Distance: 7.8 km (return)
Time: 1 – 2 hrs
Elevation Gain: 145 m
Elevation Loss: 145 m
Technical Rating: Intermediate
Physical Rating: Easy
Season: June – October
Permit Required: Yes (Park Pass)
This super fun singletrack dips and turns all the way to the water tower located along the escarpment above Highway 1. The trail starts with a short, but steep, set of steps; prepare to hike-a-bike up this section, which is then followed by smooth undulating singletrack. Once you arrive at the water tower, continue along the gravel road leading to Johnson Lake. The views of the lake are spectacular, and if you’re brave enough, jump in for a dip to cool off on a hot summer day.
The Water Tower Trail is an out-and-back, or may be combined with Johnson Lake Road and Lake Minnewanka Road to complete a loop back to your car parked at Cascade Ponds or back to Banff. The trail offers great views of the Rundle Range and Cascade Mountain, with little elevation gain. This is a great introductory intermediate singletrack route for those looking to work on their singletrack riding skills. Don’t be discouraged by the short hike-a-bike, as the trail quickly flattens after this short grunt and becomes a real pleasure to ride.
TRAILHEAD | N51 12.807 W115 31.785
Drive or ride to the Cascade Ponds day area. The trailhead is located at the northeast corner of Cascade Ponds. Ride across the two wooden bridges and follow the pea gravel pathway to your left (northeast) over to the trailhead. The trailhead sign washed away in the June 2013 floods along with a short 30 metre section of the trail which is now covered with bedrock. Cross the bedrock and look for a faint singletrack trail to begin to the right of the coastline. The trail leads into the woods straight ahead. This is Water Tower. The short, yet steep, hike-a-bike climb begins straight away once in the woods. This is confirmation you’re on the Water Tower trail.
N51 12.734 W115.32.105 (Parking)
N51 12.807 W115 31.785 (Trailhead)
bikepirate rating: 3 Skulls