The trail to Consolation Lakes is the most family friendly of all the possible hikes near Moraine Lake. It is less than 3km in each direction, with very little elevation gain. Despite the ease of the walk, you’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of glacier covered mountains and a quiet valley. You might even be lucky enough to finish with a marmot photoshoot.
Consolation Lakes trail map
Consolation Lakes trail – the basics
Distance: 5.8 km
Cumulative Elevation gain: 255m
Highest Point: 1980m
Time: 2 hours
What to bring:
The 10 Essentials
Plenty of layers (the weather can change quickly here!)
There are loos at Moraine Lake, but none along the trail.
Dogs: Yes (on a leash)
How hard is it? Easy – this is not a tough walk so is a fab option if you want to go a little further to see the scenery near Moraine Lake.
Consolation Lakes trail – Getting Started
The hike to Consolation Lakes starts at the beautiful Moraine Lake, in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The trail starts near the base of the Rockpile that forms a dam, holding back Moraine Lake. Before you get started, it is always worth hiking to the top of the rockpile, to see the Ten Peaks and the crazy turquoise waters.
Extra tip: We hiked up the rockpile twice on the same day; Once at sunrise when it was completely heaving, then again in the afternoon when it was far more quiet and serene. If you only have energy to climb up once, save it for later in the day when the sun is up and there are fewer people.
Walk around the Tower of Babel
Once you have filled your eyes with Moraine Lake’s beauty, you can follow the trail around the Tower of Babel to start this walk. This tower is much smaller than the rest of Babel Mountain, but it looks spectacular from below.
The first small section crosses a boulder field. There is a pretty good path through it; But it must feel more like an epic adventure if you hike here with little ‘uns. You can look up to see some of the Ten Peaks – Mount Fay, (Mount Little is hiding from here), Mount Bowen, Mount Perren, Mount Allen and Mount Tuzo.
Look back at the impressive South Face of Mount Temple towering over everything.
Be bear aware
Please note, this area has plenty of grizzly bears. When we visited in August it was recommended to hike in groups of more than four hikers. Later in the summer, that becomes mandatory. You can receive a hefty fine ($5000) if you hike here in smaller groups, so check the notice board at the start of the hike and obey the law. If you need a larger group, you can wait by the sign until more hikers are heading in that direction.
As always, bring bear spray (just in case) and make plenty of noise as you hike to avoid sneaking up on bears!
The trail continues through the forest with Babel Creek crashing along next to the path. You get to play peek-a-boo with the surrounding peaks as they suddenly loom over the trail when there are gaps in the trees.
As you get closer to Consolation Lakes, the trees thin out a little; So you’ll be able to see the steep sides of Panorama Ridge.
How busy is the hike to Consolation Lakes?
I am not sure if it was just because we visited in the afternoon, but we only met a couple of other hikers, and we had the entire lake to ourselves (apart from a photogenic hoary marmot!) I don’t think you can count on it being this quiet though. This is one of the easier hikes in the Rockies, so normally there must be a few more happy hikers to share these lovely views.
Why are they called Consolation Lakes
We stopped at the first lake so you can’t quite see, but there are two lakes here. They were named by Walter Wilcox in 1899. At first, the Valley of the Ten Peaks was named “Desolation Valley,” so this area, in contrast became “Consolation Valley” with “Consolation Lakes”. Whatever the name is, this valley, beneath so many spectacular mountains and glaciers is completely worth the walk!
I loved the views of the hanging glaciers on Bident Mountain and Quandra Mountain in the background.
While we sat admiring these views and munching apples, part of the glacier broke away from Quandra Mountain! Can you see the giant waterfall-like cascade of ice? It sounded like a massive crash of thunder as the echo of the ice-fall reverberated around the valley. Amazing!
Consolation Lakes shoreline
I should mention that this lake does not have a beach-like shoreline. There are piles of rocks that have fallen from Mount Babel, and a stream running through them. So, to reach the edge of the lake, you do need to scramble a little. If you fall from the rocks, you’ll end up soggy, but the water is not very deep.
Hoary Marmot photoshoot
I have shared quite a few photos of marmots in my recent posts, but we met the most relaxed floofy marmot-dude ever by Consolation Lakes! He stayed around for ages (even while I fumbled for my big lens) then posed to show off his smile, his tail as well as his fur blowing in the wind. I felt like I was taking photos for a marmot shampoo commercial! Isn’t he fabulous!?
Return to Moraine Lake
This is an out-and-back hike, so to get back to the car park, you just need to retrace your steps through the forest. Once you are back at Moraine Lake, I thought I should mention there is a great loo with a view. It was such a good view that I may have to update my loo with a view post to include it!
Consolation Lakes Panoramas
As always, I’ll finish with some panoramas so you can see how all these views fit together.
If you are already planning a trip to Moraine Lake, do consider this hike to Consolation Lakes as well. It’ll allow you to escape the crowds and see a bit more of this amazing Canadian scenery, without too much effort. Or, if you are already planning one of the bigger epic hikes in the area – this is a fab mini add-on! It only takes a couple of hours, so you can easily tack it onto the end of another hike in the area.