These are the 5 most popular lakes in the Rocky Mountains

Nov 5 2019, 9:32 pm

We’d suggest a trip out to the mountains to anyone, near or far. Even some Rocky Mountain locals could do a little more exploring in their wilderness backyard. So, in the spirit of exploration, let’s talk about some of the Rocky Mountains’ must-visit hot spots: The lakes.

In the winter, these lakes freeze slid for some picturesque skating or just enjoying a hot chocolate lakeside while taking in that breath-taking, snow-covered view.

We’ve rounded up a list of 5 popular lakes to add to your Rocky Mountain bucket list:

For your own safety, please make sure you are prepared before heading out on your next adventure. Information on how to prepare for your trip and stay safe while on your hike is available from, Banff National Park, Yoho National Park, and AdventureSmart.

Moraine Lake


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This iconic lake was pictured on the back of the Canadian twenty-dollar bill from 1969 to 1979. In fact, the view you’ll see from the vista at the top is affectionately referred to as “the twenty-dollar view” for that reason. If that doesn’t convince you to go check it out, we don’t know what will.

Moraine Lake is a glacier-fed lake nestled within the Banff National Park in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The turquoise water is surrounded by rugged mountains and rock piles, creating an oh-so-very-Rockies backdrop. The lake is about 14 km southeast of Lake Louise. Many trails and hikes of various difficulties surround the lake if you’re looking to dodge the crowd.

Additionally, cross-country skiers often ski to the end of the road and back, and the tracks end at the breathtaking viewpoint for the Consolation Valley and Ten Peaks.

Emerald Lake


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Emerald Lake most certainly belongs on your list of must-see popular lakes in the Rockies, and its name doesn’t even begin to do its vibrant colour justice.

Located in Yoho National Park, this lake is the largest of the 61 lakes and ponds in the park. Though it is (technically) located in British Columbia, it’s just a 20-minute drive from Lake Louise.

Emerald Lake and the surrounding areas are home to a number of bird species, including eagles, loons, osprey, and more. Surrounding the lake you will find the President Mountain Range, Wapta Mountain, and Mount Burgess. In addition, there is a 5.2 km trail circling the lake so you can really get a 360 view of the gorgeous water. If you’re not much of a walker, why not rent a canoe and go for a paddle?

It’s also a popular spot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. On top of all that, the cozy and cute Emerald Lake Lodge is exactly where you need to be for a warm tea or cold beer (depending on the season).

Lake Minnewanka


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Here we have the second-longest lake in the Rockies. Sitting at 21 km long and 142 metres deep, Lake Minnewanka is not messing around.

Located in Banff National Park, this dreamland is truly a sightseeing goldmine. Visitors have been camping and hunting along the shores of this historical site for centuries. In fact, The indigenous Stoney Nakoda individuals named it Minn-waki, which means “Lake of the Spirits.”

During the summer months, you can enjoy picnic tables, a cooking shelter, and a café. If you’re on the hunt for activities, hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, and more are available.

This particular lake is the only lake in the Banff National Park to allow the (limited) use of power boats. No boat? No problem. Lake Minnewanka sends out daily boat cruises with a knowledgeable and lively tour guide in tow to teach you about the history and stories surrounding the area.

Peyto Lake


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The namesake of Bill Peyto, an early trail guide in the Banff area, Peyto Lake is an absolute must-stop.

Peyto Lake has been referred to as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and with its intoxicatingly blue hues and immensely beautiful viewpoint, you’ve just got to see it, okay?

Though the lake is a stunner from all angles, we highly recommend the Peyto Lake viewpoint for the best possible look at the lake. The viewpoint is an extremely accessible, family-friendly hike of about 2.5 km, so it only takes between thirty and sixty minutes. Though the main viewpoint is often crowded, there is a second viewpoint that’s a little more private for your viewing/photo-taking pleasure.

Lake Louise


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Did you really think we’d get through an entire article about the Rockies without mentioning Lake Louise? Think again.

Lake Louise can be described no other way than iconic. The lake is so wondrous that it’s hard to believe it’s real.

From the bright colour pallet to the sprawling mountainous surroundings, there’s no wondering why it’s always jam-packed with tourists. Even if you’re not much for crowds, it’s absolutely worth it.

Lake Louise is surrounded by hikes of all levels, so you might as well make a day of it. On top of all that, you’ll find the historic Chateau Lake Louise overlooking the water.

If this list doesn’t inspire you to get out there and see some gorgeous lakes, we don’t know what will! Weigh the summer/winter pros and cons of each and get that bucket list updated, people!

Britanny BurrBritanny Burr

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