Along the Icefields Parkway, a scenic drive that runs through the Rocky Mountains between Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, is a stop for the Peyto Lake Lookout and the Bow Summit. Many Rocky Mountain parks tours travel this route—aptly named for the glacial icefields, notably the Columbia Icefield—between Banff and Jasper, to the Columbia Icefields, or around the Lake Louise area. Most stop along the way at Peyto Lake Lookout, the Icefields Discovery Centre, and more, allowing travelers to marvel at the scenery rather than driving.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Peyto Lake is a must for first-time visitors to the Icefields Parkway and Canada’s Rocky Mountain parks.
It’s about a 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the lookout point.
There is a washroom facility near the parking lot.
There is a drop-off point closer to the viewing platform (via a short, level path). Follow the signs for tour buses and limited mobility access.
How to Get There
Peyto Lake lies about 26 miles (42 kilometers) from Lake Louise, Alberta, along the Icefields Parkway. Keep an eye out for the signs for Bow Summit. There is no public transit to the lake.
When to Get There
A large amount of snow in the winter will close the parkway, and snowstorms can make driving treacherous for even experienced winter drivers. However, the views of Peyto Lake in winter are stunning, and you will have far fewer crowds with which to contend. In the summer, arrive in the early morning or early evening to avoid tour bus traffic.
Best View of Peyto Lake
The Bow Summit viewing platform offers spectacular views of Peyto Lake. This easily accessible platform has a downside though: It can be very crowded. To get a less obstructed view, try walking down toward the lake via the path just past the viewing platform. Or go a little farther down the path and look for a trail on your right that leads up to another, less busy viewpoint.