Lakes are better to see while traveling than rivers. They are often more majestic sights than free-flowing streams. I like natural lakes better than dammed lakes. Lakes behind dams frequently have a manufactured look that natural lakes lack. Below are 5 of my favorites. The 1st 3 are in North America and the other 2 are in Europe. All were produced by nature, not engineers.
My favorite North American lake is in Canada. There is nothing more pleasurable than to rent a canoe and explore it with a paddle in your hands. I’ll never get over my first look at Lake Louise. Its stunning beauty is a visual masterpiece of nature. Its breadth and depth are not diminished by the old-fashioned hotel adjacent to it. If anything, the Chateau enhances all and seems like an innate part of the landscape. If nothing else, have lunch there after cruising or walk up to the teahouse. A trip from Banff including Lake Louise up the Icefields Parkway to, at least, Jasper is an unmatchable travel experience.
Lake Tahoe is a scenically splendid freshwater lake and worth a trip all by itself. At over 6,000 feet above sea level, Lake Tahoe is usually a cool-climate experience. In fact, the last time we were there it snowed to add to the enchantment. It’s also more than 1,500 feet deep in places, which makes it kind of eerie but more accessible than much smaller but comparably grand Crater Lake. Spring and fall are especially recommended for visits. We were last there in early November, and Tahoe was at its best.
Lake Superior is my favorite Great Lake. A drive up Highway 61 from Duluth to Thunder Bay, Ontario, is a highly recommended trip if done in the summer or before the end of September. There are many delightful stops along this road. The largest of the Great Lakes, Superior contains 10% of the Earth’s fresh water. It’s not as deep as Tahoe but pretty close. Many ships have not made it across Superior because it’s big enough to create large, destructive waves. A fishing paradise, there are 78 species of fish below its surface. Duluth, MN has many attractions; Thunder Bay not as many but still some that are worthwhile nearby.
France has a large number of natural lakes. One of my favorites is Lake Annecy which is long, thin, and about 90 miles south of Geneva, Switzerland. Known for the quality of its water fed by high mountain springs, Lake Annecy has a number of medieval aspects, ancient chateaus with water views, challenging trails to hike, and is a favorite take-off place for paragliders. Another favorite is Lake Leman. Geneva is on it. One time I invited a French gentleman to dinner in Geneva. He declined with this comment, “There will be almost nothing on your plate and it will be very expensive.” Geneva has that reputation. I prefer Lausanne and getting to it.