Moraine Lake is one of the most photographed places in the Rockies – in the summer. In the winter however you can have the place all to ourself. A set of well maintained cross country tracks lead past a majestic landscape of mountains and forest taking you into the silence you will only find at Moraine Lake in winter.
The road to Moraine Lake Lodge is closed during winter and instead you will find perfectly groomed cross country skiing tracks. There is no greater happiness for a couple of Norwegians in the Canadian Rockies! Even better was it that we were out skiing on a Wednesday and had the tracks almost all to ourselves!
The tracks starts close to Lake Louise, just head up the road towards Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and about halfway up you’ll find the road to Moraine Lake on you lefthand side where you will find a parking lot. The tracks are on a gentle upwards slope and are suitable for all skiing skill sets.
You will have Bow Valley and Lake Louise Ski Resort in your lefthand side while skiing towards Moraine Lake. The further in you get on the tracks the more the view will open up.
After about 9 kilometres the groomed tracks end due to avalanche danger, but we kept on going the last 3 kilometres to Moraine Lake. Make sure you have checked avalanche conditions before you go, stop by the tourist information in Lake Louise and they will be able to tell you if it is safe to continue beyond this point. At this point the view opens up into the Valley of the Ten Peaks.
The Moraine Lake Lodge is closed during winter, but the area is draped in winter magic with a heavy lid of snow on the rooftops and surrounded by mountains and large pine. We had a cup of warm peppermint tea and my husbands homemade cinnamon rolls before we headed back home again.
Where to find more information?
Parks Canada have free downloads on their webpage for winter trails in the Banff and Lake Louise area, link here.
My somewhat subjective trip rating:
Trail: You begin your trip at the parking lot on the Moraine Lake Road turn off from Lake Louise Drive towards the Chateau. The tracks have a slight incline from the parking lot until you reach the avalanche sign/end of groomed tracks at 9 km. After this the last 3 km to Moraine Lake Lodge is not groomed, but there are usually some ski tracks to follow. Easy return as it is mostly downhill from the avalanche sign to the parking lot again.
Worth it? Yes – views are magnificent compared to many other cross country tracks, and the quality of the tracks up to the avalanche sign (9km) is excellent.
Difficulty: Medium, but no steep ascents. Easy return as it is mostly downhill from the avalanche sign to the parking lot.
Length: 24 km roundtrip
Duration: 4-5 hours including break
Where do you find your winter magic? Or do you have any trails you can recommend for us this winter? We would love to hear about it!
Thanks for visiting!