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  • Writer's pictureKristen W.

Banff Travel Guide - The Lakes

This is the post I am almost excited to share! We have all seen the photos, that are all over social media, showing these amazing teal-colored lakes! One of these social media posts is what sparked my interest in going to Banff. I always wanted a big party for the 35th birthday, but when I saw my first photos of Peyto Lake I changed my mind and wanted to take a trip. I wanted a trip that I would remember for years to come! We saw our four lakes over the course of two days, but I could've spent a day at each lake just taking in the beauty!

Peyto Lake:

I originally didn't have Peyto Lake on the itinerary. I know I said this was the first lake I ever posted about, and is really the reason for the trip to Banff, but I thought I didn't need to see it. We passed the exit for Peyto on the way to the glacier, so we decided we would stop on the way back, as long as the weather was decent. Luckily it had warmed up by the time we were heading back and the road conditions were perfect to go to the lake. We arrived in the pot-hole filled parking lot and was able to quickly find a spot. From the parking lot, you will have a 10 minute hike that is almost straight up. We took little breaks here and there to take in the smell of the evergreen trees, I also took some great photographs of them. Once you reach the end of the hike, you are are staring at the most amazing lake you have ever seen. There is a wooden deck you can stand on to take your pics, but there is also a rocky portion you can get to as well, that's where we were. After taking some pictures, I took a moment and just stared at the lake that peaked my desire to come to this beautiful place. After seeing the lake, I can't believe I didn't have this on the list. I really would've regretted not seeing this lake if we hadn't stopped. Now it's time for you to take in it's beauty!

First View

You can see the snow flurries!

The whole lake

I love evergreen trees!

I look like a really happy little kid!

Mom and I!

All of us with Peyto Lake!

Bow Lake:

Bow lake was another one that was not on the list, but it was right off of the Icefields Parkway and after Peyto, we couldn't say no. There are no special roads you need to go down to get here, you just need to turn into the turnouts and you are there. There were several other cars at the turnout, so we found a small path that took us down to the shoreline. We all had a fun time checking out the lake and some people put their hands in the lake to see how cold it was. Bow Lake had far less people than Peyto, which was great for taking photos and just checking it out. Fun fact, like most of the other lakes in Banff, the water in Bow Lake is meltwater from the Bow Glacier.

How Beautiful!

The teal of the water is unreal!

Have I mentioned how much I love Evergreen Trees?

The panorama of the lake

All of us with Bow Lake!

Lake Louise:

Tuesday, which was our last full day in Banff was solely dedicated to visiting our last and final two lakes. We got up early and headed North because everything we had read said we needed to be there early. Our plan was to stop by Moraine Lake first, but the parking was already closed due to capacity. We decided to keep going to Lake Louise and were able to get a great parking spot. It is a very short walk to the lake and when we got there the low hanging clouds were no joke. We walked around the lake a little and then decided to go into the Fairmont and wait to see if the clouds lifted. We walked around the Fairmont for a while and it seemed like the fog was getting worse. We finished our walk around the hotel and headed back out to the lake hoping the weather was going to improve. The clouds had started to lift, so we started following a path around the right side of the lake. As we walked around the lake the clouds started to lift and the sun started to come out. I've been looking at photos of Lake Louise for months now, but nothing prepared me for what I would be experiencing when the clouds were gone. The views were just amazing! We decided to walk the rest of the trail and it takes you to the back side of the lake where it overlooks the lake and the Fairmont hotel. The views were amazing and we had such a great time. We ended up spending more time here than we planned, but every minute was worth it!

The lake when we got there!

Snow on the flowers

The fog getting worse as we overlook the lake

The snow looked like sparkles!

Wow, just wow!

It just keeps getting better!

This is the view of the mountains from the back side of the lake!

The Fairmont from the back side of the lake!

I don't know how these photos keep getting better and better.

Panorama of Lake Louise

Mom and I enjoying the lake!

A little dancing by the lake never hurt anyone.

All of us!

Moraine Lake:

Forgive me if this one runs long, I could talk about this lake for days! As we were leaving Lake Louise, we noticed the parking for Moraine was open. We drove down this two lane mountain road, which seemed like it took forever, but the views of the mountains were stunning. You will dead end into the parking lot and I was already at a loss for words. I had done a lot of research about Moraine Lake and had found out the lake sits in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. I was sharing fun facts about Moraine Lake and the Ten Peaks in the weeks leading up to the trip, but I had no idea I would have the reaction I did. You can see some of the peaks when you are in the parking lot and you have two ways you can go when you get to the lake, the first is directly to the beach access and the second is a hiking trail that will take you to the spot when you can get that "million dollar photo." Because of who I am, I immediately hit the beach and started snapping photos. After taking far more photos than I should've, we headed over to the trail head and started the climb up. The trail is part dirt path and part stairs that will get you to the best view point. The stairs are made of stone and you need to pay attention to them because some are smaller than others. Before you know it you will come to the viewpoint and again, you will be at a loss of words. Moraine Lake is the lake that becomes the most intense shade of turquoise blue and with it sitting in the Valley of the Ten Peaks the views are just amazing. I could've spent all day sitting on the rocks and staring at the lake, who am I kidding, give me one of the cabins and I could stare at this view for the rest of my life! We made our way back down to the beach and found a tree to sit on. The four of us just sat there and took in all of the sites! There is a lodge at the lake, Moraine Lake Lodge, and it is the only accommodation at the lake. You can bet I will be staying here in the future! I could literally go on and on about Moraine and the experience I had, but I'll just let you admire the photos yourself!

The view of the peaks from the parking lot.

Heading out on the beach

The view from the beach

This is from the viewpoint after the hike up! WOW!


I refused to move from the rock for a while, so this is me taking in the sights!

I will have to canoe on my next trip!

Still stunning!

All of us at the viewpoint!

Mom and I back down on the beach!

All of us with this amazing lake!

There are still a few other lakes we did not see, but that is just more incentive to come back! If you are planning a trip to Banff, you will definitely need to schedule a few days to see them all and take in their beauty! All of these lakes are an experience and don't try to rush through your time there! Take in all of the beauty, because you will never forget it!

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