In the heart of Banff National Park lies the breathtaking Two Jack Lake. A natural wonder renowned for its emerald waters and stunning Mount Rundle backdrop. A haven for locals and tourists, this guide will unveil everything you need to know for an unforgettable visit.
A Four-Season Paradise
Two Jack Lake doesn’t hibernate during the winter. Instead, it transforms into an enchanting ice skating rink, offering a unique experience amidst snow-covered surroundings. Further, catch the rare sight of methane ice bubbles, and you’ll understand why this destination is cherished year-round.
Only a short five-minute drive away, Two Jack Lake shares its beauty with Lake Minnewanka and Johnson Lake. It’s a fantastic alternative to Vermilion Lakes and provides captivating Mount Rundle views.
Reaching Two Jack Lake
Located just 10 kilometers from Banff, Two Jack Lake is an easily accessible 15-minute drive from the town center. If you prefer a more active route, cycling along the Minnewanka Lake Loop Road takes 30-45 minutes. In summer, biking adds an adventurous twist to your journey.
Despite Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Emerald Lake often stealing the spotlight, Two Jack Lake is one of Banff’s most photogenic spots.
Best Time to Visit
Although accessible year-round, this Lake truly shines in the summer. The lake comes alive as the ice melts and the water warms from mid-June. By July, you’ll experience the entire allure of Two Jack, making the most of the short Canadian Rockies summer.
Facilities and Tips
Parking at Lake comprises the Lower Lot and the Upper Lot. Although securing a spot is usually straightforward, it can become congested during the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. peak hours.
Hiking Options at Two Jack Lake
While a trail skirts the lake’s shoreline, it’s a gentle walk rather than a challenging hike. Yet, the area offers numerous hiking opportunities. Further, explore trails like Alymer Lookout, the summit of Mt. Alymer, or embark on a multi-day backpacking adventure. For a more leisurely hike with fewer visitors, consider nearby Johnson Lake.
Swimming and Skating
Swimming in the Lake is a refreshing experience, even on the hottest August days. When the lake freezes in winter, it becomes a massive ice skating rink. Look for the ideal skating window, typically around December, before snow blankets the ice.
Fishing is permitted at Lake, provided you have the requisite permits and knowledge of regulations. Moreover, ensure you know fishing limits and can identify the various fish species within the park. Further, live bait fishing is not allowed. Fishing permits are $12.75 for daily access and $44.25 for annual passes.
Camping by the Lake
Camping enthusiasts can revel in the Two Jack Lake Campgrounds, the second closest campgrounds to Banff town. The Lakeside Campground, though smaller, boasts hot showers and prime lakeside campsites.
Two Jack Lake is a haven for water sports. While on-site equipment rentals are unavailable, nearby providers like the Banff Canoe Club and the Adventure Club on Banff Ave offer canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks for half-day and full-day rentals. Since 2021, visitors must complete a Self-Certification Permit with Parks Canada for nonmotorized watercraft to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species.
Secure Your Parks Pass
To access Two Jack Lake, you’ll need a Parks Canada pass, as it’s situated within Banff National Park. Purchase a pass at any park gate or online in advance.
Plan for Peak Times
Two Jack Lake is a popular spot, especially during summer. Be prepared for crowds, especially on holidays and long weekends.
Stay Close to the Beauty
For accommodations close to Lake, consider Downtown Banff. Despite its small size, Banff offers a surprising variety of excellent hotels, enhancing your experience and providing easy access to this natural wonder.
Two Jack Lake invites you to savor its year-round beauty and diverse activities. Whether you seek the thrill of summer adventures or the tranquil charm of a winter wonderland, this lake has it all.