Lake Moraine

Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 01:17 PM
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Lake Moraine

Will be in Calgary visiting relatives. I have heard that Lake Moraine is a beautiful spot to visit. Is it a day trip from Calgary? Is there a specific area or route we should do to enjoy this area. Is there a town there?
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Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 01:47 PM
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Hello bashful,

Your Calgary rellies probably know this drill as well as I do. However, in case they don't, here is a one-day itinerary to the Rocky Mountains from Calgary. I've lost count of how many times we've done this with first time visitors. The most recent occasion was July 15th, when my husband's cousin was visiting with us.

Summer Version

9.00 a.m. - It is essential to get on the road from Calgary no later than 9.00 a.m. It would be even better to aim for an 8.30 a.m. start. The purpose of this prompt getaway is to reach Moraine Lake's busy parking lot by 11.30 a.m. and so have a chance of parking there.

Drive west on the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1).

When you reach the Banff National Park entry gates, you will need to pay C$8 for a single day's entry fee if you are on your own or C$16 if there are two or more people in your party.

If you happen to have a 365-day pass for Canada's national parks, bring it with you from home, because it's valid in all 28 parks, including Banff National Park.

Note: When you enter the gates of Banff National Park, you can tune your car radio to the Park Radio Station at 101.1 FM. Weather and trail reports are repeated throughout the day, as are programs on Banff's natural and cultural history.

Not too long after passing through the Banff National Park entry gates you will see the turnoff to Banff townsite, but don't take it at this point. Just keep driving west.

Take the turnoff to Lake Louise, drive straight through Lake Louise village, and keep driving as if you're going to the lake of Lake Louise.

About a kilometre beyond Lake Louise village, take the turnoff to Moraine Lake. There are beautiful views from this road, and you may want to stop in one or two places to look at and photograph the view. Don't dawdle unduly though, because you're in a bit of a race to get a parking spot at Moraine Lake, which is 14 km from Lake Louise village.

11.00 a.m. - Park in the Moraine Lake parking lot. Do the brief walk to the top of the pile of rocks at the north end of Moraine Lake. It is one of the best views in the Canadian Rockies.

12.00 noon - Have lunch in the restaurant at Moraine Lake. There is no town there, only a lodge that has a restaurant associated with it. An alternative is to bring a picnic lunch from home. We almost always bring a picnic lunch.

Although hundreds of people visit Moraine Lake on any given day, few of them use the picnic tables that are scattered at intervals in the lovely forest just downhill from the parking lot. I can't remember a single occasion when all the picnic tables have been occupied. On July 15th we had the extraordinary experience of having the picnic area to ourselves. Since we had our choice of tables, we picked our favourite one, right next to the stream that flows out from the lake.

I might add that there have been previous occasions on which we have used the covered picnic tables. The mountains' very changeable weather is something else you need to be prepared for.

1.00 p.m. - After lunch, go for a walk on the path that hugs one side of Moraine Lake. You can only go as far as the glacier-melt stream that feeds the lake.

2.00 p.m. - Return to your vehicle, and drive to the lake of Lake Louise. Go for a walk on the lakeshore path in front of Chateau Lake Louise. Alternatively, do the 1.6 km, uphill walk to Fairview Lookout. It departs from boat house from which they rent canoes. In return for a relatively modest effort, you get a good view of the lake and Chateau Lake Louise.

3.00 p.m. - Drive back towards Calgary, and this time take the turnoff to Banff townsite.

4.00 p.m. - Have a brief look around the town of Banff, and stop for a cup of tea or coffee.

5.30 p.m. - Set out for Calgary.

7.00 p.m. - Arrive back in Calgary.

Winter Version

Not for you, but for someone else who may read this and to whom it may be relevant.

The road to Moraine Lake is closed in winter, so the race to get there, which was described in the summer version of this itinerary, is irrelevant.

If you go in winter, I suggest you look at the ice castle on the lake in front of Chateau Lake Louise and maybe go on a horsedrawn sleigh ride. Then have lunch at nearby Deer Lodge, a quaint hotel. Then look around Banff townsite and return to Calgary.

Enjoy.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 02:06 PM
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Postscript. An alternative to the above is to visit Moraine Lake, return to Lake Louise village, have lunch in the village, go to the lake of Lake Louise (5 km from the village of Lake Louise), then continue to Banff and finally to Calgary.

I've heard good things about Bill Peyto's, which is an inexpensive restaurant attached to the hostel in Lake Louise village. The Station Restaurant, on the edge of Lake Louise village, is a rather cute, more upscale venue. Another charming restaurant is one that I mentioned in connection with the winter itinerary, Deer Lodge, which is a stone's throw from the lake of Lake Louise.

For anyone who is interested in buying a picnic lunch in Lake Louise village, Laggan's Bakery and Deli sells take-away lunches.

The most expensive restaurant in Lake Louise is the Post Hotel, whose chef has won many culinary awards. A
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Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 02:09 PM
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Arghhh. The ever present danger of hitting the post button before you're finished typing.

A warning to anyone who wants to eat at the Post Hotel. Reservations are absolutely essential for dinner and almost equally essentail for lunch.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2005, 02:57 PM
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Moraine Lake is one of those incredible views. I know my life would be poorer without it.

I think he best views are from that pile of rocks at the parking lot end.

You will have time to look in on Lake Louise, too. The road to Moraine Lake turns off of the road leading uphill from Lake Louise Village.

If you have any energy left after the Far View climb, go over Kicking Horse Pass and take a look at Takkakaw Falls.

I rank those 3 sites as something of a trinity for a day trip from Calgary.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2005, 04:59 PM
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Sounds like a perfect day - thank you for the itinerary..we will follow it to a T!
bashful is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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Having been a few weeks ago, I have to agree the view from the rock pile over Moraine Lake, has to be my favourite view - it's now my computer wallpaper!

One postscript - if you don't want want unpleasant itchy reminders of the trip, don't forget your anti-mosquito spray, we did and had half a dozen bites each within 30 minutes!
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Old Jul 24th, 2005, 04:47 PM
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I agree on the repellant.
We were without it last year and hastened to buy some.
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 02:11 PM
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Does anyone know exactly when the road closes in the winter?? We will be there in mid-October.

Also, does the post hotel close as well? Approximate Date?
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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>>>Does anyone know exactly when the road closes in the winter?? We will be there in mid-October.<<<

I don't know which road you're referring to, agajra. If you mean the road to Moraine Lake, the closing date varies. Park wardens decide based on actual conditions, which change from year to year. The typical closing date is early October.

>>>Also, does the post hotel close as well?<<<

If I read the hotel's web site correctly, it appears to close between October 23rd and November 24th. I guess that won't affect you.
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