Hiking the Moraine Lake Rockpile
Banff National Park, Alberta
Text and Photography by Mike Potter
Banff National Park has some of the greatest hikes around. Due to its former use as the background on the Canadian $20 bill, Lake Moraine along with Lake Louise, remains one of the most popular walks and rightly so. The relatively easy hike is rewarded with simply stunning views that remain ingrained in your memory for a long time.
The interpretive trail up the Rockpile, the prominent heap of boulders at the northeast end of Moraine Lake, gives an excellent introduction to the famous Valley of the Ten Peaks. Interpretive signs along the trail focus on the geology of the area, and viewpoints at and near the top give classic views of Moraine Lake and some of the Ten Peaks. One of the viewpoints is the exact position from which the illustration on the older Canadian $20 bill was taken; the scene is thus known as the “Twenty Dollar View.”
Distance: 0.5 km (0.3 mi) – Moraine Lake parking area to top of the Rockpile
Walk: 15 – 20 minutes one way
Elevation Gain: 15 m (50 ft))
Maximum Elevation: 1900 m (6230 ft)
Trailhead: Southeast corner of Moraine Lake parking lot.
0.0 – Sign (elevation 1885 m). Go straight, away from parking lot.
0.1 – Cross footbridge over Moraine Creek; begin short incline.
0.2 – Junction with Lower Consolation Lake trail. Turn right for Rockpile; climb rock-slab steps.
0.5 – Summit of the Rockpile (1900 m)