Moraine Lake: A must-see glacial site in Alberta

North America | | December 23, 2010 at 12:46 am




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If you are a great fan of nature and want to explore an untouched Mecca, then a trip to the Moraine Lake is a must! Nestled in the province of Alberta in Canada, this one is the typical Rocky Mountain lake fed by the glaciers in the Banff National Park. It is accessible within just 20 minutes from the scenic Lake Louise village and is nestled in the most celebrated forested Valley of Ten Peaks.

Moraine Lake, flanked by complete wilderness, boasts several ‘to-see’ sites and ‘to-do’ things. The main highlights here are the shimmering clear blue waters as well as the magnificent mountain scenery. The mountain here is the third highest of its kind in the Canadian Rockies. Speaking about the activities, you will surely enjoy walking, canoeing, hiking, and photography. In fact, your journey to reach the Moraine Lake itself is scenically beautiful as you pass from the forested valley that is full of scenery making your trip worthy.


Just at the bottom of the steep slopes of the valley, a river meanders via the verdant jungles and also passing from the melting glaciers as well as remote steep peaks. This stream fills the Moraine Lake with the water, which is situated in a deep valley that was the result of the bigger glaciers carving many centuries before. Around the lake, you can marvel at the steep slopes that are layered with the giant, straight firs as well as pines and also at the sharp gray 10 peaks, all of which getting reflected in the profound green waters.

This clear blue-green lake is best explored in the early morning for avoiding the loaded tour buses coming from 10 am and for getting ample of light to see the stunning reflections. This time is also ideal if you are seeking solitude and also want to experience memorable kayaking or canoeing. Regarded as the only artificial invasion, the Moraine Lake Lodge as well as its dock offers kayaks and canoes for rent. The cabin-style lodge is known among the tourists for its resting rooms as well as good meals during lunch as well as dinner.


Flanking the Moraine Lake are many walking or hiking trails whose access are restricted at regular intervals due to bear activity. The tourists therefore take up the easiest trail. However, the most famous is the Rockpile Trail at an elevation and stretching 300 m long. From the rockpile, the lake view is among the most photographed sites in Canada. This vista of the mountains from the rear of the lake is called Twenty Dollar View. It is purposely named so as the image of the Moraine Lake was printed on the back side of 20 dollar bill between 1969 and 1979.


On the above mentioned trail, you can also spot the Consolation Lakes trail that is 3 km long. After being at the Consolation Lakes, continue until upper lake; but with a guide or in a knowledgeable group if possible as the trail is not clearly marked. More trails start at the canoe docks of the lodge – one splitting into four trails – totaling to five trails namely, Moraine Lake Lakeshore Trail, Wenkchemna Pass, Larch Valley, Eiffel Lake, and Sentinel Pass.


I came at 6 am and then ambled rapidly on the track from the edge of the lake leading to the soaring peak. The lake is best accessible via a private car as it facilitates selecting your own time to reach and leave. Alternatively, you can come by a shuttle or a taxi from the Lake Louise town or the Chateau Lake Louise.

From Lake Louise, drive until the Moraine Lake turn-off from where you reach the Paradise Valley trailhead. Continue driving up to big parking lot on the lake’s shores (You are at 12.5 km from turn-off). At the coast before the parking lot, you can see on the left the Rockpile and the lodge in right. To see the lake, go straight where you can also see the Wenkchemna peaks. Before moving head, just have a glimpse of the third highest mountain called the Mount Temple that is full of snow.


Just carry your camera to capture the beautiful sights of lake as well as the mountains and 10 peaks. At the lake, spending 2 hours is enough!

Best time to visit

April through to November

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