Moraine Lake vs Lake Louise: Choosing Your Perfect Escape

Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake vs. Lake Louise, what's better for your next Canadian Rockies adventure?

Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are glacier-fed lakes surrounded by dramatic mountains, renowned for their stunning turquoise waters. While each lake offers a similar range of activities and amenities, there are subtle differences to consider.

While both lakes offer stunning views and unique experiences, there's more to consider before choosing one.

In this blog, we will compare Lake Louise vs. Moraine Lake—from accessibility and parking to accommodations and activities. Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or a peace-seeker, you'll find the perfect lake for your next adventure.

Overview of Lake Louise

Lake Louise, a stunning natural gem within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, is celebrated for its vibrant turquoise waters and dramatic mountain backdrop. The lake, fed by the Victoria Glacier, offers breathtaking views that attract visitors year-round. Renowned for its serene beauty and the iconic Fairmont Château Lake Louise, the area provides a perfect setting for both relaxation and adventure.

Lake Louise Lakeshore

Lake Louise Ski Resort (also located in Banff National Park) expands over 4,200 skiable acres, making it one of the largest ski areas in North America. This resort is distinct from the lake itself yet shares the same beauty, situated among towering peaks and offering a variety of winter sports and year-round activities. Here, visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities supported by world-class facilities.

In the summer, the resort operates a sightseeing gondola and chairlift for incredible vistas, wildlife viewing, mountain dining, and easy access to hiking trails.

Getting Here and Parking

There are multiple ways to get to the Lake Louise Ski Resort & Summer Gondola:


If you're driving to Lake Louise or staying nearby, it's a good idea to use the shuttle services. During the summer, the best approach is to drive to Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola. From there, you can park your car and catch a shuttle that takes you right to the lakeshore.

Roam Public Transit is a great option if you plan to explore nearby attractions while staying in Banff town. It's available all year round, and you won't need to drive. Just park your car and hop on the Roam bus to Lake Louise.

This is a hassle-free and bookable way to see the beautiful scenery without having to drive. For more information, check out Roam Public Transit.

Keep in mind that shuttle services are different between summer and winter, so plan accordingly to ensure a smooth trip.

Hiking or biking

For those who prefer the outdoors, hiking or biking is a great choice, especially from May to October.

Walking: Follow the Louise Creek Trail from Samson Mall in Lake Louise Village. This trail is 2.8 km one way, with an elevation gain of 195 m, and takes about 1.5 hours round trip. Start by crossing the Bow River bridge on Lake Louise Drive, and you'll find the trailhead downstream.

E-biking: Take the Tramline Trail, starting opposite the Lake Louise train station beside the Bow River bridge. This wide trail is 4.5 km one way, with an elevation gain of 195 m. It follows the route of a former tramway and offers a quiet ride from the valley floor to upper Lake Louise, ending at the upper Lake Louise parking lots.

Consider your group's ability when picking a trail, and always check trail and road conditions beforehand.

You can rent e-bike rentals at the Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola.

Driving a personal vehicle

Driving your own car to Lake Louise Lakeshore can be tricky, especially if you don't have flexible plans. Parking is a real challenge during the busy summer months, often sold out before dawn.

Vehicles may be turned away once the lot is full and there is no waiting area for open spots. Try visiting during less busy times or booking a shuttle ticket in advance to ensure you don't miss out.

Remember, parking fees apply from May to October.

Lastly, keep updated with BanffNow for real-time information on parking availability, major traffic updates, and tips on making the most of your visit to Banff National Park. Planning ahead can make your trip smoother and enjoyable.


  • Hiking: Hike trails like Lake Agnes, Big Beehive, and Plain of Six Glaciers for beautiful views.
  • Canoeing: Rent canoes to paddle Lake Louise's turquoise waters in the summer.
  • Sightseeing: Stroll along the lake shore for glacier-fed lake and mountain views; visit nearby Moraine Lake.


Accommodations are available at Lake Louise Lakeshore in Banff National Park:

At Lake Louise Lakeshore, the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers luxury accommodations, with rooms boasting stunning views of the lake and the mountains. Just a short distance away, the Paradise Bungalows offer a more private, cabin-style experience, ideal for those looking for a quiet retreat surrounded by nature.


Booking accommodations in advance is recommended during summer, Canadian public holidays, and weekends.

Overview of Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake, set in the stunning Valley of the Ten Peaks in Lake Louise, Alberta, is celebrated for its striking turquoise-blue waters. At an elevation of 1,884 meters, it is a glacially fed lake renowned worldwide, not only for its beauty but also as a feature on Canadian currency in the past.

Moraine Lake

Due to its high altitude, the lake is accessible from June to mid-October when the snow melts enough to allow safe passage.

Getting Here and Parking

Access Restrictions: Personal vehicles are not allowed on Moraine Lake Road year-round. Instead, visitors can use Roam Public Transit, Parks Canada shuttles, or approved commercial vehicle operators during open months (early June to mid-October). Those with disabilities, parking placard holders, and guests of Moraine Lake Lodge are exempt from these restrictions. Lake Louise Ski Resorts also offers shuttle packages that include gondola rides.

You can rent e-bike rentals at the Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola.

Free parking is available at Lake Louise Ski Resort & Summer Gondola, where the Park & Ride is located. To ensure access, it is highly recommended that shuttles, such as Parks Canada Shuttles or Moraine Lake Bus Company, be booked in advance.


  • Rockpile Trail: Ideal for enjoying either sunrise or sunset, this trail offers panoramic views of the lake and is less crowded during these times.
  • Moraine Lake Lakeshore Trail: An easy, flat trail that circles the lake, offering tranquil views and a quieter experience compared to busy areas.
  • Canoeing: Rent a canoe and paddle across the vivid blue waters, surrounded by dramatic mountain vistas.
  • Dining: Moraine Lake Lodge provides a scenic backdrop for a meal or a quick snack at the Snowshoe Café.
  • Hiking: The Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass hike is a 9.33 km round trip that's suitable for kids. The trail is steep, but the views of the surrounding mountains make it a great family hike.


For those planning a visit to Moraine Lake, there is one accommodation option available:

Moraine Lake's Moraine Lake Lodge offers a cozy and immersive mountain experience. The lodge provides a range of accommodations, from deluxe cabins to standard rooms. All accommodations feature rustic decor and spectacular views of the lake and surrounding peaks.

Amenities include a wood-burning fireplace, luxurious down duvets, and beautifully appointed bathrooms with soaker tubs. This secluded location ensures a peaceful stay, with no TVs or telephones in the rooms, although complimentary WiFi is available.​

Choosing Your Lake: Moraine Lake vs Lake Louise

Choosing between Lake Louise vs. Lake Moraine depends on what you’re looking to get from your experience. These beautiful lakes have stunning natural beauty and a range of activities, but they cater to different visitor preferences.

Moraine Lake is small and famous for its vibrant turquoise waters, surrounded by the dramatic Valley of the Ten Peaks. Access is limited to the warmer months, from June to mid-October, which preserves its scenic atmosphere. Activities like canoeing, hiking the Rockpile Trail for breathtaking views, and biking the scenic road when closed to vehicles are popular here.

Even though Lake Louise has private vehicle access and limited parking, it's not necessarily more accessible in the summer and it's recommended to pre-book shuttles.

Contrary to perceptions of greater development, Lake Louise isn't much more developed than Moraine Lake, and public dining options are limited. In summer, dining is exclusively for Fairmont Chateau guests, leaving no options for non-guests at the lake's edge. We recommend grabbing lunch at the Lake Louise Ski Resort & Summer Gondola (where you park your car at the Park & Ride).

Despite these limitations, Lake Louise remains a stunning destination with its vast, emerald waters framed by Victoria Glacier's towering peaks. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities from leisurely rambles along the lakeshore to more adventurous pursuits like skiing at the nearby resort, available year-round.


Lake Louise and Moraine Lake have similar amenities, including exclusive accommodations and basic facilities. Visitors have access to canoe docks and bathrooms at Moraine Lake Lodge and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Whether you choose the serene Moraine Lake or the vibrant Lake Louise, both destinations promise unforgettable experiences in the Canadian Rockies.

Now, if you're ready to plan your perfect escape, secure your trip by purchasing your shuttle passes online today.