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    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Easy
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    80 m
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    2.6 km
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Easy (Circle)
    Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
    Physical DIFF
    Easy (Circle)
    Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
    Technical DIFF
    Directions to Trailhead

    Peyto Lake Hike

    Panorama of the Peyto Lake Viewpoint hike from Icefields Parkway, the Canadian Rockies

    Download an interactive map and guide on your phone today!

    Table of contents

    The hike to the stunning Peyto Lake should be on every Rocky Mountains itinerary. This Peyto Lake Viewpoint hike offers one of the finest views of Peyto Lake on an accessible, family-friendly hike. While the main viewpoint is crowded, make sure to visit the second one, which is often deserted.

    Route Description for Peyto Lake Hike

    We love the walk to the Peyto Lake Viewpoint.  For many visitors, this is one of the iconic views of the Canadian Rockies.  That means it's busy, so get here early or late during the peak summer season.

    We considered not sharing the Upper Peyto Lake Viewpoint on this trail description, as it has so often been a quiet refuge to share with close friends. It's incredible that an extra 10-minute walk can yield such tranquility. Alas, we've decided to share this route with our friends on 10Adventures.

    From the Bow Summit parking lot, walk towards the washrooms. Turn right and walk along the fence towards a path at the northwest corner of the parking lot. Here you will find a signed path that has been paved.

    The trail to the Peyto Lake viewpoint rolls up and down, with additional signs describing what you’re seeing. After approximately 650 m, you come to a wooden viewing platform, which is often packed with tourists. This is the main Peyto Lake Viewpoint, and there is a good reason for this of course – the view is spectacular!

    From the viewing platform, we strongly suggest you head a bit farther uphill toward the Upper Peyto Lake Viewpoint. To do this, return to the paved path you were on and continue uphill. Roughly 150 m after leaving the viewing platform you will soon come to a sign showing that the path becomes a circuit. Go counter-clockwise on this circuit, and notice the man-made dirt trails heading out on your right. Wait until the paved path turns left, and there should be a sign indicating to go right towards the Upper Peyto Lake Viewpoint. From here there are many paths that all lead to the same place.

    Take the main path and 250 m later you’ll come out of the trees at the spectacular viewpoint. Hopefully, you can savor the wonderful scenery all to yourself.  Be careful on the rocks as it's easy to get swept up in the incredible views of Peyto Lake and not pay attention to where your feet go, and tumble from the rocks.

    To return from the Upper Peyto Lake Viewpoint, head back to the main path and complete the circuit that you ascended. Return to the parking lot, always staying on paved paths.

    Hiking Trail Highlights

    Peyto Lake

    The view from the Peyto Lake Overlook is awe-inspiring, but sometimes it also inspires questions. Learning a little more can satisfy your curiosity, or perhaps just lead to more questions. The first thing that stands out to most people is the vibrant color of Peyto Lake. Why is Peyto Lake so blue? The answer lies in its source. The water in Peyto Lake comes from the Peyto Glacier. Many glacier-fed lakes take on this incredible color due to “rock flour” or fine rock particles that the movement of the glacier grinds like flour. The way the sunlight reflects off of these particles suspended in the water gives the lake its stunning color. What you may not realize is that this color changes throughout the year. The rock flour builds up in the water over the course of a summer of melting, adding depth and richness to the color. When the lake first thaws in the spring, it is far less vibrant than in July or August, when the sediments have had time to build up. The color can also vary throughout the course of a single day depending on lighting conditions.

    Standing beside the tranquil waters of Peyto Lake, they seem so inviting. What could be more refreshing after a hike than a dip in the lake? So many people ask if you can swim in Peyto Lake. Peyto Lake is not an official swimming area in Banff National Park, which means there are no lifeguards or other protections in place for swimmers, but there’s nothing to stop you from testing the water. Just remember that the water comes from melting glaciers, so most people find it much too cold for swimming, and that you swim at your own risk.

    Peyto Lake Overlook in 2024

    Good news for those willing to see the beautiful Peyto Lake from above, but not willing to drive! During the tourist season of 2024, Banff National Park will continue to provide shuttle bus services that include stops at popular destinations like Peyto Lake. This service is particularly useful during peak times when parking near the lake can be limited due to high visitor volumes. It’s advisable to check the latest shuttle schedules and any service changes before planning your trip to ensure availability and convenience.

    Insider Hints for Peyto Lake Hike

    • Peyto Lake is a unique sight in Alberta and it's also considered one of the most unique lakes in Banff National Park.
    • The Icefields Parkway is remote, stop off at Laggans in Lake Louise for snacks before the drive.
    • Check out our YouTube video on this great family hike.

    Getting to the Peyto Lake Hike Trailhead

    From Lake Louise take the Trans-Canada Highway west. Turn onto the Icefields Parkway and head towards Jasper for 41.0 km, parking in the Bow Summit parking lot.

    Route Information

    • When to do:

      May through November

    • Backcountry Campsites:


    • Toilets:


    • Family friendly:


    • Route Signage:


    • Crowd Levels:


    • Route Type:

      Out and back

    Peyto Lake Hike Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

    Check Area Weather


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