Undoubtedly among the nicest things to do in Banff National Park is to see Moraine Lake Canada. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada, or maybe in the world. You’ve probably seen pictures of this famous location all over Instagram or even on postcards.
One of the top tourist destinations in Alberta is without a doubt Moraine Lake, which is situated in the centre of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The lake’s bright blue water and the recognizable Ten Peaks in the distance make it nothing short of stunning. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Moraine Lake is on the bucket lists of the majority of tourists visiting Canada (or even Canadians themselves).
Only 14.3 kilometres (8.9 miles) separate the Lake Louise Village from Moraine Lake. At 1,884 meters/6181 feet above sea level, the lake can be found. When Moraine Lake opens in the summer (usually from the end of May to mid-October), you can travel there by car, bicycle or on foot.
1. 10 Things to do Around Moraine Lake Canada
When you plan on visiting Moraine Lake in Canada, these are some of the things you can consider doing in this place.
1.1. Lakeshore Trail
Possibly the most famous hiking trail in Moraine Lake is the Lakeshore Trail. From perspectives that are just unavailable from the vistas near the moraine lake parking lot, you can take in breathtaking views of Moraine Lake. The hiking trail begins at Moraine Lake Lodge at canoe docks and travels for approximately 1.5 kilometres (0.93 miles) along the edge of Moraine Lake.
You must turn around and take the same trail back once you reach the end. It takes around an hour to complete the route and take in the scenery. For people who don’t consider themselves hikers, families, and even those pushing strong strollers, the Lakeshore Trail is a fantastic option. It’s really simple because the path is flat and well-maintained.
1.2. Canoe on the Lake
This has to be one of the most well-known pastimes at Moraine Lake, and it is well-known across Canada. Therefore, I don’t believe there is a better location to canoe in a Canadian lake than Moraine Lake.
The Moraine Lake Lodge offers canoe rentals, which start at $115 + tax for an hour. If you’re travelling in a group, the canoes can accommodate up to three people, making this an affordable activity in Banff National Park. Due to the stability of Canadian canoes, even individuals with little or little expertise can try them out because rentals come with life jackets.
1.3. Eiffel Lake Trail
Eiffel Lake, a solitary alpine lake, is located close to the Larch Valley. The Larch Valley Trek serves as the starting point of the trail to the Eiffel, but after 10 switchbacks, you come to a fork in the road where one path leads to Eiffel Lake.
The Valley of the Ten Peaks, where the Eiffel Lake Trail continues, is surrounded by a breathtaking landscape. In some places, especially on sunny days, you can even look down at Moraine Lake and see her glow bright blue! Even though Eiffel Lake is a small lake, the surrounding scenery is what makes a trip there so worthwhile.
1.4. The Snowshoe Café
Moraine Lake’s very own boutique café, The Snowshoe Café, serves all your favourites, including delectable coffee. Moraine Lake can get very cold, even in the summer, and there is no better way to wake up or warm up than with a hot cup of coffee in your hand. If it’s raining in Banff National Park, it’s a good idea to stay a while at the cafe.
In addition to coffee, a lot of culinary items are available for takeout. Quiches and croissants are available for breakfast, and if you’d like, sandwiches are also available for lunch. The best advise I can provide is to get a cup of coffee, a snack, and go for a stroll. Take a picnic along the Lakeshore Trail in a peaceful location.
1.5. Moraine Lake Lodge
If you’re still debating where to stay when visiting Banff National Park, give a night or two at Moraine Lodge some thought. It is the only hotel at Moraine Lake, and although the rooms may appear a little antiquated from the outside, they are newly refurbished modern rooms with all the amenities you could ask for. Naturally, a stay at such a fantastic hotel is not inexpensive; a room will cost you at least $850 per night.
Apart from being so near to the breathtaking scenery, staying at the lodge eliminates the need to fight for parking to take the shuttle or bus to visit Moraine Lake. The sunrise at Moraine Lake may be seen directly from your room!
1.6. Consolation Lakes
Consolation Lakes Trail is a fantastic choice if you’re searching for a straightforward hike at Moraine Lake. The 2.9-kilometre one-way walk leads to two stunning alpine lakes with breathtaking mountain views, distant from the tourists of Moraine Lake.
The entire family may enjoy the reasonably level, simple trail because of these factors. The hike there and back only takes a little more than two hours in all. The Moraine Lake parking lot’s restrooms are where the trailhead starts. From there, simply continue on the route until you reach a little wooden bridge and a bear warning sign. Turn left here to get on the trail!
1.7. The Parks Canada Park and Ride
With each passing year, rather than getting better, the parking issues at Moraine Lake have gotten worse. As a result, Parks Canada prohibited the use of any personal automobiles on the route starting in 2023. The Park & Ride shuttle is the greatest way for the majority of guests to see the lake. The best way to ensure you see Moraine Lake is to do this.
This new system makes sure that guests do not have to cope with the stress of parking at the lake and lessens the negative effects of crowds. Additionally, it reduces pollution and congestion. At the Lake Louise Ski Resort, there is a parking area with direct transportation to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. It is suggested that you reserve a shuttle in advance. In the spring of 2023, shuttle reservations will become accessible.
1.8. The Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass
One of the most gorgeous excursions you can go on in the fall is the Larch Valley Trail in Banff National Park. With the legendary Ten Peaks serving as an epic background, the entire valley transforms into a sea of yellow Larch trees.
The Larch Valley Track, however, is also a beautiful trail close to Lake Louise in the summer, which many people are unaware of. The wildflowers in the valley bloom at this time, making it some people’s favourite time of year to climb the trail.
The 8.6-kilometre out-and-back trip takes about 4 hours to complete. You can even go on to Sentinel Pass if you’re up for it. You can see Paradise Valley on the opposite side as well as the Larch Valley from the pass, which may be reached by hiking.
The additional 1.5 km (0.93 mi) round trip hike to Sentinel pass takes around 1.5 hours. Visit between the end of September and the middle of October to view the fall foliage. Make a trip out of it; there are tons of other enjoyable things to do in Banff in September.
1.9. The Rockpile Trail
The Rockpile is, as its name implies, a large pile of rocks. However, this mass of rocks has been transformed into the best vantage point for viewing Moraine Lake, thus every visitor should climb to the top to take in the view. Take the route next to the restrooms in the parking lot to get to the Rockpile.
Take this path and cross the little wooden bridge. After crossing the bridge, continue climbing the route and head right (left leads to Consolation Lakes); this trail will take you to the Rockpile, where there are numerous little vantage spots for viewing the lake. You won’t have to worry about getting lost because this trail is well-marked.
1.10. Tower of Babel
The hike that comes next isn’t even a hike. Actually, it isn’t even an “official” trail (if you ask Parks Canada). But in Banff National Park, it’s among the most popular scrambles. It is famous to see people climbing the Tower of Babel. It is a must-do for any beginner scrambler and is well-known for its magnificent mountain views.
The track is only 2.9 kilometres long, but it climbs 518 meters over quite a difficult terrain. The views of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks are breathtaking once you’ve ascended to the top! You’ll understand why so many people trek to the Tower of Babel very fast.
2. Why is Lake Moraine So Blue?
Glacial silt, the rock flour, is carried into the lake along with the meltwater from the glacier above. Due to the small size, the silt particles are suspended in the meltwater. The lake’s striking blue hue is caused by the light reflection of the silt.
3. What is the Best Time to Visit Moraine Lake?
Don’t expect to see the blue water while visiting Moraine Lake so well-known when the moraine lake road opens for the season. Due to the beautiful lake’s high elevation, depending on the weather, it can stay frozen until late May or even into early June. The water level is extremely low when it first thaws.
The glacier melt from above the lake begins to feed into it as the temperatures rise. Mid- to late-June marks the lake’s water level crest and September marks the height of the stunning lake’s blue colour. The weeks in October that precede the road closure are still fantastic times to come, but the water’s colour might not be as vibrant then.
4. Parks Canada Lake Connector Shuttle
The Lake Louise Ski Resort‘s parking lot at #1 Whitehorn Road is where the Parks Canada shuttles depart from. Reservations must be made in advance. You can reserve the shuttle to get to Moraine Lake or to visit Lake Louise.
Once you are at one lake, you can take the Parks Canada Shuttle to the other lake. It is first come, first served for this lake connector service. Reservation holders for the lake shuttle are not subject to an additional fee. Your reservation covers transportation from either lake back to the ski resort’s Park and Ride location.
5. Moraine Lake Road Cross-Country Skiing
Cross-country skiing is a common activity on the road throughout the winter. Parks Canada creates tracks once there is enough snow, but they come to a stop well before you reach the turquoise Lake, near the viewpoint for the Consolation Valley and the Ten Peaks. The roundtrip distance is 15.6 kilometres.
The trail offers gradual rolling hills and a constant rise. It has an easy/novice rating. It is not advised to travel past the track sets because the road crosses significant avalanche chutes. Anyone attempting to travel beyond the grooming’s end should be prepared and have received avalanche rescue and first aid training. Between November to late April, there is a significant avalanche risk.
Moraine Lake in Banff National Parks is one of the most amazing destinations in the Canadian Rockies. Hi Alpine Center, Lake Louise Inn, and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise are a few of the places to stay near the moraine lake area with spectacular scenery. Cycling from the Lake Louise area to reach Moraine Lake Canada is a fantastic substitute for driving there and struggling to find parking. You go down Moraine Lake Road surrounding mountains for the approximate 13 km (8 mi) distance from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake. The fact that you have to cycle uphill for the majority of the distance accounts for its moderate difficulty rating.
Moraine Lake does not charge an admission fee, but you must still buy a season or annual permit to access the rest of Banff National Park. We strongly advise acquiring a Discovery Pass if you are a foreign traveller who also intends to visit Jasper National Park or Yoho National Park. Although the cost of the Discovery Pass may initially appear expensive, it is really worth it.
Additionally, you have the choice to use one of the numerous tour companies in Banff that provide excursions that include a visit to Moraine Lake.