Understanding the Parks Canada Moraine Lake Shuttle

The Parks Canada Moraine Lake Shuttle is the best way to see beautiful Moraine Lake. Parking has always been difficult at Moraine Lake, and visitors have always felt immense stress from seeing it in all its glory. Previously, over 5000 vehicles were turned away each day without getting the chance to see the lake. That’s why, in June 2023, Parks Canada decided to ban personal vehicles from driving to Moraine Lake. Now, there are other options for getting to the lake, the most popular being the Parks Canada shuttle.

While many are bummed that they can’t drive up to Moraine Lake anymore, the Parks Canada shuttle to Moraine Lake is still here to help every visitor to Banff see the most beautiful lake in Banff. Here’s all you need to know about booking the Moraine Lake Shuttle.

All About the Moraine Lake Shuttle

Can You Park at Moraine Lake?

moraine lake parking
The Moraine Lake Parking Lot is no Longer Open to Private Vehicles.

Visitors are no longer allowed to park personal vehicles at the lakeshore of Moraine Lake, and it’s recommended that visitors use the Lake Louise Park & Ride shuttle system provided by Parks Canada. Moraine Lake Rd is closed to personal vehicles.

The only vehicles allowed to access Moraine Lake Rd are shuttle buses, Roam Public Transit, commercial buses with a Moraine Lake Road add-on license, and visitors with accessibility needs who possess a disabled hang tag.

When Does Moraine Lake Rd Open?

Lake Moraine Road

Due to snow and high avalanche danger, Moraine Lake Road typically opens on or around June 1st. Sometimes it’s earlier, and sometimes it’s later. Moraine Lake Rd closes around the second week of October, typically around Canadian Thanksgiving, making the season to enjoy Moraine Lake relatively short, from June to mid-October. In 2024, the road will open on June 1st, and its last day of operation is October 14th.

The busiest months are between mid-June and the end of September, so pretty much the entire season that Moraine Lake Rd is open. Moraine Lake visitations dwindle down after the golden larch needles have fallen, usually during the first or second week of October. The larch needles typically fall around the first week of October, meaning there is only one week of the whole Moraine Lake season that is relatively quiet.

Visiting Moraine Lake before June 15th or after October 1st may help avoid the crowds, although the lake will be far from empty, especially on weekends.

**Moraine Lake Road will reopen on June 1st, 2024 – weather-dependent.

Can You Get to Moraine Lake Any Sooner Than June 1st?

Natasha Riding A Bike In The Evening From Moraine Lake
Biking on Moraine Lake Road

We get asked this question almost daily. We don’t like to suggest average visitors visit Moraine Lake before the road opening date or after the close 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, so Parks Canada closes it in the winter. Only those with avalanche rescue equipment and training should venture back to Moraine Lake in the winter.

However, there is a two-week period towards the middle to end of May when Parks Canada plows the road (or the snow has naturally melted off the road), but the road is not open 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 is one of the best things to do around Moraine Lake and takes 1-2 hours up, but it is pretty cruisy and fast down. This is the only way to get to Moraine Lake before June 1st.

When Does Moraine Lake Thaw?

Moraine Lake in Early June
Moraine Lake in Early June

Moraine Lake typically thaws around the first week of June, but every year is different in the Rockies.

All About the Moraine Lake Shuttle

parks canada moraine lake shuttle ticket
On the shuttle in 2021

Parking concerns at Moraine Lake have worsened over the years, leading Parks Canada to prohibit all personal vehicles from accessing the road. One of the best (and cheapest option) for most visitors to see the lake is the Parks Canada shuttle system leaving from the Lake Louise Park & Ride, i.e., the Parks Canada Shuttle to Moraine Lake.

Checking in at the Park and Ride (which is at the ski resort - about 50 minutes from Downtown Banff)
Checking in at the Park and Ride (which is at the Lake Louise Summer Gondola – about 50 minutes from Downtown Banff)

The Moraine Lake shuttle guarantees access to Moraine Lake while reducing the harmful impacts of vehicle congestion in a sensitive environment. This system also eliminates the overall stress of parking at the lake, as every year, people were getting to Moraine Lake earlier and earlier to guarantee a spot and most were being turned away due to full parking. Some in our Facebook group even reported arriving before 3am! On top of all this, eliminating all private vehicles reduces emissions.

Moraine Lake Shuttle

It is highly recommended that you reserve a shuttle in advance. Shuttle reservations will be available on April 18, 2024, with Parks Canada releasing 40% of tickets for each day of the shuttle’s operating season. The remaining 60% will be released on a rolling window at 8 a.m. MDT, 2 days before the day of departure throughout the season.

The Park & Ride shuttle runs every 30 minutes between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. The last return bus from Moraine Lake to the Park & Ride is at 7:30 p.m.

How Much is the Moraine Lake Shuttle?

taking the moraine lake shuttle

Park And Ride Shuttle Fairs (Return Trip)

  • Adults (18–64): $8
  • Seniors (65+): $4
  • Youth (17 and under): Free
  • *There is a $3 non-refundable transaction fee per reservation when purchasing shuttle tickets on the Parks Canada Reservation System,  $6 if booking by telephone.

It’s important to note that these fees are in addition to your National Park Pass.

Need to cancel your tickets and rebook? You are allowed to cancel your ticket, and you will get a refund for the ticket price minus the booking fee.

When Do Shuttle Reservations Open?

The 2024 Reservation Launch date for shuttle reservations is April 18, 2024 at 08:00 a.m. MDT. Keep in mind only 40% of shuttle tickets are released at this time. We recommend having an open schedule and to be flexible when choosing a time. The Moraine Lake Shuttle begins operations on June 1st.

What Are the Shuttle Times?

Getting off the shuttle and walking to Moraine Lake, which is a short walk away from the drop off point.
Getting off the shuttle and walking to Moraine Lake, which is a short walk away from the drop off point.

The Moraine Lake shuttle operates daily from June 1 to October 14, 2024, and will run every 30 minutes between 6:30 am and 6 pm. The last return bus from Moraine Lake to the Park and Ride is at 7:30 pm.

Visitors looking for an earlier start to Moraine Lake can now reserve the Parks Canada Alpine Start Shuttle leaving the Lake Louise Lakeshore with departures at 4 am and 5 am (more on this option below). The shuttle times vary slightly throughout the summer season, so always verify the return time with Parks Canada staff.

How Do I Book My Moraine Lake Shuttle Reservation?


To make a reservation for the shuttle, you can use the Parks Canada Reservation Service, then select “Day Use” and “Shuttle to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.” You can also call 1-877-737-3783.

What the booking page looks like

To proceed with the booking, you must have an account with Parks Canada Reservation Service. It is highly recommended that you create your account beforehand to avoid any inconvenience during the checkout process.

Is it Possible to Purchase Walk-Up tickets?

at the lake louise park and ride

If space is available, Parks Canada staff at the Lake Louise Park and Ride can assist you in reserving the next available time slot that day. However, booking in advance is highly recommended, as shuttles to Moraine Lake generally sell out before 9 am on the day of departure.

Where is the Parking and Departure Point?

The parking lot at the Park & Ride is huge and free
The parking lot at the Park & Ride is HUGE and FREE

Courtesy of Parks Canada

In 2024, parking is only permitted at the Lake Louise Park & Ride Shuttle lot. The Lake Louise Park and Ride lot is at the Lake Louise Winter Ski Resort and Summer Gondola (1 Whitehorn Road – GPS POINT). Parking here is free and ample. If you are taking the Alpine Start shuttle you must park at the Lake Louise Lakeshore and pay for parking.

What is the Lake Connector Shuttle?

the lake connector shuttle

The Lake Connector Shuttle is for Parks Canada Shuttle reservation holders only, after they have checked in at the Park and Ride (boarding pass required) or those riders who have purchased a Roam Superpass (more on that later).

The Lake Connector shuttle connects Lake Louise to Moraine Lake on a first-come, first serve basis and is free of charge with your reservation. You must have a paid-for reservation on either the Moraine Lake Shuttle or Lake Louise Shuttle to use the Lake Connector Shuttle. To use the Lake Connector, you still must check in at the Lake Louise Park and Ride Lot and take the shuttle. The only exception is for those that have the Roam Transit Super Pass.

The Lake Connector shuttle frequency is every 30 minutes starting at 7:00 am, and the last Lake Connector Shuttle runs at 7:00 pm from both lakes.

What if I Can’t Book the Shuttle?

Moraine Lake Biking
Biking to Moraine Lake

You have several options if you can’t book the shuttle because it is sold out on the day or time you want to go.

  1. Option 1: Remember that Parks Canada have only released 40% of reservations already. The remaining 60% will be released on a rolling window at 8 am MDT, two days before your departure date throughout the season.
  2. Option 2: You can still go to the Lake Louise Park and Ride Parking Lots and hope there is space on the shuttle. If there is, the Parks Canada staff will try and assist you.
  3. Option 3:  Book the Parks Canada shuttle to Lake Louise and then hop on the Lake Connector Bus.
  4. Option 4: Get a Roam Super Pass (more on that below).
  5. Option 5: Book a guided Moraine Lake Tour (we will discuss options below). This is great for those that want a guided experience and to not think about logistics. Tours depart from Banff and Lake Louise, depending on which you book.
  6. Option 6: Book the Moraine Lake Bus Company, a flexible way to get to and from Moraine Lake without reserving on Parks Canada or dealing with lines. This also guarantees you will get to the lakes, hassle free and spend as long as you want at Moraine Lake. They also run sunrise shuttles, in case you miss the Alpine Start Shuttle reservations.
  7. Option 7: Hike or bike to Moraine Lake. You can rent bikes at Wilson Sports in Lake Louise Village, bike reservations are highly recommended.
  8. Option 8: Book a night at the Moraine Lake Lodge. Guests of Moraine Lake Lodge are permitted to drive to Moraine Lake.
  9. Option 9: Make alternative plans and try for a different day.

Private Tours to Moraine Lake

moraine lake tours

Tour operators have permission to drive Moraine Lake Road, to drop off visitors and to park at Moraine Lake. Book a spot on a guided tour and enjoy a hassle-free visit to Moraine Lake.

Radventures, Brewster Sightseeing, Discover Banff Tours, HopOnBanff, Mountain Park Transportation, White Mountain Adventures and WowBanff all offer tours that include stops at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

Moraine Lake Bus Company

Moraine Lake Bus Company

If all this sounds like a bit too much work to get tickets, we highly recommend looking into Moraine Lake Bus Company. This is a family-run local Banff company that runs shuttles from sunrise and onward to Moraine Lake. In high season, they have over 30 departures/day, with options that go directly to Moraine Lake, directly to Lake Louise, or to Moraine Lake with a 1-hour stop at Lake Louise. Their pricing starts at $49.

You can choose exactly how long they want to spend at the lake, which isn’t the case for many prescheduled tours that operate on a schedule. If they want to go for a hike or rent a canoe after sunrise, this is a very flexible option. Because they have guests select a return time, it also means you’ll never have to wait in a line at the end of the day, which sometimes happens on the Parks Canada shuttles.

Roam Public Transport to Moraine Lake

The Roam Transit Bus

Between September 19 and October 10, 2024 (exact dates tbd), the Roam Transit bus provides service to Moraine Lake solely for the larch season. During this time, visitors can catch the Roam Route 10: Moraine Lake Express from Banff to Moraine Lake.

The Roam Transit Route 8X operates daily, providing transportation between Banff and Lake Louise. The Roam Route 8X: Lake Louise Express travels along the Trans-Canada Highway, stopping at Lake Louise Village. The fare is $10 per adult, and reservations are recommended. However, walk-ups to the fare boxes are also possible. Roam buses accept US and Canadian currency from as small as a nickel to as large as a $20 bill. Children under 12 can travel for free but still require a reservation.

READ MORE: How to Visit Banff Without a Car

What Are Other Options for Accessing Moraine Lake?

Hiking between Moraine Lake and Lake Louise

Besides booking a tour or taking the Roam Transit, there are a few other options to get to Moraine Lake. Visitors can hike the Highline Trail, the Paradise Valley Trail, or walk the Moraine Lake Rd (not recommended). These are long hikes are should only be attempted by experienced hikers.

It’s also possible to bike Moraine Lake Rd, which is one of the best things to do around Moraine Lake. The road is 14 km – all uphill – from the Samson Mall to Moraine Lake. Cyclists will encounter bus traffic on a narrow road with no shoulders, so we recommend starting early. It is a fantastic bike ride. If you are an experienced mountain biker, it’s also possible to bike the Highline Trail to Moraine Lake.

Book a Stay at the Moraine Lake Lodge

Guests of Moraine Lake Lodge have the best access to Moraine Lake that money can buy. This Banff cabin will cost you, but there is nothing quite like experiencing the stillness of Moraine Lake at sunrise or sunset with very few people around.

Guests of Moraine Lake Lodge are permitted to use their personal vehicles to access the lodge and will be contacted 30 days prior to their stay with information on how to access Moraine Lake road.

How Can I Catch Sunrise at Moraine Lake?

moraine lake sunrise

You won’t be able to personally drive Moraine Lake Rd and catch sunrise there. There are a few ways you can still catch sunrise at Moraine Lake – only one of them is a “free” way.

You can book a stay at Moraine Lake Lodge, the only place to stay on the lake. You can book a tour, such as this Sunrise Explorer Tour by Radventures, book a spot on the Moraine Lake Bus Company sunrise shuttle bus, or you can bike nearly 14 miles uphill to Moraine Lake before dawn.

This year, Parks Canada will also offer sunrise options. The Alpine Start Shuttle will run daily from June 1 to October 14, 2024. This service runs twice daily at 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. between Lake Louise Lakeshore and Moraine Lake. Reservations are required, and tickets are limited.

Alpine Start buses leave from the Lake Louise Lakeshore, meaning riders will have to leave their vehicle at the Lake Louise Lakeshore parking lot and pay the $36.75 parking fee. Alpine Start riders will return to their vehicles via the Lake Connector shuttle. The first Lake Connector shuttle departure from Moraine Lake will be at 7 am.

What If I’m Staying at a Hotel in Lake Louise?

Cameron At Lake Louise

Guests of Lake Louise hotels don’t get special access to Moraine Lake. If you are staying in the village of Lake Louise or in the Lake Louise Campground, you are encouraged to leave your vehicle at your accommodation and use the free Park and Ride Connector shuttle that will take you to the Park and Ride Lot, where you can get on the Moraine Lake Shuttle (you still need to pre purchase shuttle tickets).

*Guests staying at Deer Lodge, Paradise Bungalows, and Chateau Lake Louise are within walking distance to Lake Louise, and can walk to the Lake Louise parking lot and get directly on the Lake Connector Shuttle rather than driving to the Park & Ride lot. These guests still need a Park & Ride shuttle reservation for that day, and they must provide proof they are staying at one of the above hotels.

Can I Bring My Kayak/Canoe to Moraine Lake?

canoeing on moraine lake

To access Moraine Lake with your own watercraft, driving and parking are not an option. Instead, Parks Canada shuttles are available to transport various types of watercraft, including packrafts, inflatable kayaks, inflatable paddleboards, and some small hard-sided kayaks if space is available. For those interested in canoeing on Moraine Lake, hourly rentals are available from the lodge. We highly recommend the Oru Origami Kayak if you’re searching for a foldable kayak option.

Is the Shuttle Pet Friendly?

everest at moraine lake

Certified assistance animals are allowed on board the Parks Canada shuttle and owners should be prepared to show the animals’ verification of training. Passengers are permitted to bring their pets on board free of charge. These pets must be placed in a secure carrier specifically designed for animal transportation and small enough to fit on the owner’s lap. If you have a larger dog, Wow Banff can accommodate them. Fairview Limo also can transport larger dogs at an extra cost, while smaller dogs that can fit on your lap are free!

Are Strollers Permitted on the Shuttle?

The shuttle can take strollers, climbing gear, and large backpacks.

Is the Moraine Lake Shuttle Accessible?

shuttle to moraine lake
The Shuttle to Moraine Lake

The shuttle has limited accessibility, but if a visitor has a blue-accessible parking placard and is unable to take it, they will be granted access to drive and park at Moraine Lake.

Tours to Moraine Lake

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

Now that personal vehicles are no longer allowed at Moraine Lake, a plethora of tour operators have popped up. Here are some popular options:

  • Hop on Hop off Bus: Explore the most popular spots in Banff at your own pace. Hop on and off when you please!
  • Moraine Lake Bus Company: An alternative option to the Parks Canada shuttle, the Moraine Lake Bus Company provides early access to Moraine Lake with shuttles starting as early as 4am.
  • Radventures Earlybird Explorer: 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.
  • From Banff: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Sightseeing Tour

While the shuttle may seem inconvenient, we think the system is well-designed and efficient to see one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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!

If you have found the content on this site helpful to your trip planning please consider supporting The Banff Blog. You can say thanks directly by buying us a coffee. All support is much appreciated!

22 thoughts on “Understanding the Parks Canada Moraine Lake Shuttle”

  1. Hello, You mentioned that guests staying at Chateau Lake Louise can use the lake connector shuttle without going out to the park and ride (provided they have shuttle tickets). Is that also true for guests staying at Moraine Lake Lodge? We are staying at Moraine Lake Lodge in August, and would like to take the lake connector shuttle to Lake Louise.

  2. Hi! Not sure if you’ll know the answer, but I really would like to be on the 6:30am shuttle to Moraine Lake. If I have a reserved spot from 6:30 to 7:00am would I still need to get there early to ensure I’m on the first bus out? Will there already be a line?

  3. Is it possible to get to Lake Moraine after Oct 9th? We are arriving to Calgary on the 9th and wanted to see the lake on the 10th or 11th, 2023? Other shuttles or bike?

    • After the shuttles and tours stop the only way to access Moraine Lake is to bike/walk the road – I would recommend renting a bike and heading up if there is no snow on the ground yet!

  4. Once you get to either of the 2 lakes how much hiking is required? Just wondering if we should bring our elderly parents with us (80 years old) or go on our own. Is there somewhere they can hang out and soak in the scenery while we do some hiking? Or is it best that they do something else while we do this outing? We will be there in mid August and plan to do both lakes.

    • From the parking area to both the Moraine Lake and Lake Louise lakeshore is about a 5-10 minute walk. From there you can walk around the lakes or enjoy a hike, though most of the hikes in the area are longer and your parents may be sitting around for awhile.

  5. Hi Natasha
    We want to book a mid morning shuttle to Moraine Lake. We want to walk the shoreline trail around the lake and also walk the Larch Valley trail so we are not sure when we be back at Moraine Lake Shuttle bus pick up
    When I book it is asking for a return time but do I have to take that return time shuttle or can I catch a later one even though I won’t have a return ticket for the later time
    Many thanks

    • If you are booking the Parks Canada shuttle they usually have you pick a return time but it is not enforced and you can catch any shuttle back. Just make sure you don’t miss the last shuttle of the day.

  6. We will be travelling with our nine month old baby, I see strollers are okay but do you know if I book a ticket for him or have him on our lap?

    • Seeing as it is just a baby I would assume you’ll be fine not getting him a ticket, but the tickets are free for young kids so it might not hurt to still “purchase” one anyway. But if you want to be 100% certain I would recommend calling Parks Canada.

  7. It looks like the shuttle does not start until June 21st. Is that correct? Can you access the lake prior to that? We will be there the week before.

  8. Hi Natasha,

    Awesome information, thank you so much. Do you know what time does the Lake Louise Park and Ride lot open? Or does it close? We have an RV and would like to know if we can park there overnight.

    • ou have the shuttles which operate from the Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola. But for For RVs you have the former Park & Ride lot off the TransCanada which now operates as an overflow lot for RVs if they’re unable to get a reservation or campsite. The overflow lot still requires a permit fee which can be paid for at the registration booth in the lot which accepts cash.

  9. Hi Natasha,
    Quick question – if we arrive at the Lake Louise shuttle earlier than our scheduled reservation time – is it possible to transfer our reservation to an earlier shuttle time if there are spaces available?


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