Moraine Lake & The Twenty-Dollar View
Just a short drive from Lake Louise is a smaller lake, smaller in size but as spectacular as any of the surrounding lakes. It’s situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Moraine Lake is framed by ten jagged peaks providing a wonderful background for postcard-like photos. The water is a turquoise hue from the glacier melt and its brilliant blue-green color is a result of light refracting off the “rock flour”, a fine particle of rock. The intensity of the sun can affect the deepness and shade of the color in the water. The photo below was during a cloudy day but the sun was not as intense when it wasn’t blocked by the clouds and the shade of the water was much darker. The lake doesn’t melt until June and the water level, vibrant color, peak in late June. The lake is easily accessible and does not require a hike to admire the body of water. The parking lot is right along the shore and most visitors just walk and sit along the shore. The lake and the sweeping landscape with the mountains behind it is simply amazing! It’s a therapeutic experience to just sit in mother nature’s wonderful creation.
The famed “Twenty-Dollar View” is a vista of the lake a top the Rock Pile Trail, as once depicted on the back of the Canadian twenty-dollar bill between 1969 and 1979.
I would loosely call this a trail as it’s only a 5 minute ascent to the top of the rock pile. Some adventurous visitors do decide to climb the pile via the large boulders.
If your more adventures, there are multiple trails that can be hiked around the lake, accessible walks to more strenuous hikes. The further you venture from the crowds, the more solitude you’ll have. Something this lake provides that the more crowded Lake Louise does not, in my humble opinion. Other trails that can be explored are Moraine Lake Lakeshore Trail, Eiffel Lake, Wenkchemna Pass, Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass. During times of high grizzly bear activity there are hiking restrictions in place for many of the trails. During my stay here, hiking groups were restricted to four or more hikers on hikes further away from populated areas. One of the most popular hikes in the area is Larch Valley in the fall where the needles of the Larch Tree light up in rich shades of a yellowish-gold-orange creating a surreal environment. This would be the reason why I chose to visit Banff National Park in Autumn, to see the leaves turn.
After my hike to Larch Valley, the sun was more intense, and with less cloud cover, it gave the lake a more colorful and brighter hue of turquoise.
The lake is definitely one place you shouldn’t miss and being so close to Lake Louise, you can easily visit the two on the same day.
Definitely get your own photo of the “Twenty-Dollar View.”