11 Best Hikes from Moraine Lake with Epic Views!

Besides exploring stunning Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, the Moraine Lake hikes are the best way to see the beauty of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. If you didn’t know already, there are many hikes from Moraine Lake going up in the mountains, to beautiful meadows and other alpine lakes. From easy and short hikes to longer day hikes, there is a hike for every skill level. We have done most of these hikes from Moraine Lake ourselves and are thrilled to share with you the best hikes around Moraine Lake to explore on your next visit. 

11 Amazing Hikes from Moraine Lake

Moraine Lakeshore trail

Distance: 3.7 km (2.3 miles) out and back

Elevation gain: 95 meters (314 ft)

Duration: 1.5 – 2 hours

Trailhead: Moraine Lake parking lot

The Moraine Lakeshore trail is one of the easiest hikes on this list and a great way to enjoy the stunning scenery from different vantage points. The trail wraps around the edge of the lake and goes in and out of the forest with breathtaking mountain views. It’s a great way to escape the crowds as most day tourists only stay along the Rockpile area to get their photo and then leave. 

The different perspectives on the Tower of Babel and the Valley of the Ten Peaks are impressive. Especially with good light, it’s a magical way of admiring this spectacular scenery along the Moraine Lake trail. 


Moraine Rockpile Trail 

Distance: 0.8 kilometers (0.5 miles)

Elevation gain: 10 meters (32 feet)

Duration: 20 minutes 

Trailhead: Moraine Lake parking lot

The Moraine Rockpile Trail is a short walk going up the rocks to the famous viewpoint of Moraine Lake. It’s the most popular, and busy, trail at Moraine Lake and some of the best spots for panoramic views over the lake. You just follow the short set of stairs going up from the parking lot until the views open up to Moraine Lake. There are various points where you can sit on the rocks and take in the stunning views. 

It’s the best place to go for watching the sunrise at Moraine Lake as the first golden light will illuminate the snow-capped peaks and slowly light up the valley. If you can make it to Moraine Lake for sunrise, then this short hike must be your first one! 

Just keep in mind that this area is most likely packed with other people as Moraine Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in Canada. Nevertheless, there is always a spot to find where you can take in the scenery without too many people around you. 


Larch Valley trail 

Distance: 8.6 kilometers / 5.4 miles

Elevation gain: 535 meters / 1755 feet

Duration: 3 – 4 hours

Trailhead: Just passed Moraine Lake Lodge

The Larch Valley hike is one of the best Moraine Lake hikes, especially in late September and early October. This is the larch season, which means that the green larches change color to a vibrant gold or yellow in the autumn before they shed their needles. This creates a magical atmosphere in Larch Valley with a beautiful contrast of orange larch trees against the white snow-capped mountains, making it the best fall hike in Banff. 


The Larch Valley trail is 8.6 kilometers round trip with a little over 500 meters incline. The first part is a series of switchbacks in the forest before the trail opens up to a beautiful valley full of Larch trees. Here you are treated to some of the best views you will ever see. Walk a little further to the Minnestimma Lakes and get a slightly different view of the beautiful valley. The relatively easy hike to this otherworldly view is totally worth it and definitely one of the best views of the Canadian Rockies. 


Sentinel Pass trail 

Distance: 11.1 kilometers (6.9 miles)

Elevation gain: 799 meters (2,621 feet)

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Trailhead: Just passed Moraine Lake Lodge

The Sentinel Pass trail is basically an extension of the Larch Valley trail and can therefore be perfectly combined into a longer day hike. The pass sits between Pinnacle Mountain and Mount Temple and is an extra 300 meters (about 984 feet) elevation gain and 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from Larch Valley.


To get to the top of the pass you just continue the trail along the Minnestimma Lakes for the final incline along the slope. This is the most challenging part of the hike but totally worth it once you make it! The Sentinel Pass offers stunning panoramic views over Larch Valley and on the other side of the mountain pass Paradise Valley. It’s one of the fantastic hikes from Moraine Lake with views of the iconic lakes and Valley of the Ten Peaks.


Consolation Lakes trail

Distance: 7.4 kilometers (4.6 miles)

Elevation gain: 262 meters (859 ft)

Duration: 2 – 3 hours

Trailhead: Moraine Lake parking 

The Consolation Lakes trail takes you to two stunning glacial lakes away from the crowds at Moraine Lake. The walk to the first lake is pretty easy with only 65 meters (213 feet) of elevation gain. But if you want to get to the second lake, you will have to navigate over a lot of loose rocks, which feels a bit like a scramble. Therefore, if you don’t fancy a technical hike, I would only recommend going to the first lake of the Consolation Lakes. This also makes the total distance of the hike short with 5.8 kilometers (3.6 miles) return instead of 7.4 kilometers (4.6 miles). 


Paradise Valley trail

Distance: 20.4 kilometers (12.6 miles)

Elevation gain: 800 meters from Moraine Lake to Lake Louise

Duration: 6-8 hours

Trailhead: Lake Annette / Paradise Valley Trailhead along Moraine Lake Road

The Paradise Valley trail connects Moraine Lake to Lake Louise and takes you through a stunning valley full of larches. In fact, it is one of the best fall hikes in Banff, but it does require experience with hiking. Paradise Valley trail is a 20km point-to-point hike and includes hiking up a slope with loose rock and is a long day hike if you plan on finishing the complete trail. Along the Paradise Valley trail, you also pass Lake Annette which is a great spot for a lunch break. 

At Lake Louise lakeshore you can easily hop on the Moraine Lake shuttle bus from the Park and Ride to get back to Moraine Lake. It is a great idea to do this hike in peak season to avoid the crowds on the most popular trails such as Sentinel Pass and Larch Valley. However, you do need a good fitness level.


Eiffel Lake trail 

Distance: 12.2 kilometers (7.6 miles)

Elevation gain: 607 meters (1,991 feet)

Duration: 4 hours

Trailhead: Canoe docks at Moraine Lake

The Eiffel Lake Trail shares the same path of Larch Valley until the fork. Here you continue along a less worn path to the Eiffel Lakes which is signed by a small wooden plate. Along the trail, you will get stunning views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks including Wenkchemna Glacier. In fall, the larch trees surrounding Eiffel Lake turn yellow, adding a beautiful contrast to the otherwise rocky and slightly dull landscape around the lake. This makes the Eiffel Lake trail also one of the best Lake Moraine hikes in the fall.


Lake Annette 

Distance: 11.4 kilometers (7 miles)

Elevation gain: 392 meters (1,286 feet)

Duration: 3 – 4 hours

Trailhead: Lake Annette / Paradise Valley Trailhead along Moraine Lake Road

Hiking to Lake Annette is a great option if you don’t want to, or can’t, complete the whole Paradise Valley trail. Lake Annette is a great moderate hike that stretches 11.4 kilometers (7 miles) and is a great option to get away from the crowds at Moraine Lake. The trailhead is along Moraine Lake Road and crosses several picturesque bridges with stunning mountain views along the trail. And Lake Annette is another stunning glacial lake with the iconic Mount Temple in the background, resulting in a picture-perfect setting. 


Wenkchemna Pass 

Distance: 19.4 km

Elevation gain: 929 meters

Duration: 6-8 hours

Trailhead: Canoe docks at Moraine Lake

The Wenkchemna Pass trail continues past Eiffel Lake and is definitely some of the more challenging hikes from Moraine Lake. The 19.4 km out-and-back trail takes you through a beautiful alpine meadow and then gains elevation along a rocky slope. At the top of the pass, you will have stunning views of British Columbia to the west, the Valley of the Ten Peaks to the east and the spectacular Wenkchemna Glacier. This is also the border of the Continental Divide, which is pretty cool to climb!


Tower of Babel 

Distance: 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles)

Elevation gain: 518 meters (1,700 feet)

Duration: 2 – 3 hours

Trailhead: Moraine Lake parking lot

The Tower of Babel scramble is not for the faint-hearted. This is definitely not a hike you should attempt if you’re not experienced. While the distance is only 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles) out and back, the elevation gain of 518 meters (1,700 feet) over 1.5 km one way explains the difficulty. The Tower of Babel is basically an extremely inclined scramble the whole way up along loose rock. It’s technical, difficult to navigate while scrambling up the rock shale, but the views of Moraine Lake at the top are breathtaking. Only attempt this scramble if you are an experienced hiker with good fitness and eventually rent a helmet to protect yourself from falling rocks. 


Mount Temple 

Distance: 14.6kilometers (9 miles)

Elevation gain: 1700 meters (5200 ft)

Duration: 8 – 12 hours

Trailhead: Moraine Lake Parking Lot

Mount Temple is the second-highest mountain at 3543 meters (11 621 ft) in Alberta and a huge accomplishment if you can summit this mountain. However, the last part is not a hike. To get to the summit of Mount Temple you need to have decent scramble experience. There are parts with serious exposure and it’s a must to rent a helmet from Lake Louise Village for around 10 dollars. You will also notice that the air gets thinner at higher elevation, making it an extra challenge as every step will feel as if you’re walking in thick syrup. 

To get to Mount Temple you will first hike along two popular trails, being the Larch Valley trail and then up Sentinel Pass. From Sentinel Pass, the route changes into rocky scree and climbs sharply upwards. Here you will need a helmet and scramble experience. With that being said, if you plan on summiting Mount Temple then there is a very narrow window to do so. You will need to plan this scramble in between the snow melt and before the first snow of the season. The best month is August, with July and September as options if there isn’t too much snow along the trail. Make sure to check trail conditions and get a copy of the trail map from the Lake Louise info center.


How to get to Moraine Lake 

Since 2023 Parks Canada made a big change to get to the Moraine Lake parking lot. The reason is because of Moraine Lake’s popularity, it became impossible to find a parking spot for visitors, and long traffic lanes occurred. So since 2023 the Moraine Lake Road and parking lot have been closed to all personal vehicles. This means the only way to get to Moraine Lake is by shuttle. 

It does result in planning your Moraine Lake hikes ahead, as you will now need to make reservations for your Moraine Lake shuttle days before. Make sure to plan an early start, as this is the best way to experience the Moraine Lake hikes in a serene way. 

If you’re only looking for a shuttle service, then we recommend one of the following options.

Hop-on-hop-off Shuttle Explorer

The great thing about the hop on hop off shuttle is that you have the flexibility to stay as long as you want at either Moraine Lake or Lake Louise. In contrast to the other shuttle options, you have to select a departure time from the lakes upfront. It means you always have to watch the time, which is not the case with this hop-on hop-off shuttle. So if you want to spend the whole day at Moraine Lake it’s possible. Or if you suddenly decide to leave earlier, then that’s also possible! 

The hop-on-hop-hop-off buses depart every hour from the Lake Louise Ski Resort between 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. You can find the departure time from both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake here

Moraine Lake Shuttle Bus

The company we went with and recommend the most is Moraine Lake Bus Company. They depart from Lake Louise Ski Resort parking lot and Samsom Mall for people who don’t have their own transport. 

Because they only provide the shuttle and no tour guide, the price for the shuttle is affordable at $35 CAD per person for a round trip. 

Another great thing about Moraine Lake Shuttle is that they provide sunrise departures at 4 AM and 5 AM. This means you can be one of the first visitors of the day at Moraine Lake. 

Parks Canada Shuttle

The shuttle service provided by Parks Canada is called the ‘Park and Ride shuttle’ and departs from Lake Louise Ski Resort parking lot. The shuttles start running at 6.30 AM and you can make reservations at the Parks Canada website by clicking the tab ‘day use’. 

The great thing is that one ticket of $8 CAD gives you the flexibility to see both Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. Their free shuttle called the Lake Louise Connector shuttle runs every 15 minutes between 8 AM and 6 PM and is for reservation holders only after they have checked in at the Park and Ride, (boarding pass required) or those who have purchased a Roam Superpass.


What is the best time for the Moraine Lake hikes?

Generally the best time for the Moraine Lake hikes is from early June to early October. Late spring and the summer months provide the best chance of favorable weather conditions with warmer temperatures and minimal snow, making the trails more accessible and safer to navigate. 

If you plan hiking on high elevation, then you should definitely wait until late June for the snow to be gone on the higher trails. But late May is a great time for the lakeshore trails and easier hikes such as Larch Valley and the Consolation Lakes trail which have no avalanche danger. 


Wildlife in Banff National Park 

Banff National Park is prime bear territory, with black bears and grizzly bears calling this park their home. Don’t let this scare you away from exploring this beautiful National Park. But make sure to educate yourself on bear safety by reading or watching videos about this. 

You should always be bear aware and always carry bear spray with you on hikes in BC and Alberta. Educate yourself on how to use bear spray and of course do your own research on what to do in case of a bear encounter.

While bears are mostly in a calm state of mind, they will feel easier threatened by humans if they have cubs around. Or when a human comes too close, either to their food source or accidentally startles them. Therefore you should always be aware of your surroundings. Make noise so bears, and any other animal can hear you coming. 

Other wildlife you might encounter along the Larch Valley trail are innocent animals such as mountain goats, marmots, squirrels and the occasional porcupine. 

How to get a National Park Pass?

To explore Banff National Park, you’ll need a Parks Canada Pass. Depending on the number of days you plan to visit the Canadian National Parks, you can either buy single daily admission tickets or the Parks Canada Discovery Pass which is a multi-park entry pass for 365 days. You can purchase the different Parks Canada Passes online at the Parks Canada website, at the National Park Visitor Centres or at booths upon entering the many national parks. See all the options and prices below.  

Single daily admission pass

This entrance fee ticket is sold per person, per day, per National Park. It is only the best option if you are solo traveling and just visiting one or two national parks for a couple of days.

  • $10.50 CAD for an adult (from 18-64 years)
  • $9.00 CAD for Senior (65+)
  • FREE entrance for kids younger than 17 years

Group daily admission pass

For the ones traveling with 2 or more people in one car, you can buy a single day group admission pass. This pass gives entrance for up to 7 people in one vehicle.

  • $21.00 CAD for one vehicle entry for one full day (maximum 7 people)

Parks Canada Discovery Pass

The “Discovery Pass” is the best option for travelers who plan to visit multiple National Parks. Basically, if you’re spending more than 7 days in the Canadian National Parks, you’ll have a much better deal buying the Discovery Pass. This multi-park entry pass is valid for 365 days to access all participating national parks in Canada. These include Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and much more.

  • $72.25 CAD for one Adult (age 18-64)
  • $61.75 CAD for one Senior (64+)
  • $145.25 CAD for a couple or group/family up to 7 people in one vehicle

More Canada travel inspiration

I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the best hikes from Moraine Lake. For more travel inspiration about Alberta and British Columbia, visit our other Canada travel guides. See below our Canada guides per National Park to prepare for your trip.

Read here our incredibly extensive guide about RVing in Canada

Banff National Park 

25 best and easy hikes in Banff National Park

Peyto Lake Visitors Guide – All You Need to Know

Castle Mountain Lookout Trail Hiking Guide

Parker Ridge Trail – Complete Hiking Guide

Plain of the Six Glaciers Trail – Complete Hiking Guide

Horse riding experience in Banff National Park

Jasper National Park

Mount Edith Cavell hike – The Complete Guide

Valley of the Five Lakes trail – The Complete Guide

Kootenay National Park

Floe Lake Hike – Complete Guide


15 best hikes in Kananaskis for your bucketlist

21 best Canmore Restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Why Biking in Canmore is a great activity

Grassi Lakes Trail Hiking Guide

Chester Lake Hike – Complete Guide

Smutwood Peak Hike – Complete Guide

East End of the Rundle Hike – Complete Guide

British Columbia

How to hike the epic Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Joffre Lakes hike – Complete Hiking Guide

Lynn Canyon Hike Vancouver

St Marks Summit Hike Vancouver

The best Whale Watching tours in Vancouver

Stunning Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park

Similar Posts

This post may contain affiliate links

We hope this guide will help you plan your travels! If you consider booking your accommodation, tours or rental car via our affiliate links, you support this blog because we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *