As of 2023, personal vehicles will no longer be permitted on Moraine Lake Road year round to limit traffic in the area and reduce disruptions/stress to wildlife (the road goes through Fairview Wildlife corridor). According to Parks Canada, during peak season in 2022, every day 900 vehicles accessed the lake and 5,000 were turned away – and those vehicles emitted 4 tons of carbon dioxide daily! Due to these changes, we’ll have to find alternate ways to get to Moraine Lake. Here’s how you can access this beautiful hiking, mountaineering, and paddling destination in 2023. Bookmark this post for future reference!
How to Visit Moraine Lake in 2023
1. Take the Parks Canada Moraine Lake Shuttle
The easiest and most affordable way to visit Moraine Lake (and Lake Louise) is by Parks Canada shuttle bus.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: The Parks Canada Reservations system will be hosted on a new platform in spring 2023. All users will be required to create a new account. We recommend setting this up the day before you plan on making a reservation.
Booking tickets: Parks Canada Moraine Lake Shuttle tickets can be booked online on April 14 for June 1- Oct 9, 2023; or 48 hours before your visit. 40% of the tickets for the season will be released on April 14, and 60% will be released on a rolling 48-hour window to allow people to visit Moraine Lake at shorter notice. Take note of the booking dates below.
- April 14, 2023, 8 am: Book Moraine Lake Shuttle Tickets for the season (June 1 to October 9, 2023).
- Two days before your visit at 8 am: Book Moraine Lake Shuttle Tickets two days before your trip, at 8 am. For example, if you’d like to visit Moraine Lake on July 15th, book tickets on July 17th at 8 am. Moraine Lake Road is expected to open on June 1, 2023 but may open earlier or later, depending on road/avalanche conditions. Visit Parks Canada | Visiting Lake Louise and Moraine Lake for updates.
How it Works: Your outbound shuttle ticket has a one hour departure window, so if your ticket is for 6:30 am – 7:30 am, you can take any shuttle between 6:30 am and 7:30 am. The Moraine Lake shuttle departs the Park and Ride (located at Lake Louise Ski Resort) every 20 minutes from 6:30 am to 6 pm. If you’d like to hop off at Lake Louise en route to Moraine Lake, you can do so; Lake Connector Shuttle from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake is included with your Moraine Lake Shuttle ticket!
You do not need to schedule your return trip; return shuttles are every 20 minutes and are first come first served. Keep in mind that the last shuttle returns at 7:30 pm and the gate to the Park & Ride parking lot closes at 8 pm.
New this year
- Shuttle hours have been extended; service will start at 6:30 am!
- What are the shuttle hours? 6:30 am – 7:30 pm: First bus to Moraine Lake leaves at 6:30 am; Last bus leaves Moraine Lake at 7:30 pm.
- Are walk-up tickets available? A limited number of tickets are available for same day travel, however they usually sell out by 9 am.
- Where is the Park & Ride? At Lake Louise Ski Resort. Click here for Google Maps directions.
- How much is parking at the Park & Ride? It’s FREE! Note: In order to prevent overnight (illegal) camping, the gate on Whitehorn Drive (road to the parking lot) is closed from 8 pm to 6 am.
- How much is the shuttle? $8 per adult, $4/senior, $2/youth (7-17 years old), free for kids 6 & under
- Can I park at Samson Mall or Lake Louise Lakeshore and take the bus to Moraine Lake? No
- Can I visit Lake Louise on the same visit? Yes! The connector shuttle is free with your Moraine Lake shuttle ticket. Hop off to see Lake Louise, then take the Moraine Lake connector to Moraine Lake.
- Does the Moraine Lake shuttle pickup from the campground? It does, but it takes you to the Park & Ride first.
- Are the shuttles wheelchair accessible? Unfortunately the Parks Canada shuttles cannot accommodate wheelchairs. However, if you have a blue accessible parking placard, you can show it to parks staff and park at Moraine Lake.
- Can I bring my dog? Only a) certified assistance animals and b) small dogs that can be kept in a crate on your lap are permitted on the shuttle.
- Are strollers permitted? Yes, the shuttles have room for strollers.
- Can I bring my inflatable SUP or kayak? Inflatable SUPs, inflatable kayaks, and small kayaks may be transported on the shuttle, space permitting.
- Does the shuttle stop at Paradise Valley? There are a limited number of first-come-first-served tickets to Paradise Valley trailhead. You can return via Paradise Valley Trailhead or Moraine Lake, but note that there are only 2 seats reserved per shuttle for pickup from Paradise Valley (so if there is a big group and the bus doesn’t have more than 2 empty seats, the rest of your party will have to wait 20 minutes for the next shuttle). If you are camping at Paradise Valley Backcountry Campground, you will receive a special shuttle bus ticket; show it to the bus driver so s/he stops at Paradise Valley!
- What if I want to take sunrise/night/sunset photos, climb Mount Temple, or stay a Neil Colgan ACC Hut? Are there any exceptions to the parking ban? Personal vehicles are not permitted on Moraine Lake Road, so you will have to find a tour operator, private shuttle, or taxi to transport you outside of Parks Canada shuttle hours. The only exception is for individuals with a blue accessible parking placard. Backcountry campers with a Paradise Valley Backcountry Campground permit or bivouac permit, and those staying at the ACC Hut, will receive bus tickets with their bookings.
For more information, visit Parks Canada | Visiting Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.
2. Ride Roam Transit from Banff
Use Roam Transit’s Super Pass to go from Banff to Moraine Lake, via the Lake Louise Express Route 8X and transfer to the Moraine Lake Connector Shuttle (included) at Lake Louise Lakeshore. $25 round trip for adults, $12.50 for seniors (65+) and youth (13-18). Kids 12 & under ride free but require a reservation. Service: June 1 – October 9, 2023. Reserve your $25 Route 8X Super Pass online.
During larch season (September 19 – October 9, 2023), you can take the Roam Transit Moraine Lake Express Fall Route 10. This bus goes directly from the Banff High School Transit Hub to Moraine Lake without stopping at the Park & Ride or Lake Louise.
Fall Route 10 Fares:
- Reserve your $25 Route 10 Super Pass online, or
- Save $5 and purchase a $20 round trip Moraine Lake Day Pass on the bus, at the Roam Info Centre in Banff, or through the Token Transit App.
For more information, visit Roam Public Transit.
3. Go by private shuttle, guided tour, or taxi
Guided tours will provide you with detailed information on Moraine Lake’s geography, history, flora, and fauna. Tour operators that offer tours with stops at Moraine Lake include: Brewster Sightseeing, Discover Banff Tours, HopOnBanff, Mountain Park Transportation, Radventures, White Mountain Adventures and WowBanff.
Staying in Lake Louise and don’t want to drive to the Park & Ride? Mountain Park Transportation offers shuttle service from Lake Louise hotels and Samson Mall to Moraine Lake.
It’s also possible to take a taxi, however the nearest taxi service is 78 km away in Banff. See a list of Banff Taxis and Shuttles on TripAdvisor.
4. Bike to Moraine Lake
Bicycles and pedal assist e-bikes are permitted on Moraine Lake Road. Note that the journey is 25 km round trip with 385 m elevation gain, the shoulder is non existent, and parking is limited in Lake Louise. This would be a good option for people camping or staying in Lake Louise, especially if visiting midweek when there are fewer buses on the road. Talk, sing, and ding your bell frequently as there are a lot of bears in the area.
Bike rentals are available from Wilson Mountain Sports in Lake Louise.
What to bring
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Bring a full water bottle (plus an extra one in your backpack) or hydration backpack, snacks, midlayer, waterproof/windproof layer, gloves, first aid kit, bike tube, bike tools, and portable bike pump. A bike pannier rack and pannier bags are handy if you don’t want to carry a backpack. Don’t forget a bike lock so you can lock up your bike at the bike racks at the lake!
You should also carry The Ten Essentials including: water, extra food, a headlamp, GPS/compass and map of the area, bug spray (this one contains 20% icaridin and will repel ticks), sunscreen (this mineral one has safer ingredients), and bear spray. We recommend keeping bear spray in a BearCozy (fits in your bike’s water bottle holder), or Scat Belt.
5. Stay at Moraine Lake Lodge
If you have a special occasion coming up and want to splurge, stay at luxurious Moraine Lake Lodge which is located next to Moraine Lake. Beautifully-appointed lodge rooms and cabins with a view are available, and your stay includes free parking, breakfast, canoe rentals, afternoon tea, naturalist talks, and interpretive guided hikes. For more information, visit Moraine Lake Lodge.
What to Bring (Hiking essentials)
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Good hiking boots, a down hoody/fleece, toque, gloves, and windproof/waterproof shell are recommended even if there’s no rain in the forecast. The weather changes quickly in the mountains! Trekking poles are helpful for steep descents, or long hikes – especially if you’re carrying a heavy pack.
You should also carry The Ten Essentials including: water, extra food, extra clothes, a headlamp, a GPS/satellite communicator (or compass) and map of the area, sunscreen (this one is safe for babies), bug spray (this one contains 20% icaridin and will repel ticks), and bear spray. Carry bear spray in a Frontiersman Bear Spray Holster or Scat Belt.
I hope these tips make it easier for you to visit Moraine Lake this year! While I was disappointed to hear parking is no longer permitted at Moraine Lake, and would have preferred a day permit system, I understand why Parks Canada brought in the parking ban. It’s extremely challenging to manage a parking lot of 100 stalls that thousands of vehicles are trying to access. When you consider all the pollution, traffic, and disruption to wildlife in the wildlife corridor Moraine Lake Road passes through, something had to give. Fortunately, the shuttle will meet most hiker’s needs with a mix of advance tickets and shorter-notice (48-hour) tickets, plus extended shuttle hours. Enjoy exploring this beautiful destination and let me know how your experience with the shuttle went!
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