First thing is first, the scenery in Banff is gorgeous.
I’ve heard about how amazing the views are in and around Banff National Park from friends and family for years. I went to Jasper for the first time a few years ago (which is also stunning by the way! You can read my post about Jasper here). I really wanted to check out Banff during that trip, but the timing just didn’t work. We were finally able to take a trip this year, thankfully! The Rocky Mountains have been calling! Today I’ll be sharing the most gorgeous lakes that you MUST visit if you’re planning a trip to Banff, Alberta.
Peyto Lake stole my heart. It was amazing to finally see this lake in person! Tip: we noticed the mosquitos were quite aggressive when we went this past July, so I recommend bringing insect repellant. Peyto Lake is located about 42 kms north of Lake Louise, in Banff National Park. The trailhead is on the west side of the parking lot. Follow the signs for a short 10 minute walk uphill to the view point.
Lake Louise is such an iconic lake. It was by far the busiest of all the lakes we went to, so make sure to arrive before 9:00am. Parking on a weekday during our visit was full by 9:30am. There are hiking trails and walks nearby the main view point of the lake. For the best photo, follow the walking path to the right of the lake. There are less people (everyone is crowded along the dock) and you’ll have a better chance of getting some pictures without anyone else in the photo.
Moraine lake was by far my favourite lake that we visited. Moraine Lake is in the Valley of the Ten Peaks (which includes the mountains behind it) and it was stunning, especially with the reflection of the mountains on the water. We arrived at Moraine Lake around 6:30am and there weren’t many people around at that time and no canoes out on the water. I love this lake!!
I wish we had more time to spend at Emerald Lake. We were only able to stop here briefly but I’m so happy we did. Emerald Lake is located in Yoho National Park, in Field, BC. We saw so many people canoeing and next time that will be me 🙂 I will definitely be making a trip back here soon! Plan to spend a few hours exploring around or relaxing here.
Banff National Park and all of the nature sites included in and around the park are extremely popular tourist destinations, especially in the summer. The official Tourism Banff website suggests arriving at each lake before 9:00am to avoid traffic delays and to ensure a parking spot.
If you really want to avoid the crowds and see undisturbed glass-like water, I recommend arriving before 7:00am. You’ll find parking easily and there will likely only be a handful of other visitors around.
When we went a few weeks ago, we arrived at most of the lakes before 6:30am or 7:00am. It was tough having to get up around 5 or 6 am, depending on where the lake was located (this also depends on where you’re staying; we stayed in Canmore). Despite a crazy early departure time, we had the most stunning views of the lake, with beautiful undisturbed water in most cases. We were able to take the most beautiful photos, including some reflection shots which you’ll see below. It was so peaceful to have these gorgeous lakes (mostly) to ourselves, even if it was only for a short time.
~ Thank you so much for reading. Was there anywhere that I missed? I hope you found post helpful and I’ll see you in my next one! I’m heading off on a European adventure in the next few weeks so be sure to follow me on Instagram @candice.camera to join along on the adventure!