Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, in the stunning wilderness of Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada, lies a true natural wonder: Moraine Lake. This glacially-fed lake, with its strikingly blue waters and dramatic mountain backdrop, has become an icon of the Canadian wilderness and a must-see destination for travellers from around the world. But while Moraine Lake is undoubtedly the star of the show, it is just the beginning of an incredible journey through one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring regions on Earth. From the world-class skiing and hiking at Lake Louise Ski Resort to the serene beauty of the Lake Louise lakefront, the Canadian Rockies offer endless opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and discovery. Banff National Park, Canada's oldest and most iconic national park, is a vast wilderness area that showcases the incredible natural beauty and ecological diversity of the region, with towering mountain ranges, pristine lakes and rivers, and abundant wildlife.


The charming mountain town of Banff serves as the perfect base for exploring the park, with its vibrant cultural scene, delicious dining options, and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. No visit to Banff would be complete without a ride on the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, where stunning panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys await. So come along on a journey of discovery through one of the most beautiful and inspiring regions on Earth. From the stunning turquoise waters of Moraine Lake to the rugged peaks of the Canadian Rockies, this is a destination that will leave you breathless and forever changed. Get ready to discover the wonders of Moraine Lake and beyond.

Hiking & Outdoor Activities Near the Lake

Moraine Lake is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a diverse range of hiking trails and activities that cater to visitors of all skill levels. The stunning scenery and pristine wilderness surrounding the lake provide the perfect backdrop for unforgettable adventures.

Hiking Trails

The area around Moraine Lake is home to several exceptional hiking trails that showcase the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. These trails vary in length, difficulty, and scenery, ensuring that there is something for everyone. Some of the most popular hiking trails include:


  • Rockpile Trail — This short, easy trail is located right next to the lake and leads to a viewpoint overlooking Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The trail is approximately 300 meters long and takes about 20 minutes to complete.

  • Larch Valley Trail — This moderate trail starts at the Moraine Lake Lodge and winds through a lush forest before opening up to a stunning larch tree-filled valley. The trail is 4.3 kilometres one way and takes around 2-3 hours to complete.

  • Sentinel Pass Trail — This challenging trail is an extension of the Larch Valley Trail and leads hikers to a high mountain pass with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. The trail is 5.8 kilometres one way and takes approximately 4-5 hours to complete.

  • Eiffel Lake Trail — This moderate trail begins at the Moraine Lake Lodge and follows the shore of Moraine Lake before ascending to Eiffel Lake, offering stunning views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks along the way. The trail is 5.6 kilometres one way and takes around 3-4 hours to complete.

  • Wenkchemna Pass Trail — This strenuous trail starts at the Moraine Lake Lodge and climbs steeply through the Valley of the Ten Peaks to Wenkchemna Pass, providing hikers with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The trail is 9.7 kilometres one way and takes approximately 6-7 hours to complete.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Moraine Lake offers a breathtaking setting for canoeing and kayaking, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the lake's turquoise waters and enjoy unparalleled views of the surrounding Ten Peaks. The Moraine Lake Lodge operates a canoe dock where visitors can rent canoes to explore the lake at their own pace. Paddling across Moraine Lake is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed. The tranquil waters provide a serene environment to appreciate the lake's stunning colour and the majestic mountains that frame it. Canoeing or kayaking on Moraine Lake allows visitors to escape the crowds on shore and find a peaceful spot to take in the awe-inspiring scenery.


While there are some downsides to canoe rentals at Moraine Lake, such as the high price and competition for canoes during the summer months, the experience is well worth it. Visitors can also bring their inflatable kayaks or stand-up paddleboards, which are allowed on the Parks Canada shuttle bus. However, personal canoes are not permitted on the shuttle due to size restrictions. To prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, visitors must fill out a Self Certification Permit with Parks Canada for any non-motorised watercraft entering the lake, including personal kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. For those unable to secure a rental at Moraine Lake or looking for a more budget-friendly option, there are other locations in Banff National Park where canoes can be rented, such as Lake Louise and Emerald Lake

Wildlife Viewing and Photography

Moraine Lake and the surrounding area in Banff National Park are home to a diverse array of wildlife, making it an excellent destination for wildlife viewing and photography. Visitors can expect to see various animals, including grizzly bears, black bears, elk, bighorn sheep, and marmots. Early morning and late evening are typically the best times for wildlife viewing when animals are most active. Visitors must maintain a safe distance from wildlife and follow park regulations to ensure the safety of both themselves and the animals. For photography enthusiasts, Moraine Lake provides endless opportunities to capture stunning images of the lake, mountains, and wildlife. The lake's vibrant turquoise colour and the towering peaks of the Valley of the Ten Peaks create a breathtaking backdrop for photographs. Photographers can explore the various hiking trails around the lake to find unique perspectives and vantage points. The Rockpile Trail offers an elevated view of the lake and mountains, while the Larch Valley Trail provides opportunities to capture the golden hues of the larch trees in the fall. When photographing wildlife, it is essential to use appropriate lenses and techniques to avoid disturbing the animals. Telephoto lenses allow photographers to capture detailed images from a safe distance while using a tripod can help ensure sharp, stable images. Moraine Lake's unparalleled beauty and abundant wildlife make it a dream destination for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. With countless opportunities to capture stunning landscapes and wildlife, visitors are sure to leave with a collection of unforgettable images and memories

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake Lodge — A Perfect Retreat

Moraine Lake Lodge is a rustic yet charming accommodation nestled on the shores of the stunning Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. This serene retreat offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies while enjoying comfortable lodgings and amenities. The lodge's location is amazing, situated just steps away from the turquoise waters of Moraine Lake and surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. This prime setting allows guests to experience the lake's tranquillity and beauty during the quieter hours of the day, such as early morning and late evening when day visitors have departed. Moraine Lake Lodge features a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. The lodge offers cosy rooms and cabins, each designed to provide a comfortable and relaxing stay. The rooms are well-appointed with rustic furnishings, plush bedding, and modern amenities to ensure a pleasant experience.


One of the highlights of staying at Moraine Lake Lodge is the opportunity to dine at the lodge's restaurant, which serves delicious local cuisine. The restaurant offers stunning views of the lake and mountains, creating a memorable dining experience. Guests can savour expertly crafted dishes that showcase the flavours of the region while taking in the breathtaking scenery. The lodge also features a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and essentials to commemorate their stay at Moraine Lake. The gift shop offers a selection of locally made crafts, artwork, and products that reflect the natural beauty and culture of the Canadian Rockies.


Staying at Moraine Lake Lodge grants guests easy access to the numerous hiking trails and outdoor activities available in the area. The lodge's staff can provide information and recommendations on the best trails and activities to suit guests' interests and skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or simply looking to enjoy a stroll along the lakeshore, the lodge's location makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding wilderness. In addition to hiking, guests at Moraine Lake Lodge can also enjoy other activities such as canoeing on the lake's calm waters. The lodge offers canoe rentals, allowing visitors to paddle across the turquoise lake and take in the stunning views of the Ten Peaks from a unique perspective.


Due to the lodge's popularity and limited capacity, it is essential to book accommodations well in advance, especially during the peak season. Reservations can be made through the lodge's official website or by contacting the reservation office directly. Moraine Lake Lodge offers a serene and unforgettable retreat in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. With its stunning location, comfortable accommodations, and access to incredible outdoor activities, the lodge provides visitors with the opportunity to experience the beauty of Moraine Lake and create lasting memories in one of the most spectacular settings in the world.

Moraine Lake Lodge
Moraine Lake

Exploring the Surrounding Area

While Moraine Lake is undoubtedly the main attraction, the surrounding area offers a wealth of additional sights and activities for visitors to enjoy. The nearby village of Lake Louise, located just 14 kilometres from Moraine Lake, is another popular destination in Banff National Park. Lake Louise boasts its stunning turquoise lake, a world-class ski resort, and numerous hiking trails. Visitors can easily travel between Moraine Lake and Lake Louise using the shuttle service or by driving. The scenic route between the two lakes offers breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies and the chance to spot local wildlife, such as bears, elk, and bighorn sheep.

The Lake Louise Ski Resort

The Lake Louise Ski Resort is a world-renowned destination that attracts skiers and snowboarders from around the globe. Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, this massive resort boasts an impressive 4,200 acres of skiable terrain, making it one of the largest ski areas in North America. The resort's stunning location in the Canadian Rockies provides a breathtaking backdrop for an unforgettable winter adventure. One of the standout features of the Lake Louise Ski Resort is its diverse terrain, which caters to skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. The resort offers an extensive network of 145 named runs, ranging from gentle beginner slopes to challenging expert terrain. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the resort's back bowls provide a true backcountry experience within the resort boundaries, featuring steep chutes, glade runs, and wide-open powder fields. Beginners and intermediate skiers will find plenty of opportunities to hone their skills at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. The resort's front side has numerous wide, groomed runs perfect for learning and building confidence. The resort also offers a variety of lesson programs for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities, led by experienced and friendly instructors passionate about helping others fall in love with the sport.


In addition to its exceptional skiing and snowboarding, the Lake Louise Ski Resort offers a range of amenities and services to enhance the visitor experience. The resort features several on-mountain dining options, ranging from quick and casual cafeterias to sit-down restaurants with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of après-ski activities, such as live music, fireside drinks, and spa treatments. The Lake Louise Ski Resort is also committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The resort has implemented a variety of initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, such as using renewable energy sources, recycling waste, and protecting sensitive wildlife habitats. Visitors can feel good knowing that their ski vacation is supporting a resort that prioritises the health and well-being of the natural environment.


During the summer months, the Lake Louise Ski Resort transforms into a hub for hiking and mountain biking. The resort's ski lifts provide easy access to a network of scenic hiking trails, ranging from gentle nature walks to challenging backcountry treks. Mountain bikers can explore the resort's extensive trail system, which includes both cross-country and downhill trails for riders of all skill levels. The resort also offers a variety of summer activities and events, such as guided hikes, wildlife viewing tours, and outdoor concerts. Visitors can take a scenic gondola ride to the top of the mountain, where they can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The resort's interpretive centre provides educational exhibits and programs that highlight the natural and cultural history of the region.

 The Lake Louise Ski Resort

The Lake Louise Lakefront

The Lake Louise lakefront is a picture-perfect destination that showcases the stunning natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. This iconic lake, with its turquoise waters and majestic mountain backdrop, is a must-see for anyone visiting Banff National Park. The lakefront offers a variety of activities and experiences that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the breathtaking scenery and serene atmosphere. One of the most popular activities at the Lake Louise lakefront is canoeing. Visitors can rent canoes from the boathouse and paddle out onto the calm, clear waters of the lake. From the middle of the lake, canoeists can enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains, including the impressive Victoria Glacier at the far end of the lake. The experience of gliding across the turquoise water, surrounded by towering peaks and pristine wilderness, is truly unforgettable.


For those who prefer to stay on land, the Lake Louise lakefront offers a variety of scenic hiking trails. The Lakeshore Trail is a gentle, 2-kilometre path that follows the shoreline of the lake, offering stunning views of the water and mountains. For a more challenging hike, visitors can take the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, which climbs up to a stunning viewpoint overlooking the Victoria Glacier and surrounding peaks. Along the way, hikers can stop at the historic Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse for a refreshing drink and a bite to eat. The Lake Louise lakefront is also home to the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a luxury resort that offers world-class accommodations and dining. The resort's lakefront location provides guests with stunning views of the turquoise water and surrounding mountains from every room. The resort also offers a variety of dining options, ranging from casual cafes to elegant restaurants with gourmet menus and extensive wine lists.

In the winter months, the Lake Louise lakefront transforms into a winter wonderland. The frozen lake becomes a popular spot for ice skating, with the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise maintaining a large, cleared area for skaters. Visitors can also enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the surrounding trails, or take a horse-drawn sleigh ride along the lakeshore for a romantic and memorable experience. Throughout the year, the Lake Louise lakefront hosts a variety of events and festivals that celebrate the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the region. In January, the Ice Magic Festival features incredible ice sculptures and live music performances on the frozen lake. Beyond its recreational activities and events, the Lake Louise lakefront is also a place of great cultural and historical significance. The area has been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years, and the lake itself is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which first opened in 1890, has hosted a variety of notable guests over the years, including royalty, celebrities, and political leaders.

The Lake Louise Lakefront

Banff National Park — A Natural Wonder

Banff National Park is a vast wilderness area that showcases the incredible natural beauty and ecological diversity of the Canadian Rockies. Established in 1885, Banff is Canada's oldest national park and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The park's stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and endless recreational opportunities make it a must-visit for anyone who loves the great outdoors. The park is home to some of the most iconic peaks in the Rockies, including Mount Rundle, Cascade Mountain, and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. These mountains offer a variety of hiking trails and climbing routes for adventurers of all skill levels, from gentle nature walks to challenging multi-day backcountry treks.


In addition to its mountains, Banff National Park is also known for its stunning lakes and rivers. The park's most famous lake, Lake Louise, is a turquoise jewel set against a backdrop of towering peaks and glaciers. Other notable lakes include Moraine Lake, with its stunning blue-green waters and the Valley of the Ten Peaks, and Peyto Lake, which offers a stunning viewpoint of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The park's rivers and streams are also a major attraction, offering opportunities for fishing, rafting, and kayaking. The Bow River, which runs through the heart of the park, is a popular spot for fly fishing, while the Kicking Horse River offers thrilling whitewater rafting adventures.


Banff National Park is also home to an incredible diversity of wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. Visitors to the park have the chance to see these animals in their natural habitat, either on guided wildlife tours or by simply keeping an eye out while hiking or driving through the park. The park also offers a variety of educational programs and exhibits that highlight the ecology and conservation of the region's wildlife. Banff National Park is also rich in cultural and historical significance. The park has a long history of human habitation, with evidence of indigenous peoples living in the area for over 10,000 years. The park is also home to several important cultural sites, including the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, which marks the birthplace of Canada's national park system.


Visitors to Banff National Park can enjoy a wide range of activities and experiences, depending on the season. In the summer months, popular activities include hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The park also offers a variety of guided tours and educational programs, such as guided hikes, canoe trips, and photography workshops. In the winter months, Banff National Park transforms into a snowy wonderland, with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, and snowshoeing. The park is home to several world-class ski resorts, including Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village, which offer a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.

Banff National Park
Banff National Park

Banff Townsite

The town of Banff is a charming and vibrant mountain community that serves as the gateway to the incredible natural wonders of Banff National Park. Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and modern amenities, making it a popular destination for tourists from around the world. The town is surrounded by towering mountain peaks, lush forests, and pristine rivers and lakes, providing a breathtaking backdrop for all of its activities and attractions. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding wilderness from virtually every corner of the town, whether they're strolling down Banff Avenue, relaxing in a cosy café, or soaking in the hot springs.


Banff is also known for its vibrant cultural scene, with a variety of museums, galleries, and performance venues that showcase the region's rich history and artistic heritage. The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is a must-visit for anyone interested in the natural and cultural history of the area, with exhibits on everything from the region's indigenous peoples to the early explorers and mountaineers who helped put Banff on the map. For those interested in the performing arts, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a world-renowned institution that offers a variety of concerts, plays, and workshops throughout the year. The centre attracts artists and performers from around the globe, making it a hub of creativity and innovation in the heart of the Rockies.


Banff is also a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with endless opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, and other adventures. The town is surrounded by a network of trails that offer everything from gentle nature walks to challenging backcountry treks, and there are plenty of guided tours and rental shops available for those who need a little extra support. In the winter months, Banff transforms into a snowy wonderland, with world-class skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village. The town also offers a variety of other winter activities, such as ice skating, snowshoeing, and dog sledging, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.


When it comes to dining and shopping, Banff has plenty to offer as well. The town is home to a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars, ranging from casual pubs to fine dining establishments. Visitors can enjoy everything from classic Canadian dishes like poutine and maple syrup to international cuisines like sushi and Italian. Banff is also a great place to shop for souvenirs and gifts, with a variety of local artisans and boutiques offering everything from handcrafted jewellery to locally made spirits. The town's main street, Banff Avenue, is a popular spot for browsing and people-watching, with plenty of benches and public art installations to enjoy along the way. The town is also home to several spas and wellness centres, offering everything from massage and yoga to hot springs and saunas. The Banff Upper Hot Springs are a particular highlight, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and a variety of pools and treatments to choose from.

Reynisfjara Beach
Reynisfjara Beach

Banff Townsite

Sulphur Mountain and the Banff Gondola

Sulphur Mountain is one of the most iconic and popular attractions in Banff National Park, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys from its summit. The mountain is named for the hot springs that flow from its base, which have been used for centuries by indigenous peoples and early settlers for their therapeutic properties. The most popular way to experience Sulphur Mountain is by taking a ride on the Banff Gondola. This scenic gondola ride takes visitors on a breathtaking journey to the top of the mountain, offering panoramic views of the town of Banff and the surrounding wilderness along the way. The gondola ride is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Banff and is especially popular during the summer months when the weather is warm and clear. At the top of Sulphur Mountain, visitors can explore the newly renovated summit complex, which includes a variety of interactive exhibits and interpretive displays. The Banff Skywalk, a 1-kilometer boardwalk that winds along the summit ridge, offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, as well as interpretive panels that provide information about the geology, ecology, and history of the region. One of the highlights of the summit complex is the Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station, a National Historic Site that played a key role in the study of cosmic rays and their effects on the Earth's atmosphere. Visitors can learn about the history of the station and the important scientific discoveries that were made there, as well as enjoy stunning views of the surrounding wilderness from the station's observation deck. 


The Sulphur Mountain trail offers a challenging hike to the summit. The trail is a steep and strenuous climb, gaining over 700 meters in elevation over a distance of 5.5 kilometres. However, the views from the top are well worth the effort, with breathtaking vistas of the Bow Valley and the surrounding peaks. Hikers should be prepared for a challenging climb and should bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate clothing and footwear. In addition to the gondola and hiking trail, Sulphur Mountain is also home to the historic Banff Upper Hot Springs. These natural hot springs have been a popular destination for visitors to Banff for over a century, and offer a relaxing and rejuvenating experience after a day of hiking or sightseeing. The hot springs are located at the base of the mountain and are easily accessible by car or public transportation.

Sulphur Mounta

Planning Your Visit

Getting to Moraine Lake — Moraine Lake is located approximately 14 kilometres southeast of the village of Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. The lake is accessible by a well-maintained road that winds through the scenic landscape of the Rockies. Visitors can drive to the lake or take advantage of the shuttle bus service operated by Parks Canada during the peak season (mid-May to mid-October). Due to the popularity of the destination and limited parking, it is highly recommended to use the shuttle service or arrive early in the morning to secure a parking spot.


The Best Time to Visit — The best time to visit Moraine Lake is from late June to early September when the lake is typically thawed and the weather is most favourable for outdoor activities. During this time, visitors can enjoy the lake's colour and the surrounding landscape in its full glory. However, it is essential to note that the lake's water level and colour can vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions. In the early summer, the lake may still be partially frozen, and the colour may not be as vibrant due to the presence of ice and snow.


Responsible Tourism and Conservation —  As with any natural wonder, visitors to Moraine Lake and the surrounding areas must practise responsible tourism and respect the environment. Banff National Park has implemented several initiatives to promote conservation and minimise the impact of tourism on the delicate ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to follow the "Leave No Trace" principles, which include disposing of waste properly, respecting wildlife, and staying on designated trails. By being mindful of their actions and supporting conservation efforts, visitors can help preserve the beauty of Moraine Lake and the Canadian Rockies for generations to come.

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