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Emerald Lake Viewpoint, Yukon

by Murray Lundberg


Campgrounds and Rest Areas in the Yukon Territory

    This viewpoint is located at Km 117.6 of the South Klondike Highway, overlooking the most-photographed lake in the Yukon. There are no facilities at the viewpoint.

    The beautiful blue-green colour of Emerald Lake, which was once known as Rainbow Lake, is created by sunlight reflecting off a white layer of "marl" on the lake bed. Marl is a calcium carbonate clay that forms in the water and then settles onto the lake bottom. It forms when carbonate from the dissolving limestone reacts with calcium in the water. The limestone hills around the lake were created 150-200 million years ago by reef-building corals growing in a warm sea. Many other lakes in the Yukon have this colour, but very few are road-accessible.


Emerald Lake Viewpoint, Yukon
The is the scene at the viewpoint that people from around the world stop to record.
Emerald Lake Viewpoint, Yukon
A panoramic photo shot from the rocky outcropping high above the viewing area.
Emerald Lake Viewpoint, Yukon
Looking across the lake at the viewing area, the rocky outcropping above it, and the Caribou Mountain ridge.
Emerald Lake Viewpoint, Yukon
This interpretive panel explains why the lake is such a spectacular colour. To enlarge it and read the text, click here.
Emerald Lake Viewpoint, Yukon
At the south end of Emerald Lake, a gravel road goes to the muddy and reedy lakeshore.
Emerald Lake Viewpoint, Yukon
The time when the ice leaves the lake varies from year to year, but is generally mid May -
see When Does the Ice Leave Emerald Lake??