• Vermillion Lakes, Canadian Rockies

Vermillion Lakes, Canada Photography Hot Spot


The beauty of Vermilion Lakes can be enjoyed at any time of the day. However, try visiting at sunrise or sunset for the most pleasing aesthetic. Not only will this make for amazing pictures, but it also ensures that the lakes won’t be as packed with tourists. This is a milky way location, but the sun also sets very later here. Go during a new moon if you can during the months that the sun does not set so late; otherwise, it is still an incredibly dynamic place to do photography, even without doing Milky Way Photography it. It is a tourist destination, so the weekdays and off-season are the best time to go. It gets brutally cold here in the winter, so keep that in mind. Although during our trips in June were not many people there. 


If you are looking for a quick visit to take in the views and snap some photos, then 1 hour should suffice. But if you want to do some hiking or canoeing around the lake, plan on staying longer than that. There are two trails to explore and canoe rentals available through Banff Canoe Club. For an all-encompassing experience, set aside a couple of hours to thoroughly photograph the beauty of Vermilion Lakes.


In the Canadian Rockies, the weather can change at any moment, so it’s important to pack for the weather. Here’s a list of things to remember to bring for your visit to Vermilion Lakes.

  • Water and Snacks
  • Bug repellent
  • DSLR Camera
  • Tripod
  • Wide Angle Lens & a Zoom Lens
  • Polarizing Filter


Fenland Trail

Vermilion Lakes near Banff provides a great opportunity for a brisk stroll, and the trailhead is just minutes away from downtown. This path is an easygoing and level meander through Echo Creek marshlands with several informative signs to shed light on the region’s wildlife and past.

The Fenland Trail takes around one hour to circle 1.8 kilometers (1.11 mi) and is available throughout the year. Verdant foliage and numerous wildflowers grace it in summer to get some unique images.

Echo Creek Legacy Path

The Echo Creek Heritage Trail nearby Banff is a brilliant scenic walk that isn’t too difficult. The route spans 3.5 kilometers (2.16 mi) as an out-and-back track along the Banff National Park legacy path and generally takes around an hour or so to complete. You can get a lot of dynamic images while hiking the path.

The views of stunning mountains will accompany you along the way, making it a sought after bird photography locale. You’ll discover the start of this trail at the end of Vermilion Lakes Road, near Banff town limits – keep an eye out for cyclists!


Passes – You must have a pass to visit the parks. You can purchase when you get there or before you go.  Here is the link to the different types of passes.  Seasonal Closures and Restrictions – Be sure to read this before you go.

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think tank camera bags

We don’t go anywhere without our Think Tank Camera Bags. Special offer!


Camera Settings

Shutter Priority – You have moving subjects here, such as birds, so you will want to shoot in shutter priority to be sure they come out clear. When boats slowly go by, or people walk by, shoot at 1/250th of a second and adjust your ISO accordingly. If you shoot birds moving fast, increase your shutter speed to about 1/1000th of a second. If it’s a bright sunny day, go as high as  1/1200th of a second, which will stop the action.

Manual Mode – You occasionally have moving waters here at the edge of the water.  You will have to use a tripod for the milky water effect. Your settings will vary depending on the lighting and your neutral density filter. See our Waterfall Photography Page for more information.

The ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow in manual mode for the milky waters. The aperture is f22. Your shutter speed will vary depending on the light. Take some test shots to decide on your shutter speed after you put your neutral density filter on. (It’s like sunglasses for your camera to stop light from coming in). You can use your shutter release or your 2-second timer also to prevent camera movement. Voila. You now have your milky water exposure. You will want at least a 2-second exposure for water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may get up to 1/15th of a second in the sun. That does not give you a good effect. You can go to our store to buy your ND filter. I have a 3.0 for super-long exposure in the sunshine.

You can read more in our Neutral Density Filter Section.  You can also go to our Basic Photography section for a more detailed explanation of shutter speed or aperture priority modes when doing your daytime photos.

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Banff Rocky Mountain Resort



Right across the street from the entrance to Vermilion Lakes, you will find our favorite hotel. It is not downtown like the others but out here in nature.  Click here to go to their website.

photography magazine extra Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

Banff Rocky Mountain Resort


Banff Rocky Mountain Resort

1029 Banff Avenue, Banff –  (800) 563-8764 in Canada/USA | +1(403)762-5531 Local  –  The Banff Rocky Mountain Resort is the perfect rocky mountain getaway for any traveler. They feature suites and condo-style accommodation in Banff National Park. Stay with them and enjoy the comforts of home and more. This picturesque location has a dining room, a deli, tennis courts, health facilities, a swimming pool, squash courts, and conference facilities. Take your vacation at Banff and live the mountain lifestyle.

Click here to go to their website.

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To visit the parks, you must have a pass. You can purchase one when you get there or before you go. Here is the link to the different types of passes.

Free admission for youth 17 and under

As of January 1, 2018, admission to Parks Canada places for youth 17 and under is free!


Commercial Group, per person$9.35

Parks Canada Discovery Pass





Lake Louise Campground: Address: Located 1.3 km east of the Village of Lake Louise on Fairview Road. Lake Louise, AB

Phone: 1-877-737-3783 – Located just minutes from the Village of Lake Louise, this year-round campground is perfect for anyone needing space for larger units and people wanting power without full hookups. It is close to local attractions and offers mountain views, year-round camping and access to hiking and biking trails. Evening interpretive programs are offered during the summer season.

Sites: All 187 campsites have picnic tables and electrical hookups. Some sites have fireboxes. Electrical-only sites (15 and 30 AMPS) can accommodate RVs up to 15 meters (50 feet) in length. A maximum of 6 people and two vehicles are permitted on each site. All vehicles must be parked on the gravel area of the campsite. All soft-sided camping units must stay in the Lake Louise Tent Campground enclosed electric fence.

Services: The campground has flush toilets, showers, and hot and cold running water. There is a sani dump.

Mosquito Creek Campground 

For tents and RVs that are no more than 27 feet long. This site is conveniently located near Icefields Parkway, providing easy access to Lake Louise and various local attractions. Visitors can access dry toilets, a picnic shelter, food lockers, and safe drinking water on-site. However, you must travel to Lake Louise if you need to dump waste from your RV. Keep in mind that there is no cell phone coverage at the campground. The nightly fees are $17.60 for no fire and $26.40 for a campfire.

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