While you may think high mountains, and glacier-fed waters, there are surprising number of very swimmable beaches that are popular with locals and visitors alike for swimming and water sports. The optimal times for swimming in the Rockies region are July and August.
Alberta Rockies Beaches
Cat Creek Waterfall, Kananaskis
Located in Kananaskis, an hour long easy hike takes you to a wonderful waterfall with swimming hole. The hike is easy enough for young kids, with lots of rest stops along the way.
From Highwood Junction, head west on Highway 40 for 6 km, and turn south into Cat Creek Recreation Area. (note: Highway 40 is closed Dec 1 to June 15)
Edith Lake, Jasper
This lake has a great beach, about 8-10 kilometers from Jasper town site. Popular with fishermen, swimmers, joggers, and sun-worshippers. The water is a little colder, being a glacier-fed lake, but the kids will enjoy it, and it’s dog friendly.
Just off the Yellowhead Highway 16, along side Athabasca River. Cross the Moberly Bridge toward The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Maligne Lake. Take the left fork after the bridge, heading south on the Maligne Lake road. Then take the first right hand turn to Lake Edith.
Johnson Lake, Banff
Right outside of Banff, are hiking trails and a small sandy beach perfect for the kids. For older kids, there is a rope swing close-by and additional trails to hike to other nearby lakes. There is a sandy/pebbly beach area and picnic area that includes public washrooms and picnic tables. The water is chilly, but is warmest in July/August.
Follow the Lake Minnewanka Road from the Transportation-Canada Highway for 1.0 km (0.6 mi) to the Lake Minnewanka-Johnson Lake road split. Turn right and continue 3.7 km (2.3 mi) to where the Johnson Lake side road.
Quarry Lake, Canmore
Quarry Lake is a popular hangout for the locals, with best swimming in the months of July and August. There are benches, picnic tables and washrooms and 5K+ of trails in the area to check out while you’re there.
From Canmore, head up towards the Canmore Nordic Centre. Quarry Lake is on your left-hand side about halfway up the hill from the Town. The parking lot has spaces for 60 vehicles.
BC Rockies Beaches
Blanket Creek Provincial Park, Revelstoke
The lagoon at Blanket Creek Provincial Park is a pleasant but cool place for a swim. There are several camping sites for overnighting, and there is a great picnic area and thundering Sutherland Falls nearby.
From Revelstoke, drive 40 kilometres south on Highway 23.
Echo Lake, Revelstoke
Echo Lake, has a grassy lakeside clearing and warm water, great for swimming. The lake is ringed by camp sites, making it an ideal destination for a weekend trip.
Head south of Revelstoke along Airport Way, past the end of the pavement and then make a left at the Akolkolex Forest Service Road. Echo Lake is a few kilometres beyond the turnoff.
Fletcher Falls, Kaslo
On the shores of Kootenay Lake just outside of Kaslo, is a small but powerful waterfall offers a long sandy beach and a rich deep forest of hiking trails.
Kaslo Bay Park, Kaslo
Kaslo Bay Park, in beautiful Kaslo’s protected bay has a sandy beach, large grass area, and the Purcell Mountain range scenic backdrop. Kaslo Bay Park is also home to the annual Kaslo Jazz Festival.
Kinbasket Lake Resort, on Kinbasket Lake, Golden
The snow melt from the mountains typically covers the lakebed in early to mid-July, rising 1 to 2 feet per day till mid-August when the lake approaches full pool. The docks are usually in use by early July with the silt from the runoff settling out within a couple of weeks.
There is a large gravel/sand beach area which gets smaller as the lake level rises, with swimming (from beach or the docks) from late July on, with the water temperature reaching a peak of 21-23 degrees Celsius the first of August. The fishing and boating are good throughout the summer (watch for floating debris).
Off the Transportation-Canada Highway #1: 50 km west of Golden or 98 km east of Revelstoke.
Kinsmen Beach & Dorothy Lake Recreation Area, Lake Windermere
This beach and recreation area is a public space offering numerous services and amenities. This includes sandy shores, tennis courts and a ball field, picnic areas, concession stands and public washrooms.
Adjacent to the Pynelogs Cultural Centre, Invermere, BC
Martha Creek Provincial Park, Revelstoke
This provincial park has great fishing, a wharf, paved boat launch and campsites on the reservoir are four lures that make this park popular with local anglers. The water is cold, but warmer in the inlet.
23 kilometres north of Revelstoke, on the shores of Lake Revelstoke
Rotary Lakeside Provincial Park Beach, Nelson, B.C.
This park is the pride of Nelson’s waterfront and encompasses almost every outdoor activity that you can imagine. A long beautiful beach, wide promenade, spectacular gardens and large fields for a variety of sports and activities.
Williamson’s Lake, Revelstoke
Located a few minutes south of downtown Revelstoke off Airport Way, Williamson’s Lake is a popular spot for swimming because of the warm water. It features a nice long beach, playground, dock, several RV camping sites and every year its stocked with fish.
Windermere Beach, Windermere
This community beach (operated by the Windermere Community Association) is located on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere, and offers green space complete with picnic tables, public washroom facilities, a children’s playground and a swimming area.
Selkirk St. & Fairmont St., Windermere, BC
Windermere Lake, James Chabot Provincial Park
Large, sandy beach. Visitors can windsurf, swim, fish, canoe and kayak. Facilities include picnic tables, toilets, drinking water, a playground and volleyball nets. No on-duty lifeguards.
Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes
A rugged setting of which also offers great swimming, and fishing. Explore the area on foot or mountain bike. No on-duty lifeguards.