During my last summer of living in Canada (July 2017), I took the chance to see more of the incredible country and drove from Whistler, British Columbia, to the Canadian Rockies. My road trip was one of the best road trips I’ve ever done, and one I think everyone should do if they find themselves that side of the world.
One of the best ‘activities’ to do on any Canadian Rockies road trip is to go hunting for Canada’s famous turquoise lakes. You don’t have to hunt too hard because they’re literally everywhere, but some require a little more effort to get to.
British Columbia on the west coast of the country has some of the best turquoise lakes to discover, but there are even more in Alberta and the Rockies! So, whether you’re doing a road trip there yourself or just want some pretty pictures to marvel at, here are 7 not to be missed.
- Peyto Lake, Banff National Park
Looking at this lake you’d think it was difficult to get to because it’s just so awesome, but it’s actually only a 5 minute walk from the car park. Winning! It’s best seen from Bow Summit (as seen in the photo below), which is the highest point on the Icefields Parkway – a must-do on any Canadian Rockies road trip! Why is it best seen from here? So you can spot the wolf’s head. Pretty cooooool.
- Maligne Lake
This Canadian Rockies lake is in Jasper National Park and is one of the best to visit because of its backdrop – three glaciers. If you recognize this lake, it’s probably because it’s one of the most photographed lakes in Canada because of Spirit Island – a tiny island which sits in the middle of the lake. If you’re a hiker, hit the Skyline Trail, a popular multi-day hike which starts at the lake.
- Bow Lake, Banff National Park
When I visited this lake, I just sat on a log for what seemed like forever and stared at its grandeur. I remember feeling so content and happy with life with so much beautiful nature around me. There are several different paths to wander along so you can enjoy the lake and the surrounding mountains from every angle.
- Lake Minnewanka, Banff
Sitting on the edge of Banff town in the Canadian Rockies, this 21km lake is not only great to look at, it’s fun to say. It’s also one of the most unusual turquoise lakes in Canada because of what lies beneath the surface. A village resort once stood on what was the edge of the lake, but was flooded in 1941 after a second dam was built. Apparently, it’s quite well-preserved because of the water’s cold temperature, leaving it open for scuba divers to explore.
- Moraine Lake
Another heavily photographed glacier-fed lake, Moraine is probably one of the most well-known turquoise lakes in the Canadian Rockies. I got up at 4am to drive here for sunrise (which is why I look like I want to curl up in my tent and sleep for days in the photo below!) and it was one of the best mornings I think I’ve ever had! There are several hikes you can do around the lake and it’s a popular spot with rock climbers, so if that’s your thing definitely give it a go for a view of the lake like no other. It’s also a very popular lake in general, so I recommend getting up early to beat the crowds. There’s also no better way to start your day that by sitting and admiring such natural beauty.
- Abraham Lake
This artificial lake in Saskatchewan is another glistening blue lake worth a visit on any Rockies road trip, although it’s probably visited more during the winter months when it freezes, trapping bubbles of methane under the surface. Whatever time of year you visit, you won’t regret adding it to the list.
- Lake Louise
Literally down the road from Moraine Lake, Lake Louise is another beauty. Sitting on the edge of the lake is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – a world-famous luxury resort hotel built in 1890 – which is good for a wander and a spot of food. I tried the breakfast buffet and it was almost as good as the view of the lake! Again, there are lots of hiking trails around the lake. I did the Plain of the Six Glaciers hike, which takes you past Lake Agnes Tea House (built in 1924 by Swiss guides) to, you guessed it, six glaciers!
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