January 29, 2021

8 Alberta Lakes You Can Skate on in the Mountains

Location: Gap Lake

I recently had my first adventure into the mountains this winter to skate on a lake surrounded by the mountains! It seems like the trendy thing to do right now since everything in Alberta was closed for a while. This activity is great one because it’s free, you get out into nature, you get to move your body, and it’s a lot of fun! For our first time into the mountains, we wanted to go to a less-busy, more ‘low-key’ lake, so we chose Gap Lake! 

Gap Lake

Location: Gap Lake

This lake is located about an hour from Calgary. Since we live in Calgary, we chose to go to this lake since it’s such a short drive. There is very minimal parking so I’d definitely recommend going on a weekday rather than a weekend to guarantee you get a spot! The path to get down to the ice is short, but it’s slippery and muddy. There are nice areas of ice that are smooth to skate on, but for beginner skaters (like me) or any kids learning how to skate, there are a lot of bumps in the ice since this lake isn’t maintained the same way as a lot of the other lakes in the national park. This lake is definitely one of the more underrated lakes since it’s mostly only known to Albertan locals which means it is usually less busy! In the sunshine, the lake is a bright emerald/green colour which allows for an amazing experience skating in the mountains. If you’re looking for a more ‘low-key’ lake to skate at in the mountains rather than lakes like Lake Louise or Lake Minnewanka, this is a great one to visit! 

More Lakes To Visit:

Lake Louise

This is probably going to be one of the busier lakes to skate on since it’s one of Banff’s most famous lakes. This lake is about 2 hours drive from Calgary, so it is farther distance than Banff. The hotel that sits on the lake (Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise) cares for the rink and snow removal, so it’s always in great condition.

Lake Minnewanka

This lake is located inside Banff National Park and is a popular spot for skating! This lake is maintained nicely since it’s in a national park, so it’s a great choice to ice skate in the mountains for sure! 

Vermillion Lakes

This lake is another stunning one to visit and is just outside of Banff. This lake specifically has some stunning views as the sun sets, so plan a visit when you can watch it set for the best experience!

Johnson Lake

This glacier lake is just a short drive from downtown Banff, so it’s the perfect little getaway to skate in the mountains to enjoy if you’re staying in Banff or Canmore for sure! 

Two Jack Lake

This lake is known for it’s emerald colour normally and when the sun is shining on it, you can see the vibrant colours even when it’s frozen! This lake is on the way to Lake Minnewanka so you can decide which one you want to go to or experience both!

Spray Lakes

This lake is south of Canmore in Spray Valley Provincial Park on the Smith Dorrien Trail highway. This lake is human-made, and when it freezes over, it’s a great place to skate in the mountains!

Canmore Town Pond

This outdoor rink is located in the city of Canmore on 7th Avenue at Mallard Alley (about two blocks from Main Street). The ice is regularly taken care of by the city and also offers amazing views of the mountains surrounding Canmore.

A little disclaimer here to make sure the ice you're skating on is thick enough! There has been tons of reports of people skating on ice that isn't frozen enough and falling through (this is especially true on Lake Minnewanka). Make sure it's at least 15cm frozen!