Best Lakes in Alberta to Visit this Summer
Alberta is a land of contrasts, with lofty mountains giving way to lush prairies and primeval forests. However, the province’s vibrant lakes are one of its most beautiful attributes. Here is our guide to the Best Lakes in Alberta to Visit this Summer.
In Alberta, particularly in the far north, many of the lakes have a distinct appearance. The mountain lakes, many of them are a brilliant turquoise hue and set against a stunning backdrop of snowcapped mountains, have an otherworldly appearance. The water in these glacier-fed mountain lakes is chilly. Aside from sightseeing possibilities, mountain lakes are available for activities like boating, kayaking, and even stand-up paddleboarding.
If you’re visiting the boreal forest or the wide-open prairies, you’ll discover beaches and warm water for swimming on lakes in either region. In the summer, families come to these shores on the prairies to engage in various activities. Most of the lakes listed here are fairly accessible, and many of the areas to stay are nearby and range from secluded campsites to five-star luxury resorts. Discover some of the province’s most stunning landscapes with our list of the finest lakes in Alberta. Some businesses may be closed temporarily as a result of recent global health and safety concerns.
Lake Louise, located in Banff National Park, is Alberta’s most notable body of water. Since 1890, the water has been a destination for camera-wielding tourists, who have flocked to the valley where it lies.
The lake is two kilometers long and 70 meters deep, which is rather unexpected. The color of the lake changes throughout the summer, from a light blue in June to an amazing turquoise by late August. The lake also changes color throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.
From the Chateau Lake Louise area, an easy walking route, appropriately called the Shoreline trail, departs and goes along the lake’s right side. Several beautiful hiking routes around Lake Louise provide excellent chances to discover the region’s natural beauty. The Lake Agnes Tea House trek is one of the most popular excursions, which starts right from the Shoreline route.
There are canoes for rent at the boat-house on the left side of the lake if you want to go out onto the water. Alternatively, you may bring your own boat or equipment. The distance of the lake from the parking lot is short and uncomplicated.
Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful and romantic locations in all of Canada. Spend a night at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which is situated right on the edge of the lake. Rooms offer views of Lake Victoria towards Victoria Glacier, which is spectacular. If you’re only here for a day, consider stopping for a meal.
The equally gorgeous Moraine Lake is only a short drive from Lake Louise. Although Lake Louise is the main attraction, there’s a discussion about which one is more beautiful.
The smaller of the two, Montagne Lake, has sheer rock falls thundering straight into the lake and was once featured on the Canadian 20 dollar note. There are several hikes of various lengths and degrees of difficulty that depart from the parking lot. The Rockpile path, for example, is one of the most accessible. A short trek leads to the top of a long-extinct rock slide that blocks the main outlet of the lake. The best view of the lake is from here.
The Moraine Lake Lodge is one of the most beautiful lodges in Banff National Park, situated just back from the shoreline. The soaring floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to view the stunning scenery while being protected from the weather.
Bow Lake is the first big lake you’ll see when heading north on the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, and you’ll undoubtedly stop to gaze at this brilliant show. Some brave individuals even claim that swimming in the icy waters here is enjoyable.
The Bow Glacier, in the distance, maybe seen from this turnout. To your left is the Crowfoot Glacier, which perches on the slopes of the mountain of the same name. The Num-Ti-Jah Lodge is a stone and wood structure with a bright red roof off to your right. The service here is basic, but the setting cannot be matched.
The Lakeside Chalet is located at the top of Bow Glacier Falls. This self-guided walking tour starts from the lodge and explores the lakeshore before returning via some magnificent vistas to the falls’ base—one of Banff National Park’s finest day hikes.
If you thought Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Bow Lake were a beautiful turquoise blue, you’d be completely taken aback by Peyto Lake. The lake is a turquoise treasure in the midst of dark green foliage when seen from a high location. Another significant peak rises up from the valley floor, north of the lake, in the distant background.
The highway does not provide a view of the lake; however, a prominent lookout point provides the greatest perspective. This is one of the Icefields Parkway’s tourist stops, which are well signposted. A trekking path begins here as well. There are no services, hotels, or other types of accommodation available on the lake itself, although camping is permitted nearby.
Waterfowl Lakes, which includes the Waterfowl Lakes campground, is about 20 minutes farther north on the Icefields Parkway. There are several reasons to explore this lovely location, which is not only breathtaking but also home to the world’s most massive artificial waterfalls. It’s a lovely location for photos, boating, or simply viewing and appreciating from the beach.
The Waterton Lake region in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park is located in the southern part of the province. Because of its unusual topography, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one-of-a-kind.
The beautiful setting of the historic Prince of Wales Hotel at the foot of the lake has been forever etched in photographs. Waterton Lake extends deep into the mountains, with steep slopes on both sides.
Scenic boat excursions that explore the region’s history and geology are one of the most popular activities to do in Waterton. Because of the constant winds, this part of California has long been popular with windsurfers, kiteboarders, and sailors.
Maligne Lake is a 45-minute drive from the beautiful hamlet of Jasper, located in the Rocky Mountains. Although the lake’s shoreline is attractive, taking a boat tour that stops at Spirit Island is the best method to see it. This is one of Jasper National Park’s most popular viewpoints.
At the north end of this 22-km-long lake, boat trips start, but the most beautiful section is at the southern end. In the south, mountains surround the lake, and the water becomes turquoise. Spirit Island is located 15 kilometers from the northern tip of the lake.
A tour is usually 1.5 to 2 hours in length and includes the area’s history, geology, and other information. The most famous attraction in Jasper National Park can be seen during a six-hour tour that combines the best sites into one journey. If you’re an experienced canoeist who wants to try out some canoeing camping, three lovely campgrounds are located along the shoreline at varying distances from the north launching site.
Two Jack Lake
Two Jack Lake is a lovely aquatic playground located just outside of Banff townsite. The lake is nestled in a beautiful valley with enormous pine trees descending to the water’s edge. Those who are bold enough to swim will be disappointed by the temperature of the water.
The placid and clear lake is great for stand-up paddling, canoeing, and kayaking. If you were able to get a campsite, the lake is literally at your doorstep. This is one of the finest campsites in Banff National Park, owing to its location near Banff.
If you are looking for romantic hideaway, a home base to explore the mountains from, or something in between, Banff is only a short drive away. You’ll discover everything from hostels to five-star luxury resorts there.
Lake Minnewanka, which is about 10 kilometers from the resort, is a beautiful sight. This glacier-fed lake is framed on three sides by towering mountains and is a stunning spectacle. The lake is 21 kilometers long, 142 meters deep, and frigid. A boat tour is another excellent approach to get the most out of a trip to Togiak Lake. These depart from the main dock next to the parking lot and journey up the lake towards Alymer Pass.
Renting a boat with a little engine, or even just a canoe or kayak, is an alternative. If you have your own boat, take it out and plan your own route. A lovely location to spend part of your afternoon is beneath the magnificent pine trees in the large picnic area.
For those seeking a greater workout, the parking lot is located close to the visitors center. From there, you may continue on to explore more of Lincoln City’s Stewart Canyon. The route travels along the coast for 1.5 kilometers before reaching an observation point. If you’d like to go farther and have the energy for a 23.6-kilometer trek, continue on to Aylmer Lookout.
The Stewart Canyon path is also open to mountain bikes (except during the summer months), so keep an eye out for bicycles whizzing by.
Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes
The Kananaskis region is Calgary’s main outdoor playground, with mountains and lakes that provide an infinite number of activities. The Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes are on the valley floor and are bordered by a wide range of campsites.
Lower Kananaskis Lake is the larger of the two bodies of water. Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are all popular activities on this lake. Rainbow; brown; bull; and lake trout are some of the trout species available in the deep end. The water in the lake is slightly chilly, so swimming isn’t very popular. The biking path connects both lakes and most of the campgrounds, so getting around is simple.
If you’re not a camper but still want to visit the lakes, Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge offers pleasant accommodation nearby.
Lesser Slave Lake
From Edmonton, it is three hours to the Lesser Slave Lake. Marten River Provincial Park is a well-known destination on the lake. Clear, cold water and one of Alberta’s finest beaches are both available at this location. This long stretch of sand is excellent for walking and swimming, and because it’s so far from the water, it’s frequently full of driftwood, which makes it ideal for a bonfire later on if you’re camping.
Hiking paths depart from the lake and wind through the boreal forest, where you’ll be serenaded by the sound of birdsong. Fishing on Lesser Slave Lake is fantastic. Walleye, burbot, whitefish, and northern pike are just a few of the species that will put up a fight.
The Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation is a notable attraction in Lesser Slave Lake. This 6,000-square-foot facility is designed to learn more about the birds that call the boreal forests their home. There are fascinating exhibits inside that shed light on the region’s ecology.
There are 110 campsites at Marten River Provincial Park, all of which have electricity.