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Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake, Summer in Banff and Lake Louise

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park

Its waters are the most amazing colour, a vivid shade of turquoise that changes in intensity through the summer as the glaciers melt. Set in the rugged Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and rock piles, creating a scene so stunning it almost seems unreal. Sit lakeside and absorb the sights and pure mountain air, or explore further by canoeing and hiking. It’s an iconically jaw-dropping place that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Moraine Lake is 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) southeast of the hamlet of Lake Louise. Glacier-fed, its brilliant blue-green colour is a result of light refracting off the rock flour (fine particles of rock) in the glacier run-off which flows into the lake. At an elevation of 1,885 metres (6,183 feet), the lake does not begin to melt until June. Water levels, and its vibrant colour, peak in late June. The access road to Moraine Lake is only open during summer months from June to October. Dates may vary and are dependent on weather conditions.

Hiking in the Moraine Lake Area

There are several hikes around the lake ranging from accessible walks to more strenuous hikes. The Rockpile Trail is an easy and short path with switchbacks along the back of the moraine to the top of the natural dam. The vista from the top is known as the “Twenty Dollar View”, as the scene featured on the back of Canadian twenty dollar bills issued between 1969 and 1979. Other popular trails in the area include Constellation Lakes, Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass and the Moraine Lake Lakeshore trail. For more on hiking, visit the Parks Canada website.

Moraine Lake Shuttles, Transit & Tours

Moraine Lake is highly popular throughout the peak summer season, when parking lots fill up well before sunrise. If you are planning to visit Moraine Lake from June to October, the best way is to reserve a Parks Canada shuttle or a seat on Roam Transit ahead of time. Learn more about shuttle and transit options to Moraine Lake. 

For an enhanced experience, book a guided tour to Moraine Lake and other jaw dropping locations in Banff National Park. With multiple tour companies offering unique experiences, you have no shortage of options to choose from. Brewster SightseeingDiscover Banff ToursHopOnBanffMountain Park TransportationRadventuresWhite Mountain Adventures and WowBanff all offer tours that include a stops at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

Moraine Lake in the Winter

The road to Moraine Lake is closed to vehicles in the winter months due to heavy snowfall and high avalanche risk. During the winter, cross-country skiers can take a 15-kilometre (9.3-mile) invigorating adventure to the end of the road and back. Parks Canada sets tracks for skiing which end at the viewpoint for the Consolation Valley and Ten Peaks. Access to the lake itself is not permitted during the winter due to the high avalanche risk from November to late April.

Cross Country Skiing, Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, AB

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