Where We Be
|Moraine Lake -- Eiffel Lake Hike
Moraine Lake is in Banff National Park just a
short drive up a winding road from Lake Louise.
The lake is a gorgeous sight in its own right,
and it's also the starting point for several great
hikes. The hike to Eiffel Lake is 3.6 mi (5.8 km)
one way with 1,200 feet (370 m) of elevation
gain. You do all the hard work up front as you
climb a series of about ten switchbacks to the
junction at Larch Valley. Then comes the reward:
a nearly flat stroll to the lake, with stunning
views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks to the left.
We also highly recommend the hike to Sentinel
Pass (3.5 mi one way, 2,000 ft elev. gain), which
branches off at the same Larch Valley junction.
We did this hike on a previous trip, topping the
pass and continuing on into Paradise Valley to
Paradise Creek trailhead (11 miles). This was a
hugely memorable hike but requires a shuttle at
the far end; otherwise you can hike up to the
pass then back the same way to Moraine Lake.
|Many folks drive to Moraine Lake and, instead of hiking,
rent a kayak or canoe to paddle around the lake for an hour
|The dog couldn't resist picking up a
second stick (branch?) at the same time
|After our hike, we still had some energy left so we decided to stroll
along Moraine Lakeshore Trail (1.4 km one way). This was our picnic view.
|The hike to Larch Valley junction is steep and forested, but shortly
after the Eiffel Lake turnoff you get terrific views the rest of the way
|At the trailhead for both Eiffel Lake and Sentinel Pass, we came across this "Group Access" sign saying you could only hike in groups of four
or more under penalty of a $5,000 fine. Yikes! We waited around for 15 minutes or so, and thankfully a mom and son from Portland, Oregon
showed up who wanted to do the same hike. They set a fast pace but we enjoyed their company and ended up making some new friends.
|The Valley of the Ten Peaks is glorious hiking country. You can see
all the way to the bottom of the valley and the tops of the peaks.
|It's really almost a stroll to Eiffel Lake after the switchbacks,
so you can simply take your time and appreciate the views
|Eiffel Lake is not much more than a dark tarn well below the trail. From here, if you're
up for it, you can continue on to Wenkchemna Pass -- but we made this our endpoint.
|This is serious grizzly country (thus the posted sign at the
trailhead), but all we saw was this scruffy-looking marmot
|Moraine Lake sits at the mouth of the Valley of the Ten Peaks at 6,183 ft (1,885 m).
Like so many of the lakes in the area, it is glacially fed and a distinct shade of blue.
|We beat the crowds to Moraine Lake and had this
fine view almost to ourselves on a misty morning
|We had fun watching this dog retrieve sticks
|On days like this, we wish the summer
hiking season could last all year
|This gray's jay has a happy place to call
home in aptly named Valley of the Ten Peaks