Top 10 Fabulous Facts About Moraine Lake

It’s hard to imagine a fabulous lake being more picturesque than this one in Canada, and it’s no surprise why this spot has become one of the most photographed locations in the country.

In this article, you’ll discover the most interesting facts about Moraine Lake, one of the most astonishing natural landmarks in the world!

1. The lake is located in Canada’s oldest National Park

Moraine Lake is one of the main attractions of the Banff National Park, an amazing piece of nature in the province of Alberta in Canada.

This park is situated in the southwest of the country, at a distance of about 110 to 180 kilometers (68 to 112 miles) west of Calgary. This huge park covers an area of 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 square miles) and features numerous wonderful lakes, fascinating glaciers, and amazing forests.

It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, welcoming well over 3.6 million visitors every year. It’s also the oldest National park in Canada as it was established in the year 1885.

Banff National Park
Banff National Park / Ethan Shahagun /

2. It’s situated in a famous mountain range in Canada

The lake is fed by glaciers in the area and it’s situated in a section of the huge Canadian Rocky Mountains called the “Alberta Rockies” (the other section is called the British Columbia Rockies).

The Canadian Rockies are in turn part of a much larger chain of fabulous mountain ranges simply referred to as the Rocky Mountains, the largest mountain range in North America.

This obviously means that the area is extremely mountainous and therefore, the lake’s surface area is situated at a height of approximately 1,884 meters (6,181 feet).

Alberta rocky mountains view
The Rocky Mountains in Alberta / Cassidy Joyes /

3. The valley it’s situated in is dominated by ten peaks

Moraine Lake is located in a magnificent valley of the Alberta Rockies called the “Valley of the Ten Peaks.” The obvious explanation for this name is that this valley is surrounded by 10 distinctive peaks, all well over 3,000 meters above sea level.

This is also why the lake is one of Canada’s most picturesque locations as these majestic mountains form an incredibly wonderful background to the lake.

The 10 peaks are:

  1. Mount Fay – 3,235 meters / 10,613 feet
  2. Mount Little – 3,088 meters / 10,131 feet
  3. Mount Bowlen – 3,072 meters / 10,079 feet
  4. Tonsa – 3,057 meters / 10,030 feet
  5. Mount Perren – 3,051 meters / 10,010 feet
  6. Mount Allen – 3,310 meters / 10,860 feet
  7. Mount Tuzo – 3,246 meters / 10,650 feet
  8. Deltaform Mountain – 3,424 meters / 11,234 feet
  9. Neptuak Mountain – 3,233 meters / 10,607 feet
  10. Wenkchemna Peak – 3,170 meters / 10,401 feet
Moraine Lake Valley of the ten peaks
View of some peaks at sunset / Robert Berdan /

4. It’s a relatively small and very shallow lake

One of the most remarkable facts about Moraine lake is that it’s both a relatively small and also shallow lake. It only has a surface area of about 50 hectares (0.19 square miles).

It also reduces in size during the winter period as the glacier isn’t providing as much water. The lake reaches its peak level in June.

It’s also a pretty shallow lake as it only has a maximum depth of 14 meters (46 feet). Compared to for example the deepest lake in North America, Crater Lake, it’s more of a shallow pool. The lake in Oregon reaches a maximum depth of 594 meters 1,949 feet.

Moraine Lake size
View near the amazing lake / NingChien /

5. The lake gets its amazing color from the rocks surrounding it

One of the most amazing features of the lake is its distinctive blue-green color. This color reaches its peak in June as well when the lake reaches its highest level.

This color is the result of a natural process referred to as “refraction.” The rock flour of the surrounding glaciers gets deposited into the lake and reflects this particular color into the water.

One of the most famous examples in Europe of this process is the water of the Verdon River that flows through the Verdon Gorge in southern France. The color is pretty much the same as that of this fascinating lake in Canada.

Moraine Lake color
The blue-green color of the lake / Tobias Alt /

6. You can explore the amazing lake by renting a canoe

The lake is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region and there are plenty of things to do to explore the region. You can have a luxurious vacation in the “Moraine Lake Lodge” which offers plenty of activities including horseback riding, glacier tours, and even river rafting.

If you want to discover the amazing views from the lake’s surface, you can also head over to the canoe docking station at the edge of the lake and rent a canoe, an amazing experience, that’s for sure!

Moraine Lake canoe docking station
Canoe docking station at the lake / Pixabay

7. It’s one of the most amazing spots in the world to hike

An equally popular adventurous activity is to hike one of the trails surrounding the lake. The most popular trail is fittingly called the “Rockpile Trail” and even though it only has a length of 300 meters (980 feet) and elevation of 24 meters (79 feet), it provides some of the most amazing views.

A longer trail is called the “Consolation Lakes Trail” and has a total length of 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) and an elevation of 90 meters (300 feet). This brings hikers to the upper part of the lake as well over an even rockier landscape.

Moraine Lake rockpile trail
View from the trail above / WhyDon’tWeZJCDJ /

8. This spot is one of the most photographed locations in Canada

The main Rockpile Trail is the hiking trail that allows you to reach the most iconic spot in the area, and better yet, one of the most iconic spots in all of Canada!

The view from this location is often referred to as the “most photographed locations in all of Canada,” and it’s not that hard to understand why, isn’t it?

Moraine Lake fun facts
The amazing view of the lake / Pixabay

9. It was once featured on a Canadian $20 bill

The astounding view isn’t the only reason why this location became one of the most photographed spots in all of Canada. The view of the lake with the mountains in the background is also known as the “Twenty Dollar View.”

That’s because this exact spot was pictured on the Twenty Dollar Bill of Canada between 1969 and 1979. We tend to think that the view is worth quite a bit more than that!

Canada 20 dollar Moraine Lake
The lake featured on a $20 bill / Wiki Commons

10. It’s best to visit Moraine Lake during the Summer period

So what’s the best period in the year to visit Moraine Lake?

That would be the Summer months, and especially the month of June when the lake reaches its peak level and it features its amazing shade of azure blue.

Another reason why this is the best period to visit the lake, apart from it being the most enjoyable time of the year in terms of temperatures, is that the reflection is best visible when the lake’s water is at its highest point. This makes the views even more impressive due to the reflection of the mountains in the water.

Finally, due to the high lake’s high surface elevation, it also freezes over during the winter months!

Moraine Lake Frozen
The lake freezes over during the winter / Pixabay