Looking for the best Moraine Lake hikes? We share the most popular hikes around the lake and share all of the details in this guide to experience the best hikes around Moraine Lake. These are some recommended hikes around Moraine Lake. I’ve attempted to rank them in difficulty. L If you want to add some more hikes to your list check out our list of the best Banff hikes.
All of these hikes start from Moraine Lake and are certain to have stunning views of the stunning turquoise lake, Valley of Ten Peaks, surrounding mountains, and awe-inspiring glaciers.
- When is the Best Time to Visit Moraine Lake?
- Everything You Need to Know About Canoeing on Moraine Lake
- A Guide to Visiting Canada’s Most Beautiful Lake
- 17 Best Lakes in Banff You Have To Visit
The Best Lake Moraine Hikes
Moraine Lake Shore Trail
From the Canoe docks, this is a flat trail that works its way along the shoreline of the lake and back. It’s a wonderful trail that moves in and out of the forest with great views of the lake and mountains.
You’ll be shocked at how few visitors to Moraine Lake go just a little further hike along one the easiest trails in the area. At the end of the hike is a boardwalk near the waters flowing down from Wenkchemna pass.
- Trailhead: Begins at the canoe docks.
- Distance: 2.9 kms
- Elevation: 162 meters
- Time: 45 to 60 minutes (return)
Consolation Lakes Trail
This is a family favorite as it can be paired with the Moraine Lake Rockpile and it’s pretty easy with a little elevation gain. It’s a nice step up from the Lakeshore Trail as it the terrain is more difficult with greater elevation gain and a short section that crosses over a boulder field.
Along the hike, you get views of the scree slopes from the Tower of Babbel. The hike passes through the old-growth forest before arriving at an alpine field and wetlands with the consolation lakes at its end. From the lakes, you get tremendous views of the backside of the Ten Peaks Mount Babbel and Mount Fay, topped by glaciers.
- Trailhead: Begins from the Rockpile Trail
- Distance: 5.8 km
- Elevation: 255 meters
- Time: 1.5 to 2 hours (return)
Eiffel Lake Trail
Witness amazing views of the Valley of Ten Peaks as you climb to two mesmerizing glacial lakes on the Continental Divide. The trail from Moraine Lake is pretty easy to follow up to the fork for Eiffel Lake or Sentinel Pass.
The route up to the fork is pretty demanding as it climbs 350m at a relatively high grade for about 40 minutes. From the fork, you take the less-traveled path to the Eiffel Lakes. Past the lakes lies Wenkchemna Pass Trail that passes through the mountains into Yoho National Park. From the top of the pass provides stunning views of the Ten Peaks.
- Trailhead: Begins at canoe docks
- Distance: 11.7
- Elevation: 570 meters
- Time: 3 to 4 hours
Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley
This is the quintessential Canadian Rockies hike. It’s fairly challenging, hugely popular, and offers some of the most stunning natural scenery in Canada. The hike follows a similar route at the Eiffel Lakes hike but departs at the fork and up into the Larch Valley.
The pass is most well known and attracts hundreds of photographers and hikers during the larch season in late September. It’s during this period the valley trees turn to a bright golden color and the mountains are topped with the first signs of the new season’s snow. It’s a soul-stirring scene that can easily be considered one of the best day hikes in the world.
- Trailhead: Begins at canoe docks
- Distance: 10.9
- Elevation: 792 meters
- Time: 2.5 to 4 hours
Scrambles Around Lake Moraine
This is for experienced hikers and people who have spent their fair share of time in the outdoors. All of these hikes are easy to moderate scrambles but occur on very serious mountains with real hazards that can result in death. Every year tourists are evacuated by Search and Rescue on one if not all of these hikes/routes. If you plan to tackle any of these please plan accordingly and be prepared for the elements — also wear a helmet.
Tower of Babel
This is the most well-known scramble in the area and it’s appropriate for entry-level scramblers. You’re guaranteed some awesome views too of Moraine Lake, Consolation Valley, and the Bow Valley. Tower of Babbel is a sub-peak
The route heads up a gully right off of Moraine Lake and has a steep consistent climb to the top. It’s a bit of a scree bash (loose rock), but do the popularity it’s a pretty well-worn trail. It’s a tough workout for novice hikers who may underestimate the 518m climb to the top.
The biggest threat on this route is a loose rock falling down the gully from a party above, I strongly recommend wearing a helmet! Do not take this lightly, but since it’s a quick route you can opt for a light backpack, like a trail runner pack.
The reward at the top is some amazing views of Moraine Lake and Mount Temple. It’s probably one of the best views to effort required in all of Banff.
- Trailhead: Begins at Rockpile Trail
- Distance: 2.9 km
- Elevation: 518 meters
- Time: 2.5 to 4 hours
The climb to the top of Eiffel Peak is one of our favorite Moraine Lake hikes. It’s an amazing hike with astounding views of Paradise Valley, Valley of the Ten Peaks, Mount Temple and Moraine Lake. At 10,095 ft in elevation, it’s no little mountain which makes it one of the highest in the region.
The views at the top are astounding at the summit and it’s a worthy challenge for hikers and scramblers. Next to Mt. Temple, it’s one of the highest mountains in the area you can climb without mountaineering or rock climbing experience. That being said it’s a moderate scramble as the elevation and the use of hands are a real consideration you shouldn’t take lightly.
- Trailhead: Begins at canoe dock
- Distance: 11.3 km
- Elevation: 1,270 meters
- Time: 5 – 8 hours
For many hikers and scramblers who enjoy the Canadian Rockies Mount Temple is a source of accomplishment. It’s a gorgeous mountain and an endless source of inspiration in the Canadian Rockies. At 11,627 ft in elevation it’s the second highest mountain in Alberta
It’s well known as a proving ground for various sports whether that’s a hike/scramble to the summit, ski descent of the Aemmer Couloir, or climb up the East face. The scramble is a gorgeous day out in the mountains and at 1,682 meters in elevation along with altitude make this a very serious mountain.
- Trailhead: Moraine Lake Parking
- Distance: 14.6 km
- Elevation: 1,682
- Time: 8-12 hours
Advice on Hikes in the Canadian Rockies
If this is your first time hiking in the Rockies take a conservative approach. Pick an adequate hike for your fitness, plan for plenty of time, pack water and food, and don’t be afraid to turn around. If you want to learn more about what to wear hiking we have a great post.
For long hikes, set a turn around time at the departure. Any time we set out for an objective I determine a time at which we need to turn around in order to arrive at the parking lot or campsite by dark. I would recommend not hiking in the dark as it’s easy to get lost and it’s not fun in bear country.
On that note, always carry bear spray if you plan to hike in the park. We carry ours in the neighborhood and bears have been known to stroll through town and busy parking lots. Always practice wildlife awareness when you’re on a trail, and please give animals space.
In regards to times keep in mind your mountain fitness — different than the gym. The low end of the times in this post is a constant fast pace uphill with little to no breaks and a brisk pace downhill. Most hikers should plan for a middle of the road time with the estimated duration.
It’s also super important to know that there are limitations and to come prepared. These are very serious mountains and it easy to get in well over your head with life-threatening consequences.
Lastly, a GPS tracker could save your life – it’s one of those backpacking essentials I like to have on me just in case I need to hit SOS.
Alltrails is our favorite app to have on a hike. It shows the correct trail way, elevation, and other hiker reviews. We paid the subscription fee so that we could download all the data we need to our phones. Best $2.50 (per month) ever spent!
What to Wear On a Hike?
The most basic principle of what to wear hiking is layering. Anyone that has spent time in wilderness or mountains can speak to the fact your temperature can fluctuate a lot on a hike. You can easily start off cool at the base of the mountain and get hot as soon as you begin moving.
The goal of hiking clothing is to help regulate your body temperature, element protection, and moisture management. Temperature management is best done through a layering system if you want to learn more about what to pack for a day hike or what to wear on a hike, you can see our full post! Here are the best hiking clothes for men and the best hiking clothes for women.
Other Banff National Park Hikes
Of course, there are so many more hikes in Banff and tons of exploring. Looking for the best Banff hikes? We rank our favorite hikes around the park and share all of the details in this guide to experience the best in the park. You’ll find on these hikes in Banff high alpine passes lined with wildflowers, jagged peaks topped by glaciers, and a healthy dose of turquoise blue lakes.