Prevailing wind patterns along the Kananaskis Valley mean Barrier Lake is usually windy with rolling waves and whitecaps. Layer on the fact that it's usually very busy and Barrier Lake was NOT on our list for our first season of kayaking adventures. But as a Plan B option on a cool and rainy day, it worked well.
When water levels are high enough, the first and second Vermilion Lakes are connected by a channel that parallels Vermilion Lakes Road. Together, the two lakes create about a 10 km paddling loop, with lots of opportunities for bird spotting/photography, surrounded by beautiful mountains.
After a great day paddling Upper Kananaskis Lake, we headed for another big lake for our next kayaking adventure. Lake Minnewanka is the longest lake in Banff National Park, and a popular choice for mountain biking, hiking, boating, scuba diving, backcountry camping, photography and skating!
Highlights from our paddle around Upper Kananaskis Lake include beautiful reflections, an island stop and a chat with another kayaker. We paddled 15 km (9 miles) in four hours, with a boost from whitecapped waves pushing at our stern as we returned to the boat launch.
One of three lakes on the scenic Lake Minnewanka drive, Two Jack Lake is a scenic, easy option for kayaking, canoeing and SUPing. From-the-water views include Mount Rundle, Cascade Mountain and Mount Aylmer. More adventurous paddlers on SUPs or kayaks can pull themselves under the low bridge across the canal and go another 1.5 km south along the canal before turning back.