Lake Louise and Lake Morane side by side.

Are you planning a trip to Banff with limited time? Are you struggling with the ultimate question: Lake Louise vs Lake Moraine? Well, look no further. This blog post is going to explain which lake is right for you and maybe even persuade you to visit both!

Both Lake Louise and Lake Moraine claim the title of being the most visited lakes in Canada. And for good reason! 

Lake Louise is probably the most popular lake to visit due to its milky turquoise water, its stunning mountain backdrop, and its many hiking trails that give you incredible views from above.

Lake Moraine is the classic Canadian postcard picture. With its insanely blue water and the lake surrounded by the ten peaks, this iconic view has been attracting people to visit the Rockies since tourism began. 

Each lake has something for everyone, and each has its own unique reason to visit. 

Comparing two of Canada’s most beautiful lakes is not an easy thing to do.

Lake Louise vs Lake Moraine: Everything You Need to Know 

To help you decide, I will compare each lake. We will go into detail about the hiking trails, how to get to each destination, who has the best views, canoeing, sunrise tours, and more. 

Lake Louise shoreline with flowers in the foreground and trees and mountains in the background.

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Can we skip to the good part? show

A little bit of history on both lakes

Lake Louise is also known to the Indigenous people as Horâ Juthin Îmne (pronounced Ho-run-num-nay), meaning “lake of the little fishes.” This is because only small fish like cutthroat trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish can survive in the cold glacier-fed water. 

When the Europeans arrived, they made Lake Louise an outpost for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1884. This lake has gone by a few names, like Holt City, Laggan, and Emerald Lake, before being renamed for the final time to Lake Louise. 

Lake Louise was named after Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. 

Lake Moraine became part of Banff National Park in 1885;, before that, it was home to the indigenous people who lived off the land. Then the Europeans came in the 17th century and started trading with the indigenous people, using them as guides to explore the surrounding area. 

Unfortunately, when Banff’s sole focus became tourism, the indigenous people were moved on. Parks Canada has spent the last 50 years trying to rectify their mistakes by building bridges and creating stronger relationships within the community. 

Moraine Lake is nicknamed the twenty-dollar view as it was featured on the reverse side of a $20 dollar note between 1969 and 1979. 

Lake Moraine early morning with the sun on the top of the ten peaks and the lake reflecting the mountains.

How to get to Lake Louise and Lake Moraine 

It is more than likely that your starting destination will be Banff National Park. 

Lake Louise is a 45-minute drive, and Lake Moraine is an hour and a half drive. 

As Lake Louise is also a central hub, you will need to pass through here to get to Lake Moraine; therefore, depending on your itinerary, you might want to stay in the Lake Louise village

Arriving by car

Lake Louise does have a carpark at the lakeshore, but it has limited parking. Between June and October, you will be fighting with tourists to get a spot. It is recommended to come as early as 3am to secure a park. 

However, there are perks to that, as you will get to see a beautiful sunrise. 

You will have to pay for parking at the lakeshore. 

This is to encourage more people to use the buses provided. 

At the parking metre, you will be charged $36.75 and will need to put your registration number in. 

In June 2023, Lake Moraine car park permanently closed for personal vehicles as the congestion was having a harmful impact on the environment and creating safety concerns. 

Now you are encouraged to use the shuttle services provided.

Arriving by bus to Lake Louise

Lake Louise is open year-round and has a number of services to help you visit the lake. 

The most popular method of transport is the 8X Roam transit bus. 

This service departs from the Banff transit hub in the middle of town and runs roughly every hour. There are two lines to this bus: the prepaid tickets and the walk-on passengers. 

Tickets are $10 each way, with a $3 booking fee if booked online. However, because the online tickets sell out so quickly, they have a first-come, first-served line. The bus driver will let on all the pre-booked passengers before filling the rest of the seats to walk on passengers. 

There is no guarantee you will get a seat this way. 

I recommend getting the first bus in and turning up half an hour to forty minutes early to avoid disappointment if you cannot book online. 

Only the really committed will be waking up at the crack of dawn to stand in a line.

If you are staying in the Lake Louise village, you can park at the Lake Louise ski resort for free and hop on a Parks Canada shuttle. Unfortunately, bookings for this shuttle can only be made two days in advance. Tickets cost $8 (or $6 if you book over the phone) one way, and there is a $3 booking fee. 

Bus layout on the 8x roam transit from Banff to ake Louise.

Arriving by bus to Lake Moraine

Lake Moraine is not an easy place to get to! With limited bus services, you will need some forward planning.

One of the only options going directly from Banff to Lake Moraine is the Roam Transit Number 10 Moraine Lake Bus. This bus is only available in the fall. Last year’s dates were the 18th of September to the 9th October 2023. 

Therefore, expect 2024 to be similar. It is important to book ahead of schedule to avoid disappointment. 

Tickets are $10 each way with a $3 booking fee, and you can pick your arrival and departure times. 

The tickets are released every week for the week after. 

I suggest going as early as possible to avoid the crowds. 

If you would prefer to visit Moraine Lake in the summer months, you can get the super pass for $25 which connects the 8X Roam bus from Banff to Lake Louise and the Parks Canada shuttle to Moraine, if you are outside the number 10 schedule. 

Departing from the Lake Louise summer gondola and Samson Mall is the Moraine Lake bus company

From the Samson Mall, you can get the shuttle bus as early as 4am to catch the sunrise.

If you have a car, you can park at Samson Mall before 6am. However, if you choose to go after this time, there is only parking available at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. Parking is free at both locations.

Tickets cost $35 for a return, and certain times allow a 1-hour stop at Lake Louise before heading to Moraine Lake, meaning you can admire them both on the same day. 

Similar to the Moraine Lake bus company, Parks Canada has a shuttle service that starts at Lake Louise Ski Resort and takes you to Moraine Lake.

Parks Canada Shuttle only allows bookings two days in advance, which means you will need to set an alarm for the release time to get in early and book your slot. 

Tickets cost $8 (or $6 if you book over the phone) one way, and there is a $3 booking fee. 

Lake Moraine bus from Banff to the lake.

Cycling to the lakes

If you would like more of a challenge, then you can hire bikes in Banff National Park that can transport you to the lakes. 

You can hire e-bikes and normal bikes from Snowtips Bactrax, Ultimate, Black Diamond, and Banff Adventures. 

The trail from Banff to Lake Louise is along the Bow Valley Parkway and is deemed one of the best road biking trails in Canada. The track is an old highway and gets little to no traffic. 

If you are a nervous cyclist, there are large shoulders, making it easy for vehicles to pass by. Parks Canada also closes the road to cars in the summer to make it solely a bike track. 

The trail is 58 km (36 miles) one way and has a 412-metre elevation gain. There are a few hills, which makes pedal-assisted e-bikes an easier option. 

As Lake Moraine is another 26 km (16 miles) away, I recommend starting your journey from Lake Louise. The Lake Moraine Road was closed to vehicles in 2023 to help control tourists. The lake is only open to the public in certain months. With the beginning of the season being June. 

If you want to avoid the crowds and the climate is safe to do so, you can cycle in before the official start date or after. Lake Moraine is extremely popular, and it is unlikely you will get the view to yourself if you don’t do this. 

However, I would not advise you to visit too far out of season as it is closed for a reason. A few days before the official open and close date won’t hurt. 

Ebike standing next to a rock wall with grass field, trees and a mountain behind.

So which lake is easier to get to, Lake Louise or Lake Moraine? 

The Answer: Lake Louise

Day Trips from Banff to Lake Louise and Lake Moraine

If you are limited on time or not a keen hiker, then you can always combine the two on a day trip from Banff. 

Companies like Discover Banff Tours and WowBanff offer a service that takes you to both locations and gives you time in each location to soak up the beauty and get some epic snaps of the lakes. 

The general outline of these trips is an hour at each lake for photographs and an easy walk around the lake shore. 

If you don’t want to miss out on a hiking opportunity but want to see both, there is a tour that gives you the chance to see both lakes and do the stunning Consolation Lake hike. 

Lake Louise vs. Lake Moraine: Hiking Trails 

Both Lake Louise and Lake Moraine are home to some of the most beautiful scenic hikes. With trails ranging from 1 hour to 8 hours, there is something for everyone.

The Best Hikes to Do in Lake Louise

What I love most about hiking in Lake Louise is that you can combine several different hikes into one, tailoring the trails to be longer or shorter if you prefer. 

Lake Louise Lakeshore 

  • Distance: 4km (2.5 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 1 hour round trip
  • Elevation: little to none 
  • Lakeshore hike rating: 4.6/5

This is the easiest hike available at Lake Louise. The trail is out and back, curving around the east side of the lake. The hike is family-friendly and a good one if you are on a day trip combining both lakes. 

The beauty of this trail is that it can be combined with the Plain of Six Glaciers and the Big Beehive. 

Flowers alonvg the Lake Louise Lakeshore with the mountains and lake behind.

The Plain of Six Glaciers 

  • Distance: 14.6km (9 miles) 
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Duration: 4 to 5 hours round trip
  • Elevation: 514m
  • Six Glaciers hike rating: 4.7/5

This hike starts off at the lakeshore and then trails up along the glaciers. If you look back, you will see Lake Louise in the distance. As you continue to climb up, you will come to a tea house where, if you take cash, you can have a drink and a treat. 

Continuing on from the teahouse, the path gets steeper, more uneven, and not maintained. The path is still easy to follow, but watch your footing. 

Once you reach Abbots Pass Viewpoint, you will be welcomed by the Victoria Glacier and Mt. Lefroy. 

As this is an out-and-back trail, you will have to go back the way you came. However, this will be significantly easier as it is downhill. 

Important tip: Be sure to check the Plain of Six Glacier hiking trail information before embarking on the route, as there are avalanche warnings early in the season. 

Lake Agnes Tea Room

  • Distance: 7.4km (4.5 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Duration: 2 to 3 hours round trip
  • Elevation: 385m 
  • Lake Agnes hike rating: 4.7/5

The Lake Agnes Tea Room Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Lake Louise. This trail can also be combined with the Big and Little Beehives. 

Follow the trail up past the chateau and up the short, paved path; you will soon find yourself on a steady incline in the forest leading you to Lake Agnes. As you are heading up, you will see signs for Mirror Lake. This is a short detour and can be added to your journey. 

As you continue up a series of switchbacks, you will find yourself walking next to a waterfall, and after a little series of stairs, you will reach the gorgeous Lake Agnes and its teahouse. 

I suggest taking cash, as there is a $4 charge to use the card machine. 

Little Beehive

  • Distance: 9.2km (5.7 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging 
  • Duration: 3-5 hours round trip
  • Elevation: 586m
  • Little Beehive hike rating: 4.8/5

The Little Beehive Trail is the perfect addition to the Lake Agnes Tearooms. The hike gives you epic views of Lake Louise from above and Mount Fairview. 

Both Beehive trails are relatively similar, with the little one being a smidge easier. Both offer fantastic views. 

After Lake Agnes, the trail will start to climb above the trees, giving you access to several stunning viewpoints looking over the lake. 

Big Beehive

  • Distance: 10.8km (6.7 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging 
  • Duration: 3-5 hours round trip
  • Elevation: 718m 
  • Big Beehive hike rating: 4.8/5

The Big Beehive is another one of the most popular hikes in Lake Louise and can be combined with several different trails to cater the hike to your liking. 

This hike, like the little one, offers stunning views of Lake Louise from above the trees.

The hike offers different scenery and a mixture of hiking experiences. From forest walking to climbing a ridge.

Big Beehive viewpoint overlooking the Milky blue Lake Louise.

The Best Hikes to Do in Lake Moraine

Moraine Lake also offers stunning hiking trails with different terrains and scenery.

Rockpile Trail

  • Distance: 0.8km (0.5 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 10 minutes round trip
  • Elevation: 10m 
  • Rockpile hike rating: 4.7/5

Probably the easiest hike you will do for the most rewarding views! 

You will climb a small series of rock stairs up to the famous 20-dollar view. There you will see the stunning blue Moraine Lake, surrounded by the ten peaks. 

Moraine Lakeshore

  • Distance: 3.7km (2.3 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour round trip
  • Elevation: little to none
  • Lakeshore hike rating: 4.7/5

This easy hike starts at the canoe docks and works its way around the lakeshore, weaving in and out of the forest. 

It offers stunning views of the lake and the ten peaks and is probably the most underrated walk in Moraine Lake.

Lake Moraine Lakeshore.

Larch Valley 

  • Distance: 8.6km (5.3 miles)
  • Duration: 3 to 4 and a half hours 
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (depending on your fitness level)
  • Elevation: 535m
  • Larch hike rating: 4.7/5

The Larch Valley Trail in Lake Moraine has been my favourite hike so far! If you embark on the Larch Valley hike in September, you will be blown away by the feeling of autumn and Christmas wrapped up together in one amazing hike. 

The trek starts off as crushed gravel and continues that way for the majority of the hike. With the switchbacks giving you a little more uneven ground. 

You will walk in dense forest, and the further up you go, the more of the mountains will peep through the trees. 

You will see Mount Temple and Mount Eiffel as you come to a clearing and the trail becomes flat again.

If you continue all the way to the end of the track, you will be greeted by one of the Minnestimma Lakes and the Sentinel Pass trailhead. 

Sentinel Pass 

  • Distance: 11.1km (6.9 miles)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 hours 
  • Difficulty: Moderate to challenging 
  • Elevation: 749m 
  • Sentinel hike rating: 4.8/5

As you finish the Larch Valley Trail, there is an opportunity to hike Sentinel Pass.

You will start the hike off by crossing the lake on a little “rock bridge” and then continue zigzagging up. From the bottom of the trail, you can see the pathway up to the top. 

Be sure to look to your left to see the Larch Valley and the 10 peaks from a higher perspective. 

From the top, you will get 360 views of Banff National Park, including the Larch Valley, Paradise Valley, Grand Sentinel, Mount Temple, Pinnacle Mountain, and more!

Minnestimma Lake and the Sentinel pass trail zigzagging in the mountain range.

Consolation Lakes 

  • Distance: 7.9km (5 miles)
  • Duration: 1.5 to 2.5 hours round trip
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate 
  • Elevation: 331m 
  • Consolation hike rating: 4.5/5

The Consolation Lake Trail is a great hike to combine with the Rockpile. The trail is nice and easy, with very little uphill hiking. 

You will start in the forest and follow a stream all the way to Consolation Lake. Along the hike, you will see views of the Tower of Babel.

At the lake, you will also see Panorama Peak, Bident, and Quadra Mountain.

Eiffel Lake Trail 

  • Distance: 12.2km (7.5 miles)
  • Duration: 3 to 5 hours round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Elevation: 625m
  • Eiffel Lake hike rating: 4.6/5

The Eiffel Lake Trail is a diverse trail that rewards you with beautiful views of the Valley of Ten Peaks. 

The trail goes through forests and wildflower meadows before giving you panoramic views of the mountains. 

For a longer hike, you can continue onto Wenkchemna Pass.

Did you know you can hike from Lake Louise to Lake Moraine via the Paradise Valley Trail?

However, this is a long and challenging route and should only be completed by experienced hikers. 

This hike is over 20km one way (12.4 miles), with a steep section going over Sentinel Pass. 

The hike can start at either lake, depending on where you wish to end up. 

Along the way, you will get to see Lake Annette, Mount Little Temple, and Mount Temple. 

So which lake has better hiking options, Lake Louise or Lake Moraine? 

The Answer: It is a tie. Both lakes have incredible hiking trails that offer short and long routes.

Sunrise at Lake Louise and Lake Moraine

If you want a magical experience and are willing to get up at silly o’clock, then I highly recommend seeing Lake Louise or Lake Moraine at sunrise. 

Watching the sun peep over the mountains and the colour of the lake get brighter with only a handful of people is a bucket list ticker. It is probably one of the only times you will get the lake without the crowds. 

Lake Louise is an easy sunrise to watch for free (if you don’t include the parking metre), but with Lake Moraine, you will need to book a sunrise tour or the Moraine Lake bus company

During a sunrise tour, you will get the opportunity to see Lake Louise and Lake Moraine before the crowds. The sunrise part is normally at the beautiful Lake Moraine. You will get to stay there for roughly an hour and a half and soak up the colours of the sky. Then you will head to Lake Louise for another hour and a half of time to take pictures and do the lakeshore walk if you wish. 

The Lake Moraine Bus Company has two shuttle times for the early risers, one at 4 a.m. and one at 5 a.m. (note that in June and July the 5 a.m. arrives just a few minutes before sunrise).

Depending on the time of year, the sunrise bus is between $99 and $149 for a return trip. The pick-up and drop off location is the Samson Mall in Lake Louise Village. 

Lake Louise vs. Lake Moraine: Other Activities 

Believe it or not, both Lake Louise and Lake Moraine offer more than just stunning views and epic hikes. 

Other Activities in Lake Louise 

One of the top things to do in Lake Louise other than hiking is canoeing on the lake. 

Canoeing at Lake Louise 

If you want the full immersive experience of seeing Lake Louise, then you might want to look at hiring a canoe from the Fairmont. 

These canoe rentals operate from the boatshed at the entrance of Lake Louise. The hiring process is on a first-come, first-served basis, and their opening hours are from 8.30am to 8pm. This is a seasonal activity that runs from late May to early October. 

Canoeing on Lake Louise is an amazing experience, but it comes with a hefty price tag. 

1 hour of Lake Louise canoeing: $165 + GST 

30 minutes Lake Louise canoeing: $155 + GST 

If you are a guest at the Fairmont Chateau you are entitled to a discount: 

1 hour of Lake Louise canoeing: $105+GST 

30 minutes Lake Louise Canoeing: 95+GST 

The boat can either hold 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children.

Kayaking and SUPs 

If you have a rental car, you can always hire a kayak or SUP from Banff and take it to Lake Louise. Sometimes the bus drivers get a little funny about carrying them on, as they can be a bulky item.

You can rent kayaks and SUPs from the following companies: 

Skibig3 (Banff)

SUP half day: $62 (Mon – Thurs) $68 (Fri – Sun)
SUP full day: $83 (Mon – Thurs) $89 (Fri – Sun) 

Kayak full day: $139 (Mon – Thurs) $145 (Fri – Sun) 

These are in store prices; if you book online, you can save yourself 14%.

Full days are 24 hours, not their working hours, which makes it easier if you want to pick up the inflatable the day before. 

Bow Valley Sup and Surf (Canmore)

SUP half day: $45
SUP full day: $65

Kayak full day: $75 

Kayak Tandem, full day: $135

They do offer a day before pick up for an additional $40. 

Horseback riding Lake Louise 

If you want to see Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies in a different way, why not try horseback riding? 

Brewster Adventures offers a variety of trails, starting at $175 for 2 hours and ranging to 7-hour rides worth $395. 

They offer horseback riding to Lake Agnes Tea House, the Plain of Six Glaciers, Paradise Valley, and more! 

Lake Louise Gondola

The Lake Louise Gondola is not actually at the lake; it is located 10 minutes up the road at Lake Louise Ski Resort. 

The Gondola operates year-round and offers spectacular views of the mountains. 

All the rewards without the hard work! 

You can even see the turquoise blue of Lake Louise in the distance.  

This is a great activity to add to your day. 

Parking at the Lake Louise Ski Resort Is free, and there are frequent shuttles from the parking lot heading to the lake. I recommend parking here and booking a shuttle, then hiking around the lake before coming back to the ski resort for a gondola ride.

Tickets for the Gondola are $62 per adult or free if you have a spring pass or a ski pass from the previous season. 

If you book online, you can also save 10%.

View from the Lake Louise Gondola. In the distance you can see the lake and the mountains.

Lake Louise Winter Activities

Lake Louise stays open all year, giving everyone a chance to see it. 

In the winter, certain trails are closed over ill-advised as there are avalanche risks. 

But do not dwell, as when the lake freezes, you can ice skate for free. Either bring your own skates or rent them at the Fairmont or in town with Banff Adventures. 

During the winter, there is a permanent ice castle and bar for you to explore. 

The Fairmont Chateau also puts on an ice sculpture festival called Ice Magic. This competition sees talented artists start with a block of ice and create a masterpiece. Tickets cost $20 and should be booked in advance. 

Ice Magic runs from the middle of January to the beginning of February. 

They also have a similar event in Banff Town Centre that is completely free.

Two mice in a beanie hat made out of ice.

Other Activities at Lake Moraine 

Canoeing at Lake Moraine

Similar to Lake Louise, you can also canoe on Moraine Lake. 

Canoeing on Moraine Lake is probably going to be one of the coolest experiences you can have. 

Surrounded by the majestic ten-peaked valley, this canoe ride feels like a scene straight out of a movie.

Canoe rentals are available at the lake’s edge boatshed.  

They operate on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The season runs roughly from the middle of June to the middle of September. This is dependent on how long the lake takes to unthaw and when the levels of water drop due to less glacier melt in the colder months. 

The opening times are 9.30am – 5pm.

The price for a 1-hour canoe ride on Lake Moraine is $140 +GST, and the vessel can seat up to 3 adults. 

Canoes sitting on Lake Moraines shoreline.

Kayaking and SUPs 

Bringing your own equipment to Moraine Lake is a little trickier without a car, but not impossible. You can bring the packed-down inflatables on the shuttles. 

You can rent kayaks and SUPs from the following companies: 

Skibig3 (Banff)

SUP half day: $62 (Mon – Thurs) $68 (Fri – Sun)
SUP full day: $83 (Mon – Thurs) $89 (Fri – Sun) 

Kayak full day: $139 (Mon – Thurs) $145 (Fri – Sun) 

These are in-store prices; if you book online, you can save yourself 14%.

Full days are 24 hours, not their working hours, which makes it easier if you want to pick up the inflatable the day before. 

Bow Valley Sup and Surf (Canmore)

SUP half day: $45
SUP full day: $65

Kayak full day: $75 

Kayak Tandem, full day: $135

They do offer a day before pick up for an additional $40. 

So, which lake has the best activities, Lake Louise or Lake Moraine? 

The answer is Lake Louise. 

Lake Louise vs. Lake Moraine: Hotels 

Both Lake Louise and Lake Moraine only have one hotel on their shorelines.

Naturally, this level of exclusivity comes with a corresponding price tag.

If you want a chance of staying at the Fairmont or Moraine Lake Lodge, you need to book months in advance. 

The Fairmont Chateau in Lake Louise 

This Fairmont Chateau is a grand and luxurious hotel with a variety of different room choices, from lake views to full suites. 

You will be looking at around $1,000 per night (and that is booking a year in advance!). You also need to pay a $45 per night “experience fee,” which includes free wifi, gym access, yoga classes, discounts for canoe hire, priority line-up, winter rentals, shuttles, and kids camps. 

The Lake Moraine Lodge 

The Moraine Lodge is a classic and luxurious hotel in the heart of the Rockies. It is much smaller than the chateau, giving it a more intimate feel. 

With a nature-inspired room interior, it feels like a cosy log cabin surrounded by the mountains. 

Moraine Lake Lodge also offers a range of complimentary activities during your stay, like: 

  • Market Fresh Breakfast
  • Afternoon Tea and Coffee 
  • Canoeing on Moraine Lake
  • Free Parking
  • Naturalist Talks in the Library
  • Interpretive Guided Hikes 

Like the Fairmont Chateau, staying at the Lake Moraine Lodge will cost $1,000 per night, and that’s booking a year in advance. 

So, which lake has the better hotel, Lake Louise or Lake Moraine? 

The answer is Lake Moraine. 

Lake Moraine twenty dollar view

Lake Louise vs. Lake Moraine: Cafes and Dining 

After a hike, I am a sucker for some good food (you know I earned it!). 

Lake Louise actually exceeded my expectations by having tea houses on the hiking routes! 

Lake Agnes Tea House and the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House are both running businesses along the trail. The food ranges from cookies to chilli making it an excellent all-rounder. 

Both teahouses have zero to limited electricity, meaning all food is either helicoptered in or brought in by the staff. 

The Six Glaciers is currently taking cash only as they have been experiencing technical difficulties, but the Agnes Tearoom takes cards for an additional charge of $4. 

I paid $13.80 for a cookie and a lemonade on the card. 

Lake Louise Fairmont Chateau also puts on an incredible afternoon tea starting at $105 pp.

This package includes house-made scones, five different varieties of savoury plates with sandwiches, and my favourite part of any afternoon tea: four different sweet treats from their pastry chef.

Moraine Lake Cafe is temporarily closed, meaning the only food you can get is from the lodge.

Lemonade and cookie at Lake Agnes Tea House enjoying the view of the lake.

So, which lake has better food and dining, Lake Louise or Lake Moraine? 

The answer is Lake Louise. 

When is the best time to visit both lakes? 

Both Lake Louise and Lake Moraine are stunning, no matter what month you visit. However, if you like warm summer hikes, canoeing with the sun on your face, and taking refreshing dips, then you should visit during the months of June to September. 

If you would rather have cooler temperatures and Autumnal colours, then I suggest visiting from September to October. 

 The Larch Valley hike at Moraine Lake in fall is my absolute favourite. 

The combination of autumn colours and the dusting of snow was just magical. 

How to prepare for Lake Louise and Lake Moraine

Depending on which trails you embark on during your stay in the lakes will determine your footwear choice. The popular trails that I have mentioned in this article can be done wearing a sturdy trail runner trainer. I suggest the Soloman cross-hikes or the Vessi Stormburst Low Top

Before you start your hike, make sure you have checked the trail map and the notice boards for any route closures or wildlife sightings. 

Both Lake Louise and Lake Moraine are in the Rocky Mountain Bear Country; I do suggest carrying bear spray. Even though these hikes are touristy, it is better to be cautious. Make sure you make noise while on the trail, and for further information, check out the beginner guide to bear spray and safety.

The lakes are both surrounded by mountains, which means the temperatures are going to be a lot cooler than in other parts of Banff National Park. 

Be sure to pack: 

  • Bear spray
  • Suncream
  • Mini first aid kit
  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Hoodie/warm layers 
  • Gloves 
  • Water
  • Lunch and snacks 
  • Hiking poles if you prefer hiking with them
  • Phone/Camera
Chipmunk on the gravel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the water in Lake Louise and Lake Moraine so blue? 

There is a silly rumor that they paint the bottom of the lakes blue to attract tourists, but that is obviously nonsense. 

The real reason the water is so blue is because glacial meltwater carries sediments. Due to the light reflecting off the water and the combination of rock flour particles and glacial milk rubbing against the bedrock, it creates these incredible shades of blue. 

Can you swim in Lake Louise and Lake Moraine? 

You can swim in Lake Louise and Lake Moraine, but it is very rare that anyone does. This is because the water is glacier-fed and therefore freezing! 

Is Lake Louise or Moraine Lake better? 

This is completely down to personal preference. Both lakes are extremely popular, bringing millions of tourists each year to these picture-perfect locations. I personally think Moraine Lake is prettier, as I was blown away by the 10 peaks, but Lake Louise has better hiking trails for me. 

Can you do Lake Louise and Lake Moraine in one day? 

You can do both Lake Louise and Lake Moraine in one day. There are tours available and a bus pass that allows you to visit both lakes via a shuttle. You can also hike from one to the other, but it is a 21-kilometer (13-mile) trail that is challenging and takes roughly 10 hours.

Is Moraine Lake worth it?

Lake Moraine is 100% worth visiting. With its incredibly blue water and the grandness of the ten peaks surrounding the lake, it is breathtaking to see. The Rockpile hike to the $20 view is only a 10-minutes walk, making it accessible to almost everyone. 

How early do you need to get to Moraine Lake? 

I highly encourage you to get to Moraine Lake as early as possible, as it attracts millions of people a year and gets very crowded. Depending on where your starting point is, you can get a shuttle in as early as 3 a.m.

Final Thoughts 

In summary, both places are definitely worth a visit. With Lake Louise scoring 4 and Lake Moraine scoring 2, it is clear that Lake Louise is more set up and more of a destination, whereas Lake Moraine is more secluded, remote, and maybe even more special. 

If you have time during your stay in the Canadian Rockies, I highly encourage you to visit both and let me know which one you prefer! 

As always, happy exploring!

Girl smiling sat on a Rock With Lake Moraine behind her.

Explore with Holly

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