Abraham Lake in winter.

Abraham Lake

Abraham Lake is a reservoir, or artificial lake, located in western Alberta, Canada. It sits in the Kootenay Plains area of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, on the North Saskatchewan River. The reservoir has a surface area of just under 54 square kilometers and a length of 32 kilometers. Despite being an artificial lake, Lake Abraham is a particularly beautiful body of water due to its bright blue color. This color comes from the presence of rock flour, which is common in glacial lakes and creates vibrant crystalline waters. The lake itself is surrounded by the Abraham Mountain and Elliot Peak on its western shore, Mount Michener to the East, and Mount Ernest Ross at its southern end. The lake was named after Silas Abraham, an inhabitant of the Saskatchewan River Valley in the nineteenth century.

History Of Abraham Lake

Abraham Lake
The highway leading to Abraham Lake.

The reservoir that is Abraham Lake was created in 1972 by what was then called the Calgary Power Company, which later became TransAlta. It was formed by damming the North Saskatchewan River at the Bighorn Dam. The dam's construction flooded the Kootenay Plains and was controversial. It was done without any hearings and without factoring in how this may affect those living in the area. Incidentally, the flooding of the plain had a detrimental effect on the Bighorn Stoney indigenous people that lived and hunted in the area. Cabins, graveyards, pastures, and hunting grounds were all wiped out during this flooding.Interesting

Natural Phenomena

Abraham lake bubbles
The frozen bubbles of Abraham Lake.

Abraham Lake is known visually for the distinct frozen bubbles which can be seen trapped in the ice of the lake's surface. This bubbling occurs because dead plant life on the lake's bottom decomposes and lets out methane gas. This gas forms the bubbles, and they become trapped under the ice surface as the lake freezes over in the winter months. The bubbles are especially impressive as the lake has such a strong glacial lake blue color, so they stand out all the more. This visually stunning phenomenon has made Lake Abraham a popular destination for those seeking to witness this wintery sight. Everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to photographers frequent the area once the lake's surface freezes over, usually between late December and spring. 

Wildlife In Abraham Lake

Though an artificial lake, several fish species do reside in the lake's waters. They include both rainbow trout, bull trout, lake trout, cutthroat trout, and lake whitefish and sunfish. A large variety of birds can be found in the lake region. Everything from sandpipers to mergansers, northern waterthrush, and loons can be found nesting on the lake. In the more wooded areas, barred owls and goshawks thrive. Aside from fish and birds, there are a number of mammals that reside in the area. Small mammals such as ground squirrels and hoary marmots are common, while the mountainous terrain sees bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Some of the larger predators that reside in the region include wolves, coyotes, foxes, cougars, grizzly bears, and black bears. 

Abraham Lake scenery
A visitor enjoying the scenic view of Abraham Lake.

Though its creation and past have dark undertones due to the sheer lack of consideration for those living in the region, Abraham Lake has become a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether coming to view the frozen bubbles or hiking along the lake's edge, the views of Lake Abraham and the Rocky Mountain foothills make for a stunning scene for anyone traveling through the area. 


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