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.
Give yourself loads of time at Moraine Lake. Below are the top activities:
You should think about purchasing a Lake Louise & Moraine Lake Tour or a Full-Day Trip to Yoho National Park & Moraine Lake while you're in the area. These activities are a couple of the most sought-after.
If you're chasing more options, examine 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 ...
Great location to Lake Louise and Moraine. The pool and 3 hot tubs were great after hiking all day. 2 nice restaurants on site have great food. All rooms have patio/balcony. The hotel has a great view of the surrounding mountains.
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 ...