This series of shallow lakes forms an expansive montane wetland supporting a variety of mammals and 238 species of birds. Vermilion Lakes Drive, paralleling the TransCanada Highway immediately west of Banff, provides the easiest access to the area.
The level of First Vermilion Lake was once controlled by a dam. Since its removal, the level of the lake has dropped. This is the beginning of a long process that will eventually see the area evolve into a floodplain forest such as is found along the Fenland Trail. Second and Third Vermilion Lakes have higher water levels that are controlled naturally by beaver dams.
Near First Vermilion Lake is an active osprey nest. The entire Vermilion Lakes area is excellent for wildlife viewing, especially in winter when it provides habitat for elk, coyote, and the occasional wolf.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition