Moraine Lake

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Written by Madison Valois posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

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Moraine Lake – Lake Louise’s Popular Sister Lake

See the quiet shores of Moraine Lake.

See the quiet shores of Moraine Lake.

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta – It’s perfectly understandable when vacationing in the Lake Louise area, to put the namesake lake at the top of your itinerary. But don’t forget about Lake Moraine, adjacent to Lake Louise. It has just as much to offer as its more well-known “sister.”

Less known, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean unknown, and in the case of Lake Moraine, that’s certainly true. There are times when the lake draws a lively crowd. Notably, as the morning progresses, more and more people tend to flock to the lake.

So we recommend you get an early start to the day, if you want to beat the rush. Be ready to leave by 9:30 a.m. at the latest. We also recommend you eat a good, hearty breakfast beforehand; you’ll need the energy!

What to do when you get there? Well, the Rockpike interpretive trail is a good place to start. It’s an easy climb, not very high at all – it is only a pile of rocks, after all – but the view you get of the lake and of the Valley of the Ten Peaks is breathtaking.

For those interested in seeing wildlife, keep an eye out for golden-mantled ground squirrel, chipmunk, pika (a rabbit relative found only in the high mountains) and marmot (a brawnier version of a squirrel, basically).

You’ll also find the Moraine Lake Lodge which has food and gifts for sale. Above the lodge, you’ll see Mt. Temple, the third-highest peak in Banff National Park, at 3,549 meters (11,636 feet).

Several other hiking trails await you at Moraine Lake. One follows the right bank of the lake; another takes you along a short distance to Consolation Lakes. Both of these short hikes are well worth your time.

Other, longer trails also begin at the lake, such as the trail that leads to Eiffel Lake and another that leads to the scenic Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass. We can’t promise they’ll be open, however, and even if they are, they may have a warning on them.

Why? Well, in the past few years, a young male grizzly bear has made his home in the Moraine Lake area.

A bear? Oh, my! Don’t worry; sightings are quite rare at the lake itself. But if you’re curious about him, or about bears in general, be sure to catch the Parks Canada interpretive show at the Lake Louise Campground Theatre. There are also many books available for sale.

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