Cascade Ponds is one of my favorite places to head to Banff when I just want to chill and enjoy my surroundings. Located right off the Trans-Canada, before you reach Two Jack Lake or Lake Minnewanka, you’ll come across Cascade Ponds. They are easily seen from the highway, but you could miss them if you don’t know what you are looking for.
Cascade Ponds are a series of ponds that lie under Cascade Mountain. There are plenty of picnic benches and firepits here to enjoy a picnic at, but it’s also a fantastic place to come year-round and grab some photos of the bridges that make walking between the ponds accessible.
Here’s why you can’t miss Cascade Ponds while visiting Banff.
All About Cascade Ponds in Banff
Cascade Ponds are Easily Accessible Year Round
Cascade Ponds are one of the best areas in Banff that are easily accessible year-round. The ponds are stunning every season. In the summer, you’ll find people soaking in the sun and floating on their paddleboards around Cascade Ponds.
While in the winter, you’ll likely see kids sledding down a small hill, building a snowman, or enjoying the winter magic near Mount Rundle. I love coming here in the fall as well. It’s a great place to get up close to the yellow Aspen trees that grace Banff with their presence.
You Can BBQ at Cascade Ponds
Cascade Ponds are one of the best places in all of Banff (that I have found at least) that you can BBQ at. While you can technically BBQ in many places with the right equipment, what I mean by Cascade Ponds being the best is that they have picnic tables as well as BBQ pits set up for building fires.
I love coming here in the summer with friends, cold drinks, and grilling out under the stars. In the summer it’s important to make sure there isn’t a high chance of wildfires before building a fire. You can do so on the Parks Canada Bulletin page.
Cascade Ponds Are Literally Right Off the Trans-Canada
One of my favorite things about Cascade Ponds is that they are located right off the Trans-Canada Highway before you reach the town of Banff. This means that even if you only have 10 minutes to spare, you can still pull off easily and make a stop at these beautiful ponds.
If you only have a short break while visiting Banff, you can rest assured knowing Cascade Ponds are less than a five-minute drive from town.
They are also right off Lake Minnewanka Loop Road before going to Two Jack Lake, Johnson Lake, or Lake Minnewanka. One of the best things to do is spend a day hitting up all these bodies of water right in a row before heading back to Banff for dinner. I particularly like hopping on the bike, and cycling the Minnewanka loop road in the summer.
You Have a Chance to Spot Wildlife Here
Cascade Ponds are a prime habitat for wildlife and birdlife. Not only is it an excellent spot to relax and enjoy the serene nature, but there is a good chance you won’t be alone as wildlife frequent the area. The most common animals to see are elk, mule deer, fox, but the occasional moose or bear have been known to roam through.
There have even been sightings of wolves in the area, but don’t expect to see the elusive animals. If nothing else, you’re guaranteed to find some birdlife such as eagles, osprey, loons, bufflehead, and a slew of rare and common birds.
Please remember not to feed the wildlife – this includes chipmunks. Cascade Ponds are one of those places I always see someone trying to feed wildlife, or they leave behind food and trash carelessly, only for animals to snack on later. This can lead to bad human/wildlife encounters which is not only harmful to humans but can lead to the death of wild animals.
There are bear bins at Cascade Ponds and it’s important to throw your trash and food away in them and use them properly.
Cascade Ponds are Incredibly Photogenic
Almost everywhere is photogenic in Banff, and Cascade Ponds is no different. There are plenty of photo points around Cascade Ponds, but shooting the bridges back towards Mount Rundle is my favorite. The best time to photograph Cascade Ponds is at sunrise.
Great for “Light Adventures”
For those after some easy and light adventures, Cascade Ponds are a fantastic place to head in Banff. What do I mean by that? I mean, you can let the kids play around here without worrying they are going to fall off a cliff.
The water is shallow and warm (for Banff standards), and you can paddle around the ponds without worrying you’re going to fall into the water and die. Light adventures!
Hopefully, this Cascade Ponds guide was helpful for you!
If you have any other questions leave a comment or see our Canadian Rockies travel guide for more articles about photography spots, lakes, hikes, and everything else.
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