For the second installment of my Favorite Destinations series, I present to you my favorite lakes. This ended up being a pretty varied list; these lakes are located all over the US and are all different colors, shapes, and sizes. Some are in National Parks and some are not. Some require hiking and some are easily viewed from the road. But all of them stand out to me in some way.
Crater Lake, Oregon
As the deepest lake in the US and one of the clearest in the world, I don’t see how I could make this list without including Crater Lake. It addition, it’s gorgeous, located in the crater of a volcano, and when I visited we hiked down to the lake, took a boat ride around it, and climbed the island in the center of it.
Lake Huron – Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario
The Bruce Peninsula juts 60 miles out into Lake Huron, forming the Georgian Bay. This remote location is well-preserved and, as a result, looks more like a tropical paradise than one of the Great Lakes. The clear turquoise water and tall cliffs provide the perfect environment for swimming, cliff-jumping, and relaxing in the sunshine.
Saint Mary Lake – Glacier National Park, Montana
There’s a reason that the frigid, sparkling waters of Saint Mary Lake surrounding the tiny Wild Goose Island is probably the most iconic photo of Glacier. Combined with the jagged mountains, the immense glaciers, and the big blue skies of Montana, this is the kind of beauty you just don’t see anywhere else.
Lake Maratanza – Minnewaska State Park, New York
This one earned a spot on this list because of its location atop a plateau in the Shawangunk Mountains of eastern New York. The lake itself is large, shallow, very clear, and surrounded by thousands of bright blue dragonflies, and from the top of the plateau there are views in all directions. Truly one of the gems of the northeast.
Lava Lake – Gallatin Mountains, Montana
Lava Lake is one of my favorite hikes in Montana, but one that a surprising number of people have never completed. It’s not overly long but it is very steep. It’s well worth the climb, though, and as a reward you get to sit on the rocky shores of this beautiful high-mountain lake, soaking your feet in the crystal clear water and gazing up at the towering Gallatin Mountains.
Peyto Lake – Banff National Park, Alberta
A lake that’s bright turquoise, shaped like a dog’s head, and surrounded by the rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains. Do I really need to say anything more?
Agree with me? Disagree? Any lakes I should add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!