Interesting facts about Peyto Lake

peyto lake

Peyto Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

It is a glacier-fed lake in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Banff National Park (established 1885) is Canada‘s first and most visited National Park.

Peyto Lake was named for Bill Peyto, a pioneer, mountain guide, and early park warden of the Banff National Park.

The lake is formed in a valley of the Waputik Range, at an elevation of 1,860 meters (6,100 feet).


Peyto Lake is about 2.8 kilometers (1.7 miles) in length by about 0.8 kilometer (0.5 mile) in width.

The lake has a surface area of 5.3 square kilometers (2 square miles).

The lake is fed by Peyto Creek, which drains water from Caldron Lake and Peyto Glacier (part of the Wapta Icefield).

During the summer, significant amounts of glacial rock flour flow into the lake from Peyto glacier, and these suspended rock particles are what give the lake a unique bright, turquoise colour.

The colour varies depending on the season and even with the time of day.

The lake is cold in summer and the lake freezes in winter as snow blankets the area.

Because of its bright colour, photos of the lake often appear in illustrated books, and the area around the lake is a popular sightseeing spot for tourists.

It is one of the most photographed sites in Canada.


The lake is best seen from Bow Summit. The summit is at 2,070 meters (6,791 feet) above sea level.

Peyto Lake is the origin of the Mistaya River. The river is short and flows through the Canadian Rockies. The origin of the name is from the Cree language – “mistaya” meens a grizzly bear.

Peyto Lake is near the Icefields Parkway. The lake has welcomed visitors since the Icefields Parkway opened in 1941. Today it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Visiting Peyto Lake requires getting a Banff National Park pass.