Rocky Mountain Lakes
Alberta is a great place to live. It’s a big beautiful province full of all kinds of natural wonders. This is where we introduce you to the diversity of wildlife and unique and interesting wild spaces that are part of your big Alberta backyard. Here you will learn about Rocky Mountain lakes.
If you have ever been fortunate enough to take a trip to the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, you have probably come across a lake or two amongst the large expanses of mountains. Have you ever wondered what makes the Rocky Mountain lakes the green colour that they are? If you have never been able to take to a trip to the Rocky Mountains to see these lakes, don’t worry we will tell you all about these beautiful lakes and why they shine with that emerald colour the way that they do!
What are Rocky Mountain Lakes?
The Rocky Mountains are large formations that took shape millions of years ago. In this landscape, there are dips and valleys that create lakes when the glaciers and snow on the mountain tops melt. When the snow and glaciers melt in the springtime, they carry with them lots of silt (sand from ground up rocks) down the slopes of the mountains which collects in the lakes. This silt is called rock flour. The rock flour is made up of fine dust that results from the rocks beneath the glaciers being crushed as the glaciers melt. This silt or rock flour then floats in the lake and gives it that brilliant emerald green colour!
The best time to visit these lakes to see the best colour is during the months of July and August when most of the glaciers have melted and the highest amount of silt is in the lakes. People from all over the world come to see the beautiful colours that exist in these lakes and we are lucky enough to have them right in our own Alberta backyard.
Where to visit these Rocky Mountain Lakes?
These lakes can be found across the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Peyto Lake is one of the most famous Rocky Mountain Lakes in Alberta as its colour is so vibrant that people believe the photos of this lake are fake. This lake can be found in Banff National Park and can be accessed from the Icefields Parkway 100 kilometers north of Banff. The best time to visit this lake is in June when the colour is the most vibrant.
Another Rocky Mountain lake that is neat for another reason besides its colour is Abraham Lake located about 43 kilometers southwest of Nordegg. This lake is most interesting to visit in the winter because when this lake freezes over, hundreds of bubbles are frozen beneath the ice which creates a beautiful bubbly pattern across the entire lake. This lake is man-made which means that it wasn’t created by melting snow or glaciers. This lake was created because of the construction of the Bighorn Dam in 1972 that was built to produce hydroelectricity (power generated by water) and is Alberta’s largest man-made lake. The reason that Abraham Lake becomes covered in frozen bubbles in the winter is because the plants that live on the bottom of the lake begin to decay (die) and when they decompose, they release methane gas. This gas is released as the lake starts to freeze which results in frozen bubbles throughout the lake. This is definitely a neat phenomenon to see and I hope that everyone gets the chance to see it sometime!
© 2020 Nature Alberta
Nature Alberta is incorporated as the Federation of Alberta Naturalists under the Alberta Societies Act and is a registered charitable organization.