Moraine Lake is one of the most photographed scenes in Canada. The “Twenty Dollar View” takes in the turquoise lake and ten surrounding mountains. The vista was once the picture on the back of 20-dollar notes in Canada, and the nickname stuck.
Most visitors spend several hours soaking up the views and snapping pictures. The scene of rugged snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear water surrounded by larch trees is postcard-perfect. There are hiking trails around the lake and canoes for rent. The lake is only accessible June through September, as the road is blocked by snow in winter.
The lake is 8.7 miles (14 kilometers) from Lake Louise and about 1 hour’s drive west of Banff. From the parking lot, it’s a short walk, roughly 980 feet (300 meters), up a rocky hill to a viewing platform, where you’ll get the best view.
The glacial lake gets its startling blue color from the minerals in the water that come down from the surrounding mountains. The Valley of Ten Peaks has the third-highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. The peak of Mount Temple is 11,500 feet (3,540 meters) high. Take all this in from the viewing platform.
The lake is brightest during the day when the sun is directly overhead. This is also when the lake is the most crowded, and it can be hard to find parking. Come before 10 a.m. and stay to watch the changing colors on the lake – the water’s surface reflects the ten peaks.
There are miles of hiking trails surrounding the lake. Hiking can be dangerous, because there are often bears roaming the area. Call Parks Canada for a safety update before you set out. Always walk in groups of four or more.
How about making your stop at Moraine Lake even more special? Don't forget to try some of these activities:
Why not consider purchasing a Lake Louise & Moraine Lake Tour and a Full-Day Trip to Yoho National Park & Moraine Lake?
If you're seeking more activities, check out our Lake Louise things to do page.
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I highly recommend Moraine Lake Lodge for its accommodations and proximity to the lake. My wife and I went here for our honeymoon and thoroughly enjoyed the lodge and its surroundings. Of the two lakes (Louise & Moraine), we were grateful we stayed at Moraine Lake Lodge as its lake and surrounding ...
The property was dated. The room was awkward and not clean enough. I would give it two stars out of 5. It was not horrible, it just did not live up to our expectations. Felt like we were camping.
We stayed in one of the renovated rooms in the lodge. The renos appear to be more along the lines of new carpet, new shower rod and curtain, and new beds. The room was a bit rough (doors, sink, tub), but this was one of the absolutely CLEANEST hotels I have stayed in! I travel quite a bit for work ...
The room was small, which is ok, I didn't mind that there was no TV, but it would have been better if there was a comfortable chair to sit on in the room, and a small fridge would have been nice in order to keep water cold, and left overs from spoiling. Other then that the Lodge was great. Location ...
Great location, very close to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Cozy cabin and very helpful staff that answered all of our questions.
Not much accomodation in this area, so you can't be picky and choosey. This served the purpose, twin room, comfortable, warm, albeit a little aged! Nice bar/pool area, with selection of beers. Stayed here to visit Yoho NP, walk the Emerald Lake loop and visit Takakkaw Falls. Overall did the ...