Peyto Lake was the last stop of our one-day roadtrip on the Icefields Parkway. This is another stop that doesn't require too much time, unless you want to go all the way to the Bow Summit Lookout, in which case you'll need at least 2 hours. Peyto Lake is located about 100 km north of Banff town, and it's one of the most popular stops on the Icefields Parkway. It was named after Bill Peyto, one the park's first wardens, and it's as famous for its rich turquoise color as it is for its unique shape (to me, it looks like a fox's or wolf's head) . From the parking lot, it is only a short 15-min walk uphill to reach the Peyto Lake viewpoint. Even if the wooden deck is quite large, because of how popular it is, you might actually have to wait in line to take your picture! Most people immediately walk back down to the parking lot after a few minutes, but it's also possible to follow the trail up to the Bow Summit Lookout (about 2 km from the Peyto Lake viewpoint with a total elevation gain of 230 m, but you climb a good part of it to access the Peyto Lake viewpoint). The first part of the trail is paved, and then it follows an old fire road to where a fire lookout tower used to be. The best thing about going out to the Bow Summit Lookout, aside from the even better views, is that it allows you to get away from the crowds. Since we got to Peyto Lake rather late during the day, I didn't have time to go all the way up to the lookout, but I can confirm that I was the only one on the trail and that the views of the valley down below were getting increasinngly better :o)
This lake, named for early trail guide Bill Peyto, was created by glacier runoff is known for it's crystal blue color. Trails lead to an overlook and also there's another trail around the lake. This picture is taken from Bow Summit overlook.
The absolute most beautiful place I've ever been. Visited the last of June in 2014. Once we arrived I was so taken back by the view and color of the Lake my breath was actually taken away. Please make the drive you'll be so glad you did.
Another one of the "must see" sites of Banff, and everyone knows it. We arrived here fairly early in the day, but already the lot was starting to fill up. From the parking lot, it's a short, but relatively steep climb up to the official viewpoint. Once you get here, expect it to be VERY crowded - full of tour buses and car visitors. Get what picture you can, then continue up the trail (they are fairly well marked.) Eventually, you branch off to a more primitive trail, but still fairly well marked and you end up on a wide rockpile with some great views of the lake. I think it took maybe an extra 20 minutes to throw this loop trail onto our visit - completely worth the extra time investment to get a little solitude and a great view of the lake.
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.
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 .......