moraine lake, alberta, canada


In July of 2022 my fiancée and I took a trip to Montana for her friends wedding, and we decided to make the most of the trip and knock off a bucket list item, Banff, Alberta, Canada. It was only a four hour drive from where we flew in to Montana, more like five if you include the scenic viewpoint stops. My fascination with this area began when I purchased some slides at a flea market of someones vacation here from what looks like the 40’s-50’s, maybe early 60’s. While I am getting to backpacking at home, there was no back country hiking for us, just the tourist sites and trails. The first day we hiked Johnston Canyon up to the gorgeous view of the inkpots, and the next day we took the shuttle to the stunning views of Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. I’m still on the fence about having been such a tourist, but you figure there’s a reason these sites are so popular. Once you’re there, the answer is a resounding yes. Moraine Lake was our first stop, with Lake Louise being the second and final, and containing our main hike for the day up to the Lake Agnes Tea House and ultimately, the little beehive.


Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. According to Wikipedia, the view of the Valley of the Ten Peaks from the rock pile is one of the most photographed views in all of Canada. It’s very easy to see why. This stop is typically less crowded than Lake Louise, but the view is just as spellbinding. Before walking up the rock pile we took a small solitary stroll around part of the lake before deciding to move along as we didn’t want to be too late for Lake Louise.


There is a plaque at the base of the rock pile that attributes its 1894 discovery to Samuel Allen, (who interestingly enough was born in Philadelphia, PA, where I live). He originally named the lake Heejee and the ten peaks after the Nakoda First Nations numerals 1-10. Only the names for the peaks of Neptuak (9) and Wenkchemna (10) remain. Allens friend Walter Wilcox ended up renaming the lake to Moraine Lake. Together, they are responsible for much of the current nomenclature around the Lake Louise and Moraine Lake area and for much of the tourism that spawned due to their writings and photographs that circulated after their discovery.


phil cifone

is a photographer and Linux enthusiast focused on digital archival storage. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By phil, 2022-09-15