Winter Trip to Abraham Lake

Abraham Lake, Clearwater County


Photo Credit: Jeff Walllace

When most people think about heading to the lake, they think of open water, swimming, and boating. And sure, all those things are definitely reasons to head to the water. But let’s face it: there’s still snow on the ground. Any swimming to be done requires a lot of warming up after!

But that doesn’t mean you should shy away from a trip to the lake. And what’s the lake that tops the winter must-visit list? Abraham Lake, of course.

Abraham Lake is in David Thompson County, on the North Saskatchewan River between Saskatchewan River Crossing and Nordegg. You’d never known it was man-made (created with the Bighorn Dam) – with the Rocky Mountains in the background and the clear, icy-blue colour of the water, it looks right at home.

What makes Abraham Lake stand out from other glacial lakes? That would be the ice bubbles.

Methane gas released from the lakebed is captured in layers as the water freezes, creating frozen bubbles under the surface. And since the site is known to be on the windy side, the snow tends to be blown free and keeps the ice clear. Photographers from around the world are flocking to Abraham Lake to capture the sight of the bubbles – and it’s right in our own backyard. What better excuse for a trip to the mountains?

Whether on your own or on one of the many tour options available, it’s definitely worth the trip. Besides the totally Instagram-worthy pictures you’ll get of the ice bubbles, explore the icefalls of the narrow canyon at Cline River for a true winter wonderland. The sight of frozen waterfalls will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a storybook. You can even try the most popular hike in the David Thompson area and venture out along the Siffleur River for great views of the Rockies. Pack along a picnic for a truly Canadian experience.

There are several access points off the highway (and you may even see the bubbles from the road). If you are visiting in summer, hike Hoodoo Creek, Windy Point, or Preacher’s Point trails for the best views of Abraham Lake from a distance. They may be a little difficult to find without a map or GPS, so plan your trip ahead to make sure you can find the right spot. It’s definitely worth the effort.

During summer the turquoise blue Lake is a sight to behold. The area offers plenty of hikes.


You can find Abraham Lake 35 km south of Nordegg off Highway 11. If you are visiting in winter, make sure to dress warm and wear footwear with excellent grip (or cleats) for walking on ice.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that the ice is thick enough to skate on as a minimum thickness of 15 cm is required for safe skating.

If you are visiting during summer you can stay overnight at the Two O’Clock Creek with 20 basic campsites and Cavalcade Group Camp for group bookings at Kootenay Plains Ecological Reserve.

Guided Winter Banff Bubbles 1 day Tour

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Article by: Sarah Chestnutt

Posted in Lakes & Rivers and Nature

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