Moraine Lake

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Moraine Lake
1 moraine lake pano 2019.jpg
Sunrise by Moraine Lake in mid-summer
Moraine Lake is located in Alberta
Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake
LocationBanff National Park, Alberta
Coordinates51°19′21″N 116°11′08″W / 51.32250°N 116.18556°W / 51.32250; -116.18556Coordinates: 51°19′21″N 116°11′08″W / 51.32250°N 116.18556°W / 51.32250; -116.18556
Primary inflowsFay Glacier
Larch Creek
Primary outflowsMoraine Creek
Basin countriesCanada
Surface area50 ha (0.19 sq mi)
Max. depth14 metres (46 ft)
Surface elevation1,884 m (6,181 ft)

Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) outside the village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 1,884 metres (6,181 ft). The lake has a surface area of 50 hectares (120 acres).

The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until middle to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinctive shade of azure blue. The unique colour is due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis by surrounding glaciers.


Hiking trails[edit]

The area around the lake has several walking/hiking trails that are, from time to time, restricted. The trail most commonly taken by tourists is The Rockpile Trail, which is along the actual moraine. The trail is approximately 300 metres (980 ft) long, with an elevation change of 24 metres (79 ft). The view of the lake from the top of the rockpile is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada.[1] That view of the mountains behind the lake in Valley of the Ten Peaks is known as the "Twenty Dollar View", as Moraine Lake was featured on the reverse side of the 1969 and 1979 issues of the Canadian twenty dollar bill; see Scenes of Canada § $20 note. The area often experiences congestion due to the high level of tourism.[2][3]

Along the same trail-head, the Consolation Lakes trail starts, which is approximately 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long, with an elevation change of 90 metres (300 ft). Upon reaching Consolation Lakes hikers may continue along to the upper lake, which is not visible from the end of the lower lake. There is, however, no clearly marked trail, and can often be a scramble over large rocky areas.

Canoe docks

Near the canoe docks of Moraine Lake Lodge[4] there is another trail-head. This trail-head is the start of two trails, one of which branches out into four different trails - so there are in total, five trails starting at that trail-head (Moraine Lake Lake shore Trail, Eiffel Lake, Wenkchemna Pass, Larch Valley, and Sentinel Pass). The Lake Louise & Yoho Map[5] provides information on these trails.

Mountaineering routes[edit]

The Neil Colgan Hut can be reached in 8 to 12 hours climbing the Perren Route[6] from Moraine Lake.


The image of Moraine Lake is world-famous and appears in many places, including:

Moraine Lake at Sunset
Moraine Lake in June 2018
  • In one of Windows 7's backgrounds in the "Canada" series.
  • As the Bing homepage on October 13, 2009, on October 2, 2013, and again on September 10, 2014.
Reflection of surrounding peaks
  • As the National Geographic Travel 365: Photo of the Day for October 8, 2013.
  • As a photo in Joel's Texas home in the video game The Last of Us.
  • On a postcard in the video game Until Dawn (the card however says Calgary).
  • In the login screen of Windows 10.
  • As a colour image, which was reproduced from photo taken by photographer Peter McKinnon, on one of Royal Canadian Mint 2 oz. silver coins.
  • As a trout and perch fishery in the 2018 video game Ultimate Fishing Simulator.

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ellis, Cathy - Moraine Lake's Rockpile Trail to receive upgrades.[permanent dead link] Rocky Mountain Outlook, August 28, 2008
  2. ^ Bank of Canada Archived 2004-10-25 at the Wayback Machine - 1969-1979 Canadian $20 Bank note featuring Moraine Lake
  3. ^ Weddell, Peggy - Banff: A Rocky Mountain Treasure. Legion Magazine, January 1, 1997
  4. ^ Moraine Lake Lodge
  5. ^ Gemtreck Archived 2009-02-02 at the Wayback Machine - Lake Louise & Yoho Map
  6. ^ Summit Post: Perren Route
  7. ^ Bank of Canada Archived 2004-10-25 at the Wayback Machine - 1969-1979 Canadian $20 Bank note featuring Moraine Lake

External links[edit]