Western Canada: Moraine Lake

Continued from Lake Louise

In late May in the Canadian Rockies of Banff National Park, night doesn’t fall until 10pm.  The soft evening light invites romance, as well as a few more hours outdoors. 

It’s the perfect time to visit Lake Louise’s pretty cousin, Moraine Lake.

A 1/2 mile shy of Lake Louise itself and a 15-minute drive from town, you reach Moraine along a well-paved road that plummets on one side to the Pipestone River gorge, bordered by massive Rockies.

You end at a small parking lot for the stylishly-designed Moraine Lake Lodge and walk 100 feet to the lake itself.  Compare my snowy photo here with the one on the Lodge’s website, and you can see the real difference between low and high season…but even shrouded in clouds and ice, this is a quietly beautiful spot.

In late May 2008, at 9pm at night (when this photo was taken), we had the whole lake to ourselves, save the wildlife.  Hawks flew all around us, forsythia budded, and a long, billowy plume of woodsmoke puffed from the Lodge’s main chimney. 

We stayed snuggled on a lone bench until the sky turned pale purple, and the ice on the water started to glow.


Continued in The Almost-Road to Jasper: Part One


  1. I lived in the Rockies and Moraine Lake was one of my fave places. Thanks for writing about one of the many beautiful places in The Rocky Mountains.

  2. Sonya, you’re so lucky to have had the chance to live in this part of the world! It’s just about the cleanest air we’ve ever breathed…but then, of course, we live in L.A. Sigh.

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