It’s in all of the travel pictures – stunning, calm, serene emerald waters, but what is Emerald Lake really like?
On our road trip around parts of Canada, we took some time to visit Emerald Lake as a stop off en route towards our next location.
The first thing that struck us about this place was the different approach it had taken towards visitors to the lake. Many of the other places we had stopped at were full of cars, visitors and camping vans, parked up as close as possible to the edge of the water. Whilst this is great for getting a viewing spot, it’s not so great for trying to find a calm, quiet place to absorb the beauty of the view. Some of the places we visited were busier than their town centres!
Emerald Lake differed in this respect, as cars were not allowed over the small wooden bridge towards the accommodation. Instead, a car park and shuttle bus was provided to support people too and from the cabins. This resulted in the lake being a little less crowded – not that it wasn’t busy (it certainly was), but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as some of the places we visited (Lake Louise we’re looking at you!).
The trip over the little bridge was also quite exciting, it made the lake feel a little more hidden and cut off from the rest of the world.
We were staying in one of the cabins alongside the lake and they were beautiful! Looking out of the window, past the balcony (yes we had a little balcony!), the colours of the lake were so vivid, even from a distance. The rooms were basic but fairly spacious and included a little log fire which would be lovely in colder weather. They were beautifully designed to blend in with the blue skies and green waters.
The main lodge was a great place to hang out in the evenings – a mixture of pool, beer, TV and music made sure that we were all well entertained (one night a little girl jumped on the piano and she was incredible!).
The path around the lake is the jewel in the crown when visiting Emerald Lake. We only did the lake circuit (you can head up to the basin for more stunning views) but it was one of the most memorable walks of our trip. The lake trail is around 5km and is a fairly easy walk in most places – although there are some muddy, forest parts which would be challenging for someone with accessibility needs.
The start of the path takes you out on to a gravel path and as soon as you get past the first couple of yards, most of the visitors to Emerald Lake fade away. We only saw one or two other people for the rest of the walk – this was brilliant as the escape from the crowds left us feeling much more immersed in nature.
The first half of the walk keeps you close to the shoreline on a gravel path and gives a close-up view of the path the glacier follows as it melts down to the lake. Whilst making our way around the lake, a fire helicopter made numerous visits, filling up the water bucket on the way to a nearby forest fire.
The wooden bridge at the far end of the lake marked the start of the return journey. The path ran through a forest area for most of the walk home, giving very different views. This was my favourite part of the walk as it was fairly dense and almost had a jungle-like feel to it.
Staying on the lake is an excellent idea if you want to grab some photos that don’t include 20 other visitors. Once everyone goes home, you get a much more natural experience of the environment.
Evenings by the lake were beautiful, particularly once most day visitors had gone home. We were lucky enough to find a pier without anyone around and sat looking out on to the lake in silence, admiring the colours and stillness in the early evening.