THE BEST LAKES IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES

Peyto Lake Canada

How could I not dedicate a post to the most beautiful thing about the Canadian Rockies?! During our trip we visited many of the world famous Canadian lakes, and plenty of others along the way too! Here are my favourites…

*Our trip was in June so the below tips apply to that time of year, I can’t speak for the winter months when they may not be accessible!*

THE CLASSICS

LAKE MORAINE

‘That lake’. The one you’ve seen in all the photos.

Lake Moraine just after sunrise in June

Timing: we arrived at 05:45am for sunrise, and thank goodness we did because when we left at about 07:30am they were already shutting off the access road due to the car park filling up! So GET THERE EARLY!!!

Access: the route to the viewpoint took about 10 minutes from the car park. It is not difficult but has an elevation gain so bring a drink with you/stop if you need to..

Couple looking out over Moraine Lake Moraine Lake at sunrise June

Moraine Lake provided us with one of the best views we have ever seen. It is just SO beautiful.

The sunrise over the mountains was spectacular. When the light catches the Valley of the Ten Peaks it really is magical.

Sunrise over valley of the ten peaks

I particularly enjoyed shooting the famous colourful canoes.

Colourful canoes Moraine Lake Canoes on Moraine Lake Canada

We just didn’t want to leave, but there were more lakes to see!…

LAKE LOUISE

Arguably the most famous lake in Canada, and backdrop to the iconic Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel (we stopped for a drink there one afternoon too). You can walk along the right hand side of the lake to the opposite end for a lovely view of the hotel (photo below).

The Lake Louise Teahouse Trail hike is very popular – more information here –  but we didn’t manage to do it due to weather/time constraints.

Timing: both of our visits to Lake Louise were early evening and we didn’t have a problem parking. The car park here is a lot bigger than at Moraine but it does also get full at times so bear this in mind when planning your visit.

Access: very easy, a 2 minute walk from the car park, no hiking at all.

Lake Louise Canada Lake Louise Canada in June View of Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel

HERBERT, BOW AND PEYTO LAKES

These three lakes are all situated close to each other just off the Icefields Parkway.

HERBERT LAKE

If travelling North from Lake Louise like we did, you will first come across Herbert Lake.

We were treated to a gorgeous reflection on our visit.

Tip: The best reflections are found early in the morning whilst the water is at its stillest.

Herbert lake reflections Canada

BOW LAKE

You literally cannot miss Bow Lake! It is directly next to the road, and incredibly stunning.

Park up and enjoy:

Bow Lake Canada Reflections in Bow Lake Canada

PEYTO LAKE

‘The ridiculously blue one’. You have to see it to believe it!

These photos are not edited whatsoever; it really is that blue, and it really is unbelievable! It is a difficult toss up between Peyto and Moraine as to which was my favourite!

Couple looking over Peyto Lake

Timing: We visited twice during the trip, once early morning and once early afternoon, the weather was quite different each time. I’ll include photos of both so you can see the difference the clouds make! It was much busier when we visited in the afternoon but still not ridiculous. There is plenty of parking.

Access: approximately 15-20 minute hike from the car park. It is a clear paved path however quite steep in places and I did struggle with my asthma due to the incline and altitude.

Tip: Don’t waste your time looking out for a sign saying Peyto Lake, follow directions to the ‘Bow Summit’

Peyto Lake in the clouds Peyto Lake Wolf Head Views of the mountains from Peyto Lake

Did you notice that the top of the lake looks like the shape of a wolf’s head?

HECTOR LAKE

So, this was definitely a talking point of our trip! My lovely friend Maisy completed a Rocky Roadtrip last year and insisted we go to Hector Lake. Her photos looked insane and she also told us that there is FREE canoeing there (canoe rental on Lake Louise is extortionate).

Could we find it?! Not at all! We double-backed on ourselves a few times whilst studying Google Maps and didn’t manage to find where to park for ages until we finally saw a little sign in a layby pointing to the hiking route. Yay!

1 mile into the route we realised we had to cross the Bow River, and due to recent heavy rain we were not at all equipped to cross so we had to turn back!! We were gutted.

Crossing the Bow River to Hector Lake hike

Definitely give it a go yourselves but your ability to do so will be determined by the recent weather/time of year you visit! We visited at the end of June and it was too wet, my friends went in August and they managed to cross but still got pretty soaked in the process! It is all part of the adventure, but please only cross if it is safe!

Hector Lake is situated just North of Herbert Lake, and south of Bow Lake.

Bow River Crossing to get to Herbert Lake

EMERALD LAKE

Emerald Lake, situated in Yoho National Park was actually the first ‘famous’ lake we saw on our trip. Unfortunately we were not blessed with good weather but the colour was still impressive even in the rain! We would have loved to have gone back but time didn’t allow for it!

Access: There is a car park next to the lake but it was full when we visited mid-afternoon. We parked at the side of the road a little further away. There is nice hike you can do alongside the lake which we did a little of before turning back.

Canoe at Emerald Lake Yoho National Park
Emerald Lake Teahouse Canada in the rain
Emerald Lake in the rain

IF YOU STILL WANT MORE…

Our roadtrip didn’t take us quite as North as Jasper but I know that there are more gorgeous lakes up there too – check out Maligne Lake and Medicine Lake if you’re in that area!

You may want to read my other posts from my Canadian road trip:

A full itinerary from our entire trip is coming to the blog very soon!

And our YouTube video:

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1 Comment

  1. Udo Lefherz
    April 17, 2019 / 4:33 pm

    Dear Amy-Beth,
    very nice pictures about your road-trip against canadian lakes in the rockies. Maybe there is one little correction in your statement of opinion about the peyto lake: The Peyto Lake outlet from the viewing desk looks like a shape of a fox’s head! Specially the shape of the “ear´s” are more like than a fox, not like a wolf. So, maybe you would like to accept my little correction-trial? :-)))! And, if you stay down at the lakeoutlet you can´t find and see anything else there like a animal face. Peyto Lake from his outlet looks like a small flexible tube…

    Kindest regards

    Udo Lefherz

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