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Jill Sanford | 07.18.2017

What makes an Alpine Lake so special? Fed by mountain runoff, Alpine Lakes are known for their crystal clear water and pristine high elevation scenery. Many are shaped by glacial activity, resulting in dramatically sloped ridges that descend at a steep pitch pitch from surrounding mountain peaks right to the lakeshores. Striking flora and elusive fauna grow and thrive in these environments, as well.

The most beautiful lakes are usually alpine, a term that means “relating to the high mountains.” In addition to the characteristics described above, they are usually defined by their proximity at 5,000 feet in elevation or higher.

While the majority of alpine lakes are relatively small and require rigorous hiking to remote locations, there are some that are easily accessible as well as behemoth in size. Whether you are seeking a backcountry lake to dip your toes in where you can feel like the only person in the world or a beach to drive to and launch your paddle board, alpine lakes offer some of the prettiest views and refreshing experiences out there.

Here’s a few of our favorite alpine lakes that are great places to escape to and experience what mountain living is all about.

California

Washington

Canada

Oregon

Idaho

Colorado

Utah

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