My favourite colour is any shade of blue-green: aqua, turquoise, teal – you name it. So I am in totally and completely love with our beautiful lakes.
Take a look. I think you’ll fall in love, too.
Lake Louise is probably the most famous lake in Banff National Park, and for good reason. It’s absolutely beautiful, easily accessible, and there is a lot to do.
On one end is the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel, built over 100 years ago by the Canadian Pacific Railway to encourage wealthy travelers to visit the West. I love the shops here because there is always something a bit different. And whether you just grab a bite at the Chateau Deli or opt for one of the five restaurants on site, the food is always good.
On the other end is the Plain of the Six Glaciers and, yes, there are still six of them. It is a moderate 13.8 km (8.6 mile) hike from the hotel to the Tea Hut. If you don’t feel quite up to that, the beginning of the hike along the lake is just over 3km (about 2 miles) and makes for a nice walk. You can take your dog, but leashes are required. The hike is best done June to mid-September.
Like most lakes in the Canadian Rockies, it is too cold to swim. But you can rent canoes.
In the winter, they lay cross-country ski tracks. Or you can walk across the frozen water to the end of the lake and watch the ice climbers. And they clear ice for family ice skating. And don’t miss the Ice Festival in January, complete with an ice castle and ice sculpting competition.
From Lake Louise, you can visit the other Tea Hut at Lake Agnes. It’s a moderate 7 km (4.5 mile) hike from the hotel to this pretty little lake. Or, you can continue on another 5 km (3 miles) to the Plain of the Six Glaciers and that Tea Hut, returning along the lake shore trail back to the Chateau. All in, it’s just under 20 km (12 miles) and you get a fabulous view of Lake Louise from high up.
Such an extraordinary light turquoise! It is almost unreal. The short and easy 5.4 km (3.4 mile) round-trip hike to the overlook is well worth your time.
Peyto Lake is right off Highway 93, 45 km (28 miles) from Lake Louise. If you’re driving the Icefield Parkway, this is a must-see.
Whether it’s the calm green of the water or that the lodge and lakeside cabins are just so cozy-looking, Emerald Lake just oozes calm. The easy one-hour walk around the lake is as easy as it is beautiful, or you can canoe across the calm waters. And you can truly unplug, because wifi is only available in the lodge and not the cabins. If you want to unwind, Emerald Lake is for you.
This stunning lake is the ultimate in seclusion because access is limited. You can camp here, but reservations are required and they go quickly, as do day-use bus passes (vehicles are not allowed on the road in). One option is to book luxurious accommodations at the Lake O’Hara Lodge – a true first-class experience. However you manage to get here, it will be worthwhile.
A perfect day hike with big rewards. If you can manage a moderate hike with some steep sections, take the interpretive trail to experience a bit of history, a lively waterfall, and a stunning view of the town of Canmore. If that seems a bit much, the easier route still takes you to possibly the clearest and prettiest little lake anywhere. Closed for 2019 season to do work on the parking lot
These glassy mountain lakes on our southern border are a lovely place to get away from it all. Camp lakeside, stay in the small and friendly townsite, or splurge a bit on the nearby Prince of Wales hotel. Take a cruise to the Waterton-Glacier Peace Park, a joint venture of Rotary International clubs on both sides of the border – part of Waterton Lakes is in adjacent Glacier National Park, Montana. If you want to hike the lakeshore trail back to town (it’s a bit of a challenge in places) be sure to bring your passport to show the US Border Patrol.
And the bonus is all the wildlife walking around town. No, really. 🙂
Instagram loves this lake! There are over 160,000 photos carrying the hashtag #morainelake. And it’s easy to see why!
And it is every bit as beautiful as it looks in photographs, with jewel-tone waters and those dramatic mountains in the background. It’s nearly impossible to take a bad photo because it’s gorgeous no matter how you look at it.
Moraine Lake is near Lake Louise, a simple turn off Lake Louise Drive shortly before you reach the Chateau. Hike, canoe, grab at bite at the lodge. Or just sit and stare. Lots of people do.
Fall is a great time to visit because it is less crowded and there are beautiful hikes to see the larch trees, also known as tamaracks, whose needles turn a bright yellow in the fall.