Thankfully with the Parks Canada shuttles operating in the summer and multiple tour options, getting from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake (and vice versa) has never been easier.
If you’re wondering if it’s possible to go caneoing on both lakes in one day, get out on a hike around the lakes, or simply enjoy the views of the Ten Peaks and Mount Victoria, the answer is yes! Let’s break down how to get to Moraine Lake from Lake Louise.
Can You Visit Both Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in One Day?
Yes, you can absolutely visit Moraine Lake and Lake Louise on the same day, and we’ve done it many many times. Though to do this will take some planning during the summer months as they are both very busy Banff lakes.
If you plan to take on any large hikes or canoe on both lakes in one day, it’s best to plan your day out and start early to make the most out of your Banff itinerary.
Can You Drive to Lake Louise?
You can still drive to Lake Louise and park there, despite what you may have heard. Getting to Lake Louise is less difficult than getting to Moraine Lake. However, that doesn’t mean it comes without struggle. All park visitors want to see Moraine Lake AND Lake Louise, so you can expect crowding and parking issues at Lake Louise.
Typically if you want to drive yourself, we recommend visitors arrive before 7am to get a spot at Lake Louise during the summer months, sometimes earlier. Parking costs $21 per day between May and October, but it is free in the winter.
The Lake Louise parking area is well managed by parking attendants. Once the lot fills up, they will turn you around. Meaning you can waste a lot of time driving up to Lake Louise to not get parking, forcing you to make alternative plans.
Can You Drive to Moraine Lake?
It is not possible to drive yourself to Moraine Lake anymore. Moraine Lake Rd, which is the only road to Moraine Lake, is closed to personal vehicles, and parking at Moraine Lake is not allowed. That means if you want to travel from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake, you’ll have to make alternative plans. We’ll detail all you need to know below.
How to Get to Moraine Lake From Lake Louise
Best Option: Parks Canada Shuttle
Thankfully, the Lake Connector Shuttle makes it very simple to see both lakes with a shuttle reservation! The best way to get to Moraine Lake From Lake Louise is by booking the Parks Canada Shuttle to either Moraine Lake and Lake Louise and using the Lake Connector Shuttle to get to the other. The Lake Connector Shuttle is included in your Parks Canada shuttle reservation.
We believe that the Moraine Lake Shuttle is the best way to guarantee you get to see Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in one day. 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.
Shuttle reservations will be made available in April 2024, when Parks Canada will release 40% of the operating season. Throughout the season, the remaining 60% will be released on a rolling window at 8 am, 48 hours before departure day.
The Park and Ride shuttle to the lakes begin around 6:30 am, and the last return bus from the lakes to the parking lot is at 7:30 pm. Shuttle times change slightly throughout the season. The shuttle to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise will begin on June 1 and run until mid-October.
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, ensuring you can get from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake seamlessly, and vice versa.
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, you must still park Park and Ride at Lake Louise Ski Resort. More details can be found here.
Have a special furry friend with you? 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.
How Frequent is the Lake Connector Shuttle
- 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.
How Long is the Shuttle From Lake Louise to Moraine Lake?
The shuttle from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake (and vice versa) takes about 20 minutes.
Nearly any Moraine Lake tour also hits up Lake Louise, so if you book a tour, not only do you not have to worry about shuttles, but you get to kill two birds with one stone. This may be a great option for you if you don’t mind spending a bit more for the convenience of not having to think about planning.
The Moraine Lake Bus Company offers sunrise shuttles to Moraine Lake, as well as buses to both lakes throughout the day. 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 minute weekend tickets are priced higher.
They also have four daily shuttles, and these ones include a one-hour Lake Louise stop. Check their schedule here.
Radventures offers small group (max 14 guests) guided tours, starting and ending with hotel pick up in Banff, with a guide. This is a guided tour, not just a bus transfer to both lakes. Enjoy complimentary hot drinks, see the best spots at Moraine Lake to view the sunrise, and get set up for photos at sunrise.
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.
Another option is the Banff Hop on Hop Off Bus, which has become quite popular recently. 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, the Lake Louise Gondola, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake. There is no sunrise option with this tour. We recommend utilizing your time to enjoy a Moraine Lake hike, like up to Sentinel Pass, or 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.
Anyone that has the energy to get themselves up to Moraine Lake, will certainly enjoy the bike up Moraine Lake Rd. You can use any type of bicycle (pedal-assisted included), during the entire summer to bike yourself up. Though, 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). I’m an active cyclist and this takes me about 50 minutes on a mountain bike and 40 minutes on a road bike. 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.
We recommend biking up to Moraine Lake first, and then biking down to Lake Louise to see both lakes in one day. Bring a bike lock to lock your bike up at both lakes.
There’s one very beautiful hike that connects Lake Louise to Moraine Lake called 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, so you have to be pretty determined for this method.
The Paradise Valley trail connects Moraine Lake to Lake Louise via a 20km point to point hike through the stunning Paradise Valley. During Banff in the fall, it’s one of the most incredible larch 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 start your journey at Lake Louise). If you start at Moraine Lake, you’ll hike up to Sentinel Pass, and then drop down into the Paradise Valley – we recommend this option as it’s easier.
If you have a shuttle reservation (park at the Park & Ride at the Lake Louise Ski Area), you can utilize the Parks Canada buses to complete this point-to-point hike, by starting your journey at either Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, and using the Parks Canada buses to get you back to your vehicle. Just make sure to pay attention to the bus times, as they usually stop running by 7pm in Banff in the summer. Since this is a long hike, you’ll need to make sure you start early and have enough time to make it back to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake before the last bus of the day – or you’ll have even more walking to do!
Roam Transit is the local public transportation, but it does not run to Moraine Lake outside of the larch season. Roam Transit runs a shuttle (September 19 – October 10, 2024) to Moraine Lake.
However, you can take the Roam Transit to Lake Louise on the 8X to get from Canmore to Lake Louise or Banff to Lake Louise, 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.
This is a great option if you are visiting Banff without a car, and need public transport to get to Lake Louise.
Stay at Moraine Lake
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 lodge at Moraine Lake, so if it’s within your budget and you’re dreaming of staying on the lake, book well in advance.
Though being a guest at Moraine Lake Lodge does not get you special access to Lake Louise, so you’ll still have to make arrangements to drive yourself to the parking lot or arrange a ticket on the Lake Louise shuttle.
Can You Get From Lake Louise to Moraine Lake in the Winter?
Although Lake Louise is a year round destination, Moraine Lake is not. Moraine Lake Road is only open from June to mid-October, meaning it’s not possible to travel from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake between Canadian Thanksgiving and June 1st.
Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies
- Hiking in the Rockies: Purchase an AllTrails subscription to have a mobile map on you as you hike.
- 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!
- Hotels in the Rockies: There are many places to stay, from luxury hotels to wilderness cabins. See all our favorites here.
- Get to Banff or Canmore Without a Car: The Banff Airporter provides fantastic service that will connect you right from YYC to the town of 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.
- Fly For Free: Turn your spending into airline miles and points with travel credit cards (that’s what we do!). See our favorite travel credit cards. 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!
- Travel Insurance: We don’t recommend traveling without travel insurance. We recommend checking out HeyMondo, which offers competitive rates for all travelers.