The most memorable parts of my trip to the Canadian Rockies were the area’s magnificent lakes. These are the unforgettable three I long to return to.
I was unprepared for Canada’s beauty. In pictures, it looked extraordinary. In real life? Holy moly, it took the breath right out of me. I began my trip in Calgary, traveled through the Rockies, and concluded in Vancouver, with a bit of the island too. I’ll never forget this holiday for lots of weird and wonderful reasons.
Now, for lakes in Western Canada, there are plenty of contenders. My personal favorites reflect the time, place, and people I was with while visiting. For reference, my boyfriend’s family took me on this insanely fabulous trip, and for that, I feel super lucky.
So, without further ado, let’s get into the three lakes you must visit on any trip to the Canadian Rockies. For reference, we can find all my top three picks in the Western state of Alberta (sorry British Columbia, I love you too). You’ve probably heard of some of them, and if you haven’t, even better. You’re in for a treat.
Lake Louise, Banff National Park
I’ve started with perhaps the most famous lake in Western Canada. I had previously seen this lake on Where’s Mollie‘s Instagram page (definitely worth a follow for those wanting any travel inspiration). She was canoeing on the gorgeous, turquoise water with her mom. When we arrived, I knew I recognized it from somewhere, and lo-and-behold, I was at the exact spot.
With the Victoria Glacier as its backdrop, it looks like a postcard, right? We set off ridiculously early to ensure we could catch the epic sunrise. The water was so peaceful and still. To miss the crowds, I recommend arriving early in the morning, because by 9 am the crowds expand. You can rent canoes from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the luxurious building gracing the lake’s edge.
For us, we were also there to hike the Lake Agnes Trail, a 3.5k distance from Lake Louise, up into the woods. At the top, we rewarded ourselves with breakfast at The Tea House, a charming wooden cafe nestled right next to Lake Agnes. It was fascinating to learn about life up there. Staff members hike up and down 2-4 times a week, spending summers living up there. They produce homemade bread, cakes, and sandwiches with no electricity, taking bags of rubbish down with each journey. The views are breathtaking. I was so jealous they called it home!
Despite its name, there is nothing mini about this lake. In fact, it’s the largest lake in Banff National Park, and possibly the funniest one to pronounce! I took this photograph thinking my phone camera wouldn’t pick the rainbow up, but it did! The water was gorgeously warm, and I could have spent all day lost in the view.
This lake is also known as the “Lake of the Spirits.” Why? Well, legend has it that a half-man, half-fish inhabited the lake, striking fear and panic in those who saw it. The remains of the Merman of Lake Minnewanka are found at the old Indian Trading Post in Banff, Alberta.
It’s a popular lake for fishing and scuba diving, of which we did neither, but if I returned, I would certainly give them a go. You can also take advantage of boat tours, swimming, and the well-kept bike trail. We didn’t have much information about Lake Minnewanka, only that we were passing by it on our journey. So this is the kind of view tourists stumble across in Canada? Wow, it blew me away.
Surrounding peaks and towering greenery frame Maligne Lake. While many lakes in the Rockies belong in Banff National Park, there are many in Jasper too. This lake is no exception and is the second-largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies.
Not usually a spot for swimming (the water is ice cold), but frequented for its hiking, biking, fishing, and boat tour opportunities. You can easily spend a day here getting lost in and exploring the scenery. Picnic tables litter the water’s edge, perfect for a spot of grub before, or after, the day’s activities.
Depending on your travel party, or if you’re up for a challenge, the 44km Skyline Trail begins at Maligne Lake, finishing near Jasper town. It’s one of the most photogenic locations in Jasper National Park, so be sure to take lots of photographs.
In summary, my trip to the Canadian Rockies was a genuinely inspiring, beautiful, and eye-opening experience. It was lake, after lake, after lake, and trust me; you never get bored. If you haven’t yet been, or have but you want to return, I hope I have ignited something inside you to make you want to catch the next plane (when it’s safe to do so)!
These are the three lakes in the Canadian Rockies that made the biggest impression on me. Which lakes do you have your eyes on? What have I missed?