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Filed under: Family Camping, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking

Moraine Lake–Jewel of the Rockies

March 16, 2011 by · 8 Comments 


There are a multitude of hikes in the Lake Louise area of Alberta Canada. Hiking is the best and most popular summer activity in the area due to the spectacular scenery and panoramic vistas. Some of the most popular ones depart right from the Chateau Lake Louise and range from a quick hike to a half- or slow full-day event.

On the Rock Pile Trail

On the Rock Pile Trail

Still hungry for more trail time after our 11 kilometer out and back hike to the Plain of the Six Glaciers, we left our campsite the following day in search of another hike. As the weather was questionable (misty and in the 50’s on July 30th!) we were not looking for anything too lengthy. Also, we had wanted to get a look at Moraine Lake, the second most popular lake in the area and, according to some, even more beautiful than Lake Louise. It was going to take something pretty special to beat that!

Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Located about 15 kilometers southwest of Lake Louise, the views at Moraine Lake are as stunning and unique as any in the Rockies. Situated in the majestic Valley of the Ten Peaks, the lake is a most beautiful iridescent blue color that we were told comes from the combination of minerals in the glacial waters emptying into the lake.

While the mist had let up, due to the still-questionable weather, we chose one of the shortest trails, the Rock Pile Trail. We also gave the kids the option of staying in the car as we hiked, due to the  fact that they were protesting they were “all hiked out”. They initially accepted that offer but quickly found themselves bored and joined us in the hike. At .7 of a mile, this short trail fit the bill perfectly as it took but a few minutes to hike and led to some of the most spectacular views we have ever seen. We took a number of pictures and even had our son take a couple’s photo of Terry and me that has graced my desk at work ever since! A truly memorable sight!

Terry and me at Moraine LakeAfter our hike, the rain had started up again and, not particularly anxious to head back to our tent at the campground, we decided to tour the Moraine Lake Lodge situated at one end of the lake. Billing itself as the “Jewel of the Rockies” it, also, was a sight to behold.

A full service hotel, the Lodge boasts large windows to take full advantage of the mountain scenery from every angle. Offering twin and king cabins, double and queen rooms and a honeymoon suite, all rooms are furnished with custom handcrafted furniture and have private balconies. In addition, all feature views of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Terry and I decided we have to come back and stay for just one night sometime.

Perched on a rock

Perched on a rock--"all hiked out!"

Canoe rentals and guided hikes are available, as is daily afternoon tea. Naturalist presentations occur seven nights a week in the library of the Lodge. At the end of our tour, still eager to delay our return to our campsite in the rain, we spent some time money in the Moraine Lake Trading Post which features Canadian gifts and handknit First Nations design sweaters as well as a large selection of clothing and outerwear.

Unable to delay our return any longer, we headed back to our saturated campsite where, in a rain poncho, I proceeded to make dinner in the pouring rain. Ironically, my finicky son pronounced it the best dinner he’d ever had! Must have been the addition of the rain water.

For more information about things to see and do in Alberta, read more about Alberta camping.


8 Responses to “Moraine Lake–Jewel of the Rockies”
  1. Bill Elliott says:

    I agree that Moraine Lake is incredibly beautiful and more picturesque than Lake Louise. I also recommend a visit to the Angel Glacier at Mt. Edith Cavell which is closer to Jasper. This is a scene suitable for your own Christmas cards.

  2. Diane Berry says:

    Thanks Bill–I will definitely want to check that out on our return trip!

  3. Gary & Brenda says:

    Beautiful pictures, I agree with the previous comment they would make great Christmas Cards.

  4. karen says:

    Yes, I am a native Albertan and Alberta has truly stunning scenery. I photgraph almost daily and the Rockies are not to be missed!

  5. Diane Berry says:

    Karen–thanks for your comment. I’ll bet you photograph daily–I would too with scenery like that. Can’t wait to get back up there. Enjoy!

  6. Diane Berry says:

    @Gary and Brenda–Glad you enjoy the shots. I like the Christmas card idea too!

  7. eric says:

    Oh, wow! Moraine Lake! I love that lake, and consider it one of the most beautiful in the world. So beautiful, in fact, that we were married on a ridge overlooking that lake in August 2007!

  8. Diane Berry says:

    Eric–I agree that it is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Friends always comment on my photos, asking, “Where is that?” What a romantic site to be married! You’ll have to make anniversary trips back, I think! We are definitely planning on returning. Thanks for your comment. Happy travels!

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