We often get asked how to get to Moraine Lake. Now more than ever as there is no more parking offered at the stunning Banff lake.
Thankfully seeing this beauty is still made easy with various options for getting there. From the Parks Canada Shuttle, to private tours, or biking and hiking your way up you’ll be able to get to Moraine Lake with no worries. Read on to learn about getting to Moraine Lake.
Can You Park at Moraine Lake?
Personal vehicles are no longer allowed to park at Moraine Lake. The only visitors permitted to park at Moraine Lake are those with a disabled parking tag.
When is Moraine Lake Open?
The road to Moraine Lake is only open from June to October. In 2023, Moraine Lake Rd is set to open on June 1st. This is also when the shuttles and tours start running to Moraine Lake. Moraine Lake Rd typically closes the day after Canadian Thanksgiving (so that is the second Tuesday in October).
Moraine Lake Road is now closed until Summer 2024
Can You Get to Moraine Lake Any Sooner Than June 1st?
We get asked this question almost daily. We don’t like to suggest average visitors visit Moraine Lake before the road open date. From November to May, the road is snow covered, and requires snowshoes, touring skis, a fat bike, or cross country skis to access.
The road also crosses through extreme avalanche terrain, which is why Parks Canada closes the road in the winter. This means that only those with avalanche rescue equipment and training should be venturing back to Moraine Lake in the winter.
There is a two week or so period towards the middle to end of May where Parks Canada plows the road, but has not opened the road yet. During this time, you can bike up to Moraine Lake, which is 11-14km uphill, depending on where you begin your bike ride. The bike ride takes 1-2 hours up, but is pretty cruisy and fast down.
How To Get To Moraine Lake
Parking at Moraine Lake is now closed to personal vehicles. What now? We discuss your options for getting to Moraine Lake below.
Most Popular Option: Parks Canada Park & Ride
The parking concerns at Moraine Lake have gotten worse each passing year, not better. Because of this, in 2023, Parks Canada stopped all personal vehicles from accessing the road. The best option for most visitors to see the lake is the Parks Canada Park & Ride shuttle.
It is the best way to guarantee you get to see Moraine Lake. This new system reduces the harmful impacts of crowds and ensures visitors do not have to deal with the stresses around parking at the lake. It cuts back on congestion and emissions too!
The Park and Ride parking lot is located at Lake Louise Ski Resort with direct buses to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. It is recommended that you make a shuttle reservation in advance.
Shuttle reservations will be made available in April 2023, when Parks Canada will release 40% of the operating season. The remaining 60% will be released on a rolling window at 8 am, 48 hours before departure day, throughout the entire season.
The Park and Ride shuttle to the lakes shall begin at 6:30 am, and the last return bus from the lakes to the parking lot is 7:30 pm.
Pro Tip: Late afternoon/ evening shuttles are less busy than morning shuttles. You are able to reserve a shuttle day of, or even purchase walk up tickets, if there is space available.
Shuttle reservations are for one specific bus route and can be booked to either Lake Louise or Moraine Lake first. Once at Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, you can connect between the lakes on a first-come-first-serve basis via the Lake Connector Shuttle.
The Lake Connector bus is free of charge for those with a shuttle ticket, making it easy to see both lakes in one day. The Lake Connector shuttle is for shuttle bus reservation holders only. You can not park at Lake Louise and hop on the Lake Connector.
Certified service animals are allowed on the shuttle buses. All other pets must be crated and kept on their owner’s lap while riding the shuttle. No large pets are permitted on the shuttles.
Park And Ride Shuttle Fairs (Return Trip)
(prices listed in CAD)
- Adults: $8
- Seniors (65+): $4
- Youth (6-17): $2
- Children (under 6): Free
- *There is a $3 non-refundable transaction fee per reservation when purchasing shuttle tickets on the Parks Canada Reservation System.
The shuttle runs every 20 minutes between 6:30 am –
6 pm. The last return bus from Moraine Lake to the Park and Ride is at 7:30 pm.
It’s important to note that these fees are in addition to your National Parks entry fee.
Parks Canada is constantly changing their times and rules, we try to update this article as much as possible but encourage you to Check the Parks Canada Reservation System Here.
Lake Connector Shuttle Frequency
- Lake Louise to Moraine Lake: Every 15 minutes between 8 am and 6 pm.
- Moraine Lake to Lake Louise: Every 15 minutes between 8 am and 6 pm.
Check out the map to better understand the layout and where to park. If you’d like more info, such as schedule and up-to-date fairs, check out the Parks Canada Website.
Shuttle Reservations For Moraine Lake In 2023
Parks Canada shuttle reservations are required. Reservations for 2023 will be available in April 2023, and you’ll be able to book your seat on a shuttle bus in advance. The shuttle to Moraine Lake will begin on June 1 and run until mid-October.
There will also be a portion of seats released on a rolling basis, 48 hours before departure day at 8am MST starting in Late May 2023. You can reserve a seat up until the end of your timeslot this year. Walk-up seat sales may be permitted if there are still seats available. Book your seat reservation on the Parks Canada website.
We find the shuttle system very easy to use, which is an excellent solution to the parking issues at Moraine Lake.
What Shuttle Do I Take If I’m Staying in Lake Louise?
If you stay at a hotel in Lake Louise Village or the Lake Louise Campground, you can use the Park & Ride Connector shuttle for free as it stops in the village and campground. The Park and Ride Connector shuttle loops between the Lake Louise Campground, the town of Lake Louise (Samson Mall), and the Lake Louise Park and Ride located at the Lake Louise Ski Area. Once at the Park and Ride, you can catch the shuttle to either Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, you still need to have a purchased reservation.
Staying in a Lake Louise hotel does not get you special access to Moraine Lake. Some hotels and lodges around Lake Louise village offer private shuttles, though. You will have to call the Lake Louise hotel you have booked to confirm if they offer shuttles to Moraine Lake.
Parks Canada Park and Ride FAQ
- Are walk-up tickets available for the Parks Canada shuttle? Walk-up tickets are available at the Park and Ride, but planning ahead is recommended as getting these tickets are not guaranteed.
- Where can I catch the shuttle? The Park and Ride shuttles leave from the Lake Louise Park and Ride lot, located at the Lake Louise Ski Area. They moved to this parking lot in 2022. It was previously located off Trans Canada.
- When can I make my Park and Ride reservation? Shuttle reservations are available in April 2023. 40% of the operating season will be available to book. The remaining 60% will be released on a rolling window at 8 am, 48 hours before departure day, throughout the entire season.
- I have my reservation; now what? You will receive a confirmation email. It’s best to screenshot or save this email. You have a one-hour time block to arrive at the Lake Louise Park and Ride on the day of your reservation. Parks Canada may request your photo ID when checking you in.
- Does the Shuttle Stop at the Paradise Valley Trailhead? Yes, Parks Canada will release a limited number of first-come-first-serve tickets for the Paradise Valley. You cannot drive a personal vehicle to the Paradise Valley Trailhead.
- Are dogs allowed on the shuttle? Only service dogs are permitted on the Park and Ride without a crate. Owners of assistance animals should be prepared to show the animal’s verification of training. Passenger pets are allowed on board at no charge. Pets must be crated in a secure and clean carrier and held onto at all times.
- What happens if I miss the last shuttle bus? Parks employees keep an eye out for any visitors. If you arrive at the parking lot late, you are responsible for transportation. There is a phone at Moraine Lake Lodge. A permanent gate on Whitehorn Drive will be closed at 8:00 pm, so vehicles can not be retrieved from the Park & Ride lot until 6:00 a.m.
Public Transit Option: ROAM Transit to Moraine Lake
(great for those without a car!)
The Roam Transit bus does not run to Moraine Lake except between September 19 – October 10, 2023, for the larch season. You can catch the Roam Route 10: Moraine Lake Express from Banff to Moraine Lake during this time.
The Roam Transit Route 8x runs daily between May 20 – September 18, 2023, to Lake Louise from Banff. The Roam Route 8X: Lake Louise Express runs from Banff to Lake Louise Lakeshore along the Trans-Canada Highway, stopping at Lake Louise Village.
The Roam Route 8S: Lake Louise Scenic stops at scenic sights like Johnston Canyon and Protection Mountain Campground. Route 8S will run 3 days/ week (Fri-Sun), July 1 – Aug 31.
The cost is $10 per adult; reservations are recommended. However, you can walk- up to the fare boxes. Roam buses accept US and Canadian currency as small as a nickel and up to $20. Children 12 and under are free but still require a reservation.
If you are coming from Canmore, you can take the Roam Transit Regional Route 3 Bus from Canmore to Banff, and then take the Roam Transit from Banff to Lake Louise.
Read More: How to Get From Canmore to Banff
The Roam Transit Super Pass. Roam has a One Day Super Pass, which allows travel on any/all Roam routes – From Canmore to Banff to Lake Louise for just $25. The Super Pass is sold only on the bus, at the Roam office in Banff, or through the Token Transit App.
The Super Pass comes with free access to the Parks Canada Lake Connector shuttle. With the new Roam Transit Super Pass, visitors will receive free access to the Parks Canada Lake Connector shuttle from the Lake Louise Lakeshore to Moraine Lake. Show a valid Roam Super Pass to Parks Canada staff at Lake Louise to receive your Parks Canada boarding pass for the Lake Connector shuttle.
Overnight Option: Stay at Moraine Lake Lodge
If you can secure a stay at the Moraine Lake Lodge, you have guaranteed access to Moraine Lake and can drive up to Moraine Lake with your suitcases and luggage.
Since room rates range between $900-1100 per night, rightfully so. Moraine Lake Lodge is the only lodging at Moraine Lake, so if it’s within your budget, book well in advance.
Sunrise Option: Sunrise Shuttle to Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake Bus Company offers sunrise shuttles to Moraine Lake. 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. This option allows guests to choose how long they want to stay. This is a fantastic option for hikers and climbers who want an alpine start. This service starts at $35 for a round-trip ticket and utilizes variable pricing, with tickets at 4am starting from $49. Long weekend and last weekend tickets are priced higher.
They also have four daily shuttles that include a one-hour stop at Lake Louise. Check their schedule here.
*If you've missed your opportunity to get a Parks Canada Shuttle Reservation, Mountain Park Transportation and Fairview Limo also offer private round trip shuttles from a few Lake Louise locations to Moraine Lake throughout the day for $25.
Guided Option: Book an Organized Tour
Another way to guarantee that you will see Moraine Lake is by booking an organized tour. Tour operators have access to park at Moraine Lake and often provide transport plus a guided tour in the area.
Radventures offers small group (max 14 guests) guided tours, starting and ending with hotel pick up in Banff, with local interpretation and an amazing guide on hand to answer questions. Enjoy complimentary hot drinks, see the best spots at Moraine Lake to view the sunrise, and get our guests set up for sunrise photos (as their guiding team has photography training).
After guests can get an optional hot cafe breakfast at Trailhead Cafe, before heading to Lake Louise where you get front of the line access to canoe rentals (something unique to only a Radventures tour). Book that tour here.
Other Moraine Lake Tours Include:
Multiple Stops Option: Hop On Hop Off
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.
Buses depart 7 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, 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.
Group Option: Taxi to Moraine Lake
Let a taxi take you all the way from Canmore or Banff to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
Three Sisters Taxi: Offers return service to Lake Louise & Moraine Lake from Canmore or Banff for up to 6 people. This self guided option offers one hour at Lake Louise and one hour at Moraine Lake for a total of a 5.5 hour tour ($100 per additional hour). They give you the option to leave on your time.
Active Option: Bike To Moraine Lake
Although there is no more parking at Moraine Lake, you can still bike to Moraine Lake with any type of bicycle (pedal-assisted included). There is one short week in Banff when Parks Canada plows Moraine Lake Road but leaves the road closed to vehicles.
This is when all the locals take advantage of biking Moraine Lake and seeing the beauty without the crowds or vehicle traffic. If you want to bike to the road in May before Parks Canada plows it, it might be possible until the Ten Peaks viewpoint as they plow this part first. After this viewpoint, you may encounter some snow.
The exact timing of road clearing depends on snowpack and avalanche conditions above the road. This is not announced and typically is only known through local know-how.
We’ve biked to Moraine Lake a few times in the past. From Lake Louise Village (Samson Mall), it’s approximately 14.5 km uphill (nearly 400 meters of elevation gain). This takes me about 50 minutes on a mountain bike and 40 minutes on a road bike, but I am a pretty active cyclist. How long it will take depends on your fitness and skill. It’s all uphill, but the fun ride down makes it all worth it.
There are a few spaces to park your car at the start of Moraine Lake Rd, but those often fill up in bike season. If you can’t get parking here, one of your options is to park at Samson Mall. This adds a lot of elevation and distance to your bike ride, so pack extra snacks.
If you’re a domestic traveler, make sure to bring your bike to Banff, or it’s possible to rent bicycles for the day in either Banff at Bactrax, Rebound Cycle in Canmore, or Wilson Sports in Lake Louise Village.
**You can always bike to Moraine Lake during any season, but when the road opens to vehicles, you will be biking next to buses.
Scenic Option: Hike There Via the Paradise Valley Trail
This option should only be reserved for those with experience hiking in the Rockies as it is a long hike, with a very steep section up Sentinel Pass (photo below,) so you have to be pretty determined for this method.
The Park and Ride allowed us to cross a point-to-point hike off our list. The Paradise Valley trail connects Moraine Lake to Lake Louise via a 20km hike. As we only own one car, we could never complete it. However, a few years ago we took the Park and Ride to Moraine Lake, hiked to Lake Louise, and took the shuttle back to the Park & Ride from Lake Louise for a truly epic day.
For those dead set on seeing Lake Moraine, it’s possible to hike there on the Paradise Valley Trail from either Lake Louise, or the trailhead for Lake Annette, which you still need a shuttle reservation to get here as it’s along Moraine Lake Rd.
This trail is 20 km that is a point-to-point hike through the stunning Paradise Valley. During the larch season, it’s one of the most incredible hikes in Alberta!
Along the way, you’ll pass Lake Annette, Mount Little Temple, and Mount Temple before ascending to Sentinel Pass the back way. Once at Sentinel Pass, you’ll descend down to Moraine Lake.
If you have a shuttle reservation (park at the Park & Ride at the Lake Louise Ski Area), you can utilize the buses to complete this point-to-point hike. This hike had been on our list for a long time, and we finally checked it off last season. Even during the busiest time in the park, we didn’t see a soul for most of the trail.
Hike Option: Moraine Lake Highline Trail
A slightly easier alternative to the Paradise Valley Trail is the Moraine Lake Highline Trail, which almost runs parallel to Moraine Lake Rd. Start your hike at the Paradise Valley Trailhead, which after a kilometer will fork. Take the left trail to get on the Moraine Lake Highline Trail.
Walking Option: Walk to Moraine Lake
I’ve never walked to Moraine Lake along Moraine Lake Rd, and don’t have much desire to, but I should mention it as we’ve seen people walking the road to Moraine Lake during all months.
This takes a little over 2 hours one way. Parks Canada does not condone this, but they also do not forbid a walk on the road.
Winter Option: Cross Country Ski
If you want to get to Moraine Lake Road during the winter, it is possible to cross country ski there. As the road is off limits to vehicles from October to June, this is the only way to access Moraine Lake in winter.
This round trip is about 15km, and there is a double track set with a skating lane. This road is the main road that leads to the lake in summer (Moraine Lake Rd). Although much of the trail is uphill (250 meter gain), it doesn’t feel that way as you are surrounded by trees the entire time (and no traffic!).
Along the way, turn around to catch views of Lake Louise Ski Resort, the Bow Valley and Ten Peaks ahead of you.
If you want to experience Moraine Lake up close and personal, you must pack avalanche gear and have avalanche knowledge because the track setting ends at a viewpoint of Consolation Valley and the Ten Peaks.
Beyond this point you must pass through an avalanche-prone area to reach the frozen lake. This is not recommended for beginners or those without avalanche training.
Can I Visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in the Same Day?
Yes you can easily visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in the same day. It’s made easy with the Lake Connector shuttle (for shuttle reservation holders only), which connects the two every 15 minutes.
If you are booking a Moraine Lake tour, chances are it also includes Lake Louise too, so you don’t have to fret about seeing both!
Readers often ask us which lake they should visit first, and all we can say it’s up to personal preference. There is no benefit to seeing one lake before the other, unless you plan on hiking around or canoeing on one. Then we think you should visit that lake first so you have enough time!
How to Get From Lake Louise to Moraine Lake
The best way to get between the two lakes is the Lake Connector Shuttle, this is included in your Parks Canada shuttle reservation. This option is for shuttle reservation holders only.
I Don’t Have a Vehicle. What Are My Options?
Besides the tour and taxi options previously mentioned, there aren’t many options for getting to Moraine Lake without a vehicle outside of the larch season when Roam Transit runs a shuttle (September 19 – October 10, 2023) to Moraine Lake.
However, you can take the Roam Transit to Lake Louise from Banff or Canmore, and use the Lake Connector shuttle to get to Moraine Lake. You still need Parks Canada shuttle reservation tickets to use the Lake Connector shuttle.
How to Get From Canmore to Moraine Lake
If you are coming from Canmore, you can take the Roam Transit Regional Route 3 from Canmore to Banff, and then hop on the Lake Louise Express or Regional in Banff to get to Lake Louise, and then hop on the Lake Connector. This is a longer alternative and is more complicated that just purchasing the Super Pass mentioned earlier.
Don’t want to deal with all that? Book a tour that will do all the work for you and let you explore some of the best sights in Banff – including Moraine Lake. This tour will pick you up at your hotel or accommodation in Canmore! This particular tour also stops at Lake Minnewanka, Lake Louise, Bow Lake, and Peyto Lake and drives some of the Icefields Parkway! Definitely a good value for under $200.
How to Get From Calgary to Moraine Lake
From Calgary it’s best to drive yourself to Lake Louise and utilize the Park & Ride option (book ahead as mentioned!) Though if you do not have access to a vehicle there are tour options available.
This one leaves from the Coast Calgary Hotel, which you can take an uber to from anywhere in Calgary. It leaves from Calgary at 8am every day, and runs to Moraine Lake between June and October (when Moraine Lake Rd is open). This tour takes guests to Lake Louise, Spiral Tunnels, the Natural Bridge, and Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. For $165, we think this is great value considering it takes off from Calgary and gets to so many amazing sights.
I Have a Dog; What Are My Options?
The Parks Canada Shuttles, Moraine Lake Bus Company, and Mountain Park Transport can all accommodate service animals, as well as pets that can either fit in a small crate or on their owners lap.
WowBanff and Fairview Limo accept larger dogs that are well-behaved for a fee. If you have a large dog and would like to bring him or her to Moraine Lake, it’s best to contact these two companies first before booking.
We hope this helped you determine how to get to Moraine Lake. If you have more questions about visiting. See Our Other Related Articles:
- Moraine Lake • Guide to Visiting Canada’s Most Beautiful Lake
- All You Need to Know About The Moraine Lake Shuttle
- 16 Fun Things To Do At Moraine Lake
- Moraine Lake Parking: Changes You Need To Know
- Moraine Lake Weather: When is the Best Time to Visit?
- Moraine Lake Canoe Rental: Everything You Need to Know
- 10 Moraine Lake Hikes With Amazing Views
- Moraine Lake vs Lake Louise: Which Banff Lake Should You Visit?