The Ultimate Guide to Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake is one of the most famous lakes of Banff National Park, and with good reason. It’s an absolute must-see and is considered one of the highlights of Banff National Park. Peyto Lake is the third-most visited lake in the park, behind Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

Altitude: 1860 meters (6102 feet)
Deepest point: 44 meters (144 feet)
Length: 2.8 kilometers (1.74 miles)
Widest point: 800 metres (0.49 miles)
Coordinates: 51°43′37″N 116°31′19″W

Of course, the breathtaking color of the water plays a role here too. But so do the beautiful views and the easy accessibility via the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 N) between Lake Louise Village and Jasper.

Table of Contents

Location of Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake is situated in the valley of the Waputik Mountains. It lies between Caldron Peak, Peyto Peak and Mount Jimmy Simpson. It’s a glacial lake fed by Peyto Creek. This creek drains Caldron Lake and the Peyto Glacier (part of the Wapta Icefield). From Peyto Lake springs the Mistaya River, which eventually flows into the North Saskatchewan River at the Saskatchewan River Crossing.

Why Is Peyto Lake so Blue?

Like many lakes in Banff National Park, the water in Peyto Lake owes its unique color to the so-called rock flour deposited in the lake by the glacier in summer. The sunlight that reflects on it gives the lake its beautiful green-blue color.

Peyto Lake is one of the busiest places in Banff National Park. So take into account that there will be many tourists on the viewing platform. If you want to enjoy the view in peace, make sure you arrive before 8 am or later in the evening. Once at the viewing platform, you can also follow the path to the much less frequented second viewing point. A higher clearing (no platform) offers at least as good a view.


The lake is named after Ebenezer William (Bill) Peyto (1869-1943), a hiking guide and poacher who lived in Banff. Walter Dwight Wilcox (1869-1949), who lived mainly in the Lake Louise area, was the first to photograph the lake in 1896. Peyto Lake was opened to tourists in 1941.

Oldest Tree in Banff National Park

An Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) that originated around 1234 was found near the lake in 1991. The tree was found between the rock ledge at the head of the delta and the moraines of the Peyto Glacier. It is both the oldest known Canadian spruce and the oldest tree in Banff National Park.


Peyto Lake is located on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 N), 100 kilometers (62 mi) north of Banff and 44 kilometers (27 mi) north of Lake Louise Village. It’s easily accessible by car and there are two car parks at the site. The second one is higher up and is only accessible for buses, elderly people and people with disabilities.

The Canadian government has recently invested CAD 2,900,000 in improving the accessibility of the lake. This includes an increase in the number of parking spaces.

Public Transport to Peyto Lake

Unfortunately, there is no direct bus connection from Banff or Lake Louise to Peyto Lake. If you really depend on public transport, taking the bus from Banff to Lake Louise Lakeshore or Lake Louise Village North is an alternative. From there you can take a taxi to the lake.


Staying overnight at Peyto Lake itself is not possible. The nearest accommodation is the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, located on Bow Lake, 6.5 kilometers (3.95 mi) south of Peyto Lake. The lodge, named after the Stoney Plain word for tree mart, has only 25 rooms and is the only accommodation near the lake, so book well in advance to ensure a room.

Num-Ti-Jah Lodge

Address: Mile 22, Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise
Phone: +1 403 522 – 2167

Camping at Peyto Lake

It’s not possible to camp at Peyto Lake. However, there are several campgrounds nearby. Silverhorn Creek Campground, Waterfowl Lakes Campground, and Mosquito Creek Campground are nearest. The use of a campground costs between CAD 15 and CAD 30 per night. If you want to light a campfire, you must have a permit. These are available at the campground.

Silverhorn Creek Campground

Address: Icefields Parkway, Improvement District No. 9
Phone: 780 – 932 6868 
Overnight stay: upon availability
Number of sites: 67
Facilities: picnic tables, hand water pump, dry toilets (no flushing) and bins
Campfire permit: available at the campground
Kind of accommodations: motor homes and trailers, not tents
Price: CAD 16.05
Period: 3 June – 12 September
Distance to Peyto Lake: 10.3 km (6.36 mi)

Waterfowl Lakes Campground

Address: Icefields Parkway, Improvement District No. 9, AB, Canada
Phone: +1 403 – 522 3833
Overnight stay: subject to availability, reservations may be made
Number of sites: 116
Facilities: water points, flush toilets, camp kitchens with wood-burning stoves, food storage lockers, waste bins and sani dump.
Campfire permit: available at the campground
Kind of accommodations: motor homes and tents
Price: CAD 21.97
Period: 24 June – 12 September
Distance to Peyto Lake: 15.8 km (9.75 mi)

Mosquito Creek Campground

Address: Icefields Parkway, Improvement District No. 9
Phone: +1 403 – 522 3833
Overnight stay: upon availability
Number of sites: 32
Facilities: drinking water, picnic tables, dry toilets (no flushing), communal kitchen, fire pits.
Campfire permit: available at the campground 
Kind of accommodations: motor homes and tents
Price: CAD 17.99
Period: 3 June – 11 October
Distance to Peyto Lake: 17.1 km (10.55 mi)


The best time to visit Peyto Lake is from June to September. In those months, the lake is not frozen and is at its most beautiful. This does not mean you should avoid the lake for the rest of the year. Peyto Lake is simply gorgeous year round.

The lookout at Peyto Lake can be visited year round. Yes, even in winter. And the snowy surroundings make for equally memorable pictures. So if you are in the park in winter, Peyto Lake is definitely worth a visit.


Of course, the lake itself is the main attraction. Still, the surroundings of the lake lend themselves to several different activities. Below an overview of the possibilities.  

Hikes around Peyto Lake 

From the car park at Peyto Lake you can do a few hikes. The view over the lake is a fantastic reward. And the hikes are not really difficult. The hike to the viewing platform is the most popular and most accessible. It takes about ten minutes and is not too strenuous. Just before you reach the lookout, several paths are leading down. Be careful where you walk, as the paths are strewn with loose rocks.

Bow Summit Lookout6.6 km (4.07 mi)1 – 2 hrs313 m (1027 ft)Car park at Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake Hike2.6 km (1.60 mi)0.5 – 1 hour80 m (262 ft)Car park at Peyto Lake
Hikes around Peyto Lake

Fishing on Peyto Lake

Fishing is allowed on Peyto Lake. However, you will need a national park permit. It’s available at the two visitor centers in the park, most sporting goods shops in the park, and online. A national park pass is also required. A provincial fishing license (Alberta) is not sufficient.

Any angler under the age of sixteen may fish in the lake without a license if accompanied by someone under sixteen who holds a national park license. The maximum number of fish to be caught equals the limit of the person holding a license.

There are two types of permits: 
Day Permit: 
CAD 9.80 
Annual permit: CAD 34.30

– It is mandatory to put back caught fish to the place where it was caught.
– The use of natural bait is not allowed in Banff National Park.
– In addition to a fishing license, you must also have a National Park Pass.

Fish Species in Peyto Lake

Fish species present in Peyto Lake include trout, mountain whitefish, and broadhead bass.

Peyto Lake Fishing Season 

Peyto Lake’s fishing season lasts from 1 July to 31 October.

Snowshoeing in the Vicinity of Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake also offers opportunities in the winter to enjoy the beautiful nature around the lake. One of those ways is snowshoeing. This is a relatively easy and sweet way to walk across the thick snow in the coldest months.

Peyto Lake Viewpoint1.5 km (0.93 mi)0.5 hours25 m (82 ft)Car park at the lake
Snowshoeing near Peyto Lake


Banff Visitor Centre
Opening hours (daily): 9 am – 5 pm
Address: 224 Banff Avenue, Banff
Phone: +1 403 – 762 1550

Lake Louise Visitor Centre
Opening hours (daily): 9 am – 5 pm
Address: Samson Mall, 201 Village Rd, Lake Louise
Phone: +1 403 – 522 3833

Other articles you might be interested in:
How to Make Sure Mosquitoes Don’t Ruin Your Stay in Banff
Plan Your Banff Itinerary – Know the Distances
How Much Does a Banff Vacation Cost in 2022? (Crazy Numbers)


As a former Banffite, I love writing about my favorite piece on the globe. I keep coming back to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty the park offers. It just never fails to impress me. With my extensive knowledge of the area, I aim to provide you with the best informational posts on Banff you can find on the internet.

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