Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park is one of the Canadian Rockies’ finest lakes and a resplendent place to visit in British Columbia. It’s the largest lake in Yoho National Park and is surrounded by President Range.
Visiting the lake on a summer day is one of the finest natural scenes in all Canadian Rockies, a mountain range far from being short of incredible vistas. Access to the lake is surprisingly easy as it’s just a few kilometers off of the TransCanada highway that sees thousands drive past Emerald Lake every day.
Why is Emerald Lake So Blue/Teal?
It’s pretty easy to figure out where Emerald Lake gets its name as the glacial waters refract light in a vibrant display of color. The color alone would be enough to move you, but the surrounding landscape leaves you speechless. The President Range mountains surround the lake and form a natural amphitheater of the grandest scale with towering peaks and forested banks.
To see the color at its peak, you’ll have to arrive in summer as the melting glaciers high above the lake deposit a rock flour (fine rock ground by moving glaciers) into the lake, which causes the lake to refract light in the brilliant color.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Emerald Lake?
You can visit Emerald Lake in British Columbia at any time of the year as it operates as a year-round destination. The winter months feel at times like a storybook and carry plenty of beauty.
However, the summer months are by far the most popular, and when the vast majority of visitors will want to time their visit to Emerald Lake and the Canadian Rockies.
Winter At Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake can be accessed in the winter months, it’s a popular spot for cross country skiing and snow shoeing. The paths and trails are cleared somewhat for walking, but make sure you’re wearing proper footwear. Cleats might be necessary if it’s icy.
With no electronic distractions and rooms with cozy wood burning fireplaces the lodge makes for a romantic winter getaway. Ski and snow show rentals are available.
A Little History About Emerald Lake
The first European person to see Emerald Lake was the famous mountain guide Tom Wilson. He discovered it in 1882 by accident when he was tracking down a team of his horses that had escaped and made their way into the valley. He gave it the name Emerald because of it’s remarkable colour. This wasn’t the first lake he gave this name to. Another beautiful lake he discovered not long before was also called Emerald Lake, but was renamed shortly after in honour of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daugher of Queen Victoria. That lake is the famous Lake Louise.