• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic

Distance: a short 5 minute walk from a large parking area. Elevation: 6,181 ft. (at the surface). A one hour drive from Banff, Alberta, Canada. Stunning views at any angle. Very accessible to anyone.

Showing up at Moraine Lake before dawn is a must as to avoid the multitude of tours busses. The morning sun is subtle and magical. The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until mid to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinct shade of blue. The color is due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis.

If you want to stay overnight, the Moraine Lake Lodge is located at the bottom of the lake. Canoe rentals are also available to explore the lake, which is certainly a must do activity.

Pack List

  • Tripod
  • Hiking boots
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Water
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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I proposed to my girlfriend here at the end of a week long trip visiting several US national parks. We finished the trip in Banff. Photography at Moraine Lake was the reason we planned the trip and it did not disappoint. Even though it was 30 degrees, seeing this gorgeous natural wonder lived up to every expectation I had.

4 months ago
4 months ago

Unbelievable night photography spot. Bring some blankets up, enjoy the stars, and get out there

6 months ago
6 months ago

Definitely agree with the previous comment about hiking up the rock pile for some great pictures. For a late summer sunset we encountered more people than we expected. But, as the crowds died down the lake and surrounding area became incredibly peaceful and still. Worth staying a while to take it all in.

8 months ago
8 months ago

Go in the fall (late September, first week of October) to truly enjoy Moraine Lake at its finest and to avoid most of the crowds. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the larches in their full yellow beauty during about a week in late September. In early October, Moraine usually gets its first snow. Do bear in mind that they usually close the road to Moraine for cars on or around Canadian Thanksgiving or so, and does not open until spring. Some daring cross-country skiers might want to make the 20-mile round trip trek from Lake Louise in the winter.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

I made a point of showing up early on a summer morning, at around 6am. This gives you incredible light and the parking lot is not too busy.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

The most magnificent lake in all if Banff. Author doesn't really state, but hike up to the rock pile for your shots!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Do not miss this gem if you are in the area. We stopped here for an extended period and just marveled at its beauty. Nothing can compare to its blues with the peaks behind it. The water level was high, mind you there is a path that leads to the top of the rocks for a good view point, we followed the tourists that were crossing the logs and scaling the rocks... there is a much easier way. The path that leads along the lake shore is also great. I will definitely be returning to this area for future hikes.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This lake as an amazing, breathtaking color and I would highly recommend it to anyone

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

This is my fav lake in Banff !! Go early on in the day though as the area is popular with tourists. Make sure you rent the canoes it's amazing !

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

It is Beautiful. I got here at 6am and was all alone for about 10 minutes. Well worth getting up and making the early morning drive from Calgary. Those 10 minutes alone gave me the best chance for an uninterrupted shot.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Moraine Lake is as beautiful as it is photographed! My choice of activity here is to find a spot to sit down and just take it all in. A lot of people try to get the best shot, but it serves as an excellent backdrop for a conversation with a good friend.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

This is the location that first made me want to visit the Canadian Rockies. Yes the crowds are crazy, but there are usually very few people at sunrise.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

It's a must see in Canada ! Come early or after 6 PM is the best option for parking and getting a nice shot of the lake from the Rock Pile (trail starts on the parking lot next to the lodge). Keep in mind that the road to Moraine Lake is closed from early October until the end of May.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Despite the fact that this is one of the most photographed spots - its is really incredible and worth seeing for yourself. If you are looking to beat the crowds try going in off-season, like early spring. I went the first week in June when the road opened for access and spent a night - sundown to sunrise out on the rocks and was one of the only people out there.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Much like Lake Louise, this is a great view with zero effort, but the crowds are ridiculous. Sunrise is probably your best bet.

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

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