I Made It My Mission to Capture the Perfect Shot of Peyto Lake

Disappointed to find it completely snow-covered on my first visit, I knew I had to return to Banff National Park—and soon.

Josh Stone West Coast Yoho National ParkJosh Stone
Andrea and Josh in Yoho National Park.

A Road Trip to Remember

My first attempt at capturing the perfect photo of Peyto Lake, a glacier-fed lake located in Alberta’s Banff National Park, was a couple of years ago. My girlfriend, Andrea, and I took a road trip across North America in which we travelled through 28 states and three provinces, covering a total of 20,919 kilometres!

Luckily, we didn’t have any car trouble throughout our trip, other than figuring out who was going to drive to each destination—it was mainly me. In the States, we purchased a pass that gave us access to all the national parks, and camped in as many as we could. The whole adventure took us two and half months to complete and was one of my all-time favourite trips.

While on the West Coast, we crossed back into Canada to visit beautiful British Columbia and Alberta. We arrived in Banff National Park at the end of April, which back home in Ontario would have been spring, but unfortunately in Banff still meant winter. Andrea had visited Banff before and bragged about how blue the water was in all the lakes. I had envisioned that the ice would be melted, revealing the crystal-clear blue water beneath.

That morning, we woke up early, grabbed a quick bite to eat, a coffee to go, zipped up our winter jackets and headed out the door into the brisk morning air. I was so excited to start our day. I had planned to drive along the Icefields Parkway, which starts in Lake Louise and goes all the way to Jasper with many viewpoints along the way. One of the stops included Peyto Lake, where I was hoping to capture the perfect photo with the snow glistening on the evergreens and a lake as blue as blue can be.

Unfortunately, after a short hike to the viewpoint, I looked out and all I saw was frozen lake completely covered in snow. It was still beautiful but I knew deep down I really wanted to capture the lake when the water was as blue as the sky.

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Josh Stone West Coast RockiesJosh Stone
A glorious view of the Rockies.

Return to Peyto Lake

Fast forward two years, and we had the opportunity to return. This time around, the timing was perfect and I knew I would have a good chance at capturing the photo I had imagined in my mind.

This trip would be a little different as we were attending a friend’s wedding, where I would also be their videographer for the day. We were supposed to arrive the day before the wedding, however the night before our flight, Andrea thought I had set an alarm and I thought she had set an alarm. It turned out that neither of us had and we arrived 20 minutes after the gate had closed! We’d missed our flight and were told we would have to book another one. I couldn’t believe it! I’d flown so many times before, and I had never missed a flight in my life.

Luckily, we were able to book another flight the next morning. Yes, the day of the wedding. As a wedding videographer this is a nightmare. After spending the night with one eye open, we arrived on time the next morning, boarded the plane and made it to the wedding just in time!

We had two days after the wedding for exploring and I knew exactly where I wanted to go, back to Peyto Lake! When we arrived, the parking lot was blocked off but that didn’t stop us from hiking through a few inches of snow to reach the viewpoint. When we got there, it was just as I had imagined—not another soul in sight, it was perfect. I finally captured the shot I wanted. I have travelled to many other countries but I believe this is my favourite landscape to date!

Peyto Lake AlbertaJosh Stone
Josh’s perfect pic of Peyto Lake.

Next we visited Moraine Lake, which was already frozen. We were able to walk right out onto the lake, capturing some photographs of the ice and mountains. The final lake we visited that day was Lake Louise. There was an option of canoeing on the lake but since we were pressed for time we decided to do a walk around the lake instead.

Later that night, we met up with friends from the wedding for dinner in Canmore. Here we all planned out our final day of the trip. The morning came quickly and the nine of us set out. We drove through Banff National Park and stopped at Castle Mountain, then at Morant’s Curve, a scenic viewpoint near Lake Louise where trains pass through the Canadian Rockies.

We continued our journey to Yoho National Park. After spending the afternoon on the trails, we headed back to Canmore where Andrea would stay for an extra day but I had to catch a flight home as I had another wedding to film.

I will always remember this trip and look forward to another visit to Peyto Lake!

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Originally Published in Our Canada