Cascade Ponds reside in parkland beneath the formidable presence of Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. The ponds are the final resting place for water leaving Lake Minnewanka en route through the mining ghost town of Anthracite to merge with the mighty Bow River. The view to the south is dominated by Mount Rundle connecting the distance between Canmore and the Town of Banff.
A snowshoe around Cascade Ponds can follow the path system or be as free form as the mood dictates. There are ancillary trailheads to the Water Tower or 5.6 KM (3.5 miles), one-way, to Johnson Lake which provide the option to extend the length and effort of the day substantially. A different trailhead provides a 2.5 KM (1.6 mile) trail link to Lower Bankhead, which is inaccessible by road during the winter months. Immediately to the west, Cascade Mountain consumes the field of vision and to the north, majestic mountains, in the distance above Lake Minnewanka, peek above the tree line. Frozen channels of ice connect Cascade Ponds, and picturesque bridges, important in summer, are academic today but still add significant beauty to surrounding landscapes.
Ice waterfalls, popular with ice climbers from around the world, are prominent on Cascade Mountain and Mount Rundle. The benefit they have enjoyed from the early season freeze-thaw cycles is being compromised by the current unseasonably mild temperatures but there is still plenty of winter remaining and the potential remains for the ice to fatten again. Forever optimistic.
Cascade Ponds is an excellent place for an unstructured snowshoe combined with a picnic lunch. It is a peaceful place to enjoy spectacular mountain scenery on a clear-sky, sunny day moderated by cool, fresh mountain air. It doesn’t get much better than this.