With beautiful mountains as its backdrop, Abraham Lake in Alberta, Canada is beautiful any time of the year. But come winter, when the lake freezes over, a mesmerizing phenomenon occurs: frozen bubbles!
Where do the bubbles come from?
Abraham Lake is actually a man-made lake, created when Bighorn Dam was constructed. Every winter, as methane gas is released from the decomposing organic matter at the bottom of the lake, it freezes as it rises to the surface. The result is columns of white, frozen bubbles trapped between layers of ice.
When can I see the bubbles?
Since this is a natural phenomenon, your frozen bubble viewing experience will partially be based on luck, but generally the best time to see the frozen bubbles is between mid-January to early February. This is when the lake is sufficiently frozen enough for you to walk on, but also early enough that the ice isn’t too opaque yet. I have tried to see it later in February and found that the ice had already started to cloud over at that point making it hard to photograph the bubbles. If you go after a snowfall, the lake might also be covered in snow making it difficult to see bubbles. As with the Larch Valley hike, checking the Abraham Lake location tag on Instagram before you visit might be helpful to see what others have recently seen on their own hunt for frozen bubbles!
You might be interested in… Larch Valley Hike in Banff National Park
Where can I find the bubbles?
Abraham Lake is a large lake (it’s the largest man-made lake in Alberta!) so you might be wondering where on the lake you’ll be able to spot the frozen bubbles. Because the frozen bubbles attract a decent amount of people, you can stop where you see other people on the lake. I found some great bubbles by this spot on the lake.
Safety on the ice
Searching for these frozen bubbles involves walking on ice, so it’s important to keep your safety in mind. Ice is of course slippery, so you may want to bring ice cleats with you. Try to stay as close to the shore as you can, and watch for the thickness of the ice where you are walking. It isn’t worth risking your life for the ‘gram, so be safe while you’re hunting for bubbles!
Want to get here?
There are tours that you can join to see the bubbles, however they are accessible without a tour if you have a car. Abraham Lake is located in Clearwater County, Alberta, Canada. It is about a 3.5 hour drive from Calgary or Edmonton, or a 2.5 hour drive from Banff.
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