Peyto Lake to Saskatchewan Crossing – Alberta, Canada
By John Crawford
Senior Writer/Jasper National Park
ALBERTA, CANADA – Dropping down from Bow Summit to the sub-alpine forest along the Mistaya River, you continue descending to the basin of the Saskatchewan River. Highlights include Snowbird Glacier, Waterfowl Lakes, the massive Mount Cephren (known as “The Black Pyramid”), frequent sightings of moose and black bears, and the historic Saskatchewan Crossing. A meeting place of three important rivers (Howse, Mistaya and Saskatchewan), the crossing is where explorers and fur traders of the 1800s crossed the Rockies into British Columbia.
A breathtaking lake and one of the highlights of the Canadian Rockies. The lake was named for an early outfitter, “Wild Bill” Peyto. Located just over the Bow Summit at a high point along the Icefields Parkway, the beautiful lake is set far below in a deep glacial valley. This view is easy to reach along a paved trail. An extension trail, that almost no one seems to take, leads further round the mountain for views of the glacier that feeds the lake.
At 2,088 metres (6,800 feet) above sea level, the highest point on the drive from Banff to Jasper, and the highest elevation crossed by a public road in Canada.
Mount Chephren Classic horned peak once called the White Pyramid. It was renamed in 1918 by J. Monroe Thorington, after the son of Cheops, builder of one of Egypt’s great pyramids. The mountain is one of several in the Rockies that resemble a pyramid.
Upper Waterfowl Lake
The picturesque end of a steep downward incline into the Mistaya Valley. From the lakeside viewpoint, you can take in the awe-inspiring mountains of the Continental Divide, including Howse Peak and Mount Chephren.
Open on a seasonal basis from May through October, the warden station at Saskatchewan Crossing is an excellent first stop if you are planning hiking adventures in the area. Route information, climbing conditions, weather reports, logbook entries and voluntary check-in and check-out are among the services offered here. Park wardens, who are usually outdoor adventurers themselves, are excellent sources for information and advice.