Top 20 Lakes Near Calgary: Lake Houses & Recreation Lakes

Best Lakes Near Calgary: Photos of Moraine Lake and Chestermere Lake

If you're looking to explore the tranquil beauty of nature just a stone's throw away from Calgary, the lakes in the surrounding area offer countless possibilities.

Whether you're in search of a peaceful retreat to unwind or craving some adventure on the water, these lakes offer something special. From hidden gems to popular destinations, there's a vast selection waiting to be discovered, each with its unique charm.

Serene Lakes With Wildlife

A serene setting known for clear waters and abundant wildlife, Upper Kananaskis Lake offers a peaceful retreat. As you explore, keep an eye out for the various bird species that call this lake home. From majestic bald eagles soaring above to colourful songbirds fluttering near the shoreline, the diversity of wildlife at Upper Kananaskis Lake is sure to captivate.

You can also consider visiting Frank Lake, one of the largest man-made lakes near Calgary, serves as a wetland haven for over 194 bird species, making it one of the top choices for wildlife sightseeing.

A couple of other options are Pine Coulee Reservoir—known for its birdwatching—or Two Jack Lake, which offers unbeatable mountain views and plenty of chances to observe the wildlife that frequents its shores.

Lakes for Water Activities

The Lake in the Auburn Bay Neighbourhood

In Calgary, you can enjoy various water activities at the lakes, including canoeing, kayaking, sailing, rowing, and even dragon boat racing. Glenmore Reservoir in South Calgary is a popular spot for these and other water activities, offering a picturesque setting for adventures.

For a private lake experience, Sundance Lake offers private community access to homeowners, tenants, and registered guests. This private oasis is ideal for fishing, paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, and windsurfing.

There are many other lake communities in South and Southeast Calgary, so there are plenty of opportunities to buy a waterfront home in Calgary and enjoy community lake access. A few popular waterfront communities include Chaparral, Auburn Bay, McKenzie Lake, and Mahogany. Mahogany, in particular, is considered one of the best gated communities in Calgary.

Sikome Lake—an artificial lake open seasonally from June to September—is another popular swimming spot for all ages. With shallow areas, a playground, and picnic tables, this could be an ideal destination for a relaxing day by the water.

Calgary Lakes With Recreational Features

Horseshoe Lake in Jasper National Park, Alberta

When exploring Calgary’s many lakes, there’s no shortage of land- and water-based activities suited to your adventure levels. One of the top spots, Horseshoe Lake, offers cliff diving, swimming, hiking, scuba diving, and fishing in a picturesque setting.

For those interested in a glacially fed lake, Barrier Lake is a great—albeit chilly—spot for water skiing, with nearby hiking trails and rock climbing opportunities.

Alternatively, Quarry Lake near Calgary has warm waters along a sandy beach, making it a great choice for swimming adventures. This former mining quarry is also a great spot for picnics, so consider packing a lunch.

Lakes for Day Trips

If you're looking for a day-trip destination near Calgary that offers stunning mountain views and water activities, consider visiting Ghost Lake. Northwest of Calgary, Ghost Lake provides a beach location where you can enjoy activities like wakeboarding and trout fishing while taking in the breathtaking Rocky Mountain views.

Located along the Bow River in Northwest Calgary, Bowness Park provides easy access to both the Bow River and an offshoot lake. Visitors can rent canoes and paddleboats to explore the shallow lagoon waters. In winter, it freezes over and permits ice skating.

You might also consider making a trip to Chestermere Lake for water activities like canoeing, kayaking, and sailing. The lake provides ample space for activities—including fishing and even skating in the winter—making it a popular choice for Chestermere residents and visitors alike.

Banff Lakes for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Kayaking on Lake Louise in Banff National Park

If you’re looking for fun things to do near Calgary, many residents will enthusiastically recommend Banff National Park. With a drive typically between an hour and a half and two hours from downtown, it makes for a great day trip.

Known for its out-of-this-world blue hue, Moraine Lake offers canoe rentals, making it a haven for photography enthusiasts capturing its beauty. The lake is only open from June to October, so be sure to plan accordingly and book a shuttle before it’s too late.

Another great option is Lake Minnewanka, the largest lake in the park. Here, you can rent boats and take relaxing cruises while admiring the picturesque mountain scenery. The lake also offers fishing opportunities, scuba diving adventures, and scenic hiking trails.

Johnson Lake, located 130 km west of Calgary in Banff National Park, offers crystal-clear waters, scenic views, and lush greenery surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. It's a popular spot for swimmers, boaters, and nature enthusiasts alike, with a 3 km lakeside loop providing a safe space to admire the surrounding beauty. 

Lake Louise also stands out with its mesmerizing turquoise waters, perfect for canoeing and kayaking against a backdrop of stunning mountain vistas. Or, for a peaceful escape that’s more under the radar, visit the nearby Lake Annette—this small lake has a tranquil atmosphere, a swimming dock, and hiking trails nearby.

Embrace the natural wonders and exciting activities these Banff lakes have to offer, immersing yourself in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.

Plan Your Next Lake Adventure

Grab your gear, pack a picnic, and discover the diverse lakes near Calgary!

Whether you're looking for outdoor activities, wildlife sightings, recreational amenities, or simply a peaceful escape into nature, there's a lake waiting for you. Soak up the beauty, enjoy the water, and make the most of your time in Alberta’s great outdoors.

Are you ready to move to Calgary? Call The Justin Havre Real Estate Team with eXp Realty at (403) 217-0003 to talk with a local real estate agent who can help you discover your dream Calgary home.

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