In 2017 we headed to Canada and explored the sights and sounds of Banff National Park. Surrounded by incredible views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park was simply breathtaking but more so for the beautiful lakes that were situated alongside them.
Before heading to Banff National Park you’re likely to do what we did and start planning your trip fully – what places to go to, what lakes to visit, where to drive and where to eat. Our research led us to discover the numerous lakes off the Icefields Parkway including the famous glacier-fed Peyto Lake.
Hiking to the Peyto Lake viewpoint
Getting the best view of Peyto Lake requires you to head off the Icefields Parkway to one of the two car parks at Bow Summit. Once parked up you will find an information board showing a map of the area, the route to walk along and some other information about the area such as Bow Summit’s elevation being 2085m (6840′).
From the car park you simply need to follow the other tourists (trust us, there will be other tourists here!) along the Timberline Trail. This is a short 10 minute hike that takes you straight to the Bow Summit viewpoint overlooking Peyto Lake. The elevation of the trail is around 30 metres (100 feet) and has one short, steep section. It isn’t steep enough to break your spirits however and believe me when I say that the view at the end will be more than worth it.
When you reach the end of the trail you essentially reach the edge of the mountain. Here there are very safe wooden walkways with barriers so you can be reassured that no-one will be falling off the edge. There are of course people who decide to jump over the barriers to try and get a better view of the lake but this really isn’t necessary – there isn’t any stopping other people of course!
Is Peyto Lake really that blue!?
The biggest draw to Peyto Lake for us was simply how blue the water looked in all of the photos online! Your first thoughts with this will likely be the same as ours were – it must be Photoshop! Having now stood there looking down on the lake first-hand however the reality couldn’t be any further from the truth – the lake is exactly as per the photos and certainly the bluest lake we’ve ever come across, even through the huge volume of smoke blowing in from the forest fires in America. It really is breathtaking.
So what’s the view like? Well, see for yourselves…
Visiting the Bow Summit viewpoint was incredibly special as the view over Peyto Lake was stunning – one of the best highlights of our trip to Banff National Park and more than recommended if you are heading out this way anytime soon. Don’t even think about skipping this location.
Have you visited the viewpoint of planning a trip here in the future? Let us know in the comments!