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The Best Things to do at Moraine Lake

Spend some time in this stunning area and enjoy all the best things to do at Moraine Lake. Whether it be a peaceful canoe, or a hard Moraine Lake hike, you’ll have views of the Ten Peaks and memories that will last a lifetime.

SecureParking

One of the best things to do at Moraine is secure parking! Okay, this is a joke as it’s not truly one of the best things to do at Moraine Lake. However, if you get parking at Moraine Lake, you can check one thing off for the day because you just overcame a severe hurdle that many face on any trip to Banff.

Parking at Moraine Lake is difficult and often means you need to get to the Moraine Lake parking lot well before sunrise. Thankfully, this year, we detail a few other options.



Catch Sunrise or Sunset at the Rockpile Trail

The most popular thing to do at Moraine Lake is take a stroll up the Rockpile Trail. The Rockpile Trail is where you can get some of the best photos of Moraine Lake, especially at sunrise and sunset.

A nice walking trail will lead you to the top, and you will no doubt find plenty of photographers at any point in the day. We encourage everyone to take in the view from the Rockpile but be forewarned; this is where all the crowds hang out. You’ll have to hike further away or get out on the water to get away from people.

The best times to enjoy the view are at sunrise and sunset!


Walk the Moraine Lake Lakeshore

This flat trail goes around Moraine Lake and is one of the most accessible hikes you can do in the area. The Moraine Lake Lakeshore trail starts near the canoe docks and continues along the lake, moving in and out of the forest.

The trail is 5.15 km out and back, and despite being an easy one with little elevation gain, it sees far fewer visitors than the Rockpile trail. The hike ends at a boardwalk near the waters flowing down from Wenkchemna pass.


Canoe on Moraine Lake

Canoeing on Moraine Lake is one of the most sought-after activities in the entire park. There’s no better feeling than paddling on a brilliantly blue-colored Banff lake with the most majestic mountain peaks ahead of you.

You can either bring your own canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard or rent a canoe from the canoe docks operated by Moraine Lake Lodge.

Canoe rental fees are hefty at $115 an hour here, so if you can split the cost with one or two other people, it will help keep costs down. Canoe rentals come with paddles and a lifejacket and operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Have Lunch at Moraine Lake Lodge

After two years of closure, we’re happy to report that Moraine Lake Lodge will be open for the 2022 season. This means that visitors to Moraine Lake can enjoy dining in the Walter Wilcox Dining Room at Moraine Lake Lodge.

This is one of the top restaurants in Banff National Park, set in one of the most pristine locations. Make reservations and surround yourself with a large stone fireplace, an elegant interior, and huge windows looking out to Moraine Lake.

If you don’t want to dine in, there is always the Snowshoe Café open between 9-4 every day for a quick bite to eat.


Cycle to Moraine Lake

Biking Moraine Lake Road When it Is Closed to Vehicles

Biking to Moraine Lake is more fun than it sounds! Although it’s 14km one way and all uphill, your reward is fantastic.

We’ve biked to Moraine Lake a few times in the past, and every time get to enjoy Moraine Lake without the crowds. From Lake Louise, it’s approximately 14 km uphill. This takes me 50 minutes on a mountain bike and 40 minutes on a road bike. It’s all uphill, but the fun ride down makes it all worth it.

The best time to bike to Moraine Lake is when it is car-free. This happens around the third week of May for a very short period. This one short week in Banff is when they plow Lake Moraine Road but don’t open the road to vehicles. Meaning you can bike to Moraine Lake and have it all to yourself – which we guarantee is impressive. (Though you can bike to Moraine Lake anytime you want.)

To bike to Moraine Lake, you can park at a small parking area right at Moraine Lake Rd. Alternatively, you can park at Lake Louise Village.

If you’re a domestic traveler, make sure to bring your bike to Banff, or it’s possible to rent bicycles for the day in either Banff Cycle in Banff or Rebound Cycle in Canmore.


Scramble the Tower of Babel

This is the most well-known scramble in the Moraine Lake area, but it’s a pretty steep climb at 2.9 km and 518 meter gain. Still, it’s appropriate for entry-level scramblers. You’re guaranteed some fabulous views of Moraine Lake, Consolation Valley, and the Bow Valley. Tower of Babel is a sub-peak that’s pretty easy to access.

The route heads up a gully right off Moraine Lake and has a steep, consistent climb to the top. It’s a scree bash (loose rock), but it’s a pretty well-worn trail due to its popularity. It’s a challenging workout for novice hikers who may underestimate the 518m climb to the top as it’s literally straight up.

The biggest threat on this route is a loose rock falling down the gully from a party above; I strongly recommend wearing a helmet! It’s also best to start early and be one of the first to the top in the morning so you don’t have loose rock falling on you from hikers above.


Hike to Consolation Lakes

Consolation Lakes is a more accessible, family-friendly alternative to Tower of Babel. This is a great beginner Banff hike that can be paired with the Moraine Lake Lakeshore Trail or Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail.

You get views of the scree slopes from the Tower of Babel along the hike. The hike passes through the old-growth forest before arriving at an alpine field and wetlands with the Consolation Lakes at the end. Once at the lakes, you’ll get tremendous views of Mount Fay.


Enjoy the Larches

The larch season is everyone’s favorite season in Banff. Sometime around the third week of September, the needles on the larch trees turn a beautiful golden color before dropping to the ground before the winter.

While there aren’t many larch trees around Moraine Lake herself, you can quickly be surrounded by them with a great Moraine Lake hike. Most notable is the Larch Valley up to Sentinel Pass.

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