Peyto Lake Bow Summit Lookout

[twitter]Peyto Lake / Bow Summit Lookout Banff National Park
6km return, 230m Elevation gain
Ages: A short accessible hike for a variety of abilities

I have seen so many ads for Travel Alberta featuring this spot above Peyto Lake that I had to go and see it for myself. The fact that it is so easy to access and get to such a beautiful place in the Rockies made it even more magical.

Getting to the trail can be a little tricky. I had to ask someone at one of the area maps if we were in the right place, and I took pictures of his guidebook which helped us find the trail.

Peyto Lake Map
Map to Peyto Lake and Bow Summit Lookout
Peyto Lake and Bow Summit Lookout
Guidebooks for Peyto Lake and Bow Summit Lookout
Peyto Lake viewpoint is a popular stop for tour buses on the Icefields Parkway. The regular day use parking lot is a few hundred metres short of where the busses stop, meaning a bit of a hike for anyone wanting to get to the lookout point.

From there, head out on a paved trail that leads to an interpretive loop. You’ll come to a 3-way junction. Take the middle path, until you come to a fire road. Head up here to get to the Peyto Lake Rock Pile, and to head further on to the Bow Summit Lookout.

Peyto Lake Bow Summit Lookout
This is where the path branches off

The fire road is an easy trail surrounded by beautiful flowers.

Summer wildflowers at Peyto Lake

Summer wildflowers at Peyto Lake

Summer wildflowers at Peyto Lake

After a kilometre or so, you will come to a flattened out rocky area. Again you will see three paths. The road to the right will lead you all the way to the Bow Summit Lookout, the paths to the left and right cut off the switch backs and head straight up to the Peyto Lake rock pile. Note: the fire road will NOT take you to this lookout, you need to heads straight up the path to get to this lookout.

Trails at Peyto Lake

After a quick scramble, you will find yourself in a rock pile overlooking Peyto Lake. It is here you can make your own Inukshuk to stand with the dozens of others. It is here you can celebrate the emerald waters of the Rockies, the deep valleys, and the majestic mountains. It’s a truly spectacular place.

Peyto Lake Lookout
We added to the Innukshuks at the Peyto Lake Lookout

Peyto Lake Lookout

If continue away from Peyto Lake, to the south of the rock pile, you’ll come to a gorgeous alpine meadow with summer flowers blooming everywhere. This is not an official trail and the path quickly fades away until you’re scampering through the meadow. A few hundred metres down, you’ll rejoin the fire road.



From here you can head the final kilometre or so to the Bow Summit Lookout. We chose to turn around and head back down, the view of Peyto Lake is what we came for and my young charge was fading.

9452169546_f1d694a087_kPeyto Lake  just fine from the tourist bus congested viewpoint, but taking the extra time to climb to the rock pile and soak in the splendor of the rock pile is inspiring.

Peyto Lake Lookout

Remember to breathe.

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