Big, shallow, and convenient, Pigeon Lake reigns as one of the most popular cottage destinations in Alberta. Sitting in farming country, an hour southwest of Edmonton and about two hours north of Calgary, the lake has more than a dozen communities spread along its sandy shore. The oval-shaped lake is not immune to late-summer algae blooms, but the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association is educating cottagers, local farmers, and businesses about best practices to improve water quality and has had some success.
A typical summer day hits the mid-20s with cool nights. The lake’s usually swimmable by Canada Day. While the water may be the main attraction, there’s plenty to do on land, including hitting the links at five golf courses. Trails wend through the forests in Pigeon Lake Provincial Park. Strict retention rules for the area help maintain excellent fishing. There’s perch, northern pike, and whitefish in the lake, but walleye is what most people are after.
Most of the communities around the lake are a mix of waterfront and backlot cottages, few farther than a street or two from water. There are boat launches, but no public marinas. Property ranges from $2-million waterfront estates to off-lake country acreages for a lot less, and from 70-year-old summer cabins to modern cottages. The Village at Pigeon Lake is the area’s commercial centre and social hub, with events throughout the summer, culminating with the Lakedell Country Fair.