Peyto Lake: Most wonderful in Banff National Park

North America | | December 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm


There is an acceptable reason why a majority of tourists including me visiting the Banff National Park in Canada would say that Peyto Lake is the most charming lake on the planet. Although there are many beautiful lakes in this area competing for the title, this one is the hot favorite of the most in the Canadian Rockies. The reason for this is not something to be said in words, but is something that is to be experienced after reaching there.

Nestled at a distance of 26 miles from the famous Lake Louise, the stunning Peyto Lake boasts a unique milky blue color that is surprisingly does not remain throughout the year. The color keeps on changing not only with the seasons, but also within a day with changes in time offering different colorful views at intervals. Well, this might be one of the reasons as to why I entitle it to be the ‘most beautiful’ one. In addition, at the time of summer, considerable quantities of glacial rock get blended well with the lake. It is because of these separated rock fragments that the lake gets its bright, turquoise color. However, it is not the mineral content of these pieces that is responsible for its unique color; but it is rather due to the pieces itself that reflect the blue-green zone of the light spectrum. This indicates that with the changing amount of the suspended rock flour, the color of the lake also changes. Now, this color is so different such that the lake’s photos appear in the exemplified books. It is not only the lake that is worth a look, but it is also the surrounding around the lake that is one of the most enchanting sightseeing spots in the park for the tourists.

Peyto Lake is a lake fed by a glacier of the Banff National Park. It has been named so after Bill Peyto who was a trail guide in the Banff. Created in a valley of the Waputik Range and nestled in between the Peyto Peak, Caldron Peak, and Mount Jimmy Simpson (Wapta Icefield); the lake is at a high elevation holding the waters of the Peyto Creek draining from the Peyto Glacier as well as the Caldron Lake.

It is from the Bow Summit that the Peyto Lake is best viewed, which is the highest spot on the Icefield Parkway. At the summit’s parking lot; a paved, but short trail takes you to one of the most breathtaking views going beyond your imagination. This is none other than of the lake seen from far below the viewpoint. However, you can opt to hike via a trailhead of 2.5 km that is to the Bow Summit Pass’ north. A parking area is on the highway’s west from where you can start hiking for 1.4 km up to the lake. Unfortunately, this is unmarked here. If you come here between June and July, the lake will appear dark blue from here because of the lofty melting of the glaciers close by. At other times, the lake is an incredibly extreme green body.

The moment you leave the parking zone, you go downhill for some time where you get a great chance to explore the road stretch along with the mountains to the west of the highway. You can reach here in early morning so that you can spend the entire day in picnicking and frolicking around. From the celebrated Icefields Parkway, it is only an easy drive of 10 minutes. Also, think of parking your vehicle on the lower level of the dedicated parking lot. This is because the upper one is only meant for the motor coaches. And yes, if you get a company of some tourists who share with you their viewpoints, then be ready for the praises as none of them will be disappointed with the scenery here.

Best time to visit

April through to November.

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