Although less than half the size of Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is just as spectacular and worthy of just as much film. It is up a winding road 13 kilometres (eight miles) off Lake Louise Drive. Its rugged setting, nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks among the towering mountains of the main ranges, has provided inspiration for millions of people from around the world since Walter Wilcox became the first white man to reach its shore in 1899. Wilcox’s subsequent writings—such as “no scene has given me an equal impression of inspiring solitude and rugged grandeur”—guaranteed Lake Louise’s future popularity. Although Wilcox was a knowledgeable man, he named the lake on the assumption that it was dammed by a glacial moraine deposited by the retreating Wenkchemna Glacier. In fact, the large rock pile that blocks its waters was deposited by major rockfalls from the Tower of Babel to the south. Moraine Lake often remains frozen until June, and the access road is closed all winter. A trail leads along the lake’s northern shore, and canoes are rented for $100 per hour from the concession below the lodge.
Unless you are staying at Moraine Lake Lodge, the only way to reach Moraine Lake is by bike or by shuttle bus from the Lake Louise Ski Resort or Banff. For more information see the Getting to Moraine Lake post.