17 Best Alberta Lakes to Check Out (PHOTOS)

Ready for a staycation and looking for beautiful places to relax and unwind in the province? We’ve got you covered, rounding up some of the best Alberta lakes you need to check out.

So call your boss and book those vacation days. You’ll want to knock at less some of those places this summer.

Banff

Moraine Lake

Mitchell Yarn/Daily Hive

A visit to Moraine Lake in Banff National Park is a peak Rocky Mountain experience, with its blue-green color a highlight of a visit to the water near the hamlet of Lake Louise. Walk around the area during your visit or hire a canoe and glide across the turquoise water. We strongly suggest you do! It is certainly one of the most recognizable lakes not only in Alberta, but also across Canada.

Lake Louise

Alberta lakes

Mitchell Yarn/Daily Hive

Jewel of the Rockies, Lake Louise is another spot in Banff that offers turquoise waters and stunning mountain views. Hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse and admire the Victoria Glacier while you’re there too.

The Lake Louise and Lake Moraine parking lots fill up very quickly during peak hours, so wake up early to secure your spot!

Bow Lake

TRphotos/Shutterstock

One of the many lakes that line the Icefields Parkway, this lake turns a dazzling blue during the summer months due to the melting of a nearby glacier. The lake is the source of the Bow River, which runs through Banff itself as well as Canmore and Calgary. It’s a perfect place to stop for a hike, a picnic or an Instagram photo. That’s all !

Lake Agnes

Alberta lakes

Mitchell Yarn/Daily Hive

Looking for a reward after a hike? Not only will you see Lake Agnes, but there is also a seasonal tea house where you can stop for a bite to eat or a drink while taking in the beautiful scenery. The nearly seven-mile round-trip trail can get busy at times, thanks to its proximity to Lake Louise. If you take the trail around the lake and follow a switchback trail, you’ll end up with amazing aerial views of Lake Louise. We highly recommend it!

Peyto Lake

alberta

Peyto Lake, Banff/Shutterstock National Park

A lake instantly recognizable (we’ve probably all seen it on the Insta feed of a hiker friend or two), Peyto Lake is known for its vibrant blue water. Banff National Park seems to have a few, which means we have to see them all! The lake is about 40 kilometers north of Lake Louise, and a hike to a lookout offers views that will amaze you.

Lake Minnewanka

Lake Minnewanka/Shutterstock

Drive just 10 kilometers north of the town of Banff and you will reach Lake Minnewanka. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and go canoeing, kayaking or boating. This lake is so close to Banff it’s hard to miss!

Jasper

Pyramid Lake

Alberta lakes

Mitchell Yarn/Daily Hive

One of the most visited natural sites in Jasper National Park, Pyramid Lake sits right at the base of Pyramid Mountain. It’s a great place to spend the day, canoeing, kayaking or just taking a little stroll along the shores. It is only a few kilometers from the townsite of Jasper; it’s a nice and easy escape from your hotel to enjoy nature.

Maligne Lake

Alberta lakes

Mitchell Yarn/Daily Hive

Pointing as the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies, Maligne Lake stretches past serene Spirit Island to the meltwater channels of the Coronet Glacier. The massive 22 kilometer long lake contains Spirit Island in the middle of the lake, which is one of the most iconic places in the Rockies. It is accessible by tour boat or private non-motorized watercraft. Maligne Lake is surely one of the most impressive lakes in Alberta, hands down!

medicine lake

medicine lake

Medicine Lake/Shutterstock

When you go to visit Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park, it’s about two to one, as you’ll pass Medicine Lake on your way to Maligne. The vastness of this lake is almost breathtaking, but if you visit and there is simply no water, it is Okay. It was supposed to happen! The lake is notorious for its water disappearing during the fall and winter months, when it becomes little more than a mudflat. Visit it in the height of summer, and the seven-kilometre-long lake is all yours.

Central Alberta

Lake Sylvain

Alberta lakes

Arlene Grace Evangelista/Shutterstock

Just outside of Red Deer, Sylvan Lake is a great summer town. There’s even a lighthouse there! Go boating, fishing, kayaking, canoeing – anything water related, you can do it there. During the summer months, Sylvan can certainly be one of the busiest lakes in Alberta. Grab a spot on the beach early and embrace the crowds.

Gull Lake

Kyle Fujita/Shutterstock

With its wide sandy beaches, Gull Lake in central Alberta is perfect for a sun-filled, beach-filled weekend getaway. Aspen Beach Provincial Park is located on the southwest shore of Gull Lake. It’s just west of Lacombe, known for its adorable main street.

In all the Rockies

Kananaskis Lakes

kananaskis

Upper Kananaskis Lake (Shutterstock)

Visiting Kananaskis Lakes is like literally enter the photo of a postcard. A beautiful lake, soaring mountains and thick wilderness. Once you visit, you’ll want to visit Peter Lougheed Provincial Park every summer. It is also a place where some Brokeback Mountain was filmed. The iconic line “I wish I knew how to leave you”? Yeah, that’s Upper Kananaskis Lake in the background throughout the scene.

Grassi Lakes

grassy lakes

Grassi Lakes/Shutterstock

It’s an easy hike with a big payoff. Grassi Lakes is a Canmore classic. There are two emerald-colored lakes to enjoy on a hike that only takes a few hours, and if you’re lucky you may also see rock climbers scaling a cliff. There are two trails to choose from, one marked “easy” and the other “difficult”. If you choose the more challenging route, an excellent view of the Canmore townsite awaits.

Rawson Lake

Alberta lakes

Mitchell Yarn/Daily Hive

Getting to Rawson Lake is a bit of a hike, but damn it, it’s worth it in the end. The lake is surrounded by picturesque mountain views, and if the lake is low enough, you can also walk along the edge on the other side.

To get to the lake, start at the trailhead just west of the Upper Kananaskis Lake parking lot. From here you will walk briefly along the lake, passing a waterfall and a stream. It’s one of the most beautiful places in all of K-Country, and we have to say it’s one of the most beautiful lakes in Alberta that isn’t in a national park.

Lake Abraham

alberta ice bubbles

CoolPhoto2/Shutterstock, Shawna and Damien Richard/Shutterstock

This lake near Nordegg is widely known for its icy bubbles during the winter months, but it’s equally stunning all year round. Abraham Lake is approximately 3.5 hours from Edmonton and Calgary and is the perfect weekend getaway. Check out the many hiking trails around the lake while you’re there.

Northern Alberta

Lesser Slave Lake

GeGiGoggle/Shutterstock

Considered Alberta’s largest lake accessible only by car, Lesser Slave Lake is just 2.5 hours north of Edmonton and offers white-sand beaches to lay your towel on and soak up the sun.

Southern Alberta

Waterton Lake

Upper Waterton Lake, Alberta (Nina B/Shutterstock)

With its beautiful blue waters and deep roots in Canadian history, Waterton Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park is the perfect place to brush up on your side story while relaxing and taking in the scenic views. The park is located three hours south of Calgary and spills into the US state of Montana, where it becomes Glacier National Park.

Elkwater Lake

Todamo/Shutterstock

Relax on the beach, go boating, swimming or hiking on a beautiful summer day. There are plenty of things to do at Elkwater Lake in Cypress Hills Provincial Park in southeastern Alberta. Stop in the tourist community of Elkwater for some treats and check out the cabins there.

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