Peyto Lake has welcomed visitors since the Icefields Parkway opened in 1941. Today it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. This special place is in need of rehabilitation and the viewpoint is closed until November 2020. Discover new places to explore here.

Peyto Lake Closure - It is not possible to see the lake at this time. The Peyto Lake viewing platform deck has been removed and the entire area, including the access road, is closed for construction. Barriers have been erected for safety and it is dangerous to enter this closed area.
What's happening at Peyto Lake?

What's happening at Peyto Lake?

The Government of Canada is investing $2.9 million CDN to support infrastructure work at Peyto Lake day use area in Banff National Park. We have a unique opportunity to make improvements and our plans include:

  • Adding more parking and improving traffic flow on the existing parking lot footprint
  • Replacing aging restrooms with improved and accessible facilities
  • Rerouting trails for better safety and accessibility from the lower parking lot and barrier-free access from the upper parking lot
  • Installing new signage to orient visitors and provide important health and safety messaging
  • Expanding the viewing platform to provide more viewing opportunities while creating designated visitor zones to better protect sensitive sub-alpine vegetation

We anticipate that work will be complete and the area will reopen to visitors in late 2020. Until then the area remains closed to motorists and pedestrians alike for safety. We encourage visitors to explore other Parks Canada places in the area this year.

Will I be able to see Peyto Lake in 2020?

Will I be able to see Peyto Lake in 2020?

Parks Canada makes every effort to minimize impacts for our visitors and safety is our top priority. The Peyto Lake day use area and access road are now closed and barriers have been erected for safety, environmental protection and to allow the project to be completed on schedule.

The next opportunity for visitors to see Peyto Lake will be in late 2020.

It is important to note that entering this closed area is dangerous and prohibited under the Canada National Parks Act. Violations may result in a mandatory court appearance and maximum fine of $25,000 CDN.

A project schedule is provided here. Dates are weather dependent and timelines may change.

Schedule
Dates Open / Closed What you need to know
Sept. 16, 2019 to Nov. 22, 2019 Closed. All access strictly prohibited. Phase complete
Nov. 22, 2019 to Apr. 22, 2020 Parking lot open. Viewpoint closed. Phase complete
Apr. 22, 2020 to Nov. 2020 Closed. All access strictly prohibited. This closure is necessary to keep workers and visitors safe, and protect fragile alpine plants and flowers. It is not possible to see the lake at this time. Violations may result in a mandatory court appearance and a maximum fine of $25,000 CDN.
Nov. 2020 to spring 2021 (dates TBD) Open A short uphill snowshoe or ski leads to a panoramic view of Peyto Lake. Travelling beyond the viewpoint? You require avalanche training and must carry a beacon probe and shovel.
Summer 2021 Grand Reopening We look forward to welcoming you!
Are there other ways to see Peyto Lake?

Are there other ways to see Peyto Lake?

Visitors are unable to see the lake, however there are many other ways to enjoy the park and lots of places to explore. We encourage visitors to take in other Parks Canada places on the Icefields Parkway in 2020.

Parks Canada wants to ensure the best possible visitor experience for people coming to Canada’s national parks. We recognize this temporary closure affects visitors, however, the work is necessary to ensure this special place remains safe for visitors, beautiful to visit and protected for the long term.

Where else should I go this summer?

Where else should I go this summer?

The Icefields Parkway is one of the world’s most scenic drives. During the summer, there are many places to visit in Banff and Jasper national parks with breathtaking views where you can make memories to last a lifetime.

Keep in mind that demand during the summer is very high and parking is limited at all day use areas. We encourage visitors to research site-seeing options in advance, build flexibility into your schedules, and plan ahead for your own comfort and enjoyment.

Discover some of our favourites below or explore a full range of options with the helpful Summer on the Icefields Parkway Guide.

Icefields Parkway
Summer destination Summer description Distance
(to Lake Louise)
(to Jasper)
Bow Lake Viewpoint and Day Use Area Take a short walk for sweeping views of this turquoise glacial lake and nearby peaks. 37 km
196 km
Mistaya Canyon Trail Get your heart pumping with this steep walk to a breathtaking canyon and rushing river. 74 km
159 km
Howse Pass Day Use Area Commanding views of both the river valley and an ancient route across the Rockies, all just steps from your vehicle. 79 km
154 km
Parker Ridge Trail Climb an alpine ridge for unparalleled views of a river of ice – the Saskatchewan Glacier. 121 km
112 km
Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre Exhibits, guided tours, interpretive walks and a roadside view you will never forget. 130 km
103 km
Sunwapta Falls Day Use Area An impressive cascade, a forested location and amenities for guests. 179 km
54 km
Athabasca Falls Day Use Area Watch a river roll and tumble, carving deep pockets and channels in the ancient canyon beneath your feet. 203 km
30 km
Do closures apply to pedestrians as well as vehicles?

Do closures apply to pedestrians as well as vehicles?

Closures are put in place when they are necessary to ensure the safety of visitors and the park itself. Closures apply to everyone including pedestrians, hikers and motorists. The mountain parks have a short construction season and we are working hard to maintain our construction schedule, ensure visitor safety and protect sensitive alpine areas. Your cooperation is necessary.

We ask that visitors do not attempt to walk around the closed area near Peyto Lake. This damages slow-growing subalpine plants and flowers, causes safety concerns for contractors, may delay the completion of the project and puts visitors at risk.

Entering a closed area is prohibited by law. Violations may result in a mandatory court appearance and maximum fine of $25,000 CDN.

Why is this work happening during the summer?

Why is this work happening during the summer?

Parks Canada strives to do everything possible to minimize potential disruptions. However, the construction season in the mountain parks is very short and there are no other times of the year when this work can be completed.

The Peyto Lake viewpoint is more than 2000 metres above sea level. It is snowbound from mid-November until mid-June annually. Snowpack can be measured in metres and avalanche hazards exist in the winter.

The Peyto Lake area welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Over time, amenities such as parking lots, toilets, signs and viewing platforms wear out and require care. Parks Canada is making improvements to ensure that Peyto Lake remains safe and beautiful for future generations.

Can I visit in the winter?

Can I visit in the winter?

Peyto Lake will not be visible to sightseers until late 2020. The area will be open during the winters to ski touring visitors with avalanche safety training and appropriate equipment including a beacon, probe and shovel. Peyto Lake is one of Banff National Park’s most popular destinations for backcountry ski touring.

  • Winter 2020/21 (anticipated) – A short uphill snowshoe or ski leads to the Peyto Lake viewpoint. If you plan to go beyond the viewpoint, for your safety, you must have avalanche training and carry and beacon, probe and shovel.

If you plan to travel on the Icefields Parkway in the winter for any reason, you will need snow tires, warm clothing and strong winter driving skills. If you’d like more information, please refer to this helpful guide:

Will this affect my backcountry trip?

Will this affect my backcountry trip?

Well-prepared, backcountry visitors in both summer and winter can be accommodated. If you have a reservation at an Alpine Club of Canada hut, please contact the Alpine Club of Canada for information. All other backcountry visitors can contact any Parks Canada Visitor Centre for additional guidance and advice.

A reminder that it is your responsibility to ensure you do not enter a closed area. Current closures and maps are posted in the Important Bulletins section of the Banff National Park website.

Still have questions?

Amy Krause, Public relations and communications officer
Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks
Parks Canada / Government of Canada
amy.krause@canada.ca / 403-760-4500

Lake Louise Visitor Centre, Banff National Park
Parks Canada / Government of Canada
pc.lakelouiseinfo-infolakelouise.pc@canada.ca / 1-403-522-3833