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.
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.
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.
Getting to Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is highly popular throughout the peak summer season, when parking lots fill up before sunrise. If you are planning to visit Moraine Lake from May to October, the best way is to reserve a Parks Canada shuttle ahead of time. Learn more about shuttle and transit options to Moraine Lake.
The road to Moraine Lake is closed during the winter due to heavy snowfall and high avalanche risk. Depending on the conditions, the road opens sometime between the third week of May and the first week of June and closes in October after the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (the second Monday in October).