Summer is one of the most nostalgic, reflective times of the year. When the sun comes out, we all get thrown back into our childhoods, jumping through the sprinkler, smelling burgers on the BBQ, packing up the minivan for family camping trips, and jumping into any body of water we can find. Sadly, adulthood doesn’t exactly carry the same amount of carefree, no school energy, so we need to work a little harder to emulate those feelings.
There is nothing better than plunging into crisp alpine water on a hot summer day in Alberta, and it’s even more rewarding if that comes after a little bit of a hike. Today, we want to share one of our favourite spots with you. This place is nothing short of enchanting. Vibrant turquoise water, tree-lined shores, rugged cliffs, and stunning mountains on all sides. Known for the scenic views, refreshing swimming, and cliff jumping, Jasper National Park's Horseshoe Lake is the perfect place to plunge back into the endless summers we all know and miss so dearly.
You’ll find this oasis near Improvement District No. 12 along a moderately challenging route that is 1.6 km long and usually takes under half an hour to complete. The area around Horseshoe Lake is really popular for hiking, birding, and swimming, and the parking lot is relatively small, so it’s a good idea to get there early. The hike takes you along a rugged trail with many ups and downs. While the hike is short, it’s tough, and the terrain is pretty tricky, so good footwear is a must.
Also, be warned that the path isn’t well-marked, so we’d suggest downloading your trail maps beforehand. Once you reach the lake, you’ll be in awe of its glistening water and unique, horseshoe shape. It’s a great place to post up for the day, enjoy a picnic, read a book, lounge around, swim, and–if you’re a bit of a thrill seeker–try cliff jumping.
Along the water, there are many cliffs of different heights to jump from. This swimming hole is known for its especially deep water, which is why it attracts many cliff-jumping fanatics. The highest jump-off point is a whopping 80 feet, but there are several more reasonable options, too. It goes without saying that cliff jumping is extremely dangerous, and there are many reasons to avoid the activity altogether. But, if you decide to go for it, take all the safety precautions you can.
If you’re more like us, you’ll probably be wading in rather than jumping in and then enjoying a peaceful swim around the remarkably reflective lake. Of course, the water is cold, so be warned.
We can't recommend this spot enough if you’re looking for the perfect place to swim, enjoy nature, hike, and relax in the wild.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023 Hot Summer Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.