Alberta is home to some of the most stunning and awe-inspiring glacier lakes in the world. From the turquoise blue waters of Moraine Lake to the emerald green hues of Lake Louise, these lakes are surrounded by rugged landscapes, towering mountains, and pristine wilderness. In this blog post, we will explore the 7 glacier lakes you need to see in Alberta, along with tips for visiting each one.
1. Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is one of the most iconic and photographed lakes in Alberta. Located in Banff National Park, this glacier-fed lake is known for its turquoise blue water and surrounding mountain peaks. To fully experience the beauty of Moraine Lake, we recommend arriving early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds. Take a stroll along the shoreline, hike the nearby trails, or rent a canoe to explore the lake. For an unforgettable view, hike up the nearby Rockpile Trail to capture the classic Moraine Lake vista from above.
2. Lake Louise
Lake Louise is another world-famous glacier lake located in Banff National Park. With its emerald green water and stunning mountain backdrop, Lake Louise is a must-see destination in Alberta. We recommend visiting early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds. Take a stroll along the lake shore, hike the nearby trails, or rent a canoe to explore the lake. For an unforgettable view, hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House for a panoramic view of Lake Louise from above.
3. Lake Agnes
Lake Agnes is a smaller, yet equally stunning glacier lake located in Banff National Park. Known for its crystal-clear water and picturesque tea house, Lake Agnes is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. To get to Lake Agnes, hike the 7-kilometer trail starting from the Lake Louise shoreline. Once at the lake, enjoy a hot cup of tea or a bite to eat at the historic Lake Agnes Tea House. For an even more spectacular view, continue the hike up to the Little Beehive lookout.
4. Lake Minnewanka
Lake Minnewanka is the largest lake in Banff National Park, and is known for its deep blue water and abundant wildlife. To fully experience the beauty of Lake Minnewanka, we recommend taking a scenic boat tour, going for a bike ride along the lakeshore trail, or hiking the nearby trails. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as bighorn sheep, elk, and even grizzly bears.
5. Bow Lake
Bow Lake is a stunning glacier lake located along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. With its turquoise blue water and surrounding mountain peaks, Bow Lake is a popular destination for photographers and nature lovers. To fully experience the beauty of Bow Lake, we recommend hiking the nearby trails, or taking a scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway. For an unforgettable view, hike up the nearby Bow Summit trail to capture a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding mountains.
6. Waterfowls Lake
Waterfowls Lake is a lesser-known glacier lake located in Jasper National Park. With its tranquil water and surrounding mountain vistas, Waterfowls Lake is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. To fully experience the beauty of Waterfowls Lake, we recommend taking the nearby hiking trails, or going for a picnic along the shoreline.
7. Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is another world-renowned glacier lake located along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. With its distinctive turquoise color and unique shape, Peyto Lake is a favorite destination for visitors from around the world. To fully experience the beauty of Peyto Lake, we recommend hiking the nearby trails, or taking a scenic drive along the Icefields Parkway to the Peyto Lake viewpoint. From there, you can capture stunning photos of the lake and surrounding mountain scenery.
Tips for Visiting the Glacier Lakes in Alberta
- Plan ahead and arrive early: Many of these lakes can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist season. To avoid the crowds, plan your visit outside of peak hours and arrive early in the morning or later in the evening.
- Dress appropriately: The weather in Alberta can be unpredictable, even in the summer months. Be sure to bring layers and dress appropriately for the conditions.
- Bring your camera: These glacier lakes are some of the most beautiful and photogenic destinations in the world. Be sure to bring your camera and capture some amazing shots.
- Follow Leave No Trace principles: These glacier lakes are fragile ecosystems, and it’s important to respect and protect them. Follow Leave No Trace principles, pack out all of your trash, and be sure to stay on designated trails.
- Check for closures and restrictions: Some of these lakes may be closed or have restrictions due to weather, wildlife activity, or other factors. Be sure to check with park authorities before you go.
Alberta’s glacier lakes are some of the most stunning and picturesque destinations in the world. From the iconic Moraine Lake and Lake Louise to the lesser-known Waterfowls Lake and Peyto Lake, there is no shortage of breathtaking scenery to explore. By following these tips and recommendations, you can make the most of your visit and experience the beauty of these glacier lakes firsthand.
If you’re planning a trip to Banff, check out my other blogs:
- Banff Diary – Day 1: Norquay Lookout and Vermilion Lakes
- Banff Diary – Day 2: Moraine Lake, Lake Louise and Morant’s Curve
- Banff Diary – Day 3: Johnston Canyon, Mistaya Canyon and Bow Lake
- Banff Diary – Day 4: Icefields Parkway Day Trip
- Banff Diary – Day 5: Kayaking Bow River, Tunnel Mountain & Banff Gondola
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