Banff Swimming Holes

Our Favorite Swimming Holes Just Outside Banff, Canda, in the Canadian Rockies

Banff, Alberta, and Banff National Park one of the best destinations in the Canadian Rockies for outdoor recreation, and that includes water sports – but not just fishing, boating, whitewater rafting and kayaking; there are plenty places to swim as well.

Of course your hotel or resort may have its own pool. But what about swimming in the great outdoors? While it is true that some of the lakes and rivers around Banff are glacier fed, which makes them plenty chilly even in the summer months, there are a few favorite local swimming holes around Banff – and the various hot springs, of course.

Cascade Ponds

This is one of our favorite spots, as it is with many locals. It’s a perfect spot to get together with friends and family when the weather is warm for a dip, a cookout, a picnic, and just hanging out. The water is shallow, and there are plenty of grassy areas – it’s perfect for families with young children.

The Cascade Ponds swimming area includes:

  • public washrooms
  • covered picnic shelter with wood stove
  • outdoor picnic tables with fire pits
  • walking trails
  • beach area

To get to the Cascade Ponds area, take the Minnewanka loop road from the interchange on the Trans-Canada Highway a few kilometers northeast of Banff. This narrow, winding road takes you to the following popular places, including Cascade Ponds day use area.

Johnson Lake

This lake is larger and deeper than Cascade Ponds, and during the warm summer months, it is popular with picnickers, hikers – there are several trails winding through this area –, sunbathers, fishermen, and swimmers. There is a large sandy beach here, as well as a shallow wading area, which makes it another family favorite.

The Johnson Lake recreation area includes:

  • outhouse facilities
  • outdoor picnic tables
  • a hiking trail around the lake
  • fishing
  • sandy beach area
  • a rope swing located on the opposite side of the lake

To get there, take the Minnewanka loop road as if you were going to Cascade Ponds as explained above. Further on a road branching off the loop runs to Johnson Lake.

A word of warning to the wise: these are not municipal swimming pools, but rather natural lakes. Swimming in them us unsupervised, so please be careful; there are no lifeguards on duty.

Click here for more information on Banff activities, boutique hotels, resorts and other accommodations.


Canadian Rockies Lodges & Inns

Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge
Get great deals on lodging in our newly renovated rooms & cabins surrounded by Jasper scenery.

Johnston Canyon
The Johnston Canyon Resort is the best way to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rockies in beautiful Alberta.

Mount Robson Inn
A Jasper hotel offering family friendly accommodations in the Canadian Rockies with landscapes that will capture your heart.

Mountaineer Lodge
Comfortable lodge located in Lake Louise, nestled in a pine forest with tremendous views of Mount Temple and its summit glacier.


Canadian Rockies Activities

Banff Backpacking & Mountaineering
We are the premier provider of trekking, mountaineering, and rock climbing in the Canadian Rockies.

Banff ATV Tours & Zipling
Experience the beauty of the Canadian Rockies on an ATV Tour. Or have fun Ziplining in Banff, Alberta!

Winter Icewalk Tours
in Jasper, Alberta

Join us on the three-hour Maligne Canyon Icewalk, where you will discover frozen waterfalls & elaborate ice caves!

Whitewater Rafting in Jasper, Alberta
Raft the exciting Sunwapta or the Athabasca River, or try the Fraser River in B.C. Raft Jasper!

Raft the Kicking Horse
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The Kicking Horse River is one of the best
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White Water Rafting in
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Experience whitewater adventure in the Canadian Rockies...

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The best & most beautiful golf courses in the Canadian Rockies...

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