Have you discovered the frozen bubbles on many of the lakes and reservoirs throughout the Canadian Rockies? These frozen wonders are a wintertime marvel and photographing them can be a highlight of any vacation. But what causes this unique landscape?
Frozen bubbles are formed when decaying plant life on the bottom of the lake decomposes and releases methane gas. On its way to the surface, that methane is caught in the ice, creating the spectacular bubble effect. The shape and density of these bubbles differ from lake to lake, depending on the type and amount of plant life beneath the water.
While bubbles are present in many lakes throughout the Canadian Rockies, thick snow typically covers the surface, making them impossible to see. Lakes in high-wind areas or in areas recently affected by chinooks are best for seeing bubbles since they typically have clear exposed ice.
Looking to discover this wonder for yourself? Make sure the ice is thick and sturdy before venturing out. Some bubble areas may be walkable from the road, while it might be best to skate to others. Photographing these bubbles can be a treasure! For the best advice, check out this article by Paul Zizka or this one by Jenn Explores.
Try your luck at Lake Minnewanka after a chinook, or visit the popular Abraham Lake, which often gets high winds and less snow than other parts of the mountains.
Want to take you experience to the next level? Try a Bubbles Tour with Rockies Heli Canada and enjoy a scenic helicopter ride, a backcountry snowshoe, and a guided tour on the beautiful bubbles of Abraham Lake. Gear, hot chocolate, and a hot lunch are provided on this impressive tour.