Are you trying to beat the crowds at Moraine Lake? The BEST way to do this is by biking to Moraine Lake when the road is closed to cars! This is how I beat the crowds, and at one point had Moraine Lake all to myself!
When Can I bike into Moraine Lake?
Every Spring, they prepare the lake for tourists and locals to visit by plowing all of the snow once the risk of avalanche is gone. This is the sweet spot – the road is cleared of snow, but not open to cars and busses just yet. Therefore, you can bike (or hike if you want to!) the road, without the worry of vehicles.
They typically plow the road on the May long weekend, and usually, the road opens to vehicles the Tuesday after May long.
Depending on conditions, the road to Moraine Lake typically closes around Canada’s Thanksgiving Day. The road closes for the winter because of the risk of avalanche, so it can be a hit or a miss whether or not it is safe to bike near the end of the season. I would recommend speaking with Parks Canada and inquiring about trail conditions/safety risks before heading out on the closed road in October.
*If the road is open to cars, I would not recommend biking into Moraine Lake*
How to Get There & Where to Park When Biking to Moraine Lake
To get to Moraine Lake from Banff, you will drive the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 1) North and take the exit onto Highway 1A. (Basically follow the signs to Lake Louise from Banff).
Highway 1A will turn into Lake Louise Drive, and you will follow this road for most of the way there. The foot of Moraine Lake Road will be on the left of Lake Louise Drive, and here there are very few parking spots right at the foot of Moraine Lake Road. You can park here if there’s space, otherwise, you can drive a little farther up Lake Louise Drive and there will be a dirt parking lot on the right side of the road. It is the parking lot for the Great Divide Trail and is a lot larger (located on the map & pictured below).
I wouldn’t recommend parking all the way at the Lake Louise lot, because it adds another hill you will have to bike up and they are now charging a day fee for parking at the Lake Louise lot (the other lots are free).
Will I See The Stunning Blue Water of Moraine Lake in May?
Biking to Moraine Lake in the early Spring usually means you’ll be seeing a mostly snowy Moraine Lake. That beautiful blue water doesn’t start to appear once the snow fully starts to melt in June & July. Depending on conditions, you may be lucky to see the blue water in the late fall, but Alberta’s weather conditions are SO unpredictable. It could be sunny and so hot in the morning, and a blizzard in the afternoon. So it’s hard to say, but if you’re looking for that beautiful blue water, I would try to plan time in the summer to check it out.
How Hard is the Bike Ride to Moraine?
Let’s just say the bike ride is not impossible. Just kidding, but the way there is mainly uphill and I was seriously struggling. I pushed my bike most of the way there, but I usually only bike on flat ground so my thighs and body were just not used to that kind of exercise. Everyone else seemed to be having no problems on their bikes, so it just depends on your activity level! But even if you push your bike the whole way there, you will be so thankful to have it on the way down. You can coast almost the whole way back downhill and so it makes getting back so much easier and faster, so it’s well worth it to have a bike instead of hiking in! Biking to Moraine Lake was a dream and such a fun adventure, I highly recommend it!
Other Useful Information
- You can rent bikes from Banff Adventures (in Banff) or Wilson Mountain Sports (in Lake Louise, which is closer to Moraine)
- Pack snacks like jerky, cheese, granola bars, juice boxes, and whatever else you like to bring
- You could even pack a small lunch and have a picnic when you arrive (this is what I did!)
- Don’t forget your water!
- Weather can change in a minute, I wore my t-shirt on the ride in but I wore a sweater, a windbreaker and small gloves on the ride out – so be prepared with a few layers
- The ride in is probably around one hour? I honestly forgot to time it, but our whole trip (from the parking lot, up to Moraine, and back) took around 4 hours. We did spend quite a bit of time at Moraine Lake though and made a lot of stops on the ride up. You could spend less time at the lake, but we just wanted to enjoy the peacefulness and the beauty as long as possible (since it’s rare to have the lake with so few people around!)
- Make sure your camera & phone batteries are charged
- Have fun! It is such a fun adventure and I can’t wait to do it again next Spring 🙂
Have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment, send me an email or message me on instagram!
Have you biked to Moraine Lake before or dream of visiting? Let me know your experience/plans below!