Lakes closed early June

May 13th, 2004, 06:38 AM
  #1  
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Lakes closed early June

I heard that some lakes access could be closed early June.
Is it true ??
Suzybr is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 06:43 AM
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Yes
BAK is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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We will intend to know at least Lake Louise, Moraine, Emerald, Maligne then we can to miss the opportunity !!!
It is bad for people from so far !!!
Suzybr is offline  
May 13th, 2004, 11:09 AM
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Suzybr, the only really popular lake that I know of that's closed to the public in the Rocky Mountains is Moraine Lake, which usually is closed from early October to early June.

Parks Canada staff decide Moraine Lake's opening date based on snow and ice conditions and their assessment of the avalanche hazard. The opening date changes from year to year, depending on current conditions, but the road usually opens very early in June.

Members of the public have access to Emerald Lake and Lake Louise throughout the winter. I don't know about winter access to Maligne Lake.

Maligne Lake, being at a somewhat lower elevation, thaws earlier than the other lakes. Typically it is thawed out by late May.

The timing of the thaws varies from year to year. I've been to Moraine Lake very early in June and, on that occasion, about one third of it was thawed and two thirds frozen.

I've seen a considerable amount of ice on Lake Louise as late as the middle of June, but I'm guessing it'll thaw a bit earlier than that this year, as we've had quite a mild winter and spring, relatively speaking.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
May 14th, 2004, 03:02 AM
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Thank you Judy!!
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May 14th, 2004, 06:27 AM
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By the lake being closed, does this mean one cannot get close enough to look at it? Or does it mean closed to boating? I never heard of a lake being closed to viewing.
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May 14th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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Bob - it's the access to the lakes that's closed (not the 'viewing" of the lake).
Some of the mountain lakes (eg. Moraine Lake) have narrow winding access roads that are closed over the winter, and don't usually open until the National Parks officials determine that they are safe for the general public. In some cases and in some years (due to weather) the opening of the road could be as late as mid-June.
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May 14th, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Hi Bob,

You're probably familiar with the Moraine Lake turn-off from the road that connects the village of Lake Louise and the lake of Lake Louise.

From there, the drive to Moraine Lake is 14 km.

From early October to early June there is a horizontal barrier across the entrance to the Moraine Lake road with a big "Road Closed" sign displayed on it.

I suppose one could cross country ski to Moraine Lake if one was so inclined, but the fact that the road is closed means that most people are unable to view the lake.
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May 14th, 2004, 07:16 AM
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Oops, Borealis, I did it again. I mean I didn't see that you'd posted when I clicked on the post button.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
May 14th, 2004, 10:04 AM
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OK. Thanks for the answers. My visiting has always been in the summers, either July, August or September. Two years ago when we were there, Lake McArthur was about 80% frozen in very early July, but the trail was open as was the road to O'Hara. A huge thawing must take place in mid to late June.

I never thought of the road to Moraine Lake not being kept clear of snow because of the lodge and the fact that the lake itself is a huge tourist attraction.

I guess Emerald Lake is low enough in elevation that keeping the roads to it clear is easier.

I bet Peyto Lake gets socked in!!
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May 14th, 2004, 10:36 AM
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Ah - now I understand where you are coming from Bob. Two years ago we had the ugliest and coldest spring ever (no leaves on trees and shrubs until the end of May!!!). Then boom! - in mid June it abruptly became very hot, and July and August were much hotter than average (except for a weird week at the end of July/beginning of August when the temperatures plummeted and it snowed in the mountains).
To tell the truth, the weather has been very strange over the past several years. We are still suffering from a drought, and the temps are bouncing around all over the place - this seems to be especially pronounced in the spring.

By the way, I think that you might be able to get to the viewpoint overlooking Peyto Lake in the winter; the "parking area" at the side of the Icefield Parkway was plowed when we stopped there several years ago (in February); we didn't have skis and decided against walking (due to depth of snow), but there were cross-country skiers there. So it is possible (& might be fun in snowshoes!!).

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May 14th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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I come from Georgia! Spring has been here for over a month, and we have had days in the 33 C range. We see snow about every other year. None this year.

A little north of here, in the North Georgia mountains, the elevation is 2 to 3,000 feet higher and there is more snow. Some of the peaks that are up around 4,000 feet are a different world in January.

I was surprised when I learned that Moraine Lake would be closed off to traffic. Being as gorgeous as it is in the summer, I had assumed it would be kept open at all reasonable costs in the winter.
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May 15th, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Bob - I suspected - from your e-mail address - that you must be from Georgia. It must a very pretty place, with lush vegetation and beautiful flowers in the spring? And humid all the time?? (I have never been to Georgia; closest I ever got was Washington DC).

The mountain lakes are beautiful in the summer when the water is a gorgeous deep blue or turquoise. In the winter however, this beauty is usually hidden under ice and snow. Even the waterfalls are frozen!! (you can hear the water flowing but can only see ice and icicles). So it isn't worth the cost to keep the roads open; all you'll see is white white white!!

Another factor is that these small winding roads may be subject to avalanches; and to upgrade them (building avalanche sheds etc.) would probably disturb or even destroy the ecosystem around them.

The climate is very harsh in the mountains. For one thing, we are at a much higher altitude, even on the prairie part of the province of Alberta. For example, Edmonton (where I live) is at 2200 ft above sea level, and Calgary is at an elevation of 3400 ft. In the Rockies the valleys are at about 4000 ft. above sea level. The air is thinner, holds less moisture, and the temperature differences between day and night can be quite large (for example, in spring and fall, it freezes at night, and warms up even as high as 70F during the day). And contrary to popular opinion, it isn't solidly cold all winter long. There are warm spells (melting) alternating with cold spells and very low temperatures. This is a very harsh climate, and the combination of freeze-thaw and lots of snow is tough on the asphalt road surfaces.

Mind you - the mountains are gorgeous in winter too. But the beauty is different than in the summer. The light is lower and softer, the days are very short, but there is a kind of peacefulness and quiet that is good for the soul. I recommend at least one visit to the Rockies in the winter. You won't be able to do much hiking, but if you are a hiker, cross-country skiing will be easy for you to learn. You can rent x-country skis once you are here. You can even take lessons! And then you'll be able to cross-country ski on some of the same hiking trails that you have walked in the summer. (lots of x-country trails around Lake Louise, and lessons and trails in Canmore at the Nordic Centre - which was built, by the way, for the 1988 Winter Olympics).

Happy trails - winter or summer!!
Borealis is offline  
May 16th, 2004, 05:11 PM
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Georgia can be dry in the fall, and right now we are in a prolonged drought.
Very serious one in fact.

Usually the spring is the time of 4 to 5 inches of rain per month, but not this year.

I have lived in cold climates, like northern Germany where the harbor in Kiel froze over in January and blocked shipping. It was a white, bleak landscape to say the least.

I get winter updates on Edmonton from my Finnish friend who is a faculty member at U of A. She comments on how cold Edmonton can get! So when Finns notice the cold, I think that tells me something.

I will stay where I am, for the present time, and enjoy my summer travels.


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