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Canoes at Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Canoes at Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Moraine Lake picture in Banff

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • Hours vary seasonally

Details

  • Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.4
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    2.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Located about an hour's drive north of town, Moraine Lake is the visual highlight of any Banff trip and labeled a must-see bucket list item by many recent visitors. Nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, the lake mirrors the snowcapped peaks and is surrounded by backcountry hiking trails. The easiest trail is the flat Moraine Lakeshore path, which starts near Moraine Lake Lodge and takes about 45 minutes to complete (round-trip). As you walk along the lakeshore, you'll spot stunning views of Mount Fay and the Fay Glacier. If you've got a bit more time on your hands, consider embarking on the nearly 2-mile Consolation Lakes trail, which takes about two hours to complete. You'll encounter some elevation gains with this one, but you'll be rewarded with views of the high alpine meadows, enormous talus slopes and the Quadra Glacier. For a detailed list of all the available hikes in this area, visit the Parks Canada website.

When you're not admiring the bright blue waters from the trail (rock silt that's deposited into the lake from melting glaciers contributes to its vibrant hue), consider hopping in a canoe and experiencing it for yourself. You can rent canoes at the nearby Moraine Lake Lodge (rentals are available from mid-June to mid-September), which is also where you'll find parking and restrooms. Speaking of parking, recent visitors offer a word of caution: Parking becomes scarcer as the day progresses; if you can, try to get to the lake early in the morning. Not only will you have an easier time securing a parking spot, but you'll enjoy a little more peace during your hike or paddle on the lake. Canoe rentals cost CA$105 (or about $83).

Note: Moraine Lake Road is closed from mid-October to mid-May due to avalanche risk (mid- to late summer is considered the best time to go). Check the Parks Canada website for more information. If you're driving from Banff, you can reach the lake by taking the Trans-Canada Highway to Moraine Lake Drive. It doesn't cost anything to hike around the lake, but you will have to fork over some coin if you want to rent any equipment from the lodge. Parks Canada does offer a handful of free shuttles in the summer season to Moraine Lake, but driving yourself may be the most convenient option.

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#1 Sunshine Village Located miles 11 miles west of Banff Town, Sunshine Village offers 12 lifts, more than 3,300 skiable acres and a peak elevation of 7,200 feet. And thanks to its ... Read more » Steven Olmstead Photography / Getty Images

#2 Banff Gondola The Banff Gondola is a relaxing way to experience the town's natural beauty. The eight-minute ride to the summit of 7,500-foot Sulphur Mountain leads to breathtaking views of ... Read more » YinYang / Getty Images

#3 Moraine Lake Located about an hour's drive north of town, Moraine Lake is the visual highlight of any Banff trip and labeled a must-see bucket list item by many recent visitors ... Read more » Philipp Hilpert / Getty Images

#4 Lake Louise Ski Resort The Lake Louise Ski Area is one of Banff's most popular ski locales and one of the largest ski areas in North America. It encompasses three mountains, 145 runs  ... Read more » Karl Weatherly / Getty Images

#5 Mount Norquay Although it is the smallest of Banff's three ski areas, Mount Norquay is also the closest – it's about 5 miles northwest of Banff Town. Beyond its convenient location ... Read more » Banff Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography

#6 Whitewater Rafting & Float Trips When you're not admiring Banff's stunning scenery from a hiking trail or in the comfort of your car, get out on one of its rivers. Whether you're ... Read more » Chasing Light Photography Thomas Vela / Getty Images

#7 Hiking Though Banff is perhaps best known for its stellar slopes (it's considered one of the world's best ski destinations), its hiking trails are just as impressive – and free to ... Read more » Marko Stavric Photography / Getty Images

#8 Columbia Icefield Covering 130 square miles on the southern edge of Banff National Park, the Columbia Icefield is the largest body of ice in the Canadian Rockies. It's a bit of a ... Read more » Nick Ocean Photography / Getty Images

#9 Banff Upper Hot Springs These springs, which were first discovered by Canada's First Nations people prior to the 1880s, were regarded as sacred waters that could cure illness and maintain health. Now, the ... Read more » sheyneg / Flickr

#10 Cave and Basin National Historic Site This is a popular attraction among nature lovers and history buffs alike. Experts refer to this site as the birthplace of Banff National Park and the natural hot springs have ... Read more » Jairo Leiva / Getty Images

#11 Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies Located just a block back from Banff Avenue on Bear Street, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is the only museum of its kind. Named after its patrons, Peter ... Read more » Allan Harris / Flickr

#12 Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum Having opened in 1952, the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum has dedicated more than 50 years to educating visitors about the contributions made by native people in the area. Brace yourself ... Read more » Pete Brewster / Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum

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Skiing in the Continental Divide picture in Banff
Banff Gondola Descent picture in Banff
Canoes at Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Lake Louise Ski Area picture in Banff
Mount Norquay picture in Banff
Rafting the Bow River picture in Banff
Valley of the Ten Peaks picture in Banff
Columbia Icefield picture in Banff
Banff Upper Hot Springs picture in Banff
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The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies picture in Banff
View of Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum picture in Banff
Banff Park Museum picture in Banff
Lake Minnewanka picture in Banff
Banff Legacy Trail picture in Banff
Skiing in the Continental Divide picture in Banff
Banff Gondola Descent picture in Banff
Canoes at Moraine Lake picture in Banff
Lake Louise Ski Area picture in Banff
Mount Norquay picture in Banff
Rafting the Bow River picture in Banff
Valley of the Ten Peaks picture in Banff
Columbia Icefield picture in Banff
Banff Upper Hot Springs picture in Banff
Cave and Basin National Historic Site picture in Banff
The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies picture in Banff
View of Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum picture in Banff
Banff Park Museum picture in Banff
Lake Minnewanka picture in Banff
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Sunshine Village sits on the Continental Divide, offering a unique experience for powder hounds. Steven Olmstead Photography / Getty Images

A ride on the Banff Gondola offers breathtaking views of the town and the surrounding landscape. YinYang / Getty Images

Moraine Lake is located about 45 miles northwest of Banff Town along the Trans-Canada Highway. Philipp Hilpert / Getty Images

The Lake Louise Ski Area is Banff's largest skiing spot with 4,200 acres of skiable terrain. Karl Weatherly / Getty Images

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Though Banff is perhaps best known for its stellar slopes, its hiking trails are just as impressive (and free to access). Marko Stavric Photography / Getty Images

The Columbia Icefield is the largest body of ice in the Canadian Rockies. Nick Ocean Photography / Getty Images

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Historians refer to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site as the birthplace of Banff National Park. Jairo Leiva / Getty Images

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Pete Brewster / Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum

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Lake Minnewanka is the only lake within the national park to permit limited use of power boats. Travelers can take scenic boat cruises from mid-May to mid-October. Achim Mittler, Frankfurt am Main / Getty Images

The stunning Banff Legacy Trail runs from the Banff Park East Gate to the Bow Valley Parkway. GibsonPictures / Getty Images

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