Abraham Lake has gained popularity in recent years thanks to its unusual geological activity. We're not talking about volcanic rock beds or seismic warnings; when it comes to Abraham Lake, methane is the main attraction. That's right, this unusual (completely normal) gas is responsible for this lake's appearance when it's frozen - and it's been drawing people to the area for years.
Just off the Icefields Parkway, tourists have gone out of the way to make the detour to Abraham Lake. There's something about the way methane bubbles come up to the surface, without actually penetrating it, that makes for quite a unique spectacle. If this destination is high on the bucket list, then this is how to plan a future trip northbound when the weather takes a turn for the snowier.
How To Get To Icefields Parkway And Abraham Lake
Travelers should be aware that the trip to Abraham Lake, like many routes in Alberta, is one that's somewhat remote. While the Icefields Parkway is fairly well-traveled, the area itself is secluded, which does add to the magic of seeing this frozen lake in person. Using Banff National Park as a reference point, Abraham Lake is almost exactly two hours northbound along the Trans-Canada Highway.
Visitors can choose to stay in Banff and make the day trip or stay closer to the area of Abraham Lake (more about that later). Once the Trans-Canada Highway intersects the David Thompson Highway, drivers will need to make a right in order to follow this road straight to the lake. The viewing point will be easy to find along the side of the road and, during the winter, visitors will likely see other people standing out on the ice near the shoreline.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Abraham Lake?
Alberta is cold - but that goes without saying, doesn't it? With that being said, though, the lakes in the region often freeze over as early as October. However, just because the lakes begin freezing over in October doesn't mean that's also the best time to visit.
To ensure that visitors will have something to see in regard to these frozen bubbles, it's best to plan a trip for December or later. Even this won't necessarily guarantee that the lake is frozen solid but visitors can check prior to their trip with the parks department. The local weather forecast will also give a pretty good indication as to whether or not the temperatures have remained below freezing long enough for the lake to freeze completely.
Where To Stay Around Abraham Lake
Despite its remoteness, there are a few places to book a stay around Abraham Lake. They vary in price and, luckily, there's a type of accommodation to fit nearly every budget.
Glacier View Lodge
About an hour from Abraham Lake, Glacier View Lodge offers luxe, chalet-style accommodations with incredible mountain or glacier views.
- Nightly cost: Starting at $318/night
- Amenities: Free WiFi, breakfast, on-site restaurant, satellite TV
- Nearby attractions: Jasper National Park, Mount Wilcox, Tangle Creek Falls, Icefield Museum
HI Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel
About 45 minutes from the Abraham Lake viewing area is HI Rampart Creek Wilderness hostel. For those seeking a more rugged and rustic getaway, this hostel offers electricity-free lodging in the form of simple cabin accommodations.
- Nightly cost: Starting at $57/night
- Amenities: Cabins that sleep up to six with bunk beds, outdoor bathroom facilities, bed linens provided, complimentary hot drinks, bike storage, wood-burning sauna, firepit, guest kitchen, communal lounge
- Nearby attractions: Located within Banff National Park, near Mount Wilson
The Crossing Resort
About 35 minutes from the Abraham Lake viewing point, The Crossing Resort is a seasonal hotel that offers simple rooms in a clean facility that features stunning views of the surrounding Canadian Rockies. It's in a great location for hiking as well as within driving distance to both Banff and Jasper National Parks.
- Nightly cost: Starting at $176/night
- Amenities: Free WiFi, Satellite TV, mini-fridges in the rooms, tea & coffee makers, options for mountain views, suites with whirlpool bathtubs, dining areas, a patio, cafeteria, on-site restaurant & bar, on-site convenience store & gas station, pet-friendly
- Nearby attractions: Located right off Highway 93, Mistaya Canyon hiking, Howse River
David Thompson Resort
Only three minutes down the road is the David Thompson Resort, which is the closest lodging option to Abraham Lake and the overlook access. The resort has views of the lake and features a tranquil, quiet setting.
- Nightly cost: Starting at $210/night
- Amenities: Rooms with mountain views, mini-fridges, satellite TV, WiFi for a fee, suites featuring a living room & kitchenette, cabin options featuring BBQ grills, mini-golf on-site, a playground, country-style restaurant on-site, a pub on-site, convenience store on-site, coin-operated laundry room, and RV rentals offered
- Nearby attractions: Down the road from Abraham Lake, roughly 25 miles from Banff National Park