10 Beautiful Lakes Near Banff, Canada - Updated 2022

lakes in banff
Alesha
Alesha 
Updated

Banff has some of the most spectacular lakes that are accessible via a variety of hiking and biking trails. Soak in the fantastic views as you cruise through rocky passes and manoeuvre through lush meadows. During wintertime, the lakes here freeze, which makes them ideal for winter activities like skiing, ice skating, dog sledding, and more. In summer, the lakes are perfect for canoeing and kayaking. Whether you’re in search of adventure activities or you simply want to relax in the nature’s midst, you’ll find something to suit in our pick of the 10 most beautiful lakes near Banff, Canada.

1. Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake 17092005
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gorgo used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

At the Moraine Lake, explore the numerous trails nearby. Here, you will find a wide variety of trails to explore for just about anyone, from beginners to experienced hikers. There are trails that span 1.5 kilometres (0.9 miles), to trails that go on for 9.7 kilometres (6 miles). Check out the canoe launch and submerge yourself in the rugged splendour of gorgeous mountains like Mount Fay and the Fay Glacier. Perfect for any season, get out in the sun and hop on a canoe in the summer and cross-country ski during the winter. When it is time to take a break, visit the gift shops and snack bars at the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Moraine Lake

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta

Website: Moraine Lake

2. Lake Louise (from USD 76.0)

.Lake Louise view from The Beehive
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Khoshhat used under CC BY-SA 4.0

From the Moraine Lake, you can easily access Lake Louise through connector shuttles. For a small fee, you can get tickets for the shuttle connector that travels between the two lakes, making your transit seamless, while allowing you to enjoy the ride. The iconic Lake Louise is home to distinct emerald green water and scenic mountains that make the ultimate backdrop for your photographs. The quiet and still nature of the lake makes this destination a must-go if you are looking for a place to zone out and be far from the noise of the city. Here, there’s a plethora of adventure activities to take part in, like hiking, paddling and even dog sledding. Lake Louise offers the longest hiking trail in the valley. After the hike, savour delicious burgers at Bill Peyto’s Café located in the hostel here.

Discover Lake Louise & Snowshoeing

Duration: 4 hours

40 reviews

3. Johnson Lake

Johnson Lake
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cody Taylor used under CC BY-SA 4.0

With its low elevation, fairly flat ground and relatively short trails, Johnson Lake makes the ideal place for beginners looking to achieve a simple walk during their vacation. For the best mountain views, many people hike the lake in a counter-clockwise direction as they will take in gorgeous views of Cascade Mountain. Be on the lookout for waterfowl and muskrat.

Johnson Lake

Website: Johnson Lake

4. Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake-Banff NP-Canada
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tobi 87 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Stand before Peyto Lake and take in the resplendent views of the vivid colours of the radiant body of water that photographs would not bring justice to. Seeing this lake first-hand should definitely be one of the things you should do on your trip. The radiant blue is a product of sunlight hitting the lake, and while the lake is too cold to swim in, you can soak in the great outdoors and explore the forested shores with your loved ones. As you approach the mountains, walk on the path littered with trees. As you breathe in the fresh and crisp air, enjoy a relatively flat path. Many visitors end their visit at the Peyto Lake Lookout, so be sure to plan ahead if you would prefer more elevation or a quieter route!

Peyto Lake

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Website: Peyto Lake

5. Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka - Banff - panoramio (4)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jack Borno used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you are planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies, Lake Minnewanka should make it on the itinerary. This large glacial lake is 21 kilometres (13 miles) long and is perfect for picnicking with your travel companions. A family favourite during summer, set up camp near the lake and relax by the water at the picnic tables. Other activities that you indulge in here include fishing, diving and hiking. Furthermore, hop on a guided boat cruise, and the tour guide will tell you about the wonders that the lake and the surrounding mountains hold. For water lovers itching for some underwater exploration, be sure to check out the scuba diving options here!

Lake Minnewanka

Website: Lake Minnewanka

6. Hector Lake

Hector Lake - Banff National Park 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user NaCl58 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the larger lakes in Banff National Park, this is the place to be if you are looking for serenity and peace. Hector Lake is located on the Bow River and spans 5 kilometres (3.1 miles). It is perfect for beginner hikers due to the minimal elevation, and a lovely spot to spend a quiet afternoon. Be sure to pack your water shoes or sandals for when you cross the river and watch out for strong currents.

Hector Lake

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta’s Rockies

7. Two Jack Lake

Two Jack Lake - Banff
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jakub Fryš used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This family-friendly place makes an excellent starting point for your camping trip. The lake is suitable for kayaking, and there’s ample space around the lake for a picnic. Plus, there are nature trails nearby, which makes it a perfect spot for hiking, too. There are also many benches around the lake, should you wish to simply relax and soak in the natural beauty.

Two Jake Lake

Address: Improvement District No. 9, AB, Canada

Website: Two Jack Lake

8. Bow Lake

Bow lake, banff
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Eliraz.alona used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The picturesque Bow Lake offers stunning and memorable views for your next trip to the Canadian Rockies. Bow Lake is home to one of Canada’s great national treasures. Bow lake is 34 kilometres (21 miles) north of Lake Louise. The gorgeous, clear and still waters make for an excellent backdrop for your images, with the waters mirroring the peaks of the mountains. However, be sure to pack some refreshments and water as they’re hard to come by here.

Bow Lake

Address: Banff National Park, Alberta

9. Vermilion Lakes

Vermilion Lakes 2 - Banff
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jakub Fryš used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Vermilion Lakes are a group of lakes, which are perfect for adventurers. Here, you can engage in hiking, canoeing and kayaking. Plus, the area around the lake shelters a wide range of wildlife. You’ll find moose, elk and sometimes bear have been spotted here. Also, be on the lookout for local waterfowl, including ducks, otters and beavers.

Vermilion Lakes

Address: Vermilion Lakes Rd, Banff National Park, Improvement District No. 9, AB

Website: Vermilion Lakes

10. Grassi Lakes

Grassi Lakes Canmore
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mokozza used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Grassi Lakes comprises of two lakes - the Upper Grassi Lake and the Lower Grassi Lake. These lakes can be accessed via an easy trail or a relatively difficult trail, making them perfect for beginners and experienced hikers alike. Whichever trail you choose, you’re guaranteed gorgeous views along the way. As you hike and take in nature at its best, be sure to stay on the trails designated for the journey, as there are parts of the lake that are in the hazard zone. Be sure to plan ahead of your hike and follow the directions on the signages around the lake.

Grassi Lakes

Address: Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, Alberta

Bask in the beauty of Banff's lakes

Whether you are travelling in a group or going solo, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to the different lakes and mountains to see. The views of emerald green water and rugged peaks are bound to evoke emotions and create everlasting memories. As you watch the sun set behind the mountains and the glow of the sun fading, you’ll feel time has stop. Bask in the beauty of Banff’s lakes!

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

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Hi there! I'm Alesha and I love to write. It is a great way to test my creativity and engage with readers from all walks of life. I'm excited to contribute and share the love!

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Banff
Good things are meant to be shared!