Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
London, England, United Kingdom
September 15, 2011
From journal Canada
May 29, 2005
There are no words or photographs that can capture or accurately describe the beauty of Peyto Lake at Bow Summit. It really is something you have to see to believe.
Bow Summit is approximately 42km (26 miles) north of Lake Louise on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). Bow Summit is not a mountaintop, but rather a height of land that separates waters that flow south to the Bow River from those that flow north to the Mistaya River.
Upon turning from the Icefields Parkways, a small parking lot is to your right, with restrooms. The main road continues up approximately a quarter-mile to a larger parking lot for buses and licensed handicapped vehicles.
On our first visit in early June, 2004, the road was barricaded with barriers and covered with more than ankle-deep snow. I had seen photos of this lake and was determined a little snow wasn’t going to prevent me from seeing it firsthand. As we walked uphill on the paved road, we encountered several folks coming down, and with looks of exhilaration, they all uttered the same words, "It’s… beautiful".
From the upper parking lot, a wide trail that is wheelchair-accessible leads down a short path to the overlook of Peyto Lake (1/10 of a mile). Once there, the overlook provides a panoramic view of what has to be one of the most breathtaking views you will ever experience.
Surrounded by dark green spruce, fir, and white bark pine trees, the deep, dark turquoise blue-green colored lake resembles a large arm that is slightly bent, with fingers whose color changes based upon the sun's every movement.
The lake’s deep-blue color does change as summer progresses and the nearby glacier’s melted water flows across a delta (large rock sediment that drops out of the water flow) and into the lake. This water is laden with finely ground particles of rock debris known as rock flour, which remains in the lake. It is not the mineral content of the rock flour that is responsible for the lake’s unique color, but rather the tiny particles of rock flour that reflect the blue-green sector of the light spectrum.
We made two visits to Peyto Lake, with our first visit (June 3rd) finding the lake’s fingers still frozen. A return visit to this most beautiful spot a week later (June 10th) found all the ice to be melted. To explore Peyto Lake up close, a steep trail leads down from the overlook, or a 1.6km trail leaves from the first parking area. (Beware, as this one is usually wet and soggy.)
The photos are spectacular, but the view in person is a million times better. To see the lake and the surrounding beauty, words simply cannot explain the feeling. But, oh what an impression it makes! If time is short and you have to choose what to see or do in the area, don’t leave the Rockies without seeing Peyto Lake/Bow Summit.
From journal Oh Canada! How we loved the Rockies!