10 BEST Moraine Lake Tours: Which Should You Book?

We love visiting Moraine Lake! Despite its huge popularity, even as locals, we still find ourselves here multiple times a summer. Over the years, we have easily visited Moraine Lake 30+ times, and the views never get old.

While we used to be able to drive and park at Moraine Lake to begin our canoeing or hiking, Moraine Lake Rd is now closed to personal vehicles. That means the best way to get to Moraine Lake is by taking the Parks Canada Moraine Lake shuttle or booking one of the tours on offer.

You may think that every Moraine Lake tour is the same, but each and every one of these tours offers something unique to visitors. Some leave from Lake Louise, while others leave from Banff or Canmore. These Moraine Lake tours include a stop at Lake Louise, but many also include other sights like Johnston Canyon and Bow Lake. Every tour offers something a little different, so let’s break down the best options.

The Best Moraine Lake Tours

Radventures Earlybird Explorer

This is one of the most popular tours on our entire blog, and for good reason! Radventures offers small group (max 14 guests) guided sunrise tours to Moraine Lake, with a stop at Lake Louise after the sunrise, but well before the masses start to arrive. These tours start and end with hotel pick up in Banff, with local interpretation and an amazing guide on hand to answer questions.

During the tour, you can enjoy complimentary hot drinks while waiting for the sun to rise and see the best spots at Moraine Lake to view the sunrise. Their guides have photography training and can help everyone get set up for perfect, fantastic photos.

After sunrise, you can get an optional hot cafe breakfast at Trailhead Cafe, one of our favorite Lake restaurants, before heading to Lake Louise. Once at Lake Louise, the Radventures team gets front of the line access to canoe rentals (something unique to only a Radventures tour). 

The Details

  • Departs from: From Banff pick-up to drop-off
  • Duration: 7 Hours
  • Cost: $250
  • Pets allowed: No
  • Sunrise? Yes
  • Stops Included: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise
  • Inclusions: Hot chocolate, coffee & tea available all morning, Expert local guide

Moraine Lake & Lake Louise Sunset Wildlife Adventure

moraine lake shuttle

This is a BRAND NEW tour offered by Radventures in 2024. Their Golden Hour at Moraine Lake Tour begins at the world-renowned Moraine Lake, where you’ll witness the sun descending over the calm waters, changing the shades of turquoise as the light reflects off the Ten Peaks. Although many people scramble for sunrise at Moraine Lake, sunset is still an excellent time to see the famous lake.

After golden hour, you’ll head to Lake Louise, where you will catch the golden glow over Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier. What sets this tour apart from the rest is what happens after dusk. This is when the Banff wildlife is the most active. Their bus will travel down the Bow Valley Parkway looking for elk, bears, deer, and perhaps even a moose while sharing insights about the local ecosystem and animal behaviors.

The Details

  • Departs from: Pick-up & drop-off at select Banff sites
  • Duration: 5 Hours
  • Cost: $190
  • Pets allowed: No
  • Sunrise? Sunset
  • Stops Included: Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Drive the Bow Valley Parkway

Explore Banff Moraine Lake Sunrise Tour with a Surprise Stop

how to get to moraine lake

Explore Banff runs sunrise and daytime tours with pick up and drop off at select locations in both Banff and Canmore. This tour departs at a pre-determined time based on the timing of the sunrise (between 3:45am and 6:15am) and is a long day at seven hours long. Snacks and a guide are included, and you may even get a bonus surprise stop on the way back to your hotel!

The Details

  • Departs from: Banff and Canmore
  • Duration: 7-8 Hours
  • Cost: $165
  • Pets allowed: Service animals allowed
  • Wheelchair Accessible:  No
  • Sunrise? Yes
  • Stops Included: Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Bonus Surprise Stop

Moraine Lake and Lake Louise From Canmore

Vermilion Lakes Sunset Landscape

Want to leave from Canmore? This tour operates sunrise shuttles, leaving as early as 2:30am (so don’t plan on sleeping)! Parties are limited to a maximum of 14 individuals, fostering a nice atmosphere throughout the journey. The tour includes hot chocolate, tea, or coffee as you wait for the enchanting sunrise at Moraine Lake.

Following sunrise at Moraine Lake, you’ll head to Lake Louise before the crowds arrive, immersing yourself in the extraordinary ambiance of the early morning light. During your ample time here, you can also rent a canoe—a truly spectacular experience (not included, but optional). On your way back to town, the bus will make two more stops at Vermilion Lakes for photos and the Mount Norquay Lookout!

The Details

  • Departs from: Canmore and Banff Hotels
  • Duration: 7-8 hours
  • Cost: $195
  • Pets allowed: No
  • Sunrise? Yes
  • Stops Included: Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Vermilion Lakes, Mt Norquay Lookout
  • Inclusions: Coffee/Tea/Hot Chocolate

Moraine Lake Bus Company

Moraine Lake Bus Company at Sunrise
Moraine Lake Bus Company at Sunrise

Moraine Lake Bus Company is one of the main companies offering sunrise shuttles to Moraine Lake. However, note that this is a point-to-point shuttle service and is solely a shuttle transport, not a guided tour.

Shuttles transport guests to Moraine Lake as early as 4am, leaving from the Park & Ride Lot or Samson Mall, so you’ll have to get yourself to these lots to hop on this shuttle. This option allows guests to choose how long they want to stay at Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.

It’s also a fantastic option for hikers and climbers who wish to have an alpine start in the area. This service starts at $49 for a round-trip ticket and utilizes variable pricing, with sunrise tickets at 4am starting from $99. Long weekend and last weekend tickets are priced higher. They also have four daily shuttles, including a one-hour Lake Louise stop. Check their schedule here.

The Details

  • Departs from: Lake Louise Ski Resort (Park & Ride) or Samson Mall if before 6am
  • Duration: Dependent on You
  • Cost: Prices start at $49
  • Pets allowed: Small animals allowed in a crate.
  • Sunrise? Yes
  • Stops Included: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise
  • Inclusions: Shuttle Only, but lets you take inflatable kayaks and sups on bus.

From Banff: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Sightseeing Tour


Discover Banff Tours runs this incredibly popular tour that begins at Banff on either a morning or afternoon tour.

Once you leave Banff, you can enjoy the drive to the famous lakes and hear stories about Banff National Park, its history, and the local animals from your guide. You’ll get to enjoy Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, and admire the Fairmont Château Lake Louise from the outside with a tour guide that will take as many photos as you need in front of the Valley of Ten Peaks and Victoria Glacier.

The Details

  • Departs from: Banff pick-up to drop-off
  • Duration: 4 Hours
  • Cost: $110
  • Sunrise? No
  • Stops Included: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise

Wow Banff

moraine lake vs lake louise

Wow Banff operates an open-top shuttle service to Moraine Lake. So this is the ideal tour to sit outside and breathe in the fresh mountain air as you make your way to the lakes. On the bus, a knowledgeable host will give you insights about the area. Once at Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, you can take as much as you want to enjoy the lakes.

From Lake Louise, there’s a shuttle every 45 minutes to Moraine Lake & every 45 minutes from Moraine Lake back to the parking area at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. As per the schedule, Riders are free to board any shuttle they like from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake & from Moraine Lake back to the ski resort.

This is the ideal tour if you want some information on the drive to the lakes but also want to have your own free time around Moraine Lake and Lake Louise (perhaps to hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House or Beehives) and not rely on anyone else’s schedule.

The Details

  • Departs from: Lake Louise Ski Resort
  • Duration: Dependent on You
  • Cost: $60
  • Pets allowed: Service dogs only
  • Wheelchair Accessible: The lower deck (inside of the bus) is wheelchair accessible.
  • Sunrise? No
  • Stops Included: Moraine Lake & Lake Louise

Hop On, Hop Off

Johnston Canyon

The Banff Hop on Hop Off Bus has become quite popular in recent years. The Hop On Hop Off Bus is exactly what it sounds like – a bus that lets you hop on and off when you want! The bus starts in Banff and stops at Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise Gondola, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake.

We recommend utilizing your time to enjoy some of the Lake Louise hikes, like the Plain of Six Glaciers or Lake Agnes. Or you can always utilize your time to hike around Moraine Lake to Consolation Lakes or Sentinel Pass.

Buses depart seven days a week from either the Moose Hotel and Suites on Banff Avenue (7:45AM, 9:30 AM, and 12:15 PM) or The Banff Heritage Train Station (7:50 AM, 9:35 AM, and 12:15 PM). Just note that the later you depart, the fewer places you can explore. The buses come back to Banff at 4:55 PM and 6:00 PM. Book that bus here.

The Details

  • Departs from: 2 Departures a day starting in Banff (we recommend the 7:45am & 9:30am departure)
  • Duration: Self Dependent
  • Cost: $85
  • Pets allowed: No
  • Sunrise? No
  • Stops Included: Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise Summer Gondola

Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Icefields Parkway Tour


If you want to have a full day, not just seeing Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, but also the Icefields Parkway, this is the tour for you. This small group tour is limited to 22 people and includes round-trip travel from central Banff and all guesthouses, Airbnb, and hotels in Canmore.

Start your day on this tour at Lake Minnewanka before heading to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, where you will get one hour at each lake. You’ll then continue your tour by hopping on the Icefields Parkway, followed by a one-hour stop at Bow Lake and Peyto Lake.

This is the ideal tour for those wanting to see many amazing Banff attractions in just one short day. As you can tell from the nearly 500 reviews, this is an insanely popular tour, and if you are booking in July or August, you’ll want to get it on the calendar as soon as you can!

The Details

  • Departs from: Round-trip travel from central Banff
  • Duration: 8-9 hours
  • Cost: $195
  • Pets allowed: Service animals allowed
  • Sunrise? No
  • Stops Included: Lake Minnewanka, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake

Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake & Yoho National Park in One Day

Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake & Yoho National Park in One Day
Emerald Lake

This is another full day tour, but instead of hitting up Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, and the Icefields Parkway, you’ll head into Yoho National Park to see Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake is one of the most stunning sights in the Rockies, and although it’s popular, people tend to forget about it after Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

So, if you want a day with three glacial lakes, this is your tour! Not only will you visit two national parks (Banff and Yoho) in one day, but they also pick you up in both Banff and Calgary! This is one of the best Moraine Lake tours if you are staying and coming from Calgary!

The Details

  • Departs from: Calgary and Banff
  • Duration: 8-11 hours
  • Cost: $165
  • Sunrise? No
  • Stops Included: Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake, and Natural Bridge

Consider a Stay at Moraine Lake Lodge!


Maybe you don’t need a tour at all, but instead, you can stay overnight right on the dreamy lake. The Moraine Lake Lodge is the only lodge located at Moraine Lake, and gives guests the best access to Moraine Lake out of anyone! Wake up at the lake, catch the sunset at the lake – heck, you can even hike the Rockpile Trail in the dark and witness Moraine Lake under a blanket of stars!

Book a Stay

Moraine Lake Tours FAQ

How long should you spend at Moraine Lake?

Your time at Moraine Lake is completely up to you and your activities. If you just want to see the lake and take photos, plan on spending 1-2 hours soaking up the beauty. However, even walking to the Rockpile, the lakeshore, and stopping at the gift shop for a bit will easily take up three hours of your time.

If you want to canoe at the lake, we recommend planning a 3-4 hour visit. If you plan on enjoying any hiking beyond the Rockpile Trail, you’ll likely spend a good half day at Moraine Lake.

What is the best month to visit Lake Moraine?

Moraine Lake Road is only open from June 1st to October 14th, so these are your best and only times to visit Moraine Lake unless you plan another way to get to Moraine Lake (ie riding a bike up Moraine Lake Rd).

When do most of these tours run?

Most of these tours run during the Moraine Lake operating season, which follows when the road is open. However, a few tours run all year, but just omit Moraine Lake when the road is not open. Make sure to pay attention to that when booking.

I want to canoe on Moraine Lake, which tour should I book?

If you want to canoe on Moraine Lake, you should book either the Moraine Lake Bus Company, Wow Banff, or Banff Hop On/Hop Off as they do not operate on a strict time schedule and allow you to choose how long you want to spend at each destination.

I want to hike at Moraine Lake, which tour should I book?

One of the best things to do at Moraine Lake is enjoy a hike around the area. The same concept of canoeing also applies to hiking. If you want to take your time and enjoy hiking in the beautiful area we recommend tours that do not operate as a group and instead allow you to appreciate the lakes at your own pace.

I have a blue accessibility tag, do I still have to book a tour?

While you can book a tour if you want, those with a blue accessibility tag can still drive their personal vehicles to Moraine Lake.

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • Tours (New in 2024): The Banff Blog is partnering with one of the leading tour companies in Western Canada so readers can experience the magic of the Rockies with other travelers – without having to think about a thing. See all our 2024 tour offerings here!
  • Get to Banff or Canmore Without a Car: The Banff Airporter provides fantastic service connecting you from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Banff or Canmore.
  • Get Around: We suggest renting a car to get around. You can search for rental cars on Rentalcars.com. Or embark on an epic campervan trip. We like to compare prices on Motorhome Republic and Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals!
  • Hop On, Hop Off: This tour is taking Banff by storm. It’s exactly what it sounds like, hop on and off a bus bound for all the best attractions at your own pace!
About Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

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