The colors and scenic views that Banff has to offer are world famous. Even if you’ve never heard of Banff or the province of Alberta, Canada, chances are you’ve seen pictures of these iconic turquoise blue lakes. They’re that beautiful.
When I first visited Banff, these are the famous views I thought I would be witnessing, however, I mistakenly chose to visit Banff during the month of April. This is still winter, so, the lakes were actually still frozen over in ice and the ground was covered in snow.
There are about 3-4 summer months during which you should visit Banff if you’re aiming to be able to see these magnificent lakes and colors. The glaciers and lakes begin to thaw mid to late May. If you plan to visit in the summer, choose sometime between May and August. If you visit in September, it’s possible you may get a glimpse of the lakes unless winter starts early and you’ll be met with snow.
If you have heard of Banff before or even if these are the first photos you are seeing, you’re probably wondering how and why these lakes are the color they are. There is a very scientific explanation for this. When the rocks underneath the glacier ice shift, they grind together creating a silt or rock flour. This rock flour is very lightweight and can float in the lake for a long period of time. The sunlight reflects off the silt giving them their brilliant turquoise blue, green color.
I’ve been told that if you visit the first or even second week, just after the ice thaws in May, is when the lakes are at their most vibrant. This is due to the lakes having the most floating rock flour in them.
Here’s a tip: the higher your vantage point at most of the lakes, the bluer the lakes will appear. For example, at Moraine Lake, if you choose to hike up the rocky area to the left of the entrance, you will get a great view and more vibrant blue lake from above.
I’m not really sure I really have to convince you to want to visit Banff. I feel like these 15 pictures might speak for themselves. Point is summer or winter, this is a bucket list worthy destination that I’m sure you will love.
If you’re interested in seeing why you should visit in the winter, as well, click here.
So, what are you waiting for?
Yours Truly // Shannon