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5 BEST Moraine Lake Tours from Calgary to See All the Highlights!

5 BEST Moraine Lake Tours from Calgary to See All the Highlights!

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Moraine Lake is easily one of the most beautiful lakes in Banff National Park. With its vibrant blue water and stunning Rocky Mountains in the background, you will be swooned at first glance – at least I was!

As a Canadian myself, I try and get everyone to visit Moraine Lake at least once in their lives. Luckily, Calgary is a short drive from Banff National Park, so you can easily visit on a day trip and see the highlights – even if you’re pressed for time. 

We have put together the best Moraine Lake tours from Calgary to maximize your time and answered the essential questions to make your visit the best time ever. If visiting Moraine Lake is on your bucket list, then keep reading and pack your bags!

Don’t have time to read the full article? The absolute best way to visit Moraine Lake from Calgary is through a tour! We recommend taking this full-day Banff tour, which includes time to explore Lake Louise and Banff, in addition to visiting Moraine Lake, so you truly see the highlights in a convenient one-day tour.

Best Moraine Lake Tours from Calgary

1. Lake Louise, Moraine Lake & Banff Tour

Bailey on the shores of Lake Louise
Lake Louise is so beautiful!
Bailey in a canoe at Moraine Lake, Banff NP
Look at this water!

I absolutely love this highlights tour to Banff, as you hit my favorite sites in one easy day trip from Calgary! Not only will you get to spend time at the gorgeous Moraine Lake, but also visit the ever-popular Lake Louise, explore Banff town, and catch incredible sights the entire way. If you only have one day to spend in Banff, this tour is your best bet. 

This small group tour starts by visiting one of the most beautiful places in Alberta, Lake Louise. You will be in awe of the lake’s vibrant colors. There’s a reason it is so popular! 

But of course, the biggest highlight of this tour is visiting Moraine Lake. I actually prefer Moraine Lake over Lake Louise – the color is such a brilliant blue, and the iconic Ten Peaks are the perfect backdrop! I could not believe this place was real the first time I saw it, it’s that stunning. You can no longer drive to Moraine Lake yourself, so taking a tour is the easiest way to get there, or else you have to catch a shuttle. (If you do go that route, we recommend Moraine Lake Bus Company, who are very reputable and proved super popular last summer!)

One important thing to note is that this tour only visits Moraine Lake from June to October, as the road to the lake closes during the winter months. If you are visiting during winter, you will get to visit Johnston Canyon instead – which is especially beautiful when it’s covered in ice. While it’s not Moraine Lake, it’s still a unique experience! 

Scenic views of the walking street in Banff Town
Banff!

The tour continues driving through the picturesque scenery of Banff National Park as you make your way to downtown Banff. You will have about an hour here to explore, do some souvenir shopping, and pick up a coffee at one of Banff’s cute cafes. 

This full-day tour is a fantastic way to experience Moraine Lake and the other gems of Banff National Park. The convenience of transportation from Calgary and the knowledgeable guide make the day relaxing and fun – exactly what you want in a tour to Moraine Lake! It costs $155 CAD plus a $10 CAD service fee, and you’ll want some cash for lunch or snacks along the way.

Related Read: If you’re deciding which gondolas to visit in Banff, check out our blog about the Banff Gondola vs the Lake Louise Gondola.

2. Discover Banff National Park Day Trip with Moraine Lake

Canoes sit on the shoreline of Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
A tour takes the stress out of a visit!

To see the whole gamut of awe-inspiring places in Banff National Park, this full-day Banff Tour has got you covered! From the most popular sights to those off the beaten track, you’ll see them all. 

It could also be called “the lakes tour of Banff” because you get to visit Lake Minnewanka, Two Jack Lake, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake all in one day! There is something so captivating about all of these alpine lakes, I seriously can’t get enough of them – you’ll know what I mean once you take this tour!

Departing from Calgary in the morning, this 10-hour tour provides transportation, national park entrance fees, and the local guide who is a wealth of information. This tour is capped at 12 people, so you get more of a chance to chat with your guide, ask any questions, and have an overall more personalized experience. 

You’ll have the most time in Banff town, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake, but keep in mind that this is only offered during the summer. During the winter, this tour will visit Canmore instead of Moraine Lake. Having lived in Canmore ourselves, we can attest that this is a good trade-off! There is a lot to explore in Canmore, so you’ll probably want a few days to stay here to see it all. 

I recommend packing your hiking shoes and comfy clothes, as you will get to explore all the lakes. This is one of the best day trips from Calgary, and with hotel pick up it is also an incredibly convenient option. It is $177 CAD and considering how it includes park entrance fees and transportation – it’s a steal!

3. Lake Louise, Moraine Lake & Yoho National Park Tour

A lady sits on a rock at Lake Louise looking out over the water at the glacier and mountains
Lake Louise!
Daniel in a canoe on Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Canada
Moraine Lake!

Another impressive national park you’ll want to check out is Yoho National Park. Luckily, Yoho is right next to Banff, so you can explore both on this full-day tour from Calgary!

While we keep raving about the gorgeous Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, you’ll also get to discover Emerald Lake in Yoho. Yet another incredibly scenic lake, Emerald Lake is one of my favorite spots to visit, but it is significantly less popular than the lakes in Banff National Park. This is great because you get fewer crowds and can enjoy the lake in its natural beauty – just the way I like it! 

Because there are fewer crowds, this area is great for spotting wildlife, such as elk, deer, moose, and bears. You’ll also get to check out the Natural Bridge rock formation that follows the Kicking Horse River. This tour is truly ideal for nature lovers and those who are keen on finding hidden gems, they are all over here!

I love this tour because it operates on the “less is more” mindset, so while you stop at fewer locations, you get much longer at each one. So you’ll have about 2 hours at Lake Louise, 1 full hour at Moraine Lake, and ample time in Yoho National Park. This allows you to check out the hikes at Lake Louise (or snowshoe during the winter), as well as hikes at Moraine Lake.

This tour is large (about 50 people), so while that gives it a different feel, it also allows you to do your own thing at each place. But, at only $160 CAD per person, including transportation and national park fees – it’s worth it! You can reserve this tour year-round, but you can only visit Moraine Lake during the summer.

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.
  • 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. Mountain Lakes and Waterfalls

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park
Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park

There’s no denying that the Rocky Mountains are full of natural beauty. Even spending a single day here will be enough to take your breath away. So this full-day tour from Calgary is a hit as you explore Moraine Lake, Yoho National Park, and Lake Louise all on the same day. 

While many of these tours follow a similar agenda, this one stands out because it also visits Takakkaw Falls, which is Canada’s second-tallest waterfall! It is an impressive 373 meters (1,224 feet) tall and on a gorgeous summer day, it is a sight to see. You’ll also get to visit Emerald Lake, another iconic Yoho location.

Another unique aspect of this tour is that it truly is an all-day tour – 15 hours from pickup to drop off! You’ll depart from Calgary for Banff around 6 am, which is certainly early but will get you to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise before the crowds arrive. This tour also includes all fees, lunch, and transportation, so it is the most inclusive on this list. 

This tour is a bit more expensive at $372 CAD, but it includes reserve now and pay later, so you don’t have to pay the full expense up front! It runs seasonally from May to September, but you can book your tour as early as you want.

5. Rockies Select 2-day Tour (Banff & Yoho National Park)

Bailey at the Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
Upper falls!
Bailey at Natural Bridge Lower Falls in Yoho National Park
What a place!

If you’re lucky enough to have more wiggle room in your schedule, I highly recommend spending more time in Banff! What easier way to do so than taking a 2-day Canadian Rockies tour, which takes care of every detail for you – seriously, you don’t have to worry about a thing. 

Your first day will depart from Calgary and head to Sulphur Mountain, where you can choose to ride the iconic Banff Gondola. We’ve ridden this gondola more times than we can count, and the views truly never get old. You’ll also visit Bow Falls, Hoodoos Trail, and Johnston Canyon before heading to your Banff hotel for the evening. 

The second day continues the adventure as you visit Moraine Lake and Yoho National Park. In Yoho, you’ll see the Spiral Tunnels, Emerald Lake, and Natural Bridge, and finish off the tour by spending time at both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. They saved the best for last here! 

This tour includes your hotel room for the night, breakfast, and roundtrip transportation from Calgary. The price depends on the number of people reserving the tour and sharing a room (up to 4 people). So for a solo traveler, it is $900 CAD, for 2 people it will be $550 CAD, and for 4 people in a room, it’s $469 CAD each. 

Keep in mind that if you want to ride the Banff Gondola, you either need to purchase gondola tickets on your own, or you can bundle them with your tour for an additional $85 CAD. 

Regardless of which options you choose, this is a great deal for two jam-packed days of adventure! You’ll be saving yourself so much time and energy by not having to worry about parking fees, accommodation, tour guides, and all the stressors of planning – this tour includes it all.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to see Moraine Lake and Banff!

Related Read: Did you know that there are actually four different gondolas in Banff National Park? Each has a unique and amazing view!

Why Take a Tour of Moraine Lake from Calgary?

blue moraine lake in Banff National Park as seen from the Rockpile
What a place!

Moraine Lake has grown in popularity so much over the years, that it is getting harder and harder to visit. The road to Moraine Lake is now closed to the public, so you must take a tour, the Parks Canada shuttle, or book a private shuttle with the Moraine Lake Bus Company which is still super affordable.

Tour groups receive a special permit, so they can actually park at Moraine Lake. They also plan all of the logistics and often cover fees, making your trip go from stressful to relaxing all in one fell swoop. This is also a fantastic way to see other iconic national park locations during your day trip, so if you’re pressed for time, a day trip from Calgary to Moraine Lake is the best way to do it. 

Moraine Lake is one of my favorite spots in Banff, we even got engaged here, so it’s truly a stunning and special place! You don’t want to skip visiting Moraine Lake and a tour is my preferred way to visit.

When is Moraine Lake Open?

Lake Moraine at sunrise in Banff National Park
Sunrise is the best time to go to Moraine Lake to get a great photo for Instagram!

Unlike other Banff attractions, Moraine Lake is not open year-round. It is open from June to mid-October. This applies to tours as well, so if you’re planning a trip to Banff specifically to see Moraine Lake, be sure to plan it during the summer! 

During the winter, this access road is typically covered in snow and avalanche risk is high. So to avoid any disasters, local authorities decided to restrict access during these seasons. I don’t think any scenic lake is worth a potential avalanche!

If you want to see Moraine Lake’s iconic vibrant blue color, I recommend visiting between late June to early September to ensure the lake isn’t frozen. Canada can be cold, so there’s a chance it will still be a bit frozen in early June, and it’s been known to freeze again in the fall!

The lake is open from 6:30 am to 6 pm, and you can catch shuttles or book a tour during these hours. If you can wake up early enough, sunrise is my favorite time to see Moraine Lake!

Where to Stay in Calgary

the outside of the Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire
This hotel is huge! Photo Credit: Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire

Calgary is a pretty large city, so you can bet that there are a ton of options when it comes to places to stay! For day tours to Moraine Lake, I’d suggest picking somewhere in the downtown area as that is where the majority of the tours pick up from.

Here are some of my top picks for accommodation in Calgary:

Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire – $$$

For a really luxurious stay, then you’ll want to check out the Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire, which must have one of the most amazing views of the Bow River we’ve seen in Calgary! The hotel also has its own indoor pool (with a waterslide), a hot tub, a fitness center, a hair salon, and so much more. With a wide range of suites on offer, this is also a great option if you’re spending your honeymoon in Calgary.

You can book a room here at the Sheraton for as low as $246 CAD. However, rooms usually average $300-$400 CAD per night.

Coast Calgary Downtown Hotel and Suites – $$

If your budget allows for a bit more, then I’d suggest taking a look at Coast Calgary Downtown Hotel and Suites, where all rooms come equipped with a full kitchen – great for homemade meals that can save a lot of money! With its very own on-site fitness center, this hotel is also located in the middle of downtown, which is ideal for this itinerary.

Rooms here start at $167 CAD per night, which we think is great value considering the location and that breakfast is included too. You can secure your reservation online here.

Wicked Hostels – $

Right in the center of the city is Wicked Hostels, which is a great choice for travelers on a budget. We’ve found this hostel to be super clean, comfortable, and located in a great area too (bonus points from us)! While there technically are cheaper places to stay in Calgary, the location and the reliability of clean dorms here put Wicked Hostels at the top of our budget category in Calgary.

Dorms here start from $90 CAD per night and can be booked online on Hostelworld or Booking.com.

Parks Canada Pass Quick Info

If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.

Single Daily Admission:

This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for a couple of days.

  • Adult (ages 18-64) is $11 CAD
  • Senior (65+) is $9.50 CAD
  • Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE

Group Daily Admission:

If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)

  • $22.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day

Parks Canada Discovery Pass

The “Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke, and so much more.

  • Adult (age 18-64) – $75.25 CAD
  • Senior (65+) – $64.50 CAD
  • Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $151.25 CAD

Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!

Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers or booths at the entrance to many national parks.

Renting a Car in Alberta

A car drives along the Icefields Parkway
The drive is mesmerizing!

If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.

Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey pose for a photo the the rockpile at Moraine Lake
Thanks for reading!

Moraine Lake is a bucket-list-worthy place to visit, so we hope you have so much fun on your day trip from Calgary! Not only do you get to explore this beautiful lake, but you’ll stop at even more iconic Banff locations like Lake Louise, Yoho National Park, and Banff Town. We absolutely love this area, and I know you will too.

Thanks so much for reading our blog. If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out our other Canada blogs! Whether you’re staying in Calgary or taking your adventures further, we have tons of resources to help with your travel plans. Here are a few of my favorites below:

25 Absolute BEST Things to do in Calgary in Summer

35 BEST Hikes in Banff (ranked from Easy to Hard)

33 FREE Things to do in Banff, Canada

22 BEST Stops on the Drive from Whistler to Calgary