Can You Drive to Moraine Lake in 2023? + Visiting Tips

can you drive to moraine lake?

Exploring Moraine Lake: Can You Drive There?

If you’re planning a visit to the iconic Moraine Lake nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, you might be wondering: Can I drive to Moraine Lake?

Situated near the picturesque Lake Louise Village, Moraine Lake is a renowned gem that attracts adventurers and nature enthusiasts from all around the world.

As you prepare for your journey to this stunning destination, let’s dive into the details and explore the options available for accessing Moraine Lake.

In this guide, we’ll provide insights into the best option to reach Moraine Lake, whether you’re traveling in the peak season or venturing there during the winter months.

I’ll also share with you everything you need to know for a memorable experience at Canada’s most beautiful lake!

Moraine Lake - Banff National Park

Can you drive to Moraine Lake?

No, you can no longer drive to Moraine Lake!

For adventurers and nature enthusiasts exploring the stunning Canadian Rockies, a visit to Moraine Lake deserves a spot at the very top of the Banff Bucket List.

Tucked within the majestic Banff National Park, Moraine Lake’s turquoise waters and dramatic alpine backdrop create a scene that’s often described as otherworldly.

While the allure of this glacial gem is undeniable, recent changes in transportation options have altered the way visitors access this natural wonder.

How can I get to Moraine Lake?

In late 2022, a significant change took place that impacted how visitors can reach Moraine Lake.

The road leading to the iconic lake’s parking lot was officially closed to personal vehicles.

This decision marked a pivotal moment in the preservation of the environment and the enhancement of the visitor experience in this cherished corner of the Canadian Rockies.

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Moraine Lake, Alberta

Why was the road to Moraine Lake closed?

The decision to restrict access to Moraine Lake by private vehicles wasn’t taken lightly. With the ever-increasing popularity of the region, the road closure was a proactive step to address the challenges brought about by heavy traffic and parking congestion due to an influx of tourism.

With just 96 parking spots available, the parking lot was often at capacity, especially during the peak summer months. The result of trying to find a parking spot for their personal vehicle was often frustrating for visitors seeking a parking spot in an area that’s as coveted as it is picturesque.

The closure of the road aligns with the broader vision of preserving Banff National Park’s natural beauty while ensuring that visitors can explore and appreciate it responsibly.

Recognizing the importance of conserving this natural treasure, Parks Canada made the decision to curtail personal vehicle access.

What is the Best Way to Get to Moraine Lake?

While the closure of Moraine Lake Road to personal vehicles presents a change, it’s one that’s designed to create a more sustainable and enjoyable experience for all.

Here are some of the possible transportation options for reaching Moraine Lake now:

The Best Way to Get to Moraine Lake:

Take a Shuttle Bus with Moraine Lake Bus Company

can you drive to moraine lake?

The introduction of shuttle services has become the primary mode of transportation to Moraine Lake.

I highly recommend booking with Moraine Lake Bus Company, especially if you’re hoping to catch sunrise at Moraine Lake, start at early morning hike before the crowds arrive, or book a return bus trip.

Moraine Lake Bus Company is the ONLY Moraine lake shuttle company that lets you pre-book your return journey. That way, you won’t be left waiting in line. They’re also the only option that will get you to Moraine Lake bright and early, if you wish – so important if you want to start one of the most popular hikes in the area before the crowds arrive, such as the famous Larch Valley Trail hike, or Consolation Lakes.

Moraine Lake, Lake Louise Canada

What is the Moraine Lake shuttle bus route?

Moraine Lake Bus Company’s shuttle bus follows the below route, stopping only at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

can you drive to moraine lake?

What is the schedule for the  Moraine Lake shuttle?

The below is the schedule for the Moraine Lake shuttle (updated as of August 2o23), but ensure this hasn’t changed by checking their official website.

can you drive to moraine lake?

What is the bus ride like to Moraine Lake?

The journey to Moraine Lake is more than just transportation; it’s an opportunity to be immersed in the breathtaking landscapes of Banff National Park.

As you embark on the road to this glacial paradise, you’ll pass through the awe-inspiring beauty of the Canadian Rockies. The scenic drive along the Trans-Canada Highway and Lake Louise Drive is a precursor to the grandeur that awaits you at the end of the journey.

Exploring Moraine Lake: Guided Tours vs. Shuttle Service

Are you planning a visit to the breathtaking Moraine Lake and wondering whether to opt for a guided tour or use the shuttle service?

Both choices have their benefits, but if you’re looking for some guidance during your Banff explorations, a tour to Moraine Lake might be the right option for you.

Let’s explore why a guided tour can offer you an exceptional experience enriched with local insights and convenient access to this popular destination:

Immersive Exploration with Expert Banff Guides

Joining a guided tour means delving into Moraine Lake’s wonders with an experienced guide by your side. As you ascend the Rockpile Trail, climb up Sentinel Pass trail or stroll along the Lake Louise Lakeshore, your guide shares captivating stories about the region’s history, geology, and culture.

This in-depth knowledge adds depth to your adventure and allows you to discover hidden gems in Banff that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Moraine Lake - Banff National Park

Efficient and Organized Itinerary

While the shuttle service is a reliable way to reach Moraine Lake, a guided tour provides a pre-booked and seamless round-trip experience. Forget about navigating time slots or finding parking at the Moraine Lake parking lot (you can’t drive on your own anymore anyways, as we’ve explained).

Instead, focus on exploring the wonders that await you. Guided tours are designed to optimize your time, ensuring you make the most of your visit, even with short walks and accessible trails, if that’s your preference and ability!

Insider Insights and Stories

Local guides bring the region to life with their personal stories and intimate knowledge. Learn about the history of the Village of Lake Louise, the impact of commercial buses on the area, and the significance of Paradise Valley.

Engage with your surroundings on a deeper level as your guide shares local secrets and best time of day to capture stunning photographs.

Unique Activities and Access

Guided tours often come with exclusive access to unique experiences. Whether it’s enjoying sunrise shuttles for the best views, providing photography tips, paddling on the turquoise waters with included canoe rentals, or allowing you time to browse the gift shop for souvenirs, these offerings enhance your adventure at Moraine Lake.

Reduced Hassle and Maximum Enjoyment

With a guided tour, you can focus on the experience of seeing Moraine Lake, not the logistics!

Instead, you’ll have enough time to immerse yourself in the serenity of Moraine Lake, regardless if its high season or the busiest time of the day to visit. They’ll make sure you score reservations and are set up with all you need for a great visit to this Banff gem.

While both guided tours and shuttle service offer access to the natural wonder of Moraine Lake, guided tours provide an enriched adventure with insightful narratives, exclusive access, and a deep connection to the area. The village of Lake Louise might be the starting point, but the journey through Moraine Lake’s beauty is where your unforgettable memories will be made.

Which do you prefer – planning a trip on your own and hopping on the shuttle, or taking a guided tour?

These are the BEST Moraine Lake Tours:

I’ve hand-selected the very best tours for visiting Moraine Lake, from a local’s perspective!

Lake Louise & Banff & Moraine Lake Tour from Calgary or Banff

Explore the incredible beauty that Banff National Park offers in a way that’s truly just for you!

This PRIVATE SIGHTSEEING TOUR will bring you to iconic, must-see Banff and area sites such as the breathtaking Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Emerald Lake, and much more!

Deep into the heart of the Canadian Rockies, you’ll have a chance to really savour the sights and possibly even encounter the region’s beautiful wildlife.

This personalized experience just for you and your group promises opportunity to relish each and every single moment, as this tour is tailed solely to your group.

You’ll Receive:

– Access to unique and privileged experiences.
– Freedom to set your own schedule, eliminating waiting times
– Crafting your trip according to your preferences and desires
– Benefit from local insights and knowledge, revealing hidden gems you might not have known about

Your experience is completely customizable!

What’s included in your adventure:

– A full day of Private Sightseeing, dedicated solely to your group.
– Inclusive of local taxes and Park entrance fees.
– Comfortable transportation provided by a licensed and insured commercial vehicle.
– Gratuities included
– Access to attractions like Banff Gondola, Canoe Rental, Glacier Ice Walk, and Skywalk, ensuring an all-encompassing experience

can you drive to moraine lake?

Banff & Yoho Parks | Lake Louise | Moraine Lake | Emerald Lake – PRIVATE TOUR

Explore the unparalleled beauty of Banff National Park and Yoho National Park in a way that’s truly your own!

Embark on a full-day, exclusive PRIVATE SIGHTSEEING TOUR that brings you face-to-face with iconic sites such as the breathtaking Lake Louise, the enchanting Moraine Lake, the serene Emerald Lake, the awe-inspiring Natural Bridge, and the majestic Takakkaw Falls.

Delve into the heart of the Canadian Rockies, taking all the time you need to savor the sights and possibly encounter the region’s diverse wildlife. This personalized tour ensures that you can relish every single moment without feeling rushed, as the journey is tailored solely to your group.

By opting for a Private Sightseeing Tour, you receive the following advantages:
– Access to unique and privileged experiences.
– Freedom to set your own schedule, eliminating waiting times.
– Crafting your trip according to your preferences and desires.
– Benefit from local insights and knowledge, revealing hidden gems you might not have known about.

Remember, your experience is completely customizable. Viator can create an exclusive journey that caters to your group!

can you drive to moraine lake?

What’s included in your adventure:
– A full day of Private Sightseeing, dedicated solely to your group.
– Inclusive of local taxes and Park entrance fees.
– Comfortable transportation provided by a licensed and insured commercial vehicle.
– Gratuities are taken care of.
– Access to notable attractions like Banff Gondola, Canoe Rental, Glacier Ice Walk, and Skywalk, ensuring an all-encompassing experience.

can you drive to moraine lake?

Private Guided Banff, Moraine Lake, Lake Louise & More Day Tour

Embark on an immersive journey through the breathtaking Canadian Rockies and uncover the wonders of Banff National Park with our exclusive private tour departing from Calgary.

This personalized adventure grants you the freedom to explore at your own pace, all while your knowledgeable guide imparts the rich history of Canada’s inaugural national park.

You’ll be treated to visits to iconic destinations such as Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Lake Minnewanka, ensuring a comprehensive experience of Banff’s natural beauty.

Perfect for those with limited time, this Banff National Park private tour covers the must-see attractions, ensuring you don’t miss out on any of the park’s wonders.

Tailored to Your Party:

This private tour is exclusively for your group, offering a personalized experience that caters to your interests and preferences.

Hassle-Free Departure:

Enjoy convenient pickup directly from your accommodations in the Calgary Metro area, eliminating the stress of planning transportation.

Flexible Itinerary:

With the flexibility to adjust the itinerary according to your liking, you have the freedom to linger at sites that captivate you the most.

What’s Included:

Private Transportation:

Travel in comfort and style with our private van or SUV, ensuring a seamless journey throughout the tour.

Taxes & Entrance Fees:

Your experience is hassle-free with the inclusion of GST (Goods and Services Tax) and park entrance fees.

Guided Gondola Rides:

Your adventure includes entrance fees for both the Banff Gondola Ride and the Lake Louise Gondola Ride, allowing you to soak in stunning panoramic views.

Access to Water Activities:

Dive into the serene waters with included rentals for canoeing, kayaking, and boating.

For an unforgettable encounter with Banff National Park and the mesmerizing landscapes of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, book this exclusive private day tour. Book now to secure your spot and embark on a journey of natural splendor and captivating history!

The Best Things to Do in Banff

Banff has so many amazing things to do and see, and you only have a limited time to visit and explore!

Not to worry, I’ve made you a list of the best things to do and see in Banff during your visit (besides the obvious – visit Moraine Lake!)

can you drive to moraine lake?

Visit Emerald Lake and Lake Louise

Immerse yourself in the spellbinding turquoise waters of Lake Louise and Emerald Lake. These captivating jewels offer the perfect canvas for capturing postcard-worthy photographs and embracing the tranquility of the mountain setting.

Emerald Lake also has an amazing hotel you can stay at called Emerald Lake Lodge. Read my review of Emerald Lake Lodge here

Ride the Banff Gondola for Amazing Views

Ascend to the pinnacle of Sulphur Mountain aboard the Banff Gondola. Let the breathtaking panoramic views of the Rockies unfold before you, with the option to relish the dawn or dusk for a magical touch.

Adventure - Jenn Explore, Travel Influencer and Photographer
Banff Via Ferrata – Banff Adventures

Challenge Yourself with the Banff Via Ferrata Climb

The Banff Norquay Via Ferrata is an exciting climbing adventure located at Mount Norquay in Banff offering protected climbing routes with steel cables and rungs. It’s a safe yet thrilling way to explore the alpine environment, with different routes for various skill levels. Experienced guides lead climbers, providing equipment, insights, and a memorable experience. As you ascend, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Banff and its surroundings. The activity is available from spring to fall and requires no prior climbing experience. Don’t forget to book in advance to secure your spot for this unique adventure.

Read my blog post about the Banff Norquay Via Ferrata

can you drive to moraine lake?

Johnston Canyon Icewalk

In the winter, embark on a guided ice walk through Johnston Canyon into a frozen wonderland. Equipped with ice cleats, you’ll venture into a world of frozen waterfalls and exquisite ice formations.

Or, if you’d rather hike it on your own, read my blog post about Johnston Canyon Icewalk

Columbia Icefield Glacier Experience

Venture to the expansive Columbia Icefield and partake in an exhilarating Ice Explorer ride onto the awe-inspiring Athabasca Glacier. This encounter with nature’s grandeur is truly unparalleled.

can you drive to moraine lake?

Wildlife Expedition

Set out on a guided wildlife expedition, where you’ll have the chance to spot Banff’s native residents, from elegant elk and nimble deer to majestic bighorn sheep, and even catch glimpses of elusive bears and wolves.

can you drive to moraine lake?

Bow River Scenic Float Trip

Embark on a serene float down the Bow River, absorbing the picturesque landscapes and keeping an eye out for potential wildlife encounters.

can you drive to moraine lake?

Take a Lake Minnewanka Cruise

Take in amazing mountains views and navigate the pristine waters of Lake Minnewanka on a guided cruise, while absorbing fascinating insights into the area’s history and geology.

See an Aerial View of Banff from a Helicopter

Elevate your adventure with a thrilling helicopter tour, soaring above Banff’s rugged terrain to relish unparalleled aerial perspectives of this remarkable destination.

Horseback Riding in Banff - Banff Trail Rides - Nest Things to Do in Banff National Park

Go Horseback Riding in Banff

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Rockies through horseback riding, traversing scenic trails and forging a unique connection with the environment.

Read my blog post about Banff Horseback Riding here

Indulge in the extraordinary tapestry of Banff’s tours, selecting those that resonate with your passions and align with the season of your visit. Each tour promises a distinct encounter, crafting unforgettable memories during your visit to Banff National Park.

can you drive to moraine lake?

Planning Your Visit to Moraine Lake: Tips and Things to Keep in Mind

As you plan your visit to Moraine Lake, make sure to keep in mind a few essential details:

Reserve Your Moraine Lake Shuttle Tickets in Advance:

To ensure a smooth experience, consider reserving your Moraine Lake shuttle tickets in advance. This way, you can secure your spot and have a stress-free journey. This is a very busy place, and you don’t want to be disappointed!

Be Aware of Peak Times and Seasonal Variations:

During the peak summer season, the demand for shuttle tickets is much higher. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and book your tickets early, especially if you’re visiting between late June and early October.

Beat the Crowds by Visiting in the Early Morning and Late Afternoon:

If you’re looking to beat the crowds and capture the best lighting for your photographs, early mornings and late afternoons are prime times to visit Moraine Lake! Most people visit during the mid-day, so if you’re craving photos of Moraine Lake without crowds in the background, this is not the best time to visit.

Pack Accordingly for Moraine Lake:

Depending on the season and weather conditions, you’ll want to make sure you come prepared with everything you need to keep you comfortable, warm, hydrated and nourished. See the next section for my recommendations!

can you drive to moraine lake?

Essential Items for Your Unforgettable Moraine Lake Trip

Planning a trip to the captivating Moraine Lake in the Canadian Rockies? Here are my recommendations for what to pack for a visit to Moraine Lake:

Backpack:

A sturdy backpack is your best companion for carrying your essentials while exploring Moraine Lake.

Food and Water:

Pack snacks, a refillable water bottle, and a picnic lunch to keep you energized throughout the day – especially if you plan to go on a hike!

There is also food and drinks available at Moraine Lake Lodge next to the lake, but be prepared for higher than usual prices.

Camera:

Capture the breathtaking landscapes and stunning vistas of Moraine Lake with your camera.

Jacket and Layers:

Weather conditions can change quickly in the Canadian Rockies, so bring a lightweight jacket and layers to stay comfortable.

Comfortable Footwear:

Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking the trails and exploring the area.

A Good Pair of Hiking Boots:

Or if you’re going for one of the amazing hikes starting at Moraine Lake, make sure to wear a great pair of hiking boots!

Hat and Sunglasses:

Protect yourself from the sun’s rays with a hat and sunglasses.

Sunscreen:

Shield your skin from the sun by applying sunscreen before heading out.

Insect Repellent:

Keep pesky insects at bay with insect repellent.

First Aid Kit:

Pack a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.

Map and Guidebook:

Carry a map of the area and a guidebook to enhance your understanding of Moraine Lake’s beauty.

Bear Spray:

As a safety precaution, bring bear spray when exploring the trails and wilderness.

Cash and Cards:

Carry some cash and credit cards for purchases, as well as any applicable entrance fees.

Mobile Phone and Charger:

Keep your mobile phone handy for navigation and capturing memories, and bring a portable charger.

Personal Identification:

Have your identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, in a secure pocket.

Weather-Appropriate Clothing:

Dress in layers to adapt to changing weather conditions and temperatures.

Travel Insurance:

Consider having travel insurance to ensure peace of mind during your trip.

Shuttle Ticket:

If you’re using the shuttle service, ensure you have your shuttle ticket or reservation.

Entertainment and Guidebook:

Pack a book, e-reader, or guidebook for downtime and insights about the area.

Personal Medications:

If you have any required medications, make sure to bring them along.

Reusable Bags:

Bring reusable bags for any trash or belongings you may accumulate during your visit.

Adventure Spirit:

Above all, bring your sense of adventure and a willingness to explore the natural beauty of Moraine Lake!

By packing these essentials and being prepared for various scenarios, you can fully immerse yourself in the wonder of Moraine Lake while ensuring your safety and comfort throughout your journey.

Whether you’re embarking on a scenic hike or simply soaking in the breathtaking views, these items will help make your Moraine Lake trip an unforgettable experience.

By embracing the new transportation options, visitors can continue to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Moraine Lake while contributing to the preservation of its natural splendor.

Whether you’re exploring Banff National Park for the first time or returning to a cherished destination, the journey to Moraine Lake is an adventure in itself, and the destination promises nothing short of breathtaking beauty and lifelong memories.

I hope this guide has been helpful and I hope you have an incredible trip to Banff!

JennExplores Signature Love Jenn

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The Cutest Cabin Rentals in Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta

The Best Time to Visit Banff

Johnston Canyon Winter Hike: Exploring frozen waterfalls in Banff National Park

Things to Do in Banff & Winter Activities for an Unforgettable Trip!

Best Places to Go Ice Skating Outdoors in Banff

Best Spas in Banff

The Best Lakes in Banff National Park

Banff Via Ferrata Tour at Norquay

The Best Hotels in Banff & Canmore, Alberta for a Romantic Getaway

Alpinist Route Review: Banff Via Ferrata Tour at Mount Norquay

Horseback Riding in Banff: Best Things to Do in Banff

Banff Meadow Spa & Pools: Best Things to Do in Banff

The BEST Cozy Cabins in Jasper National Park

Winter Getaway to Jasper National Park: Best Things To Do, Jasper Hotels and Where to Stay

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can you drive to moraine lake?

Can You Drive to Moraine Lake in 2023? + Visiting Tips


I’m Jenn, a photographer, travel writer, and content creator based out of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. I’m glad you’re here – now let’s explore!

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