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.
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, with limited services available locally throughout the winter. Weather changes quickly 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.
Head Out With A Guide
All tours and activities bookings are handled by Explore Nordegg & Abraham Lake and tours like these are offered by local partners. Most bookings require a minimum of 2 days' notice, contact us for last-minute options.
We all have our part to do to keep this place special. Planning ahead is key to ensuring that we all continue to enjoy adventures in the Nordegg & Abraham Lake region. These are a few of the things you can do to help:
- Minimize your impact by using existing sites, fire rings and toilets instead of creating your own.
- Know about current fire bans, make sure that your fire is completely out before you go and buy firewood instead of cutting down trees. Remember that shooting fireworks is not allowed in the region.
- Keep your site clean and your food stored inside your vehicle to help keep our wildlife wild. Always use bear-proof garbage bins.
- While alcohol is now permitted in some Alberta Parks day-use areas, none of those are in our region. Alcohol is only allowed at registered campsites.
- Be mindful of your neighbours and other visitors, including keeping noise to a minimum.
- Be prepared for adventures in a remote area. Explore within your skills to reduce the strain on our volunteer search and rescue team.
- Remember that cell service is limited. We recommend carrying a satellite communicator, like a Zoleo, on your adventures.
- Support local businesses and communities in Cline River, the Bighorn and Nordegg.
Information provided here may be inaccurate or outdated. Always make sure to obtain current information before going on your adventure.
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 guides like these. 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.
Conditions and Updates
We share updates on ice conditions to help you plan your adventure. Keep in mind that conditions change quickly and that weather forecasts are often unreliable in the Abraham Lake area.