Peyto Lake is blue—really blue. Because of its proximity to nearby glaciers, large amounts of glacier flour flow into the lake each summer, and these suspended flour particles–nothing more than ground rock–saturate the lake and give it its spectacular color. And despite its breathtaking surroundings, located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park, there are few viewings that rival gazing down at Peyto Lake from the platform just off the Icefield Parkway.
While the five-minute, self-guided interpretive hike to the viewpoint takes in the most spectacular view of the lake, visitors looking for a touch more adventure can hike to the Bow Summit Lookout. This 2.5-hour hike leaves from the highest point on the Icefield Parkway and climbs above the tree line to offer spectacular views of Bow Summit, Observation Peak and Mount Jimmy Simpson. Marmots, picas and ptarmigans are commonly seen along the hike. There are several other spectacular hikes in the nearby area, including Mistaya Canyon and Bow Glacier Falls.
Peyto Lake is located 40 kilometers north of Lake Louise on the Icefield Parkway. It shares a parking area with Bow Summit, which marks both the highest mountain pass in Jasper and Banff National Parks and the second highest paved road in Canada.