There are so many lakes in Banff National Park that it can be difficult to know which ones to head to when you visit. There are however the big 3; the obvious choices that everyone should make their way to – Lake Louise, Peyto Lake and the beautiful Moraine Lake.
What to expect at Moraine Lake
Like the other popular lakes in Banff National Park you should expect there to be a lot of people milling around. Everyone wants to capture that perfect photo and spend time in the best spots so a little bit of patience is needed.
The road to Moraine Lake is quite long and narrow and the car park at the end is very small compared to the popularity of the lake. Therefore if it is particularly busy the parks service will close the road and implement a one out one in system which was the the case during our visit. However once in and parked up you only need to walk a short distance from the car park which takes you right up to the waters edge.
At the foot of the lake you will likely be faced with a scene like this. There are a lot of felled trees on the water edge and everyone tries clambering across them to get a photo near the water. Having experienced this my advice is to avoid trying to get a photo here. It’s very busy and it’s quite dangerous walking on the logs – you don’t want to risk twisting your ankle and spoiling your holiday. Not only that but unless you get right up close to the water you won’t be getting a good photo without other people in it!
So where should you head to? Well, my first piece of advice is to head immediately down the road that runs alongside the lake. This will take you to several ‘beaches’ along the water edge – in my photo above you can see a group stood on one of these on the right hand side. If you walk down here there will be very few, if any, people, there is flat even ground and you get an equally good but unimpeded view of the lake.
From that same point, if you look back on yourself you will get a view of where you just came from which looks great and many people miss out on as they don’t venture down here.
Canoeing on Moraine Lake
Canoeing on the lakes in Banff National Park is fairly common and so you’re likely to see people out on Moraine Lake. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of taking canoe photos on the Canadian lakes as it seems that no matter what angle you take one from they always look great.
If you make your way further along the road parallel to the lake and venture through the trees to the water edge you will find a jetty with several canoes tied up. Again this is a perfect spot for you to take a couple of photos at a point of interest on the lake where there is barely another soul to be seen.
Moraine Lake Viewpoint
So let’s go back a little to where you arrive at Moraine Lake from the car park. As you approach the lake, on your left there is a small but adequate toilet facility (there will be a queue for the ladies 25 women strong) however just beyond this on the left is a (poorly) signposted trail.
Following this trail will take you to the top of the massive pile of rocks you see next to the logs at the foot of Moraine Lake and the main location of all the Instagram and Pinterest photos that you’ve likely been looking through. The viewpoint is shown in my second photo, located at the top of the mound amongst the trees.
The view from the top here does give you an incredible view of the lake so there really is little point wasting your time scrambling around on the logs which I mentioned at the start of this post. I mean, seriously – ankle twisting risk and busy crowds versus the photo below? There’s no comparison.
The walk up to this viewpoint is also super easy. There is a well constructed path that is of course a little rocky in places but absolutely accessible for the majority of people heading here. In many parts of the path it is fully built as steps too so there’s be no need for you to scramble up any rocks or loose shingle.
Moraine Lake really is a beautiful natural formation within Canada and one that when you experience it, you will remember for a lifetime.
Have you been to Moraine Lake or considering a trip this year? Let us know in the comments!