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Some of the nicest lake colours at Headwall Lakes, Kananaskis AB. [OC] [3648×5472]

The Emerald Gems of Headwall Lakes: Unveiling the Breathtaking Lake Colors of Kananaskis, AB

Tucked away in the heart of Kananaskis, Alberta, lies a stunning cluster of lakes known as Headwall Lakes. This picturesque destination has garnered a reputation for its breathtaking lake colors, earning it a spot on the bucket lists of nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. As the camera captures the serene tranquility of these emerald jewels, we delve into the fascinating hues that make Headwall Lakes a true marvel of Mother Nature.

The Vibrant Blues and Greens

The first thing that strikes the eye is the kaleidoscope of blues and greens that paint the lakes’ surfaces. The clarity of the water is so exceptional that it appears almost glass-like, reflecting the majestic mountain peaks and surrounding flora with uncanny precision. On a sunny day, the lakes glimmer with a radiant blue hue, often described as "emerald green" or "turquoise." As the light changes, the colors gradually shift to a deeper, richer blue, resembling a fine sapphire.

The Role of Glaciers and Sediment

The unique coloring of Headwall Lakes is largely attributed to the presence of glaciers and sediment carried by the lakes’ tributaries. The glaciers, which occupy a significant portion of the surrounding mountain range, release glacial rock flour into the lakes. This rock flour, comprising finely ground minerals and silicates, acts as a natural filter, giving the water its characteristic sparkle and color. Additionally, the lakes’ sediment, comprising sand and pebbles, contributes to the lakes’ vibrant hues by scattering the shorter wavelengths of light, such as blue and violet, and absorbing the longer wavelengths, like red and orange.

The Timeless Beauty of Headwall Lakes

As the seasons change, the Headwall Lakes’ colors undergo subtle transformations, yet remain breathtakingly beautiful. In the spring, the melting snowpack and glacial run-off infuse the lakes with an invigorating greenish tint. Summer brings a period of warmth and clarity, as the lakes reach their peak color intensity. Autumn hues of golden brown and crimson arrive with the changing leaves, casting a warm, golden glow over the lakes’ surfaces. Winter, with its heavy snowfall and frozen landscapes, transforms the Headwall Lakes into a serene winter wonderland, where the lakes’ crystal-clear waters sparkle like diamonds in the frosty air.

Capturing the Moment

For photographers, the allure of Headwall Lakes lies in capturing the ever-changing colors and moods of these natural wonders. As the light dances across the lakes, fleeting moments of breathtaking beauty unfold before the lens. From the golden sunrise to the fiery sunset, and from the serene stillness of dawn to the turbulence of a summer storm, each second is a chance to freeze-frame the essence of these emerald gems.


Headwall Lakes, nestled in the heart of Kananaskis, Alberta, is a treasured destination for nature enthusiasts and photography aficionados. The kaleidoscope of blues and greens that paints the lakes’ surfaces is a testament to the raw power and beauty of Mother Nature. As we gaze upon these emerald jewels, we are reminded of the transience and fragility of our planet’s natural wonders, and the importance of preserving them for future generations to cherish and adore.

Download image Some of the nicest lake colours at Headwall Lakes, Kananaskis AB. [OC] [3648×5472]

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