We arrived at Moraine Lake Lodge on a sunny and warm Sunday, the 13th of June, the third day of our 12-day Canadian Rockies trip. The temperature was 21 degrees (70 degrees F) and we were in shorts after a brisk hike around Lake Louise. That was the last sunshine we saw for our 6-day stay at Moraine Lake.
My wife and I had booked a King Lake Cabin. Michael, the General Manager, offered us a substantial discount--beyond the 10% AAA discount advertised--for a stay of five nights or more. The room was grand...fireplace and a view of the lake. The room was spacious and offered very nice amenities and furnishings. Someone complained earlier about having to move the coffeepot into the bathroom in order to use it. And that took how long? The massive picture window offers a panoramic view of the valley cut by glacial action and the terminal moraine that dams the lake we see today.
Given a very cold spring--to which we can attest--the lake is low but rising and the peaks around the valley still hold the promise of bountiful water, once the sun shines enough to melt the snow. We used the lodge as a base for seeing Jasper, Banff, and parts of Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. It worked very well...but they didn't provide enough sunshine! On at least 4 days, we had snow. All kidding aside, we made the best of it and having a fireplace to warm up in front of afterward made our forays all that much more enjoyable. Be advised, this is bear country! We had a good sized male grizzly amble down the path in front of our room just minutes after we had taken it to walk back from dinner. Given the northern location, you don't have to worry about stumbling along in the dark since it is still light at 11PM.
The lodge has a dining room, small "cafe", gift shop(discounts for guests), and free use of canoes for guests. There are many hikes to be had and the staff are eager to give you tips. Larch Valley and Consolation Lake are two of the more popular hikes and each has its own unique list of attributes. Pay attention to the bear warnings; in July and August, grizzlies are in the high country and an encounter can be very dangerous. The requirement to travel in groups of 4 are for your safety and should not be ignored. Buy a bear bell, strap it on your significant other's pack and then hope the bear follows the bell (just kidding).
See our comments about food and wine under Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, B.C. Food is expensive and beverages border on, well, too pricey? Sure, you are in a remote and unique locale, but the wine prices, especially, seem over the top, though not as bad as what we found at Emerald Lake.
The dining room enjoys stunning views of the lake and the glaciers perched above but it is by no means fancy. For a stay of more than three nights, the menu selections can become a bit repetitive but we tried almost all of the entrees and found them to be well prepared. Again, I will say that "presentation" seems to be the vogue these days in food preparation so prepare yourself for the odd geometry plates and the little flourishes that chefs seem to feel make them artisans more than food preparers.
The staff at the lodge is mostly young college-age people, many from Australia, and seems very friendly and genuinely interested in making your stay an enjoyable one. I give the lodges in the Canadian Rockies credit for retaining the charm of exuberant young people for staff as opposed to cheap immigrant labor that too often cannot even communicate with their guests due to language barriers.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the lodge, although we were disappointed when they pulled out a sunny day as we checked out!
Michael: good staff and a great time!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Moraine Lake is the iconic lake pictured on the old Canadian twenty dollar bill. Many visit Moraine Lake, the lucky ones stay at the only accommodation on the lake, Moraine Lake Lodge. Located in Banff National Park, 15 minutes away from Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is known as the Jewel of the Rockies. Steps from their rooms, guests staying at the lodge are treated to the stunning beauty and pristine splendor of the iridescent turquoise-coloured lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Each guest receives a complimentary package that includes guided hiking, naturalist presentations and canoeing on Moraine Lake. Moraine Lake Lodge is also renowned for its cuisine, with signature dishes such as buffalo carpacchio with roasted pine nuts and deer tenderloin with juniper berries. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Moraine Lake Hotel Lake Louise