Where to Find Canada's Most Hypnotic Lakes

Cool blue waters, breathtaking mountains and rich forests – what doesn’t Canada have to offer tourists? If you’re looking for some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery, look no further than its lakes. Whether it’s the beautiful blue glacial lakes, or the massive swells of Lake Superior that you’re after, Canada has a lake for everyone. Which one is yours? 

Lake Louise [Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada]

Lake Louise, Alberta | We’ll start with the obvious. Lake Louise is simply a stunner. With the Fairmount Chateau at one end and the feather-white Victoria Glacier at the other, it’s tough to know where to turn your camera first. Whatever you do, be sure to leave the viewing areas and head out on your own. 

Rent a kayak and experience the view from the water. Take the moderate Plain of Six Glaciers hike, which is routinely ranked one of the most beautiful in the Rockies. It’s not every day you can stop at a teahouse mid-hike and then continue on to a mountain pass viewpoint. 

Lake Superior North Shore [Ontario, Canada]

Lake Superior, Ontario | The top part of Lake Superior juts into Ontario and is accessible from several national and provincial parks. The Trans-Canada highway passes through Lake Superior Provincial Park, making it easy to stop off for a day or two. Soak up with lake’s rough, ocean-like shoreline. Explore the pictographs Ojibwe have left on Agawa Rock. Waterfall lovers are in for a treat as multiple cascades drain into the big lake. Pack a tent and strong footwear to explore the park’s most off-the-beaten-path locations around Canada’s largest lake. 

Otter Lake, Saskatchewan | Fur traders used Otter Lake and the hundreds of lakes nearby to transport pelts back to eastern markets. Today you can fly or drive to this lake system in Northern Saskatchewan, but the clear skies and pristine lakes are much as they were when canoeing was the only option. Check into a campsite at Lac La Ronge Provincial Park and take your canoe off the top of your car. 

As you paddle through the chilly waters of northern Canada, you’ll glimpse otters, beavers, muskrats and many other beautiful animals. Be sure to take a midnight paddle when all the stars are out. 

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park [Alberta, Canada]

Peyto Lake, Alberta | Peyto Lake is another Banff National Park showstopper. It stretches out like an aquamarine string bean hugging the richly forested valley floor. Most people view Peyto Lake from an overlook on Bow Summit off the impressive Ice Fields Parkway drive. For the more adventurously inclined, you can hike away from the crowded tourist lookout to nearby mountains, or even down to the lake and its slowly receding glacier. Is Peyto Lake Canada’s most beautiful lake? We’ll leave the decision up to you. 

Moraine Lake, Rocky Mountains [Alberta, Canada]

Moraine Lake, Alberta | Like the other lakes at Banff National Park, Moraine Lake turns a distinct aquamarine during the months when the glaciers melt into the lake and deposit whitish rock flour. Hike up the Rockpile Trail for a gentle walk along the lake’s shoreline and a million dollar view from the top of the rocks. Around you, the Ten Peaks clock in at more than 10,000-foot elevations. If you want to go further, you can keep scrambling over the rock pile towards the Consolation Lakes.

Lake Athabasca, Saskatchewan | Lake Athabasca straddles the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta. You have to fly in to get there, but as your seaplane touches down on the choppy blue waters, it will be instantly worth it. The towering Athabasca sand dunes line the southern edge of the lake. Record-breaking trout, northern pike and walleyes swim in the waters. Sightsee at the dunes or go fishing.  

Magnificent morning on Pyramid Lake [Alberta, Canada]

Pyramid Lake, Alberta | The tranquil waters of Pyramid Lake reflect the snow-covered slopes of Pyramid Mountain, making it a photographer’s paradise especially when the sun is rising. Elk, deer, black bears and moose roam the Douglas Fir forests around the lake. While it’s fun to see them, be sure and keep your distance.

Mountain bikers love Pyramid Lake for its abundance of old fir roads. Birders flock to the cottonwood slough where barred owls, golden eyes and pied-billed grebe feed and nest. If you’re a diver with a wetsuit, the bottom of Pyramid Lake contains the remains of a top-secret ship building exercise Churchill commissioned during WWII.  

Sherbrooke Lake [British Columbia, Canada]

Sherbrooke Lake, British Columbia | Yoho National Park is a sleeper when it comes to stunning lakes. Just take a look at Sherbrooke Lake. The lake’s glacier-fed waters are a deep aquamarine and reflect the towering landscapes of the Canadian Rockies.  You can take the short hike to the lake for photographs, or discover the mountaineering routes than lead upward onto the towering Waputik Icefield. Since most tourists concentrate their efforts on nearby Kicking Horse Pass, you should have Sherbrooke Lake mostly to yourself. 

Emerald Lake, British Columbia | Emerald Lake is one of Yoho National Park’s most visited lakes and for good reason. This green-colored body of water is Yoho’s largest lake with a three mile hiking trail around it and plenty of canoe rentals for exploration. In the winter, this tranquil area turns into a hotbed of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing. 

Capilano Reservoir [West Vancouver, British Columbia]

Capilano Lake, British Columbia | Serene Capilano Lake provides metro Vancouver with much of its tap water. It’s also an idyllic place for a picnic or a morning hike. For an incredible view of Capilano Canyon, set out over the Capilano Lake Bridge and begin hiking deep into British Columbia’s lush rainforest. 

The cool and misty landscape is studded by tinkling waterfalls and you’ll get to cross the Capilano River on the dangling Pipe Bridge. Catch glimpses of the canyon before looping back to Capilano Lake. 

Take your love of lakes underground. Here are 7 Underground Lakes Spelunkers Will Worship.  


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Carmen Fifield

The delight of finding an unknown park, a captivating history museum or a fantastic desert means exploration is never far from Carmen Fifield’s mind. Carmen’s favorite travel memories include biking to historic sites on the island of Guernsey, huffing and puffing up the stairs to the Great Wall of China and eating the most delicious crab cake ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Carmen’s Favorite Travel Tip: Say goodbye to airplane food and tuck some fruit and your favorite sandwich into your carry-on.