If you are planning to drive the beautiful Icefields Parkway then Peyto Lake is a must see! Yes, from the parking lot it's only a short trail up to the viewpoint and it can get very crowded up here...especially in the summer months. Try and plan your visit before 10.00am or after 4.00pm to avoid the large crowds. If you have a couple of hours to spend then I suggest you continue on from the viewing platform to the Bow Summit Lookout trail which takes you away from the crowds while still enjoying the gorgeous views.
Many people walk only the paved nature trail to the Peyto Lake viewing platform. However, if you continue past the viewing platform and climb another 3km (1.9 miles) to the Bow Summit Lookout you will find some amazing views away from all the crowds. In my mind definitely worth it if you have a couple of hours for this hike. Here is a link to a PDF file with a very good description of this trail: Bow Summit Lookout Trail
One of the most gorgeous gems of the Rockies is Peyto Lake, a shimmering, large turqouise lake just north of Bow Summit. Massive peaks and the Wapta Icefield tower over the lake, shaped like either an angel, or a dog (use your imagination!). The most popular viewpoint of the lake is from Bow Summit: from a parking lot, a 10-minute paved trail leads uphill to a wooden viewing platform with an absolute stunning view of the lake and a forested valley to the north. Expect it to be crowded though! Tour buses roll through every couple minutes and drop tons of tourists who run to the viewpoint and snap a few shorts before leaving; while that certainly allows you to see the lake, plan on allotting more time to appreciate an absolute wonder. A number of plaques along the trail give a good description of the natural environment of the area; one of them allows you to compare the now-small Peyto Glacier to what it looked like at the beginning of the 20th century.
Peyto Lake is named after an early 20th Century explorer, Bill Peyton. The lake is situated on the Icefields Parkway and the lake is fed from glacier which is shrinking rapidly and this is monitored by scientists at an automatic weather station nearby. You look at the lake and the surrounding area, Wapta Icefield that sits on the Continental divide, down below from a view point.
Peyto lake was gorgeous! a short 10 minute hike brings you to a viewing area where you get a panoramic view of the lake and the mountain that stand by the shores. Shaped like the head of a wolf, the lake exhibits that sparking blue colour that Ablerta glacial lakes all have. Don't even think about skipping this stop as it is directly along the icefields parkway and there are many signs pointing you here.
Named for Ebenezer William Peyto, an early trail guide and trapper in the Banff area, PEYTO LAKE is a glacier fed lake located in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies.
The lake is best seen from Bow Summit, the highest point on the Icefield Parkway.
.... or blue, or turquoise, I don't know exactly, but it was amazing.
What an incredible beautiful view from the look out, which we reached after a short walk from the car park, more or less along Icefields Parkway (highway 93).
It is not only Peyto Lake, but also the view over the valley, which makes this stop along Icefields Parkway a 'must'.
Along the 'track' to the look out we saw lots of alpine flowers and squirrels.
Chances are, if you have seen a calendar with pictures of the Canadian Rockies, the will be a photo of Peyto Lake. My pictures did not turn out a nice as others I have seen. There was a lot of cloud cover which threw off the lighting. From the parking spot at the south end of the lake, there is a short trail that leads to a viewing platform. You can see the streams from the glaciers that feed the lake. On sunny days, this lake is an incredible blue color.
This was our first stop on Highway 93 from Lake Louise to Jasper via the Icefields Parkway.
The hike up to Bow Summit is easy to moderate (maybe 10 minutes uphill). It was mid-summer, so many of the wild flowers were already turning. There were still some pretty ones to look at. We did not hike around the area because there were no other viewpoints.
Well. maybe not ... but one of the amazing and awe inspiring things about the glacial lakes in the parks her are their colors .... this one is an amazing blue color .... and an interesting shape too :) I"m glad I listened to others along my route, and they were right, Peyto was worth the stop ...
Be prepared for some cardio work on your way to the lookout ..... my goodness, it is very steep! For my first wander of the day, I wasn't prepared to work that hard to get to the view! Luckily, you can stop and read some of the informational plaques along the way while you catch your breath ...... a less obvious manner in which to rest your lungs :)
My favorite picture of Peyto is on my Banff page, This picture is not as ... picturesque, but I love it as it displays the glacial edge of the lake, and still shows the amazing blueness of the water .......
The Icefields Parkway has beautiful views around every corner. There is no shortage for places to stop and snap a couple photos. Preyto Lake however, may take the prize as one of the best. The lake is just off the main highway. About a 15 min hike from the parking lot. The color of the lake is unreal and even makes many tourists ask how the tourism industry has made it that color!!! A great place to stop.
Another great lake. From the parking lot leads a steep but easy tarmac path to a lookout platform that provides a great view of the lake lying beneath you.
Again, a very blue lake. And look at the shape. It is not so hard to distinguish a light blue bear in the shape of the lake.
Peyto Lake is a well known viewpoint along the Icefield Parkway (Highway 93).
The viewpoint is around a 5 - 10 minute walk from the parking lot, and they even let you drive handicapped people up to the viewpoint.
The Peyto Lake viewpoint gives you this famous view of Peyto Lake as well as describing the natural history behind the lake and reason for the name (some prospector's name).
Peyto Lake is was one of the highlights of our trip along the Icefield Parkway (Highway 93).
Having been unlucky the day before with the weather, we were delighted we got to see Peyto Lake looking its best in a clear sunny day!
Peyto Lake is located between Bow Lake and Mistaya Lake on highway 93. You should follow signs for the Bow Summit and / or Peyto Lake Viewpoint ..... they share the same car park.
Once parked, the veiwing point is around a 5 - 10 minute walk along a path that starts at the far end of the car park. Its an easy walk, and well worth it!
The Peyto Lake viewpoint gives you not only a stunning view of Peyto Lake itself, but also gives you an excellent view of mountains away in the distance ..... Mountains incidentally that you will drive passed if you are going to Jasper!
This should definetly be on your "to do" list if driving on the Icefield Parkway!
You can see the route the glacier took when it cut through this valley. And still today snow and ice melt off the mountain and follow the glacier's path to replenish Peyto Lake with fresh glacial water.
The first time we visited Peyto Lake, the glacier was not visible because of the snowstorm. However, when we returned the next afternoon we got a good look at the glacier that left the moraine (a moraine is a type of natural dam created by debris deposited by a retreating glacier) that created Peyto Lake. As you can see the glacier has retreated well up the mountainside.