Flanked by placid alpine mountains, the beautiful lakes in Canada make a legendary travel destination. Whether you are looking for adventure or tranquility, you will find them on the shorelines of these aquamarine moanas. Some of them boast a hue so bright that you will have to see it to believe it. Our tip to you will be to take charged cameras because there is no refraining from capturing mother nature in all her glory!
Make most of the trip by traveling between June through mid-December. These are the months in which the glacier lakes of Canada thaw and give way to thrilling water activities.
Curate the perfect lake-ringed itinerary for the Great White North with the help of this list that catalogs the most beautiful lakes in Canada.
Famous lakes in Canada
Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta
Lake Louise is probably the most famous lake in Alberta and is affectionately called the Lakes of Little Fishes.
Located in the Banff National Park, it is a hike or short drive away from the namesake hamlet. Situated close to the Trans-Canada Highway, Lake Louise is easy to access.
Although smaller in size than the rest, this lake is spectacular.
You can come here just for its glacier-fed beauty or the hiking trails that surround it.
Nature-lovers can climb the watchful Fairview Mountain to get a birds-eye view of the lake and its parent, Victoria Glacier in the background. The short hike also makes for a great side-adventure as you spend the time admiring the turquoise waters.
Wade if you can and swim if you dare. But, do not leave without kayaking or paddling across its mount-reflecting waters.
Did you know that Banff is also an amazing winter destination? Here is a list of the best winter activities in Banff. If you love hiking, you should take a look at our post about the best winter hikes around Banff and Lake Louise.
Wondering where to stay in Banff? Take a look at our overview in which we share 15 amazing Airbnbs in and near Banff.
Here you can find more tips about visiting the Rocky Mountains during winter.
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, British Columbia
Cupped in the Canadian Rockies, the Emerald Lake is a feast for the sore eyes!
It is the largest of the 61 lakes in Yoho National Park. Emerald is also one of the most famous lakes in Canada and rightly named after a jewel. Its bright greenish-blue color and placid waters paint a picturesque landscape. Excursionists will find the setting perfect for paddling a canoe.
Surrounding the lake is a thrilling hiking trail that goes all the way up to the jagged Hallet Peak. The trail is only a 5.6 km roundtrip and rewards the hikers with outstanding views of the Emerald Lake. With an elevation gain of just 650 feet, the hike is a family-friendly stroll.
Pegged on its shore is the premium Emerald Lodge, which is an amazing accommodation and an indefinite window to the unreal scenery.
Medicine Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Another famous mere in Alberta, the Medicine Lake is located just 20km southeast of Jasper town. What makes the lake popular is its disappearing water!
The mysterious effect is so magical, it attracts tourists from around the world. If you visit Medicine during the summer, you will come across a stunning Canadian lake. On the other hand, if you make the same trip in the fall, you will find a water body that is nowhere as glamorous or more than a dull mudflat.
Blame the sinkholes and drainage system at the bottom of the Medicine Lake for this dramatic change in the scenery.
Besides its scenic beauty, the area offers hiking trails too.
The best trek is the South Boundary Trail. At the trailhead, you will find the Beaver Summit and the Jacques Lake, where you can enjoy fishing and biking.
If you climb upwards, the Rockies will offer some breathtaking, sweeping views of the Maligne Valley and Medicine Lake.
Spotted Lake, British Columbia
While there is no shortage of beautiful lakes in Canada, there is no other lake that can rival the distinct beauty of Spotted.
Located near Osoyoos in British Columbia, the Spotted Lake is famous for its eponymous phenomena. It is not your quintessential emerald or turquoise.
The color it gets isn’t a reflection of a verdant valley, but of a variety of minerals that fill the lake.
In addition to the unique colors, you will find the lake oddly patterned in round spots. In summer, when the water evaporates and the spots harden, the lake looks exceptional.
Unfortunately, you cannot wade or walk anywhere near Spotted Lake. You can only watch and admire it from behind the surrounding fence.
Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Yet another famous lake in Alberta Rockies, Maligne is the park’s largest lake and is best described as glorious. Stretched out over 21km, it is also the longest lake in the Canadian Rockies.
Found in the Jasper National Park, this blue lake is famous for its landmark islet, Spirit Island. You can take a boat ride across the turquoise water to reach the islet.
In addition to scenic views, the lake scape is also famous for its wildlife. The forest that engulfs the lake is home to elks, deer, and even bears.
Spend a day on the islet and you are likely to catch a glimpse of these forest inhabitants.
Note to keep a distance, especially when you encounter bears.
Are you traveling to Jasper and wonder where to stay? Take a look at these Airbnbs in Banff.
Pyramid Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta
When it comes to the lakes of Canada, you will find variety galore. After the unusual Spotted Lake, Pyramid comes next in line with its unique kidney shape.
Huddled at the foot of Pyramid Mountain, the lake is one of the 20 small lakes that nestle in the Pyramid Bench area.
The beautiful lake is created by the retreating glaciers. Its small, placid waters make a great spot for water activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddling.
Wending in the mountains that surround the Pyramid Lake are several scenic lakeshore trails.
Most of these treks connect the lake with the town and other picturesque attractions.
If you come here near winter, the sky over the lake puts up a vivid show of Aurora Borealis.
Make a day out of it by packing lunch and having a lakeside picnic while bird watching and spotting wildlife.
Nobody at a glance can ever tell that Abraham Lake is man-made.
Burbling on the North Saskatchewan River, this artificial lake is every bit as beautiful as the natural ones.
Within weeks after the onset of winter, Abraham turns into a winter wonderland.
Making the lake one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada are its ice bubbles. As the water turns to ice, these bubbles become more noticeable.
Look around and you will find camera-toting photographers in every direction trying to take Instagram-worthy pictures of this uncommon phenomenon.
The open sky above the lake often fills with Northern Lights to pave way for eye-popping astrophotography.
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While the entire lake is gorgeous, there are two popular vantage points – Preachers Point and Windy Point.
Besides enjoying the blue slushy lake, also stroll through the nearby Cline River which is popular for its narrow canyon icefalls.
Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta
Famous for its deep turquoise, almost-aquamarine color, the Peyto Lake is a must-visit when in Canada. This brilliant hue is attributed to the glacial rock flour that flows in the lake.
Visit in Summer, because that’s when the color is the brightest.
The best views of the lake can be enjoyed from the Bow Summit. It is a 6.6km roundtrip with moderate traffic and an elevation gain of 313 meters. On your way to the top, you might encounter the Alberta wildlife such as beavers.
Pack a meal to enjoy a small picnic on the summit that overlooks the magnificent lake.
Lake Superior, Ontario
Created millions of years ago by volcanic actions, Lake Superior is the largest and most majestic of the Great Lakes of North America. With a shoreline that wends across 2,938 km, the lake borders Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Since the lake spreads across multiple states in two countries, you will find plenty of vantage points to admire it. In Canada, the best view on Lake Superior is offered at the Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario.
The park is about an hour north of Sault Ste. Marie. The region is replete with high cliffs, intriguing coves, sandy beaches, and inviting islands.
Collected between the rocks of the shoreline are many pools where you can go for a swim.
Take the trailhead to the Orphan Lake to get the widest view of Lake Superior.
Moraine Lake, Banff National park
Bike, hike, canoe, or just gaze upon one of the most photographed lakes in Canada and the world. The unbelievably bright hue of this lake will fill you with awe.
Take it from us, bring the highest-capacity memory card because you are going to need it.
Cupped in a valley that boasts green and brown shades, the lake stands out beautifully.
To get the best view of the entire valley, take the hike to the “Twenty Dollar View”. Follow the Rockpile Trail to reach the vantage point. It is easy, accessible, and short.
The viewpoint is named after the twenty-dollar bill that circulated between 1969-79. It featured the lake’s picture as taken from this summit.
If you love hiking, you should definitely check out this post which covers the best Moraine Lake hikes.
If you visit the lake during fall, you will find the valley deep in Feuille-Morte larches.
Horseshoe Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta
One of the deepest lakes in Jasper, Horseshoe hosts an array of water activities and is best explored on a hot day.
It is the best natural swimming hole in the region.
You can dive off a cliff, go fishing, and enjoy boat rides. If you are an intrepid traveler, you will love the option of scuba diving.
Tourists also come here for cliff jumping. The highest cliff flanking the lake is 80 feet high.
You can also follow the lakeshore to reach a boat craft launch. It is perfect for canoes and kayaks. For the holidaymakers, the lakeside is a great spot to picnic and enjoy warm summer days.
Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park
Streaming in the eastern part of the park, Lake Minnewanka is the second longest lake of Canadian Rockies. At 142 meters, it is also one of the deepest. This is why many scuba divers from across the world visit the lake to take a steep plunge.
Its most fascinating part is not what is visible but what is not! Deep inside the lake is a submerged village, a dam, and a bridge. When the water level rose in the 20th century, an entire resort and nearby areas immersed into the lake creating Canada’s own mini Atlantis.
Visit the lake around November to witness the enchanting Northern Lights filling the sky in green hues.
The frozen lake is also a popular spot for ice skating.
In a nutshell, it is a perennial tourist spot that you can visit anytime through the year and still enjoy it.
Great Bear Lake
The grizzly lake is the biggest lake with all its shores within Canada with an expansive surface area of 31,150 km2. The lake takes its name after the barren land bears that walk on its eastern shores.
Great Bear Lake has been popular among the fishing community since times immemorial. The fishing lodges surrounding it have claimed some of the largest recorded lake trout time after time.
However, due to heavy metal and mercury building up in the lake, fishing is now almost completely retrained.
But that doesn’t stop tourists from enjoying the massive lake’s far-fetched horizon. It also hosts water activities abound. You can boat, kayak, and canoe across it.
Teeming with natural beauty, Canada is a dream for travelers and holidaymakers. Its trail-ringed precipitous mountains are difficult but delight to climb. Their crowning summits offer such spectacular rewarding views, your heart will skip a beat.
Decking these romantic panoramas are the country’s turquoise lakes. Some big, others small, the beautiful lakes of Canada boast hypnotic beauty!
What’s more? They are surrounded by exciting hiking trails, bordered with wildflowers and sometimes inhabited by beavers. Scattered around these lakes are tall trees that add a refreshing element to the entire scene.
You can spend the day tracing the shorelines, climbing the hiking trails, or picnicking. You may be a sports-enthusiast visiting for diving and kayaking or a wildlife lover there for birdwatching.
The vivid, activity-jammed lake scapes will not disappoint.
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