Friday, September 17, 2010

Pyramid Lake, Jasper

Pyramid Lake offers a very pleasant half-day of paddling in Jasper. Located about 10 minutes north of Jasper on Pyramid Lake Road, the lake has three good access points as well as a lovely island to explore. The lake is about 2 miles long and about half a mile wide.

The easiest access point is the dock in front of the Coast Pyramid Lake Resort pictured on a rainy autumn day below. There is ample public parking here and you used to be able to rent canoes, but you'll want to double check this service is still offered.

If you continue down the road past the hotel, you will come to Pyramid Island which can be accessed over the bridge pictured below. This is a very nice walk but you can also approach the island by boat.

You cannot get a boat under this bridge so you will need to go around the north side of the island to get into the bay pictured below. Mind the rocks at the northern tip of the island. If there is a strong westernly wind, it can also be tricky to return around the north side of the island once you are east of it. A short portage is likely easier than fighting a stiff wind while avoiding the rocks.

A bit further up the road is a turnabout with a boat ramp you can also launch from. The road terminates here for vehicles but you can walk or cycle further along. This point allows easier access to the eastern part of the lake and the photo below is shot from Pyramid Island. To the east there is an outlet that eventually dumps into the Athabasca.

My preferred launch point is a small park accessed on the left side of the road just before you can see the hotel and its docks. There is a boat launch here but it is nicest to go off the beach.

The beach has a nice picnic area and you can swim if you're brave or it is really hot!

This beach is on the west side of the lake and there is a small stream that enters just to the north of the beach that can be fun for kids to muck about in. The sandbar pictured above moves and changes depending on the year. We've also seen a fair bit of wildlife on the west side of the lake (elk, moose, heron). A nearby paddle is Patricia Lake and the two (interspersed by lunch) make for a nice day if the weather cooperates.

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