Banff National Park, nestled within the province of Alberta in the Canadian Rockies, is truly stunning. And at its heart -at over six thousand feet above sea level - is the iconic Moraine Lake.

A popular natural attraction, Moraine Lake offers visitors striking views over sparkling waterbacked by mountains that stretch from earth to sky, making up the Valley of the Ten Peaks. If you're planning a trip to the Rockies this summer, this picture-perfect glacier-fed lake should definitely be on your list of places to see. You may, of course, be wondering the best times to visit. If so, read on!

How to Get to Moraine Lake

Getting to Moraine Lake requires a bit of planning. In a move by Parks Canada to mitigate the influx of private vehicles in the area, the road to Moraine Lake is now closed to personal vehicles. Fortunately, convenient services transport visitors to the lake from easy-to-access central locations. 

For instance, there's the reliable shuttle offered by the Moraine Lake Bus Company. This bus service is the only operator in the area that offers two sunrise shuttles starting as early as 4 a.m. - in addition to other services through the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon. While other operators offer riders pick-up windows - of up to an hour and a half, in some cases - this user-friendly shuttle service runs at precise times and has an easy-to-reserve booking system.

The Best Months to Visit Moraine Lake

The window between early June and early October not only offers visitors the best sightseeing opportunities, but it also offers access. From November to May, the road that leads to the lake is closed to vehicles due to avalanche risk.

Mid-to-late June sees the emergence of the glorious shades of blue the lake is renowned for. At this point in the year, the ice on the lake has melted, and glacier water is flowing freely through surrounding rocks and into the lake basin, creating rock flour - a natural phenomenon that sparkles as the sunlight refracts off of it.

In July, hiking paths and trails are dotted with vibrant seasonal wildflowers. Come September, temperatures start to dip, and the amount of daylight decreases, causing the area's larch trees to turn a spectacular shade of gold. Temperatures at night can fall into the negatives, and you will likely see new snow on the mountains surrounding the lake.

That said, the month you choose to visit Moraine Lake depends on what you'd like to see and experience most. Interested in an early summer visit when the lake is its brightest blue? Or would you prefer early fall when the mountains glow yellow and are dusted with snow? After your first glimpse, you'll likely plan to see it multiple times!

What Time of Day Is Best?

Moraine Lake is amazing regardless of the hour; the time of day you visit depends on what you want to achieve from your trip. That being said, the sunrise is truly spectacular. If you're not one to shy away from an early morning wake-up, watching the majesty of the sun rising above the mountains is a breathtaking visual that will stay with you forever.

Once the sun has risen, visitors can return to the nearby Lake Louise Village for a well-earned coffee and breakfast. Just remember that Moraine Lake is quietest at sunrise, so if crowds aren't for you, consider visiting at this time of the day.

For the more adventurous, hiking opportunities are abundant at different elevations and distances that branch out from the lake. Visitors can also rent canoes to explore the lake itself. Should you choose to do this, a late morning to early afternoon start time is advised when the temperatures are warmer.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, Moraine Lake will wow and delight whenever you choose to visit between early June to mid-October. If you've packed seasonal clothing and you've booked your transport in advance, you're all set for a once-in-a-lifetime visit you won't soon forget.