When visiting lakes in Banff National Park, people typically think about Lake Louise. It’s almost as if Moraine Lake is the younger, overlooked sister to the prom queen, Lake Louise. Before arriving in Banff, I had never even heard of Moraine Lake, but I am so glad that I didn’t leave without seeing it! It is absolutely magnificent! The brilliant, blue color of the lake is caused by the refraction of light off glacial rock flour deposited into the lake. The view of the mountains beyond the lake is the Valley of the Ten Peaks. It is also known as the “Twenty Dollar View” because it used to be pictured on the reverse side of a Canadian twenty dollar bill.
There are several hiking trails around the lake, but the most popular one is the Rockpile Trail. The trail itself is short and you will only gain elevation of about 80 feet as you work your way to the top of the giant rock pile (as the trail is so appropriately named) overlooking the lake. The view from the top of the rock pile (pictured above) is one of the most photographed sites in all of Canada.
You can also rent canoes at Moraine Lake and the rates are slightly cheaper than at Lake Louise. Not only will you save some cash, but you will likely avoid the crowds as well. The picture below shows the rock pile that we hiked to the top of.