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Lake Louise to Moraine Lake – 6 BEST Ways and How To Book

Lake Louise to Moraine Lake – 6 BEST Ways and How To Book

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Moraine Lake is often referred to as the most beautiful lake on Earth and honestly? We don’t doubt it. To say it’s stunning is a huge understatement, but it can also be a pain to get to, and some of the information out there is pretty confusing!

Plus, since you can only visit between June and mid-October, it’s usually very busy. As locals who have spent years living and traveling around Banff and Lake Louise, we’ve put together a no-nonsense guide to help you get to the Rockies’ best lake.

We’ve visited countless times, so we’ve broken down all the different ways of getting there and how to book them (which can sometimes be a battle in itself). So let’s dive in because you really can’t miss the chance to visit Moraine Lake! 

The 6 Best Ways to Get from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake

Daniel poses with a shuttle bus at Lake Louise
You have lots of options, a private shuttle is one of them!
A sign about the lake conector from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake
A sign showing when to expect the bus connection

Just below, I briefly highlight the 6 best ways to get from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake. But further down this blog, I’ll go into more detail for each section. So if you already know your preferred method to get to Moraine Lake, scroll down for more info!

1. Parks Canada shuttle

The Parks Canada shuttle goes from the Lake Louise ski resort to Moraine Lake. At $8 CAD a person, it’s a cost-effective option although we’ve found it can be a bit of a headache. You need to be organized and plan ahead for this one! 

2. Roam bus

The Route 10 Roam bus runs from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake in September and October only. You can catch it from the Village South bus stop, just make sure to check the schedule beforehand. Or, for the rest of the season, if you buy a Roam Public Transit Super Pass for the day, you get a complimentary first-come, first-served seat on the Parks Canada shuttle that we mentioned above. 

3. Tours

Most tours to Moraine Lake start in Banff. That being said, they usually pass through Lake Louise to get there and a few tours allow pickup/dropoff in Lake Louise (make sure to check with the tour operator before booking). This Earlybird Explorer tour to Moraine Lake is a small group tour that’ll get you there before sunrise, which is the best time in my opinion! But if you prefer a private tour, this full-day Icefields Parkway experience takes you to Moraine Lake along with many other sights. Further down, I’ll detail each of these tours so keep reading for all the info!

The view of the canadian rockies from the moraine lake bus company shuttle canada
There are such great views on the way!

4. Hop-on hop-off bus

We’ve found that hop-on hop-off bus tours are one of the easiest ways to visit Moraine Lake, and they’re convenient because they allow you to see more of Lake Louise and Banff National Park while you’re at it. We love this Open-Top Bus because you can sit in the open-air seats on top, which is perfect for soaking in the scenery. Meanwhile, the iconic Banff Bus is always a reliable choice and it’s ideal for those short on time because it ticks off lots of the area’s must-see places. 

5. Moraine Lake Bus Company shuttle

Now that the access road to Moraine Lake is mostly closed to private vehicles (which we’ll talk more about below), privately owned shuttles have emerged as one of the most convenient options. We used the Moraine Lake bus company last year and were super impressed by them! 

6. Driving (rental car)

Most people aren’t allowed to drive to Moraine Lake anymore, but there is one exception to this rule. If you have a disability parking permit, you are allowed to drive along the access road and park at the lake. Just make sure that your tag is clearly visible and you shouldn’t have any problems. And if you don’t have your own wheels, we recommend renting through Discover Cars because they have good prices and it’s easy to book.

Related Read: Once you arrive, you can enjoy one of these awesome hikes that start at Moraine Lake!

1. Parks Canada Shuttle

Parks Canada bus the Lake Connector
The Parks Canada shuttle

Honestly, the Parks Canada shuttle to Moraine Lake is a good service, but not without its problems. We think it’s a suitable option for those who are on a budget and don’t mind a little extra planning. 

Shuttles depart from the Park and Ride by the Lake Louise Ski Resort every 20 minutes from 6:30 am until 5:50 pm daily while Moraine Lake is open. You need to check in at the Park and Ride before you board the bus. Then, return shuttles leave Moraine Lake until 7:30 pm. You can stay at the lake as long as you like, although since return tickets aren’t timed, we’ve found that getting back can be a bit of a nightmare. Our advice here would be to go as early as you can! 

So, you’re probably thinking “that’s not too complicated”, right? Well, catching the connector shuttle on the day is definitely the easy part. It’s booking the shuttle that feels like an Olympic sport! 

Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you do need to be on the ball when it comes to reserving your tickets. They use this online reservation system – just look under the “Day Use” section to find the shuttle to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. When we went, tickets cost $8 per adult, but prices may increase with each season.

50% of the tickets go on sale every year around mid-April, although you can check the precise launch date here. They become available at 8 am Mountain Time and get snapped up fast, so it’s worth setting an alarm. 

The other 50% of tickets are then released last minute (although I use that term loosely). You can snap them up two days in advance, again at 8 am. So if you want to use the shuttle on a Wednesday you need to be on the Parks Canada website at 8 am on the Monday before, ready to grab your spot! 

2. Roam Bus

Roam transit bus at Moraine Lake
The Roam Transit bus

The Roam bus to Moraine Lake only operates during September and October, and the schedule is usually announced pretty close to that time. We caught the bus from the Village South bus stop in Lake Louise, and you should definitely make a reservation if you want to use this service.

Tickets cost $10 CAD each way, but you can also buy a system-wide day pass for $25 CAD instead, which can save you money if you plan on doing some more exploring after your visit to Moraine Lake. 

However, if you’re visiting between June and August, there’s no Roam bus that you can catch from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake. However, if you buy a Roam Transit Super Pass, you can get a complimentary spot on the Parks Canada shuttle. You don’t even need to make a reservation, so this is a pretty good travel hack as far as I’m concerned!

To be honest, I think that this is better suited for those who are coming to Lake Louise for the day from Banff or Canmore on the Roam bus. If that’s you, my guide on getting from Banff to Lake Louise may also come in handy. But if you’re staying in Lake Louise, I think you’d be better off booking the shuttle as we discussed above.

3. Best Tours to Moraine Lake

Not many tours officially start in Lake Louise. However, there are several that make stops in Lake Louise before carrying on to Moraine Lake. So below, we included the top group and private tour options for visiting this gorgeous turquoise lake. Of course, we recommend checking with the tour operator before booking just to make sure they can pick you up at your specific Lake Louise accommodation.

Sunrise Moraine Lake and Lake Louise Tour (small group)

This Earlybird Explorer tour to Moraine Lake will get you there in time for sunrise!

We really like that this is a small group tour, with a maximum of 12 people in total. There are no buses full of people that crowd up the shoreline, which is the last thing you want with such a magical moment. Our first stop was Moraine Lake and when we arrived, our tour guide handed out head torches to wear, which helped us avoid tripping over before the first light!

After spending an hour and a half filling your phone with photos and taking in all of the amazing scenery, you’ll probably be a little hungry, so it’s time to head across to the Trailhead Café. We had an incredible breakfast and barista-made drink here for about $15 – $20 CAD each (try the veggie omelet!).

Once you’ve had your breakfast, the next stop is the beautiful Lake Louise. It’s still very early in the day when you arrive, so the crowds won’t have gathered just yet – which is my favorite time to visit. It’s also a great time to get out there on the water, as you’ll have about 1 hour and 30 minutes to explore.

If you fancy taking a paddle, the Fairmont Château Lake Louise offers canoe rentals during this season, with canoes for non-guests starting at $135 CAD for half an hour and $145 CAD for an hour. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, there’s plenty to explore! There are a few hidden trails at both lakes like the Lake Louise Lakeshore trail and the Rockpile trail, both of which can be completed in the time you’ll have. Feel free to ask your guides to help point out where to start.

This tour includes transportation and your local guide and costs $288 CAD per person. But bear in mind this tour starts in Banff for most people. If you’re coming from Lake Louise, contact Radventures BEFORE booking to make sure they can accommodate your pickup/dropoff (it’s based on availability). You can call them at +1 (403) 493-9556 or shoot them an email at yourpals@radventurescanada.com.

Moraine Lake and Icefields Parkway Private Tour

This full-day tour will take you sightseeing along the Icefields Parkway, including Moraine Lake, of course! In addition, you’ll also see some of our favorite viewpoints like the Bow Summit, Peyto Lake, and Mistaya Canyon, so bring that camera. And since it’s a private tour, you can take your time at each location to soak up the sights and really perfect those photography skills.

A highlight of this tour for me is the Columbia Icefields. I recommend adding the Ice Explorer tour to your day, which has you walking over an actual glacier. How cool is that?! Just contact the tour operator when booking to let them know.

This tour is all about sightseeing and exploring. The drivers are friendly, but they don’t share too much about the history of each location. It might not be the best for history buffs, but it’s awesome for nature lovers and those who mostly want to breathe in super fresh air and take some epic Instagram shots! Plus, our driver Jobo, knew the area so well, he really helped us maximize our time and see as much as possible.

Tours cover national park entrance and transport, but you’ll have to pay for extras like the Ice Explorer or canoe rentals on Lake Louise. Prices depend on group size, and for 2-4 people, it’s $558 CAD each. This tour also typically starts in Banff, so give the tour operators a heads-up that you’re based in Lake Louise. And keep in mind, that while this tour runs year-round, you can only visit Moraine Lake from June to mid-October!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

4. Hop-on Hop-off Bus

Views from the upper viewpoint at Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
These buses are a great way to see other highlights like Johnston Canyon!

Banff Area Bus

These yellow, school-style Banff buses are quite iconic in this area, and you can hop on right in front of the Fairmont Chateau at the lakeshore. We love this hop-on hop-off bus option because it not only makes it super easy to get to Moraine Lake, but it’s a really great way to explore the rest of Banff National Park.

The route takes you to some of our favorite places in the park, like the Johnston Canyon, which is along the gorgeous Bow Valley Parkway, and Banff Ave. Make sure to swing by Banff Ave Brewing Co – maybe we’ll even see you there! 

Since this is a hop-on hop-off tour, you can spend as long as you like at Moraine Lake – or any of the other stops! A day pass costs $95 CAD per person, and although tickets do tend to sell out, you don’t have to book them quite as far in advance as the Parks Canada shuttle, thankfully. Viator also offers free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance, so you can reserve your spot without risking your hard-earned cash if your plans change.

Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Bus

We think this hop-on hop-off bus tour is a better option if you want to focus solely on Lake Louise and Moraine Lake for the day. We also love that it’s an open-top bus because you can really make the most of those spectacular Rocky Mountain views! 

Buses leave from the Lake Louise Park and Ride every 45 minutes from 8 am until 2:45 pm. From there, they make a loop, stopping at Lake Louise followed by Moraine Lake, and then back to the Park and Ride. The buses all run on a 45-minute schedule. You can just show up with your tickets and jump on any bus, so it’s nice and flexible. However, the last bus leaves Moraine Lake at 5:15 pm. We’d suggest starting your day early so you’re not rushing to catch the last bus back!

I think this is a great option if you’re staying in Lake Louise or visiting for the day. Tickets cost $50 CAD after tax, and we were really impressed by how efficient and well-organized this service was. This bus is available from mid-June to late September.

5. Moraine Lake Bus Company Shuttle

Daniel on the moraine lake bus company shuttle canada
It’s a comfy ride!
The Moraine Lake Bus Company Shuttle witht mountains behind it Moraine Lake Canada
And easy to spot!

We used the Moraine Lake Bus Company shuttle last summer and for us, it’s the latest and greatest way to visit Moraine Lake! We were so impressed by the service and we love that it offers you almost the same flexibility as driving yourself.

For us, a big draw of this option is that they offer a sunrise shuttle. Trust me when I say that sunrises at Moraine Lake are spectacular – photos really can’t even do it justice. And as well as the stunning colors, getting to Moraine Lake before the crowds arrive is really special. I usually avoid super early starts if I can help it, but I think that this is one instance where it’s worth getting up before the crack of dawn! 

If you book the Moraine Lake Bus at 4 am you’ll definitely be there for sunrise, although obviously, the time does change throughout the season. You may be able to get a slightly later departure, depending on when you go. You can read our guide to visiting Moraine Lake at sunrise for more info. But of course, you can also just visit during the day! 

You can catch the shuttle from outside either the Lake Louise Park and Ride or the Samson Mall, and it honestly couldn’t be easier. Return trips to Moraine Lake start at $49 CAD per person, although the sunrise trips start at $99 CAD. Again, this is not like the Parks Canada shuttle where you have to be insanely organized, but we do recommend booking at least a few weeks in advance. 

If you need more info on this option, we took the Moraine Lake Bus company shuttle and wrote a full review here

6. Driving (Rental Car)

Driving isn’t an option for most people, but if you require disability parking then you can still use the Moraine Lake Access Road! And if you don’t have your own car, we recommend renting through Discover Cars because they offer competitive pricing and are super easy to use.

Once on the road, you’ll need to drive to the turn-off for Moraine Lake and speak to one of the traffic controllers around. When you show them your disability pass, they’ll let you through and you’ll be able to park up at the lake. 

The other exceptional circumstance is if you’re staying at the Moraine Lake Lodge. Guests get special access, and the hotel usually sends out an email with instructions 30 days before your stay. I can’t think of a more phenomenal location to stay, but rooms can go for over $1000 CAD per night, so you pay a lot for the privilege – especially compared to the price of a bus tour or shuttle! 

What is our recommended option?

Moraine Lake bus company shuttle at Moraine Lake
A private shuttle or hop-on hop-off bus is the way to go!

For us, two options really stand out: either a shuttle with the Moraine Lake Bus Company, or one of the hop-on hop-off bus tours. We’ve done the Banff bus with friends who came to visit and wanted to see as much as possible in a single day, while the open-top bus is ideal if you want to spend a while in Lake Louise.

Either way, the Moraine Lake Bus Company shuttle and the hop-on hop-off bus tours provide a semi-private tour to Moraine Lake at an affordable price. 

It’s true that the Parks Canada shuttle is even cheaper, but it’s tricky to book and honestly, we found it to be a bit of a nightmare on the day, as well. They sometimes ask you for a return time when you book, but the tickets don’t actually have times on them, which results in a lot of chaos. Last year, some people actually had to wait for hours to leave the lake because the queues were so bad. 

We don’t think it’s worth risking having your visit ruined with a ton of stress and queues when there are better transportation options available. And if you don’t mind getting out of bed early, we urge you to take the Moraine Lake Bus Company’s sunrise shuttle! 

Ultimately, Moraine Lake is a really special place and definitely worth a visit. Okay, maybe we’re biased because we got engaged here, but it truly is the Crown Jewel of the Canadian Rockies. To get a better idea, just read about the amazing things you can do at Moraine Lake!

Related Read: If you’re wondering how to spend your time here, check out our 1-day itinerary for Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

Must-do Activities while you’re in Lake Louise

Bailey canoes on Moraine Lake with stunning reflections
Bailey canoes on Moraine Lake with stunning reflections
  • Relax at the Lake Louise foreshore – When it comes to enjoying Lake Louise, one of the easiest and most common ways is to enjoy the views are from the Lake Louise foreshore. Within minutes of arriving, you can have a coffee in hand and stare out at mountain peaks, glaciers, and the bluest lake you’ll ever see. Note, the lake is only blue during the summer months in Lake Louise when it is not frozen.
  • Hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House – My favorite hike in Lake Louise is the Lake Agnes Tea House trail. Starting right from the foreshore, the trail has you hiking high above Lake Louise where you can peer down and see parts of the lake from above. Lake Agnes Tea House Trail is a 7.3-kilometer (4.5 miles) return track that climbs 400 meters in elevation. The trail is moderately difficult but not technical at all!
  • Rent a canoe and explore Lake Louise – When I think of iconic Canadian activities a few come to mind. However, one of the most relaxing and breathtaking is paddling an alpine lake in a Canadian Canoe. You can do this throughout Canada, but there aren’t many places as beautiful as Lake Louise to enjoy this activity.
  • Go ice skating on Lake Louise – Lake Louise is the color of the sky in summer and that color has made the lake famous. But in the winter, the cold temperatures completely freeze the lake over and it now becomes an ice-skating dream! This is one of the best things to do in Lake Louise in the winter, and it’s completely free if you bring your own skates!

Where to Stay in Lake Louise

Fairmont Springs Hotel in Banff
Photo credit – Banff & Lake Louise Tourism Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

Of course, with being such a small village, there are limited places to stay in Lake Louise, so you should book online well in advance. Additionally, if you want to stay right on the lake’s edge, The Fairmont is your best choice. It’s pricey, but super luxurious and the views really can’t be beat!

Fairmont Château Lake Louise – $$$

Speaking of the Fairmont, it’s truly an incredible stay! For those with a bigger budget, you can’t look past the Fairmont Château Lake Louise. The hotel sits on the shoreline of Lake Louise with epic views in the most stunning of locations. I’ve added spending a night or two here to my personal bucket list! There are also a few restaurants in the hotel that are only available to hotel guests, not to mention the onsite spa!

Rooms start around $499 CAD and can exceed $1,500 CAD per night. It’s definitely a luxury stay! You can book the Fairmont online here.

Lake Louise Inn ($$)

The Lake Louise Inn is still a budget-friendly option but a little fancier than the above hostel. The hotel features an indoor pool, an onsite restaurant and bar, modern rooms, and even apartments for larger groups. It basically has all the comforts you’d expect at a standard hotel and the reviews are really good. Its location is also ideal, right in the heart of Lake Louise Village. This is where we usually stay!

Prices range from around $140 to $600 CAD, depending on the time of year. You can book the Lake Louise Inn online here!

HI Lake Louise Alpine Center ($)

For budget travelers, the Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center is the best option in Lake Louise Village. The location is right in town, they have a shared kitchen, basic but comfortable rooms, and friendly staff. You can choose between dorm rooms or private rooms. It is by far the cheapest place to stay in Lake Louise, and honestly, it’s a nice hostel and we’ve actually stayed there a few times.

You can get a shared dorm room for about $50 CAD a night and private rooms are about $140 CAD per night. You can book it online with Hostelworld.com or Booking.com!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel at the edge of Lake Louise in Banff
Thanks for reading!

There you have it – the best ways to get from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake. So if you’re visiting from June through mid-October, we highly encourage you to head to Moraine Lake. This stunning body of water is a sight to remember (and a great place to propose from our experience!).

We hope this guide made your planning even easier. For more resources, you can read more blogs about Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, or check out other destinations in Canada. And as always, thanks for reading!

Guide to Hiking Consolation Lakes Trail, Moraine Lake

Banff vs Lake Louise – Comparison and My Personal Recommendation!

Is Banff Worth Visiting? 10 Reasons You MUST Visit Banff!