Mistaya Canyon and Abraham Lake

July 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The Mistaya River flows out of Peyto Lake and flows north to eventually join the North Saskatchewan River. Prior to getting there, over time it has cut its way through rocks to form the Mistaya Canyon, another one of the twisty, curvy canyons in Alberta. The hike from the parking lot as a short one and not too difficult. You soon get to a bridge over the river near where the river has started its way through the rock. As there are no railings, you can freely walk on the rocks to get closeup looks at the twists and turns of the river through the rock.


Mistaya River and the Start of the CanyonMistaya River and the Start of the CanyonMistaya Canyon

The Start of the CanyonThe Start of the CanyonMistaya Canyon

Twists and TurnsTwists and TurnsMistaya Canyon


As mentioned above, after flowing through the canyon, the Mistaya River joins up with the North Saskatchewan River, which then flows into Abraham Lake, a manmade lake outside Banff National Park. I have seen a number of very interesting pictures of Abraham Lake in the winter, when methane bubbles form in the ice near the surface. Just for kicks we took a drive out to see Abraham Lake.


I knew I wasn't going to be able to see the bubbles in the ice because the majority, if not all, of the ice on that lake I figured would be melted by June. But we were very surprised by what we did see (or didn't see, depending on how you look at it). We drove to where we figured we should have been seeing the southern portion of the lake. We crossed over a bridge and saw water in the distance, but we also saw dry lake bed and some people camping where we thought there should have been lake. We found a little side road and drove down it town the lake bed, but didn't see anyone we could talk to. We were really curious as to where the lake was and what happened to it.


Dried UpDried UpAbraham Lake

We got back on the road and continued driving until we found a helicopter tour business. I pulled into the parking lot and went inside the building there. I spoke for a while to a couple of women working there. Come to find out that the lake dries up (though not completely) during the winter when there is no snow melt or glacial melt that feeds the lake. Learn something new every day. After slaking our curiosity, we drove back to the Icefields Parkway and continued our planned journey.


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