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Explore a massive reservoir full of fantastical ice bubbles, stunning fractures, and if you're lucky, the northern lights!

Abraham Lake is one of the Canadian Rockies most incredible winter photography locations. The 32 km long reservoir is full of numerous opportunities for exploring and photographing frozen ice, flowing rivers, and the surrounding dramatic peaks. Due to it's general North/South alignment, it's also the perfect spot for photographing the northern lights during auroral activity of Kp 4 or higher. 

Popular spots are Preachers Point, the Cline River Bay, Windy Point, and Belly of Abraham. Shooting from the shore is suitable for all experience levels but photographing on the lake is not for beginner photographers, only photograph on the lake if you have the right equipment and experience; this is one of those spots where it's good to travel with a partner. Due to the constant change in snow cover, wind, and water levels, it will take some exploring to find the best shooting each day. Please try to avoid walking directly on or near photogenic ice bubbles so others may enjoy them too.


  • Abraham Lake is a reservoir with fluctuating levels that can weaken formerly safe areas and causes audible cracking 24/7.  To safely walk on the ice you need 4in or 7.5cm minimum thickness. White ice or "snow ice" is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice. 
  • The reservoir also has a year-round river flowing through it, never walk on ice near any of the rivers flowing into the lake or through it. Don't try to walk from one shore to the other. 
  • Don't walk on the ice near Windy Point, outlets, inlets, and the dam.
  • It gets really windy on Abraham Lake, dangerously so!!  The wind can knock you down and blow you somewhere unsafe, not to mention what it can do to your camera. Never leave anything unattended on the ice, use traction to safely traverse it, wear a helmet in high winds, and don't go out if you feel unsafe. 

Pack List

  • Camera + Wide Angle Fast Lens + Tripod
  • Lots of extra batteries
  • Lots of warm layers
  • Headlamp
  • Tripod w/ small metal spikes
  • Memory Card
  • Winter Boots
  • Ice Traction: Micro-spikes or Crampons
  • Helmet
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Jason Hatfield Explorer

Adventure and travel photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. I teach photography workshops and offer private guiding around the west. More at jasonjhatfield.com

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