Sunset on the ice bubbles at Preacher's Point
The magic of frozen bubbles
Going looking for ice bubbles is a little like wildlife viewing. You never know how the conditions will change and while we can highlight some of the spots where you're most likely to find them there are no guarantees.
The lake typically freezes in mid to late December with the ice bubbles at their best from early-January to mid-February. The bubbles are still visible later in the winter but the ice starts to get cloudy and is more likely to be snow-covered in sections. Preacher's Point, at the south end of the lake, is a great option for those visiting the region early in the season with ice usually starting to form by mid-November.
Going to Abraham Lake to view the ice bubbles can be a fun and safe adventure. We do want to share a few words of caution before you head out, however, including the obvious one that you will be walking on a frozen lake that is not your typical frozen lake. Abraham Lake is a large reservoir, used by TransAlta to generate power. The water level drops throughout the winter, creating changing ice conditions which combined with the strong winds can make it an unforgiving place to explore.
Ice bubbles and Mount Michener
Alpenglow and ice bubbles at Preacher's Point
To make your adventure safe, we recommend that you avoid the ice between the dam and Windy Point. In the areas we suggest below, only go on the ice where you can see that the ice is thick enough and avoid areas where creeks and rivers enter the lake. Bring ice cleats along and never go down a steep area that you may not be able to easily climb back up. Avoid snow-covered areas since they may be hiding weak ice underneath.
Also keep in mind that the area is remote, without any services available locally throughout the winter. Weather changes quickly in the area and is unpredictable so always travel with a well-stocked emergency kit.
Abraham Lake Ice Safety
We've put together a guide with a few things to consider when you plan your Abraham Lake ice walk to make it a safe adventure.
Conditions and Updates
We share this information to help visitors to the area plan their trip. This represents the conditions we have observed at a specific point in time. Ice safety depends on many more factors than just ice conditions and anybody going on the ice should have the knowledge and experience required to assess the risks, or should consider going with a guide.
As February starts, we’re starting to see a change of colour in the ice along with more cracks and features in the ice.
The ice is getting thicker and there are some great bubbles, cracks and ice features to be found. Finding them is a little harder this year.
White ice around 12 -15 cm on most of the lake making it harder to find ice bubbles. Preacher’s Point it still the best option.
Thin ice (< 7 cm) on most of the lake. The best option for ice bubbles is still Preacher's Point, even if partially snow-covered.
Head Out On Your Own
Sometimes you just want to head out on your own to explore the area. We get it. That's why we share our adventure guides. Keep in mind that these aren't the only options to see the ice bubbles but they are the most popular and easily accessible ones.
Our guides to Cline Landing, Abraham Slabs, Belly of Abraham and Hoodoo Creek will be available shortly.
Find Your Adventure
Head Out With A Guide
Make the most of your adventure and head out with a guide. Pursuit Adventures offers winter tours on Abraham Lake from November to March. Snowshoes, ice cleats and kicksleds are also available to rent in Nordegg.