Horseshoe Lake – Jasper, Alberta

Location: Approximately 25 kms south of Jasper, on the way to Banff. There is signage that will tell you to take a left into the roadside pullout.

Access: Put on your suit, grab your gear and hike down the steep trail. Once at the bottom, you can see the water on your left, but the better spot is further straight ahead. It’s a bit of a hike, but it’s worth it. Eventually you will come to the far side of this hoseshoe-shaped lake, and will see a ledge that you can sit on to put your fins on that is a few centimetres under the water. Across the other side is a cliff that is 20 metres high, covered in evergreens.

What’s to see: This is a wall dive to 26 metres. There are numerous overhangs to get into, and you may see small brown trout. The distance to the other side is only about 30 metres, so you can pick the wall that the sun is shining on to get the best vis. This lake is supplied by glacier fed springs, so the vis can be 10 metres or more down to 15 metres of depth, where it gets very, very dark. This also an incredibly beautiful spot topside. You may find scuba divers doing advanced course here, and sometimes you will see people jumping off the cliffs from the cliff tops. The temperature tends to be 14C at the surface in the summer, with a brutal thermocline below 15 metres which I’ve never bothered to stay in long enough for my computer to react to, so I’m not sure the exact temperature.

Amenities: There is a Park toilet at the car park, and Jasper is close, with all services, including campsites.

Hazards: The hike in is rocky and steep in some places, so be careful. You will be glad you are not hauling Scuba gear! Spearing fish is illegal in the National Parks, at least for trout, so don’t bother bringing your gun. The bottom is extremely dark, and I recommend a float and weighted line for diving deep.

Submitted by Erik Young.