A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com
Alberta, Canada, Hiking, Outdoor Adventures

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Moraine Lake in Alberta’s Banff National Park is one of my favourite places I’ve ever been. The natural beauty there is unbelievable and so breathtaking that it feels like you’re in a postcard. If you’re looking for picturesque views of snow-peaked mountains, dense pine tree forests and valleys, and a vibrant turquoise-coloured lake along with plenty of fantastic photo opportunities, then you HAVE to go to Moraine Lake. 

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Breathtaking views of Moraine Lake and surrounding scenery from the top of the Rockpile Trail!

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The beautiful forested valley and mountains opposite of Moraine Lake

This summer, I embarked on a solo road trip through the Canadian Rockies and dedicated an entire day to spend at Moraine Lake starting with watching the sunrise over the lake. I also had the privilege of returning to the lake a few days later to watch the sunset, which was just as amazing. I had visited Moraine Lake last summer as well (2016) on a road trip with my mother but afterwards felt like I could’ve spent so much more time exploring the beauty of this amazing place. So that is exactly what I did this time on my second visit. 

I had been staying in Canmore, Alberta and woke up early to drive to Moraine Lake, arriving shortly after 7 am. The parking lot was already filling up and there were quite a few people there but the atmosphere was still very serene and being surrounded by such spectacular natural beauty was awesome. The air was crisp and cool and it was perfect for spending time hiking and exploring stunning scenery at this gorgeous glacier mountain lake! 

Hikes From Moraine Lake

There are plenty of great day hikes beginning from Moraine Lake ranging from the easier to the more difficult ones. I spent most of the day at the lake and these were the hikes that I did and I loved all of them. 

The Rockpile Trail

This short and easy 1.4 km trail is the busiest hike starting from the lake and for good reason. The short uphill pathway literally winds its way to the top of a large pile of rocks where you will find the most amazing and rewarding views overlooking Moraine Lake

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Steps leading up the short Rockpile Trail to amazing views overlooking Moraine Lake

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The giant rock pile where you will find incredible views of Moraine Lake from the top

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The Rock Pile Trail

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The most beautiful turquoise lake in the Canadian Rockies

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Looking out to the expansive valley on the opposite side of Moraine Lake, as viewed from the Rock Pile

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Moraine Lake through the trees

This hike was the first thing I did upon arriving to the lake. At the top of the rock pile, there are some benches and you will find the most incredible views of the lake and surrounding mountains and valleys from a variety of perspectives. The scenery was so gorgeous and awe-inspiring and there were plenty of amazing photo opportunities. I sat on one of the benches and enjoyed watching the sun rise over the mountains and onto the lake. I returned to this spot a few days later in the evening when I was staying at a hostel in Lake Louise and was able to watch the sunset from this spot also. It was such a great experience. 

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Watching the sun rise over Moraine Lake was so peaceful

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Moraine Lake in the early morning

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The scenery around the lake was so pretty!

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Beautiful forests and mountains surrounded Moraine Lake

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Watching the sun rise over the valley

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The valley opposite of Moraine Lake

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The gorgeous valley behind Moraine Lake

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Moraine Lake is absolutely gorgeous

This trail gets busy quickly, so I would recommend doing this one first when you arrive to the lake. Make sure to come back after the sun has fully risen though, as the water looks even more vibrant and incredible when the sun is shining on it. 

A Day Spent at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Colourful canoes on Moraine Lake

I ended up spending one night at a hostel in Lake Louise on my way to Jasper (a few days after visiting Moraine Lake from Banff) and decided to drive up to Moraine Lake for a second visit but this time, to experience the sunset in the evening. I arrived there around 8:30 pm and hiked up the Rockpile where I spent the next hour or so sitting on a bench overlooking the lake and admiring the sunset over Moraine Lake. It was such an amazing experience to be able to see the lake twice during my trip – at sunrise and sunset – and the mountain reflections on the water’s surface in the evening were just so spectacular. If you have the time and opportunity to do so, I would recommend checking out the lake at both times of day. 

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The scenic road leading from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Gorgeous evening reflections of the mountains on the water of Moraine Lake

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

What a magical place in the mountains

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

I just loved experiencing the beautiful sunset over Moraine Lake

Consolation Lakes

Consolation Lakes is an easy 6 km round-trip trail that starts from along the Rockpile Trail (on the left side, just before the climb to the top of the rock pile) and leads to the beautiful Consolation Lakes with incredible views of the surrounding jagged mountain peaks, glaciers, a rocky landscape with lots of large boulders to climb around on, and a peaceful glacial-fed river flowing through. 

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The first part of the trail passed through this rocky landscape with gorgeous mountain views

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Gorgeous forests

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Arriving at Consolation Lakes! Beautiful views looking back towards the trail

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Consolation Lakes was such a peaceful and beautiful place

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Glaciers and mountains around Consolation Lakes

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

A pretty river flowed from Consolation Lakes with a gorgeous mountain backdrop

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Stunning jagged peaks beside Consolation Lakes

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Views of the lake. I had fun climbing over these large rocks to get closer views

The hike started off by descending into the valley and then passing through a very rocky area where I even found some recent avalanche debris and snow patches! The trail then wound through the beautiful forest for the remainder of the hike on a mostly flat path with some short slightly uphill sections (but only 60 metres elevation gain in total). At the end of the hike, the trail emerged from the forest and opened to a field of large boulders with the lake visible in the distance. There were gorgeous views of the tall jagged mountains, sheer vertical cliffs, and the Fay Glacier overlooking the lake. 

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The path followed through this dense and beautiful forest

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Almost to Consolation Lakes as the trees opened up to provide lovely views of the landscape

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The river flowing from Consolation Lakes

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Arriving at the beautiful Consolation Lakes after a short and scenic hike from Moraine Lake!

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Beautiful glaciers and snow-peaked mountains in the distance

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Consolation Lakes

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The river near Consolation Lakes… How stunning!

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

I was amazed at these jagged mountain peaks!

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Incredible backdrop to Consolation Lakes

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Hiking to Consolation Lakes was very rewarding. The natural beauty was incredible!

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Mountains surrounded Consolation Lakes

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

These mountains were breathtaking and so unique.

I enjoyed climbing over the large rocks in order to get closer to the lake, but if you do this, make sure to watch your step as there are lots of crevices in the rocks and it would be easy to trip (I did while jumping from one rock to another and scraped my knee). I ate my snack while sitting on the rocks and loved appreciating the scenery in such a calm atmosphere. 

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Amazing views on the hike back to Moraine Lake. Consolation Lakes was worth the short hike. Breathtaking scenery!

For a short hike, Consolation Lakes was very rewarding and I would highly recommend hiking this trail. 

Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail

The Lakeshore Trail is also a short and easy trail that is 3 km in length (round-trip). This peaceful pathway starts from beside the Moraine Lake Lodge and follows along the shoreline of the lake as it passes through a gorgeous lush forest. There were many openings in the trees along the way to provide a variety of perspectives and views of the lake. 

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Starting the hike from along the shoreline of Moraine Lake

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

I loved these colourful canoes!

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

A gorgeous and serene trail through the woods along the shoreline of Moraine Lake

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Early morning views of Moraine Lake

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Beautiful peaceful pathway

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Views of Moraine Lake through the trees

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Moraine Lake was stunning!

Hiking this trail was so peaceful. It eventually lead to a boardwalk area at the far end of the lake where there was a small waterfall flowing from the glaciers and down the mountain into Moraine Lake. When I stepped on the boardwalk and got closer to the waterfall, the temperature suddenly felt like it had dropped ten degrees and was very chilly. There were also beautiful views of the glaciers and mountain peaks from this point. 

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Views of Moraine Lake as I walked along the lakeshore

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

Beautiful mountain views at the end of the trail

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

This boardwalk at the end of the trail led to a gorgeous area!

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The scene at the end of the Moraine Lake Shoreline trail

The trail followed back along the same path and was such a pretty hike to do. 

There are also two longer and more challenging day hikes that begin from the shoreline of the lake – Eiffel Lake and Larch Valley. Both of these hikes look incredible from what I have seen and read and offer beautiful views. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to hike either of these trails. When I visit Moraine Lake in the future though, hiking the Eiffel Lake and Larch Valley trails will definitely be at the top of my list of things to do! 

Tips for Visiting Moraine Lake

  • Arrive Early – Although it is not as crowded and insanely busy as its nearby neighbour Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is still a very popular place to visit for travelers. During the high season in July and August, the parking lot fills up quickly. In order to get a parking spot and beat the crowds and tour buses that will arrive mid-morning and early afternoon, you must arrive early. And by early, I mean you should be at the lake by 7 am or 7:30 am. Most of the parking spots were already taken by 8 to 8:30 am when I visited. 
  • Plan to Spend at Least Half a Day – There are a variety of wonderful day hikes to do from Moraine Lake, 

Moraine Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Canadian Rockies. If you are traveling to Banff National Park, do not miss visiting this one. 

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

The stunning Moraine Lake from the Rockpile. Beautiful mountain peaks and incredible turquoise coloured water. This place is so magical and serene.

I had such an amazing day at Moraine Lake and cannot wait to return again on my next trip to the area! 

Pin It!

A Day at Moraine Lake and Must-Do Hikes | brittanymthiessen.com

 

Have you traveled to Moraine Lake in Banff?

Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to read more about my adventures. 

Thanks for reading! 

I’m Brittany, a small town girl living simply in the Canadian prairies. I love exploring off the beaten path and discovering hidden gems both locally in Manitoba and beyond; traveling independently; photography; eating plant-based and gluten-free foods; browsing local markets; and learning about cultures and ethnic cuisines. My other loves include cuddling with my cats, playing board games, drinking kombucha and matcha tea, spending time in nature, studying maps, eating Mexican food, and making fresh fruit smoothies.

On this website, I share my photography, in-depth travel guides, reflections on a variety of travel-related topics, reviews, and favourite simple and healthy recipes, while also documenting stories from my experiences, travel adventures, local wanderings and explorations.

Follow along using the social media buttons below and read more about me here

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

  • I am NOT sobbing into my coffee quietly while reading this. Beautiful photos, Brittany. I still can’t get over how different Consolation Lakes look just a few weeks after we went. It’s definitely worth a full day around Moraine Lake, especially because most people seem to go to the rock pile and don’t really use the other trails. We tried to get there for sunrise but I am an awful morning person, and camping in Banff meant we’d have to get up even earlier – I’m clearly not quite dedicated enough 😛