10 Beautiful Lakes In Alberta, Canada - Updated 2022

lakes in alberta

Located in the western region of Canada is the country’s fourth most populous province, Alberta. It is also one of the only two landlocked provinces in the country. It is bordered by Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The province is known for its metropolitan areas, Calgary and Edmonton. Beyond these areas, lie stretches of natural wilderness and rugged mountains. As a matter of fact, the province is home to six UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous of these sites include Canadian Rocky Mountains Park which consists of majestic snowcapped mountains, evergreen forests, and crystal-clear lakes. There’s an abundance of awe-inspiring bodies of water here in the province, so scroll down for the 10 beautiful lakes in Alberta, Canada.

1. Bow Lake

Bow lake - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jack Borno used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located just south of Bow Summit is a small lake with the same name, Bow Lake. The name came from the long reeds growing nearby which is also the same material used by First Nations to make their bow. Located along Icefield Parkway, the lake is famous for its turquoise waters that reflect the surrounding mountains on a clear day. A stroll along the lake is a common activity among families and casual visitors. Another famous attraction along the lake’s shore is Num-Ti-Jah Lodge which has been around since the 1940s. Today, the lodge welcomes all curious visitors to an old-time charm and enchanting views of the lake and mountains.

Bow Lake

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta

Activities: Hiking, casual strolling, and picnic

2. Two Jack Lake

Reflection at Two Jack Lake
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wing-Chi Poon used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Another most-visited lake in Banff is Two Jack Lake. It may not be as popular as the other lake within the area, but guests are still rewarded with picturesque mountain views. For those wondering, the lake is named after two people from the area, Jack Stanley and Jack Watters. The water here is spectacularly calm which makes for the perfect kayaking and paddleboarding experience. The shores of the lake are also a popular campsite fully regulated by the Canadian government. Moreover, the campsite has modern facilities for anyone planning to use it as a base while exploring the rest of Banff.

Two Jack Lake

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Activities: Kayaking and paddleboarding

3. Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake June 2018
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user WhyDon'tWeZJCDJ used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Peyto Lake takes on a blue color, all thanks to the water coming from the glacier melt. As for the peculiar name, the lake got it from an early trail guide, Bill Peyto. It is one of the most accessible lakes from the Icefield Parkway. The easiest way to see the lake is from a faraway lookout. The lookout provides guests with a majestic view of the lake’s bluish water along with contrasting subalpine forest and snowcapped peaks. A variety of recreational activities is offered here too such as hiking around and swimming on the lake. The latter is only feasible if a guest can stand the super cold water.

Peyto Lake

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Activities: Hiking and sightseeing

4. Vermilion Lakes

Vermillion Lakes, Banff
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user FlashEngineer used under CC0

Vermilion Lakes are not just one, but three separate bodies of water that dot the landscape of Banff at the foot of Mount Norquay. It is one of the lakes near the town proper, providing easy access to travelers and residents. The splendor of Mount Rundle and Sulphur Mountains will take everyone aback as the lake’s water creates a contrasting effect with the sun and the sky at any time of the day. Hiking and paddleboarding are popular activities here, thanks to serene water and accessibility from major trails. The surrounding area also hosts a variety of wildlife that can be adored from a distance.

Vermilion Lakes

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Activities: Hiking, canoeing and wildlife watching

5. Waterton Lake

Waterton Lakes National Park May 2018
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carolyn Miaral used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Straddled between the borders of the US and Canada is Waterton Lake. It is a mountain lake split into two and connected by a shallow channel known as Bosporus. The upper section of the lake is aptly named Upper Waterton Lake and is the more visited between the two sections. The lake’s huge surface area is accessible from two main national parks: Waterton Lakes and Glacier National Park. The alpine tundra, prairie grasslands, and evergreen forests are some of the most preserved natural regions in the area. Popular recreational activities here include swimming and camping which are doable from Emerald Bay and Townsite Campground.

Waterton Lake

Address: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada / Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Activities: Swimming and camping

6. Lake Louise (from USD 76.0)

Imagine yourself kayaking on the surface of tranquil, turquoise-colored waters, while upfront is the snowcapped peaks of Canadian Rockies–these are just some of the scenic views of Lake Louise. What makes this lake more enchanting is the stately Fairmont Chateau which caters to discerning travelers. During the winter, the lake’s surface freezes which is perfect for ice-skating. If you’re looking for the perfect winter tour, this Viator package includes free transport from Banff and even complimentary snowshoes.

Discover Lake Louise & Snowshoeing

Duration: 4 hours

40 reviews

7. Abraham Lake (from USD 472.0)

Ever seen a lake with a truly unique phenomenon happening underneath its surface? Visit Abraham Lake and you will be astounded by the suspended ice bubbles that look like a swarm of jellyfish. These ice bubbles form when decaying organic matter underwater releases methane gas, then freezes into the surface. It is a sight to behold and makes up for an Instagram-worthy shot. However, the lake is not ideal for recreation due to ice-cold water and submerged rocks. If you just want to soak up the beauty around you, sign up for a photography tour offered by Viator in which guests get to experience Abraham Lake during the winter season.

Abraham Lake and Banff Winter Photography Tour

Duration: 12 hours

5 reviews

8. Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake sunrise
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jakub Fryš used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Moraine Lake may not exactly ring a bell for most, but the image of the lake invokes a sense of familiarity. After all, it is the most famous and most photographed lake compared to others in Canadian Rockies. The splendid view makes up for a one-of-a-kind image that seems like a fantasy. The evergreen forest on the right side of the lake contrasts nicely with the dominantly gray and snowcapped cliff on the left. Recreational activities are mostly limited to sightseeing and light boating. Lodging and campsites provide friendly accommodation for visitors wanting to spend a night here.

Moraine Lake

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Activities: Kayaking and hiking

9. Lake Minnewanka (from USD 43.0)

About 5 kilometers (3 miles) northeast of Banff is Lake Minnewanka, the second-longest lake in Canadian Rockies. The lake was formed by glaciers that melted thousands of years ago. Today, the lake is one of the most-visited bodies of water because of its picturesque view, turquoise surface, and lots of recreational activities offered on site. One of the popular recreational activities here is scuba diving as divers get to explore a submerged town underneath the surface. For those who want a more casual affair, this cruise package from Viator lets participants see the diverse fauna from a safe distance as well as learn the history of indigenous people living here.

Lake Minnewanka Cruise

Duration: 1 hour

10 reviews

10. Maligne Lake (from USD 57.0)

Famous for its azure waters, Maligne Lake is one of the most-visited spots in Canadian Rockies. Usually, tourists visit the area to admire the surrounding peaks and the glaciers. The lake is also the location of the famed Spirit Island, which is one of the most photographed spots in the lakes. It is easily reachable by motor vehicles from the nearest town, Jasper. While here, tourists can participate in day trails or hikes, which offer an avenue for excitement and fun. Boat tours are also abundant during the spring and autumn. Viator cruise package offers a guided tour of the whole lake.

Maligne Lake Cruise

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

130 reviews

Be enchanted with the beautiful lakes of Alberta

Canadian Rockies in Alberta hides some of the best natural attractions in Canada. Tourists can’t help but be mesmerized by this province’s evergreen forests, snowcapped peaks, and turquoise-colored lakes. If you are looking for surreal destinations, this list compiles some of the most beautiful lakes in the region. So pack up your bags and visit them now to experience nature at its finest.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Kenrick Buduan loves writing. He writes about various stuff, focusing mostly on analysis of society and technology. He contributes to various news platforms too. As a writer, he yearns to travel...Read more

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