Filed under: Family Camping, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking
Moraine Lake–Jewel of the Rockies
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.
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!
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!
After 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.
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.