Location: Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
Right on the Icefields Parkway, 5 min drive from Bow Lake.
Time to explore: Around an hour.
Remarks: Be aware of mosquitoes. Check trail conditions before you go.
A mix of blue, green and turquoise, glowing from the inside – “peyto” could easily be a color of its own. On a clear summer day, Peyto Lake will hypnotize you and make you want to pinch yourself for a reality check! Peyto Glacier is feeding the lake, slowly melting, moving and scratching the surface of the ground at the same time. Tiny, flour-like particles of silt are filling the water, giving it that “postcard” color.
Peyto Lake is a must-see while visiting Banff and one of the brightest examples of Canadian natural wonders. It won’t take much time but will stay in your memories forever!
How to enjoy Peyto Lake during peak season
The best place to view the lake is at the Bow Summit lookout.
During the summer season, choose early morning or late afternoon hours to avoid huge crowds. The parking lot is pretty big but is still not enough for all the people visiting during peak season.
The lookout is too small and can’t fit all of the visitors. Even the flat unfenced area just below the platform, where nothing stops you from going over the edge, fills up quickly with travelers in the morning.
A short 15 min hike from the parking lot leads to the Bow Summit lookout, but it has some very steep parts. Even with a super-lightweight stroller, you will have a hard time getting to the top. Alternatively, you can drop-off those, who are unable to take the hike, at the “buses and handicapped” parking lot (which is very close to the lookup platform), then go back to the main parking lot and meet at the top.
There are no picnic tables, cafe, or place for kids to run freely. The trail is pretty narrow and ends up right at the parking lot. Expect long lines to the restrooms during the busy summer months. Bring the very best mosquito repellent you can find for your trip to Banff and Jasper. Mosquitos were so bad during our visit in July!
Have a great time at one of the most wonderful places in the Canadian Rockies.