How to Plan a Perfect Moraine Lake Hike: Guide to the Best Hiking Trails

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When you plan a Moraine Lake hike, you’ll be nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies – a breathtaking destination that attracts hikers from around the world.

Surrounded by towering peaks, sparkling turquoise waters, and lush alpine forests, Moraine Lake in Banff National Park offers an unparalleled hiking experience.

Continue reading to learn all the information you need to plan a perfect Moraine Lake hike, including details about the best five hiking trails in the area.

Moraine lake hike
A Moraine Lake hike offers one of the most beautiful experiences in the Canadian Rockies.

CONTENTS – In this article, you will discover the best hiking trails of Lake Moraine, Canada and how to get there, including:

The Best Moraine Lake Hiking Trails

Attention hiking enthusiasts: Get yourself ready for a Moraine Lake hike!

If you’re seeking destinations for your next adventure, Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies should be at the top of your list.

Blue glacial lakes, pine forests, limestone cliffs, fragrant meadows and mountain peaks are just a few examples of the diverse terrains that make up this iconic landscape.

Banff National Park is a vast expanse of more than 4126 square miles (6,641 km²). There, you’ll discover several excellent options for hiking aficionados.

Let’s look at one of its most iconic spots—Moraine Lake.

Located just about 8 miles (14 km) outside the picture-perfect town of Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is a glacial-fed lake in The Valley of the Ten Peaks. In fact, it’s one of the most photographed ranges in the Canadian Rockies.

The landscape offers you an array of unique trails for all abilities and amazing views wherever you turn.

Before sharing the best Moraine Lake hikes, you’ll need to know how to get there.

Transportation to Moraine Lake

Moraine lake hike
You’ll enjoy incredible scenes on a Moraine Lake hike!

The road and car park to Moraine Lake are closed to private vehicles to mitigate the crush of summer traffic. But don’t let this stop you for Moraine Lake hike.

Visitors can easily book bus transportation to the lake.

Fortunately, this process is simple thanks to shuttle bus service providers like Moraine Lake Bus Company. This convenient shuttle offers service to and from Moraine Lake starting at 4 a.m.

You can book tickets through their easy-to-navigate website, https://morainelakebus.com/. This is the only shuttle company in the area that lets you pre-book your return trip, which means no waiting in line after a long day on the trails.

Now that you’ve got transportation covered, let’s review just a few of the best Moraine Lake hiking trails.

1. Larch Valley Trail

Named after the golden larch trees that populate the area, the Larch Valley Trail starts with a challenging, relatively steep incline between Moraine Lake and the bottom slopes of Mount Temple.

Once you’ve passed this section, the trail evens out, with moderate dips and inclines along the way.

The trail ends at Minnestimma Lakes in an area known as Larch Valley. This is where you can turn around and head back.

The hike is moderate in length at just about five-and-a-half miles (under nine km) round-trip. It climbs 650 yards (600 meters), so you’ll want to plan approximately four hours to complete.

On the Larch Valley Trail, you will experience phenomenal mountain views, colorful wildflowers during the summer, and golden larch trees come fall.

2. Sentinel Pass Trail

Moraine lake hike
Enjoy both water and mountain views when you hike the trails at Moraine Lake.

Sentinel Pass is an extension of the Larch Valley trail described above. When you follow this trail, you can keep the hike going if you’re feeling adventurous and in good shape.

To do so, continue from the Minnestimma Lakes up a pass that runs between Pinnacle Mountain and Mount Temple.

This is a steep incline, so be prepared.

However, once you’re at the top of the pass, you can expect one of the best views in Banff National Park!

3. Eiffel Lake Trail

Often considered the most beautiful trail by hikers familiar with the area, Eiffel Lake begins at the same incline as Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass.

The trail is a moderately challenging stretch that climbs a little over 650 yards (600 meters), spans just under 8 miles (12 km) there and back. If you follow this route, the hike will take a little over four hours — depending on your pace.

On this trail, you can expect to see undisturbed, postcard-worthy views of the surrounding Valley of the Ten Peaks.

And if you still have the energy, try out the trail’s extension, the Wenkchemna Pass Trail. But be forewarned: this one isn’t for the faint of heart.

4. Consolation Lakes Trail

Moraine lake hike
Choose the Moraine Lake hike that suits you best, whether you’re experienced or a beginner.

Let’s end with one of the easier hikes in the area.

The Consolation Lakes Trail takes you past the Rockpile (another hiking trail) through a beautiful pine forest that spits you out at the shoreline of Consolation Lakes.

It’s one of the less-populated trails during the afternoon. While you meander at a slower pace, it will most likely take you about two to three hours to cover the path, almost 4 miles (6 km) there and back.

The Bottom Line — and a Note About Wildlife

The Moraine Lake area, particularly Larch Valley, sees heightened grizzly bear activity during wildflower season and into the fall.

With that in mind, you’ll want to carry bear spray and to hike with a minimum of four party members. Fines enforce this rule during periods of frequent bear activity.

Don’t let this deter you, though.

Bears and other native wildlife will go out of their way to avoid human interaction. If you stay on the paths, you’ll likely be fine.

Final Thoughts on Moraine Lake Hike

These are just some of the best Moraine Lake hiking trails on offer. You’ll find so much to explore and see nearby, so whatever hike you choose, you’re sure to be dazzled!

Moraine Lake is a true gem in the Canadian Rockies. It offers a natural paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

With its stunning turquoise waters, majestic peaks, and diverse hiking trails, it’s no wonder that Moraine Lake attracts visitors from all over the world.

So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your backpack, and get ready to embark on a memorable adventure through the picturesque trails of Moraine Lake.

Let the beauty of the Canadian Rockies unfold before your eyes and you’ll create memories that will stay with you for a lifetime!


Jackie Gately at the beach


About the Author: Jackie Gately

I'm Jackie Gately, your travel confidante and the creative force behind Enjoy Travel Life, awarded the "Best Casual-Luxury Lifestyle Blog (USA)" in Travel and Tourism by LUXlife Magazine for four consecutive years.

With 25 years of published expertise, I'm a seasoned writer, editor, and photographer curating inspiring travel guides and lifestyle tips for empty nesters. I hope to kindle your spirit of exploration, encouraging you to overcome obstacles and turn your dreams into reality.

Learn to minimize your pre-travel angst and maximize the joy of exploration with insights from my experiences. Let's make every adventure a celebration of this exciting phase of life! 

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Moraine Lake Hike Guide - Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass, Eiffel Lake, Consolation Lakes trails.
Best Hiking Trails at Moraine Lake, Canada - Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass, Eiffel Lake, Consolation Lakes.
Hiking Heaven at Moraine Lake - Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass, Eiffel Lake, Consolation Lakes.

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