You’ve likely seen the photos – a stunning landscape of mountains and river in the beautiful Canadian Rockies where a large Canadian Pacific Railway train wraps itself through the beautiful landscape.
This quintessential Canadian viewpoint is called Morant’s Curve. It appears as if straight out of a storybook, and it’s also extremely easy to visit!
Read on to learn how to see the coveted train view at Morant’s Curve.
How do you get to Morant’s Curve?
Good news – Morant’s Curve is an extremely easy viewpoint to get to!
It is located near Lake Louise along the Bow Valley Parkway, a scenic route (alternative to the main highway #1 route) that runs between Banff and Lake Louise.
Morant’s Curve is about only a 10 minute drive from Lake Louise, or a 40 minute drive from the town of Banff; see the maps to follow.
There is a good-sized parking area on the side of the road that you can’t miss, opposite the viewpoint (where you’ll see a large clearing in the trees). Once you park, (safely) cross the Bow Valley Parkway and you’ll notice the iconic curve right away.
Morant’s Curve Directions from Lake Louise:
Morant’s Curve from Banff:
Why is it called Morant’s Curve?
This viewpoint was made famous by Nicholas Morant, Canadian Pacific Railway’s staff photographer who photographed for the company during the middle of the 20th century.
Many of his stunning images of the CPR trains traveling through this bend were used for CPR marketing.
How do I see the train at Morant’s Curve?
In all honestly, you’ll likely just need to set up, have a bit of patience and wait! Waiting for the train is part of the excitement.
The exact timing of trains can’t be predicted, because the trains are freight trains and not scheduled passenger trains.
You can usually hear the rumble in the distance once a train is approaching. Talk about excitement!
Trains come from both directions, so you’ll have to keep watching both directions of the tracks.
A few tips I have heard from other locals who visit frequently:
- Since the trains service businesses, most trains are scheduled to arrive at their destination during business hours. That means that train traffic is usually heaviest during surrounding business hours.
- On long weekends, it’s relatively quiet on weekend evenings. Traffic will start up again on holiday Monday to reach the destinations for when the businesses re-open on Tuesday.
- Trains often come every 30 minutes or so during peak times so don’t give up!
Tips to Photographing Morant’s Curve
When is the best time of day to photograph Morant’s Curve?
The best time to photograph Morant’s Curve depends upon the season, time of the year, and photography style/feel you are going for (personally, I prefer the early morning light).
What settings should I use to photograph the train at Morant’s Curve?
Are you looking to shoot the train tack-sharp, or do you want some blur to convey movement? Make this decision first, then shoot accordingly!
If you’re looking for some motion blur, set up a stable tripod and experiment with different shutter speeds depending upon the amount of motion blur you’re looking for (a 1 second shutter speed is great starting place).
If you’re looking to photograph the train tack-sharp, I’d recommend at least 1/320 of a second to freeze the train’s movement.
The viewing platform is pretty close to where the train runs by, so a wide angle lens can be helpful. A 24mm lens on a full-frame camera will work just fine in a pinch.
You may want to consider using a polarizing filter to cut through some of the glare from the sun on foilage and the river, and to also deepen the blues in the sky.
And remember to shoot in both directions and to walk around for a different perspective. All angles are beautiful here!
Questions or questions about visiting Morant’s Curve or Banff National Park and area? I’d love to hear from you – just leave me a comment below!