail for you. It is wide, is double trackset with a skating lane, and has small, gradual  hills and spectacular scenery. At the end, it makes a loop around the Upper Bankhead parking lot.

Winter wonderland on Cascade Valley

One of the most interesting features of Cascade Valley is the little house on the banks of the Cascade River at 13.4K which I wrote about in a previous blog post… The little house in Cascade Valley. It’s a fascinating story about the Carleton family who lived in the house once upon a time. It’s also the site of the warden’s cabin which offers a nice lunch spot in the sun. 

It’s 6K to the Cascade river bridge

Pat and I didn’t make it that far today, but you can see a picture of the warden’s cabin in Chuck’s photos. Perhaps even more interesting in Chuck’s photos are the two dudes who were camping. 

One thing which was missing from the trail was ….rocks! Early season always has a few exposed rocks on this trail, but not today. Not even at 6.8K which is the hillside where the new re-routed trail is always covered with rocks. 

The sun made an appearance on the Lake Minnewanka road

The Cascade River bridge was a busy meeting place. It’s where we ran into Chuck who was telling stories to a group of enthralled women. Earlier, we had the pleasure of meeting Helen Read as she was returning to the trailhead. 

Cascade Valley is 14.5K one-way. 

The Upper Bankhead trail is 4.6K return from the Lake Minnewanka parking lot.  

Skiers were coming down the big hill as we were starting the climb

If there was anything to complain about, the tracks on the Lake Minnewanka paved road were becoming a little washed out in places. As Chuck mentioned in his trip report, poles would also occasionally hit pavement. This portion of the trail is only 950 metres long, so it’s not a big issue. 

The Sandy McNabb trails were groomed today. The trail report doesn’t specify if they were trackset, but I’m asuming they were. 

The Kicking Horse trail in Yoho National Park was tracket yesterday(Sunday) to the Otterhead turnaround. 

Ribbon Creek trail report: Kananaskis Village and Ribbon ski trails roller packed today. 10 to 15 cm base on Village trails and 5 to 10 cm base on Ribbon Creek trail. Numerous thin spots exist. Ski with care.


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  1. Hey Chuck,

    It was a pleasure meeting you on the trail Sunday afternoon. I posted part one of Evan and I’s little snowshoe adventure on my YouTube channel (Martyupnorth) in case folks are interested in seeing what it’s like to stay overnight in a tent when it’s -30C outside.

    • Hey Marty,
      Thanks for posting this. Many people have been wondering about the rest of your trip! I don’t know if you realize that we usually report under the “Trip Reports” tab, and in case you didn’t see my original post with photos of you guys, here is a direct link:
      That dinner Evan cooked up for you looked amazing… maybe made the whole freezing trip worthwhile!

  2. Based on our experience the other day, seems that “groomed” on the live grooming page means track set at sandy mcnabb, at least on the south side of the road anyway. Maybe the other groomers in k-country can lend them a track set “column” for the live grooming page.

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