Less than ten miles from beautiful Lake Louise in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies is the even more spectacular Moraine Lake. Situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, it is one of the most famous and most photographed views in all of Canada.
Getting the famous picture was high on our list of things to do and as we were staying in nearby Lake Louise, it was a short ten minute drive for us. However when we arrived at Moraine Lake that afternoon, the parking lot was packed with lots of people and tour buses – this is the one downside to visiting the area in June as it is busy everywhere. As we did not want this to be our view of Moraine Lake, we decided to leave and wake up early the next morning and come back then to beat the crowds.
The next morning we arrived to a near empty parking area just before 8:00am. From here, we crossed a small bridge over a stream before following the path up to the top of the Rockpile which you cannot miss.
The walk to the top of the Rockpile is 300 metres long with only a small elevation change and takes about fifteen minutes. It is not a difficult walk but as with the trails at Lake Louise, it is sensible to take your time and carry a bottle of water as the altitude is over 6000 feet so it feels much more tiring than being at a lower altitude.
Nothing will prepare you for the sight that you are greeted with at the top of the Rockpile. The view is just incredible and I simply could not believe how beautiful it was. Luck was on our side as it was such a perfect morning weather-wise and the colour of the water was beautiful.
There was only one other person at the top of the Rockpile when we got there however once they went a few minutes later, we had the whole area to ourselves for about the next twenty minutes. After taking some photos, just being able to sit in peace and quiet whilst taking in the beauty and tranquility of Moraine Lake was one of my favourite moments of our holiday and something I hope never to forget.
Sadly the peace and quiet was not to last. Just before 9:00am, we looked down towards the car park to see a long line of tour buses arriving and with them lots of people and lots of tour guides shouting unnecessary orders and instructions.
That was our signal to start getting ready to leave. Walking down the Rockpile was much quicker and it only took about ten minutes to get back to our car before going back to our hotel to start our journey along the Icefields Parkway to Jasper.
So my best advice if you are planning a visit to Moraine Lake is to get there as early as possible in the morning to avoid the crowds – it is simply a view that is worth waking up for.