Lake Louise—Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Day hike to spectacular scenic lakes, see wildlife, stunning mountain and glaciers, summer wildflowers, golden larches and other fall colors from a base camp in the Lake Louise—Moraine Lake area of Canada's Banff National Park. Larches turn golden in mid- to late-September.

getting there

Drive Trans-Canada Highway 1 to Lake Louise. It's 52 miles east of Golden, BC and 17 miles northwest of Castle Junction, AB where AB-93 (Banff-Windermere Highway) intersect Trans-Canada Highway 1.

Accommodations

There are many places to stay in Lake Louise including a campground. Shuttle bus service may be available from Lake Louise village to the trailheads.

Lake Louise and Moraine Lake trailheads

From Lake Louise Village, follow Lake Louise Drive 3.3 miles to Lake Louise and a large parking lots south of Chateau Lake Louise. Moraine Lake Road branches off to the south from Lake Louise Drive 1.8 miles from the village, and continues 1.5 miles to the Paradise Valley parking lot and 7.3 miles to parking areas at Moraine Lake Lodge and north end of Moraine Lake.  Details for specific hikes follow.

Upper Lake Louise trailheads

traveling counterclockwise from Chateau Lake Louise:
  • Lake Louise Shoreline Trailhead - in front of Chateau Lake Louise.
  • Lake Agnes - follow signs to Lake Agnes Teahouse.
  • Plain of Six Glaciers - follow signs from back of Lake Louise.
  • Saddleback and Fairview Mountain - follow signs from Lake Louise boathouse.

Annette Lake/Paradise Valley trailhead

Follow Moraine Lake Road for 1.5 miles to the Paradise Valley parking lot on right hand side.

Moraine Lake trailheads

Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass, Eiffel Lake and Wenkchemna Pass trailheads in front of Moraine Lake Lodge.  Consolation Lakes trailhead at Moraine Lake Picnic Area.

Taylor Lake/Panorama Ridge Meadows trailhead

Drive Trans-Canada highway 4.9 miles west of Castle Junction (south of Lake Louise exit), and enter Taylor Creek Picnic area on west side of Trans-Canada.  Note that there may not be signs along the highway for trailhead. Use extreme caution when entering exiting picnic area.

on the trail

Premier scenic trails in the Lake Louise—Moraine Lake region during summer wildflower blooms or early fall color may include:

Larch Valley & Sentinel Peak

3 miles Round Trip to Larch Valley
7 miles Round Trip to Sentinel Pass (8,566 ft)

This area is heavily visited for huge rewards of lakes, wildflowers, larches, high peaks, and the views from Sentinel Pass. The trailhead is near Moraine Lake's shoreline below the lodge from Moraine Lake parking area on Moraine Lake Road.

Lake Annette & Paradise Valley

7 miles Round Trip with 820 feet of elevation gain to Lake Annette
add 5.8 miles Round Trip and 430 feet of elevation gain to Giant Steps falls

The trailhead at Paradise Valley parking lot on Moraine Lake Road.

Eiffel Lake & Wenkchemna Pass

7 miles Round Trip to Eiffel Lake
12 miles Round Trip to Wenchemna Pass (8,595 ft)

The trailhead is near Moraine Lake's shoreline below lodge from Moraine Lake parking area on Moraine Lake Road.

Saddleback & Fairview Mountain

4.6 miles Round Trip with 1,970 feet of elevation gain to Saddleback (7,650 ft)

The trailhead parking is near Chateau Lake Louise. There is an option to add 1.5 miles round trip with 400 feet of elevation gain to Fairview Mountain.

Plain of the Six Glaciers

6.8 miles Round Trip with 1,115 feet of elevation gain

Hike from Lake Louise to the Six Glaciers Teahouse with an option to add 1.5 miles round trip beyond the teahouse to higher views. The trailhead parking is near Chateau Lake Louise.

Lake Agnes

4.4 miles Round Trip with 1,330 feet of elevation gain

Hike from Lake Louise to the Lake Agnes Teahouse with options for hiking to higher views. The trailhead parking is near Chateau Lake Louise. 

Consolation Lakes

3.6 miles Round Trip with 215 feet of elevation gain

The trailhead parking is near Moraine Lake on Moraine Lake Road.

Taylor Lake & Panorama Ridge Meadows

8.2 miles Round Trip with 1,920 feet of elevation gain to Taylor Lake
add 3 miles Round Trip with  540 feet of elevation gain to Panorama Ridge Meadows or 2.5 miles Round Trip to O'Brien Lake

Located between Lake Louise and Castle Junction, hike to view wildflowers and subalpine larches in Panorama Ridge Meadows and the O'Brien Lake area. Good backcountry camps are at Taylor Lake. The trailhead parking is off Trans-Canada Highway 1, 4.9 miles west of Castle Junction and 11 miles east of Lake Louise. Taylor Lake & Panorama Ridge Meadows is also accessible via the Consolation Lakes Trailhead and the Moraine Lake access adding options for a one-way trip with a car shuttle in addition to a round trips from either trailhead with a backcountry camp at Taylor Lake.

Guidebooks

  • Canadian Rockies Trail Guide, 9thed. by Brian Patton & Bart Robinson (Summerthought Publishing 2011).
  • Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies by Craig & Kathy Copeland (hikingcamping.com 2016).
  • The World of Lake Louise: A Guide for Hikers by Don Beers (Highline Publishing 1991).

notes

  • Because of grizzly bear activity and for hiker safety, minimum party size restrictions of 4-6 persons in tight group  may occur from late June to mid-October. Groups may connect as needed to meet minimum party size.
  • Paradise Valley camp closures can occur when minimum group size restrictions in effect. Advance reservations required for backcountry camps in Paradise Valley and at Taylor Lake.
  • Review the Banff National Park weather forecast.

information for leaders

Considerations for international travel

  • Start by reviewing the latest regulations.
  • Everyone will need a passport or other valid ID such as a NEXUS card.
  • NEXUS cards can save a lot of time but only work if everyone in the car has one.
  • Make sure your vehicle insurance is valid for Canada.
  • Make sure your health insurance is valid for Canada.
  • Border crossing regulations are strict in both directions. Know what you’re allowed to take and declare everything to avoid problems.
  • You may be able to save time by checking alternate border crossings. Find apps that show updated times and other good tips.
  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September, October
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Land Manager: Banff National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • CNTS Lake Louise 82N/8
  • Lake Louise & Yoho Gem Trek Map
Activities

Upcoming Activities



Day Hike - Lake Louise—Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

Photography & Day Hiking Trip
Photo-oriented hikes during fall colors with golden larches on two scenic mountain trails Eiffel Lake/Ten
Difficulty: Moderate
Fri, Sep 18, 2020 - Sat, Sep 19, 2020
No Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
5 participants
Registration opens Jun 1
Seattle Branch
Trip Reports
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