Best time to travel to Banff & Jasper National Parks

Moraine Lake

It's not a 20 dollar view, it's a million dollar view!

Moraine Lake in Banff & Jasper National Parks 2019 - Best Time
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© Jamie McCaffrey

Set in the Ten Peaks Valley, Moraine Lake is surrounded by rock piles, mountains, and waterfalls—a landscape so fantastic it almost seems unreal. The waters of Moraine Lake are a hypnotizing bright turquoise that changes colour as the glaciers melt. There is nothing better than sitting lakeside and absorbing the pure mountain air while taking in all these fantastic sights. You can explore this area further by going canoeing and hiking. This epic end-of-the-world place is sure to leave an ongoing impression.

Moraine Lake in Banff & Jasper National Parks - Best Season 2019

The brilliant blue-green colour of Moraine Lake is a result of light refracting off the fine particles of rock in the glacier tunnel that flows into the lake. Elevated at a height of 1,885 m, the lake can remain frozen until late May or even into June depending on temperatures. Peak water levels and the vivid colour can be seen in late June until early October, so you won't see turquoise water when the road first opens in late May. The best weather to view the lake is between late June and August.

Best time for Moraine Lake in Banff & Jasper National Parks 2019

There are many hikes around this magical place, ranging from accessible routes to more challenging trails. The Rockpile Trail, for example, is a short and easy path. The trail leads to the top of the natural dam—a vista known as the “Twenty Dollar View” because Canadian 20 dollar bills that have been issued between 1969 and 1979 have this scene on their back.

Best time to see Moraine Lake in Banff & Jasper National Parks 2019

After marvelling the beautiful lake surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, you can rent a canoe or go hiking choosing between dozens of scenic trails. Mind that Moraine Lake is an area with high grizzly bear concentration, so don't forget to carry a bear spray, travel in a group, and make noise to warn the bears.

Moraine Lake can be accessed by one of the highest roads in Alberta and the country—Moraine Lake Road. The asphalted road winds through the Valley of the Ten Peaks, one of the most photographed spots in Canada. Due to heavy snowfalls and blizzards, the road is closed from early October to late May, but dates may vary from year to year.

Mountain road to Moraine Lake 2019
Mountain road to Moraine Lake
Road to Moraine Lake 2019
Road to Moraine Lake
Banff & Jasper National Parks
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Banff & Jasper National Parks