How To Visit and Photograph Morant’s Curve in Banff

Morant’s Curve is a scenic viewpoint near Lake Louise of a dramatic bend along the Bow River where trains pass through the Canadian Rockies. As trains pass around the bend they have a spectacular backdrop of the Lake Louise mountains and surrounding valley.

The famed photo spot is along the Bow Valley Parkway and is a very popular location for photographers. It’s a fabulous stop for visitors who plan to take a leisurely drive down the parkway.


All About Morant’s Curve

Morant's Curve in the winter

The famed photo spot is a short drive from Lake Louise and you can even see the mountains that surround the glacial lake. Its location is off the Bow Valley Parkway, an alternate scenic route that connects Banff and Lake Louise.

Photographers plan their time here strategically and to catch a shot of a train heading west in the morning light is certain to be a winner. However, anyone can appreciate the spectacular view so it’s well worth a stop for anyone driving along the parkway.

Mount Fairview is the most prominent mountain background, but also Mount St. Piran, Niblock, Whyte, Saddle, Sheol, and Haddo Peak. If you’re curious Lake Louise sits to the North of Mount Fairview.

The Best Banff Photography & Picture Spots (and How to Get To Them)

Why is it called Morant’s Curve?

Portrait Photograph in Summer of Morant's Curve

Morant’s Curve gets its name from Nicholas Morant a photographer working for the Canadian Pacific Railway in the mid 20th century. He was hired by the railway to produce promotional material, but his extensive work in the Candian Rockies was used to promote tourism to Western Canada.

His images of Emerald Lake and Moraine Lake were used as sources for the banknotes that featured the two iconic lakes. It’s said that the curve was his favorite location to photograph.


Directions To Morant’s Curve

Morant's Curve Map

The fastest way to Morant’s Curve is from the North end of the Bow Valley Parkway. It is one of the first notable stops along the parkway from this direction and takes about a five-minute drive.

It’s pretty tough to miss the viewpoint as there is a nice concrete viewpoint constructed when the view opens up. Across from the viewpoint is a small parking lot with enough room for a dozen vehicles.


When to Visit Morant’s Curve

Morant's Curve

If you hope to catch a train traveling along the train tracks it’s best to visit on a weekday. The train line service business along the railroad so it sees the most frequent traffic during the business days and during working hours.

If you visit during the weekday trains come almost every hour. However, there is no guarantee, and the railway company does not post schedules for security reasons. We’ve waited over an hour before for the train only for it to never come. We left with very frozen faces and fingers, and the photo you see above!

You can visit the Morant’s Curve viewpoint during any season and it always looks magical. However, I love winter season the most. Keep in mind that after a big winter storm, plowing is prioritized on the TransCanada before clearing the Bow Vallely Parkway.


Tips For Photographs at Morant’s Curve

Train Passing Morant's Curve

The classic shot for photographers at Morant’s Curve is of a red Canadian Pacific train traveling westbound in the morning light. Morning is the best time to photograph the location. However, it’s always worth a stop to grab a photo of the stunning landscape.

Most of the trains that pass along Morant’s Curve are freight trains and for security reasons, they do not post their schedules publicly. You can find the schedule of the passenger train, the Rocky Mountaineer, in the summer months, but the train is far less dramatic than a large freight train with a red CP train leading the way.

It’s said that the trains travel the most during business hours. This means Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.

My favorite photos of Morant’s Curve are taken during the winter months. After a fresh snowfall the trains really pop out amongst a sea of frosted trees and frozen mountains. Of course, it’s an amazing photo location any season of the year!

My personal preference for photographing Morant’s Curve is a fast shutter speed as it captures a sharp train versus the slow shutter speed and movement.


Continue Driving the Bow Valley Parkway

Bow-Valley-Parkway-

After you’ve snapped your photos of beautiful Morant’s Curve we recommend continuing the drive on the Bow Valley Parkway.

The Bow Valley Parkway (1A) is easily accessible from both Banff and Lake Louise, and is slower to drive than the Trans Canada, but the views and stops are simply magical Some of my favorite stops are Castle Junction and Storm Mountain Lookout.

10 Awesome Bow Valley Parkway Stops (Driving Banff to Lake Louise)

Where to Stay Near Morant’s Curve?

There are a few great places to stay along the Bow Valley Parkway and near Lake Louise. Some of our favorites are:


Things to do in Lake Louise

banff lakes - lake louise

After you stop at Morant’s Curve, keep heading towards Lake Louise for plenty of things to do like canoeing on Lake Louise, hiking the Big Beehive, or going up the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola.

21 Amazing Things to Do in Lake Louise

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

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About Cameron

Cameron is a resident of Canmore, Alberta. After traveling the world for six years, he settled down in the beautiful Bow Valley with Natasha. He has been featured as a travel expert with numerous publications worldwide and has spoken on several occasions about the power of travel. He has a passion for all things in the Canadian Rockies and loves to spend his time snowboarding, scrambling, camping, biking, and trail running. Conservation is a deep fundamental in his life, and he aims to inspire others to care about our natural world. You can learn more on the about us page.

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