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What To Do At Moraine Lake: First-Time Visitor Guide

Banff, Canada

by Coco Tran On February 24, 2024

What To Do At Lake Moraine

Moraine Lake is one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in Canada, located in Banff National Park. With its stunning blue waters and majestic mountains, it’s no wonder that Moraine Lake is a popular tourist destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers!

But what is there to do in Moraine Lake, and how can you make the most of your visit? This guide will give you some awesome ideas and a list of things to do at Moraine Lake.

where is moraine lake

Moraine Lake is situated in the beautiful Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. It is nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, surrounded by towering mountain peaks and dense forests. The lake is approximately 14 kilometers or 8.7 miles from the small town of Lake Louise, itself located in Banff National Park in the province of Alberta, Canada. Moraine Lake is fed by glacial meltwater, giving its waters a distinctive bright turquoise color.

moraine lake sunrise

The scenic vista of the azure lake with the rocky peaks of the Valley of the Ten Peaks reflecting on its surface makes it one of the most photographed lakes in Canada. Its unique location in a valley formed by glaciers combined with its stunning color makes Moraine Lake a popular destination for visitors to Banff National Park who wish to enjoy breathtaking alpine scenery.

1. Catch the Sunrise at The Rockpile Overlook

One of the must-dos at Moraine lake is to catch the surnise at The Rockpile trail. It’s the most popular thing to see if you’re going to Lake Moraine! The sunrise is epic and worth the effort to see the sunrise. To experience one of the most ethereal sunrises at lake moraine, it’s best to plan ahead! You can also book a private tour or stay at the lodge since the parking lot fills up by 3 am and therefore parking situation at Moraine Lake has drastically changed, cars are no longer allowed to park there as of 2023! See the link above for more details.

what to do at moraine lake

See The Best Short & Long Hiking Trails at Lake Moraine

2. Hike the Surrounding Trails lake moraine canada

One of the best ways to experience Moraine Lake is by hiking the surrounding trails. From easy walks to challenging climbs, there’s something for everyone here! If you want to experience hiking but don’t feel comfortable venturing out on your own, book a guided hike with the knowledge and safety of an expert guide. One popular trail is the Rockpile Trail, which offers a panoramic view of Moraine Lake and the surrounding mountains! It was my favorite because it’s easily accessible and the views are stunning from a higher vantage point! For a longer bucket list hike, try Sentinel Pass Hike, which takes you past Moraine Lake up through spruce forest to a high alpine plateau filled with tarns and alpine flora, from here ascend to the lovely views of Paradise Valley, Mt. Fay and the Valley of the Ten Peaks!

Fun and easy Hiking: Book a Guided Hike with a nature expert !

things to do in moraine lake

3. Go Canoeing on Lake Moraine Banff

Another must-do activity at Moraine Lake is canoeing on the lake itself. With its crystal clear waters and stunning scenery, canoeing is the perfect way to experience the lake in a unique and peaceful way. Rent a canoe at the lake and spend an afternoon paddling around, taking in the breathtaking views! $140 for an hour for 2 persons. The rental booth opens at 9 am.

Book a stay at the Lodge in Moraine Lake and get free canoeing as part of your stay! A value of $140!

moraine lake tips for visiting

4. Visit the Moraine Lake Lodge

After a day of exploring and outdoor activities, take a break and have lunch or grab a snack at the Moraine Lake Lodge. This historic lodge offers comfortable accommodations and delicious dining options, as well as stunning views of Moraine Lake and the surrounding mountains. You can also take part in various activities and events offered by the lodge, such as guided hikes and wildlife viewing trips.

Tip: The Lodge doesn’t open until 9 AM

5. Book a Guided Wildlife Tour

For a more in-depth wildlife experience, consider joining a guided wildlife tour. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who can help you spot and learn about the local wildlife and also provide tips on how to safely observe the animals in their natural habitats. A great convenient and comfortable way for you to enjoy some of the great outdoors of the Canadian rockies!

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran

6. Wildlife Watching at Lake Moraine

Moraine Lake is home to a variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, bears, and mountain goats. If you’re interested in wildlife watching, you have to book this awesome wildlife tour. Be sure to bring binoculars and a camera with a good zoom lens! A 70-140mm is ideal. On this Wildlife watching tour A knowledgeable guide will be with you the whole time and know where to look and what to look for! A great way for the whole family to see the great outdoors.

7. Enjoy a Picnic at Lake Moraine

For a more slow travel activity, consider packing a picnic and finding a peaceful spot along the shore of Moraine Lake. With its stunning views and tranquil setting, this is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a meal with friends and family! Bring a blanket and some food, and enjoy the beauty of Moraine Lake while you snack. Moraine Lake Lodge does have a small cafe, if you need to pick up some last-minute nibbles you can do so here!

8. Stargazing at Lake Moraine at Night

Moraine Lake is located in one of the darkest parts of Banff National Park, making it the perfect place for stargazing. On a clear night, you’ll be able to see thousands of stars in the sky, as well as the Milky Way. Pack a blanket and a telescope, and spend an evening under the stars at Moraine Lake. Just to make sure you note the park’s closure hours to visitors if you’re not staying at the lodge in the park so you don’t get stranded!

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran

I’ve put together this complete guide on everything you need to know to visit Moraine Lake in 2023, including how to get there, when to go, and the best things to do once you arrive.

How to Get to Moraine Lake: how to get into moraine lake

In previous years, you could drive your own car and park at Moraine Lake. However, due to overcrowding, this is no longer allowed. Here are your options for getting there in 2023:

moraine lake from banff or Canmore

Take the Parks Canada Shuttle Bus Lake Moraine

Parks Canada operates shuttle buses from the Lake Louise Ski Resort parking lot to both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. You must book your shuttle ticket in advance online. Tickets are around $10 per adult. The lines are extremely long. The better alternative is this bus that operates exclusively for Sunrise to Maraine Lake

The shuttle starts running at 6am, which is perfect for catching sunrise at Moraine Lake. Just keep in mind that spots book up quickly, so reserve your ticket as early as possible.

Go on an Organized Tour : Tour To Moraine Lake

Joining a guided tour takes all the guesswork out of getting to Moraine Lake. Tours pick you up and take you directly there.

Some tours combine both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, so you can see both in one day. Others focus just on Moraine Lake and include time for hiking.

Book a Bus Shuttle to Lake Moraine

New in 2023 is a private shuttle that runs from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake. It’s more convenient that the Canada parks shuttle as it’s only $35 per adult, you are guaranteed a spot and you don’t have to reserve in advance or wait in long line cues!

The private shuttle also offers early morning departures at 4am and 5am for sunrise. Book your tickets online in advance.

Bike from Lake Louise To Moraine Lake

For a scenic and active way to reach Moraine Lake, rent a bike in Lake Louise and cycle there yourself. It’s 13km along Moraine Lake Road and takes around 1.5 hours.

You’ll need a decent fitness level as it’s uphill most of the way. But the views are unbeatable.

Read : Parking at Moraine Lake

When to Visit Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake is stunning year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you want to see and do:

Summer in Moraine Lake (June to September)

In summer, the lake is thawed with brilliant blue waters. Come July and August to find the warmest weather and least chance of lingering snow around the lake.

The most popular activities like canoeing, hiking, and walking the Lakeshore Trail are only possible in summer. Early September is also lovely with fewer crowds.

Fall at Moraine Lake(September to October)

Fall brings larch trees turning bright yellow around Moraine Lake, especially mid-September into October. The fall foliage is gorgeous with the mountain backdrop.

There may be some icy patches on the trails, but you can still hike and walk the Lakeshore Trail in fall. Sunrise and sunsets are also beautiful this time of year.

Winter at Lake moraine (November to May)

In winter, Moraine Lake is frozen over and covered in snow, presenting a majestic winter wonderland.

However, avalanche risk means the road is closed so you cannot drive or take the shuttle. Join a tour or ski/snowshoe there yourself if properly trained and equipped.

Sunrise and Sunset at Moraine Lake which is better?

The lighting is magical at sunrise and sunset, so plan to arrive early morning or late afternoon if you can. I prefer Sunrise as this is one of the most magical times as the light paints the mountain peaks all the hues of cotton candy skies and the lake reflects the gorgeous light from the mountains.

Tours are the only way to guarantee you’ll make it for sunrise now that the road is closed. For sunset, a late shuttle or bike ride from Lake Louise can work.


Q: Is Moraine Lake open year-round?

A: Moraine Lake is open from mid-May to mid-October, weather permitting. During the winter months, the lake and the surrounding areas are covered in snow and are not accessible to visitors.

Q: How do I get to Moraine Lake?

A: Moraine Lake is located in Banff National Park, and can be accessed by tour provider or by shuttle bus. Learn how to get to Moraine Lake in My Moraine Lake Guide. The lake is about a 1.5-hour drive from the town of Banff, and there are several shuttle bus options available from Banff and Lake Louise.

Q: Is there a fee to visit Moraine Lake?

A: Yes, there is a fee to enter Banff National Park, it is which includes access to Moraine Lake. To access Lake Moraine and Banff National Park, visitors are required to purchase a daily or annual Parks Canada pass. The fee for a daily pass for Banff National Park was $10 per person, while an annual pass was $75 per person for the year.

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