Peyto Lake really is that blue? Yes it is! Those amazing postcard pictures you see are not enhanced. In fact, it could be said that this is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Peyto Lake is located in Banff National Park approximately 40km’s northwest of Lake Louise. It can be best viewed from the Bow Summit along the Columbia Icefields Parkway. The lake gets it’s colour from the large amounts of glacier rock flour that flow into it during the summer months. The colour varies depending on the season and even with the time of day. The views from the Peyto Lake Lookout in Winter are just as stunning. Due to the abundance of snow in the winter season, the Bow Summit area makes for the perfect place to snowshoe and cross country ski.
Directions To Peyto Lake Lookout At The Bow Summit
Access to the Icefields Parkway is on the Trans Canada Hwy #1 just minutes west of Lake Louise. It’s approximately 40km’s to the Bow Summit where the Peyto Lake Lookout is located. Watch for the sign marking the Bow Summit. Shortly after turning off the parkway the lower parking lot will be on your right hand side
At the far end of the parking there is an information sign and wooden washroom facility that marks the start of the paved trail. It will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to hike up to the Peyto Lake lookout. It does cover some considerable elevation. Drive past the entrance to the main parking lot if anyone in your party is not capable of walking it. Follow the road up to the second lot, it is for buses and handicapped access. You can drop of member of your party here. From the parking lot the lookout can be reached via a short level trail.
Avoiding The Summer Crowds
The viewing platform overlooks the lake and surrounding mountain valley. In the busy summer months be prepared to share it with the hoards of tour bus crowds. At times it can be hard to even get onto the platforms or see over the people to take in the views.
Just prior to reaching the platform area is a makeshift trail to the right that leads into the trees. If you make your way down the trail it will take you to another viewpoint. It’s just a couple of minutes away, but it gives you almost complete solitude from the crowds. There is no platform and nothing to stop you from going over the edge, so don’t get too close. There is a large flat area to sit and be mesmerized by this astounding natural wonder.
Other ways to avoid the crowds are to show up in the morning or late in the afternoon or early evening when the tour buses have gone through for the day.