Hike from Moraine Lake to Eiffel Lake for fantastic views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks and Wenkchemna Glacier.
Eiffel Lake is a gorgeous hike that starts at Banff National Park’s world-famous Moraine Lake. In addition to stunning scenery, expect wildflowers in summer and larches in early autumn, and not too many people compared to nearby Larch Valley. During larch season (late September/early October), where the crowds turn right for Larch Valley, go left for Eiffel Lake. Wildlife – deer, grouse, pikas, and marmots – almost outnumbered hikers on this trail on an overcast Friday in mid-September. The biggest challenge is getting parking at Moraine Lake, so you should book shuttle bus tickets in advance.
The trail to Eiffel Lake begins at the Moraine Lake lakeshore, in front of Moraine Lake Lodge. Enjoy the azure waters, and get the requisite canoe shot before taking the trail at right. You will start climbing almost immediately, and in short order, reach the steepest section with 10 switchbacks. Pace yourself (this part feels long but is short), and enjoy glimpses of Moraine Lake and the Ten Peaks through the trees.
With spectacular views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks and Wenkchemna Glacier, Eiffel Lake Trail is all about the journey.Tweet
At the signed junction, 2.4 kilometres from the start, go left for Eiffel Lake. From here, there is minimal elevation gain and you’ll soon get your first glimpses of larches which blaze bright yellow in the fall. (In summer, expect wildflowers and a lingering snow patch along the way.) After about 2 kilometres, views will really open up revealing Wenkchemna Glacier and the Valley of the Ten Peaks on your left.
Continuing on, traverse a rocky slope to a viewpoint overlooking the lake. The trail is quite narrow here, so keep an eye out for oncoming hikers, and be patient if you’re trying to pass others. Fortunately, this trail isn’t as heavily trafficked as nearby Larch Valley, so you should be able to take your time through here.
Just past the end of the lake, there’s a perfect picnic spot with lots of flat rocks to sit on. Boulders offer protection from the wind which often gusts through the valley. While the little lake is nowhere near as impressive as Moraine Lake (not many are!), its surroundings are spectacular, and the aquamarine water and larches growing next to it add a pop of color to the rocky landscape. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see some of the Ten Peaks reflected in the water. (It’s a bit scrambly getting down to the lake, so most folks enjoy looking at it from the trail.)
Return the way you came, or continue westward to Wenkchemna Pass. The pass sits at a lofty elevation of 2,611 metres and offers wonderful views of Yoho National Park (west) and the Valley of the Ten Peaks (east). Look for marmots and pikas among the rocks; there are tons!
Eiffel Lake at a Glance
- Distance: 5.6 km one way
- Elevation Gain: 370 m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Parking: Moraine Lake (*The parking lot is often full by 4 AM. See “Getting Here” for tips on getting to Moraine Lake)
- Trailhead: Start on the Moraine Lake Lakeshore Trail in front of Moraine Lake Lodge
Going further: It’s possible to hike to Wenkchemna Pass (elevation 2,611 metres), at the end of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. 4.1 km past Eiffel Lake with 350 m additional elevation gain.
Side trip: When you get back to the lake, hike the beautiful lakeshore trail to the back of the Moraine Lake. 1.5 km one way, no elevation gain.
Moraine Lake, the parking area for Eiffel Lake, is located 2 hours and 20 minutes west of Calgary / 20 minutes south of the hamlet of Lake Louise. Get Google Maps directions here.
Since the parking lot is usually full by 4 AM, we highly recommend booking tickets on the Parks Canada Moraine Lake Shuttle (some walk-up tickets are available on a first-come, first served basis, but numbers are limited so reservations are recommended). Prices: $8.00/Adult, $4.00/Senior, $2.00/Youth, $0/Child. ***The shuttle picks up/drops off at Lake Louise Gondola/Ski Resort.***
Know Before You Go
- Moraine Lake Road is closed each year from mid October until June 1st. October 10, 2022 is the last day this year you can drive up or take the shuttle bus.
- A Parks Canada Discovery Pass / daily admission fee is required to stop in Banff National Park.
- You are in prime grizzly bear territory. Review our Bear Safety Tips and keep bear spray accessible.
- Dogs must be kept on a leash (but are not recommended due to how narrow the trail is. Also, dogs are not permitted on the shuttle bus).
What to Bring
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Good hiking boots, down hoody/fleece, gloves, and a windproof/waterproof shell are must-haves (it can be quite windy and cold once you get above treeline). Trekking poles are recommended for the descent, especially if you have a heavy pack.
You should also carry The Ten Essentials including: water, extra food, extra clothes, a headlamp, a GPS/compass and map of the area, bug spray (this one contains 20% icaridin and will repel ticks), sunscreen (this mineral one is safe for babies), and bear spray. Carry bear spray in a Frontiersman Bear Spray Holster (attaches to your backpack or belt), or Scat Belt.
More Hikes near Lake Louise
- Fairview Lookout
- Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola Hike & Dine
- Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail
- Mount St. Piran
- Plain of Six Glaciers
- Saddleback Pass & Mount Fairview