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Moraine Lake is one of the most photographed scenes in Canada. The “Twenty Dollar View” takes in the turquoise lake and ten surrounding mountains. The vista was once the picture on the back of 20-dollar notes in Canada, and the nickname stuck.
Most visitors spend several hours soaking up the views and snapping pictures. The scene of rugged snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear water surrounded by larch trees is postcard-perfect. There are hiking trails around the lake and canoes for rent. The lake is only accessible June through September, as the road is blocked by snow in winter.
The lake is 8.7 miles (14 kilometers) from Lake Louise and about 1 hour’s drive west of Banff. From the parking lot, it’s a short walk, roughly 980 feet (300 meters), up a rocky hill to a viewing platform, where you’ll get the best view.
The glacial lake gets its startling blue color from the minerals in the water that come down from the surrounding mountains. The Valley of Ten Peaks has the third-highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. The peak of Mount Temple is 11,500 feet (3,540 meters) high. Take all this in from the viewing platform.
The lake is brightest during the day when the sun is directly overhead. This is also when the lake is the most crowded, and it can be hard to find parking. Come before 10 a.m. and stay to watch the changing colors on the lake – the water’s surface reflects the ten peaks.
There are miles of hiking trails surrounding the lake. Hiking can be dangerous, because there are often bears roaming the area. Call Parks Canada for a safety update before you set out. Always walk in groups of four or more.
Give yourself plenty of time at Moraine Lake. Below are some of the top things to do:
Check out our Lake Louise things to do page to discover many more activities in the area.
Situated in a national park, this eco-friendly hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise Mountain Resort and Lake Louise Gondola. Moraine Lake and Lower Spiral Tunnel Viewpoint are also within 12 miles (20 km). Lake Louise Station is 14 minutes by foot.
Situated on a lake, this romantic lodge is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Moraine Lake and within 12 mi (20 km) of Icefields Parkway and Lake Louise Mountain Resort. Lake Louise Gondola is 10.8 mi (17.4 km) away.
Situated on a lake, this spa resort is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Icefields Parkway and within 6 miles (10 km) of Lake Louise Mountain Resort and Lake Louise Gondola. Moraine Lake and Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse are also within 9 miles (15 km).
Situated on the riverfront, this hotel is within 9 miles (15 km) of Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise Mountain Resort and Lake Louise Gondola. Moraine Lake and Johnston Canyon are also within 20 miles (32 km).
Located in a national park, this family-friendly hotel is 4.2 mi (6.7 km) from Lake Louise Mountain Resort and 4.2 mi (6.8 km) from Lake Louise Gondola.
Situated in a national park, this hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise Mountain Resort and Lake Louise Gondola. Moraine Lake and Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse are also within 9 miles (15 km). Lake Louise Station is 11 minutes by foot.
Situated in a national park, this lodge is 3.5 mi (5.6 km) from Lake Louise Gondola and 7.9 mi (12.7 km) from Moraine Lake.
Situated in Castle Junction, this cabin is within 12 miles (20 km) of Johnston Canyon, Paint Pots Trailhead and Numa Falls. Icefields Parkway and Lake Louise Mountain Resort are also within 25 miles (40 km).