Peyto Lake Viewpoint Snowshoe Trail
The snowshoe trip to the Peyto Lake Viewpoint is a classic winter trip in the Canadian Rockies. This trail takes you to one of the best views in the Rockies. The best part is that in winter you often have the whole view to yourself. We like to combine this with a trip to Bow Lake.
From Lake Louise take the Trans-Canada Highway west. Turn onto the Icefields Parkway and head towards Jasper for 41.0km, parking in the Bow Summit parking lot.
|When to do|
December - April
Yes - On Leash
Out and back
Peyto Lake Viewpoint
Route Description for Peyto Lake Viewpoint Snowshoe Trail
Anyone on a snowshoe trip should have Avalanche training, we recommend AST 2 for all backcountry travellers, and AST 1 is the minimum. It is important to note that when travelling through avalanche terrain it is extremely valuable to always have a companion.
We love the snowshoe trip to the Peyto Lake Viewpoint. For many visitors, this is one of the iconic views of the Canadian Rockies.
In summer the Peyto Lake Viewpoint is very busy, however in winter, especially mid-week, you can have the entire place to yourself!
You can often walk to the main viewpoint without snowshoes, while getting to the stunning 2nd viewpoint typically requires snowshoes unless there has been a long period without snow.
From the Bow Summit parking lot, snowshoe towards the end (NW Corner) of the parking lot. Here you will find a signed path that has been paved and is usually very well packed down in winter. The trail to the Peyto Lake Viewpoint rolls up and down, with additional signs describing what you’re seeing.
After approximately 650m, you come to a wooden viewing platform, which in winter still sees a fair number of visitors, especially on weekends. This is the main Peyto Lake Viewpoint, and there is a good reason it’s usually busy – the view is spectacular!
While many visitors return from this viewing platform, those with snowshoes can continue a bit further and see the pretty Upper Peyto Lake Viewpoint. To do this, you can either return to the paved path you were on and continue uphill looking for the summer route. In our case, we took a packed down path that cut through the forest in a southern direction. Be very careful if you follow another path – it’s your responsibility to make sure the trail doesn’t venture into avalanche terrain.
After about 450m you reach a set of rocks with another stunning view of Peyto Lake and the Icefields Parkway. In most cases you can savour the wonderful scenery here all by yourself.
Be careful if you go onto the rocks, as it’s easy to get swept up in the incredible views of Peyto Lake and not pay attention of where your feet go, and tumble from the rocks.
Return the way you came back to the car.
This is a trip where having a sunny day is important, as you want to be able to see all the stunning views.
Don’t blindly follow other snowshoe tracks, always look around to ensure you are in a safe location.
Snowshoeing in the Banff takes you into remote terrain. Make sure you are prepared for an emergency with warm clothes, extra food, matches and ideally a satellite transceiver, like a Garmin InReach. Cell phones do not work until you get to Canmore.
Always check the avalanche forecast for Banff before heading out.
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