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Peyto Lake

This glacial lake draws visitors for its turquoise waters and surrounding mountain scenery.

Peyto Lake is one of the most popular attractions in Banff National Park. It turns aqua blue in summer, creating a beautiful sight as the water is surrounded by snow-capped peaks.

The lookout high above the lake is the best place to see the water. Not many visitors hike down to the lake itself. There’s a car park just off the highway, and it’s a 10 to 15 minute walk to the lookout. The trail is paved and suitable for just about any fitness level. A second car park closer to the lookout is for tourist buses and disabled parking.

The lake is 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Lake Louise, and about 63 miles (100 kilometers) north of Banff. Rent a car from either town and drive the scenic Icefields Parkway. Several tour companies run day trips through the National Park, and most include a stop at Peyto Lake Lookout.

Enjoy the uninterrupted views across snow-capped peaks, valleys, forests and the lake from the wooden viewing platform suspended over the edge of the mountain.

The lake is fed by glaciers. Rock particles enter the water when the glaciers melt in summer, which gives the water its turquoise color. The view is still worth the trip in winter, when the lake freezes over and the landscape is covered with snow.

Tourist buses bring big crowds to the lookout in summer. Sometimes it can be hard to even get a foot on the viewing platform. Come before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. to avoid the rush. Otherwise, continue on past the lookout. A 2-mile (3-kilometer) trail leads to Bow Summit Lookout. Fewer people take this route, so it’s less crowded, and there are some great photo opportunities.

A second trail leads from the Peyto Lake Lookout down to the lake. You’ll need several hours to attempt the return hike.

Popular Activities at Peyto Lake

Get the most out of your visit to Peyto Lake. Here's a list of the top activities:

Do you want to make your visit a bit more special? A The Icefields Parkway Tour and a Full-Day Columbia Icefield Tour are both worth looking into.

For many more things to do, peruse our Banff things to do page.


Map

Top Hotel Deals

See all 22 Properties near Peyto Lake
Simpson's Num-ti-jah Lodge
Simpson's Num-ti-jah Lodge

Simpson's Num-ti-jah Lodge

Icefields Parkway,, Bow Lake, Alberta
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in Bow Lake, this lodge is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Icefields Parkway and 2 mi (3.3 km) from Crowfoot Glacier. Peyto Lake is 3.8 mi (6.1 km) away.

    HI-Mosquito Creek Hostel
    HI-Mosquito Creek Hostel

    HI-Mosquito Creek Hostel

    Highway 93, Bow Lake, AB
       
      1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Bow Lake, this hostel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Icefields Parkway and within 12 mi (20 km) of Peyto Lake and Crowfoot Glacier. Lake Louise Mountain Resort and Lake Louise Gondola are also within 20 mi (32 km).

      Emerald Lake Lodge ¥33,066
      Emerald Lake Lodge

      Emerald Lake Lodge

      Emerald Lake Road, Field, BC
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated on a lake, this romantic hotel is 10.7 mi (17.3 km) from Upper Spiral Tunnel Scenic Viewpoint and within 25 mi (40 km) of Takakkaw Falls and Wapta Falls Trailhead.

        Lake Louise Inn ¥26,930
        Lake Louise Inn

        Lake Louise Inn

        210 Village Road, Lake Louise, AB
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Conveniently near skiing facilities, this Lake Louise hotel is located in the mountains within 3 mi (5 km) of Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise Mountain Resort, and Lake Louise Gondola. Moraine Lake and Lower Spiral Tunnel Scenic Viewpoint are also within 12 mi (20 km). Lake Louise Station is 14 minutes by foot.

          Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise ¥53,756
          Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

          Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

          111 Lake Louise Drive, Lake Louise, AB
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located near the slopes, this Lake Louise resort is in the mountains, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Icefields Parkway, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Lake Louise Mountain Resort and Lake Louise Gondola. Moraine Lake is 8.9 mi (14.3 km) away.

            Great Divide Lodge
            Great Divide Lodge

            Great Divide Lodge

            1 Trans Canadian HWY, Field, BC
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located near the slopes, this Field lodge is in the mountains, within 20 mi (32 km) of Upper Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint and Lower Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint, and close to winter sports such as cross-country skiing and skiing lessons. Takakkaw Falls is 28 mi (45 km) away.

              Cathedral Mountain Lodge
              Cathedral Mountain Lodge

              Cathedral Mountain Lodge

              1 Yoho Valley Road, Yoho National Park, Field, BC
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in the heart of Field, this hotel is 1 mi (1.6 km) from Upper Spiral Tunnel Scenic Viewpoint and 2.5 mi (4 km) from Yoho National Park. Upper Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint is 1 mi (1.7 km) away.

                Mountaineer Lodge ¥24,376
                Mountaineer Lodge

                Mountaineer Lodge

                101 Village Road, Lake Louise, AB
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Conveniently near skiing facilities, this Lake Louise hotel is located in the mountains within 3 mi (5 km) of Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise Mountain Resort, and Lake Louise Gondola. Moraine Lake and Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse are also within 9 mi (15 km). Lake Louise Station is 11 minutes by foot.