Eiffel Lake – Moraine Lake Hikes

Eiffel Lake – Moraine Lake Hikes

Eiffel Lake - fab hike in the Valley of the Ten Peaks near Moraine LakeLet me tell you about a moderate hike to Eiffel Lake, that will provide some of the most impressive views in the Canadian Rockies. The trail starts at Moraine Lake, so the views are spectacular before you even set off. Along the way, you get close-up views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks and their impressive glaciers. The hike finishes in the middle of the mountains with a bunch of fuzzy pikas, ground squirrels and marmots to keep you company.

It looked like there were quite a lot of larches along the Valley of the Ten Peaks, so if you want to see the golden trees in autumn, I think this would be a great option to see them with smaller crowds than Larch Valley.

Eiffel Lake trail map

Eiffel Lake trail – the basics

Distance:Β 12km
Cumulative Elevation gain
: 601m
Highest Point:Β 2300m
Time: 3-4 hours
What to bring:
The 10 Essentials
Bear spray
Plenty of layers and waterproofs.
Facilities:
There are loos at Moraine Lake, but none along the trail
Dogs:Β Yes (on a leash)
How hard is it? Moderate – The steepest section is the first half an hour, after that it feels pretty flat and fun.

Eiffel Lake trail – Getting Started

This is another one of the fabulous hikes near Moraine Lake. So I am afraid if you want to park here you will need to wake up super early; Before 6am. We combined this walk with our hike up to Sentinel Pass. If you are happy to attempt two hikes on the same day, this is a great way to make the most of an early start.

In normal non-covid-19 years you can take a shuttle up to Moraine Lake if the car park is full. This walk isn’t very long or hard, so it’s a good option if you don’t want to wake up before dawn.

Eiffel Lake trail

As I mentioned in my previous post about the hike to Larch Valley, the trail is easy to find. Turn right just after the Moraine Lake Lodge and follow the switchbacks up the mountain. The beginning of the hike is the hardest part. Once you have made it past the first 2.5km, the rest of the way is a gradual, easy slope. Just make sure to take the first turning (left) after the switchbacks.

Valley of the Ten Peak views

Once you are on the trail to Eiffel Lake, you’ll walk through pretty forest. At first you’ll be able to look back at the crazy-blue Moraine Lake.

Once the lake is no longer visible, you’ll still be able to peek at the peaks through the trees.

The Ten Peaks

The names of the peaks (from East to West) are:
Mount Babel (this isn’t one of the official ten), Mount Fay, Mount Little (which is hiding behind Mount Bowen in the photos below), Mount Bowen…

Tonsa Peak, Mount Perren (in the middle), Mount Allen (the small spike)…

Mount Tuzo, Deltaform Mountain, Neptuak Mountain and Wenkchemna Peak (part of Mount Hungabee – not shown in these photos. as it’s a little further around)

The Ten Peaks earlier names:

These impressive, glacier-covered mountains were named by Samuel Allen, an early explorer here. At first he referred to each peak by using the numerals from one to ten in the Stoney Nakoda First Nation’s Language:
(1) Heejee (2) Num (3) Yamnee (4) Tonsa (5) Sapta (6) Shappee (7) Shagowa (8) Shakhnowa (9) Neptuak and (10) Wenkchemna

Over the years most of the mountains were renamed, so now only three of them, Tonsa, Neptuak and Wenkchemna, kept their nineteenth century names. It makes me wonder how the Stoney Nakoda people referred to these mountains before any settlers arrived.

Rocky views

As you get close to Eiffel Lake, the trees start to thin out and the ground becomes more rocky and barren. We did find a few small patches of snow (in August) so you might need micro spikes if you attempt this earlier in the summertime. After mid-August you’ll be able to do this easily in hiking boots.

The views may be less green, and the clouds rushed in to provide a moody backdrop for the Ten Peaks. But I still think these views are incredible.

First views of Wenkchemna Peak and Eiffel Lake

We came around the corner to see fabulous (if moody) views of Wenkchemna Peak and Eiffel Lake. Wenkchemna Peak is just the first peak of the even bigger Mount Hungabee. From this area in the Valley of the Ten peaks, it looks enormous, imposing and impossible to climb.

Spectacular Glacier Views

The ten peaks themselves are impressive, but we also really loved seeing the myriad of glaciers. This trail allows you to see the giant cracks where whole shelves of ice are beginning to give way. There were some that looked like rock glaciers (where rock debris frozen in interstitial ice or where a normal glacier is covered by talus.) I also love seeing the glaciers that seem to consist of a long line of mini ice-shelves, that look like massive frozen waterfalls.

Views from Eiffel Lake

There is a cliff just above the lakes where you can sit, eat and take in these stunning views. Next time we visit, I would like to hike a little further to Wenkchemna Pass (between Wenkchemna Peak and Neptuak Mountain.) You can see the pass in the photos below.

On this occasion, we had already hiked to Sentinel Pass, (and we had plans to keep going to Consolation Lakes.) So we stopped here.

Critters near Eiffel Lake

You might think with all those bare rocks that there wouldn’t be many animals around. However we got to see soooo many floofy bottoms on this walk! We met a friendly marmot, who ran right up to us, then turned and legged it up the mountain. There were also quite a few pikas and ground squirrels (they look a bit like chipmunks.) We could hear pikas meeping the whole way along the trail so there must be quite a few nearby.

Please leave no trace

The ground squirrels near Eiffel Lake were really sweet and keen to come and say hello. However we also saw some reeeally chubby fellas close to Moraine Lake. You can tell that some tourists don’t know (or don’t care!?) that you should not feed wildlife. Some people left peelings, which counts, as we saw the critters munching those too.

In some countries it is okay to feed animals (we feed birds in the UK, and most tourists feed deer when they visit Nara, Japan) However in Canada you should not feed any wildlife. This is especially true in areas like this where grizzly bears roam. You definitely should not leave your litter, pips or fruit peel behind!

Heading back to Moraine Lake

The hike back to the car park at Moraine Lake is even easier than on the way to Eiffel Lake. It’s a gentle down hill slope the entire way. You can relax, take in the gorgeous views and watch out for more wildlife.

Panoramas on the trail to Eiffel Lake

I’ll finish this with a bunch of panoramas. I attempted to label one of the photos of the valley of the Ten Peaks, so you can learn the names if you fancy.

The hike to Eiffel Lake through the Valley of the Ten Peaks is pretty amazing; Especially when you consider how easy it is. Hundreds of people visit Moraine Lake every day, so it is also pretty cool to find such a quiet route that will get you even more impressive views of those famous Ten Peaks. If you ever visit this area in the Autumn, this walk would be even more impressive as you’d get to see some of those larch trees turn golden.

Eiffel Lake - fab hike in the Valley of the Ten Peaks near Moraine Lake Eiffel Lake trail near Moraine Lake - Banff National Park Eiffel Lake - fun hike along the Valley of the Ten Peaks near Moraine Lake

62 thoughts on “Eiffel Lake – Moraine Lake Hikes

  1. This one looks incredible as well! And I haven’t known too many “friendly” marmots, they’re usually pushy and looking for handouts! πŸ˜› I had to “save” a little girl from one at Rocky Mountain Park once! πŸ˜›

    1. Really? They have either been super shy, or they just watch us. I have never met a pushy one…unlike the ground squirrels and chipmunks who like to tell us off/ask for handouts!

      They are pretty big though, pushy marmots must be quite stressful for young children!

  2. What an incredible looking bike. I did a ton of hiking around there in August but really wish I’d done this one now. Getting parking at Moraine was hard enough that I know I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this with the time I had but more reason to go back. Very impressed you got the animal pictures. I always hear them but never see them

    1. To be fair, I think all of the hikes in this area are amazing, so whichever one you did must have been fab. I loved your posts about all the gorgeous lakes.

      I am not sure why but all the animals were happy to see us on these hikes! I ended up with a whole marmot photo shoot at the next lake. 🀣

    1. lol we really did – I still have a bunch more. It is good we were a little lazy in the second half of the summer, or I will never be able to catch up and write about them all.

  3. This looks like a stunning hike! We’ve only visited the area in winter, so we were never able to go on hikes around Moraine Lake. Hopefully, we’ll visit next year in late spring or summer, although autumn might be the best time to go, I love the autumn colours and the golden larches.

    1. That was what happened to us the first time we visited too – Moraine Lake looked incredible, but there was so much snow that we didn’t feel safe going off on hikes. I hope you can make it back to go a little further. The Valley of the Ten Peaks is pretty amazing if you can go that way.

  4. Wow this hike looks great also! So many things to do in this area, IΒ΄ve visited a long long time ago with my parents and IΒ΄ve been eager to return now with my family so this is perfect inspiration right now. We all like nature and hiking so IΒ΄m definitely saving this for later and hopefully we can fly over there any time soon. Lovely pictures πŸ™‚

    1. Oh yay for the good timing Katja! We found a few other fab ones in this area (Sentinel Pass, Paradise Valley as well as Consolation Lakes) I hope you have an amazing time.

  5. Wow! Had no idea there was a hike next to Moraine Lake with these amazing views! I’ll have to check out this hike the next time I visit the Banff area!!!

    1. There are soooo many hikes there! We did three on the same day, and they were all incredible. This was the middle option (we did one harder one to Sentinel Pass and one easy one to Consolation Lakes)

    1. Oh yay! I think you guys would prefer to go further, either to Wenkchemna Pass or beyond. We managed to do three hikes on this day…so I feel you’d be similar – just hiking to Eiffel Lake might not be enough for you.

      1. We’d definitely want to go to the pass! I’m tempted to do what you did and hike Sentinel Pass too: if we have to work that hard to get to Moraine Lake then we might as well make the most of it. πŸ™‚

        1. That is exactly what we were thinking! This area pairs really well with Sentinel Pass because they share the first couple of kilometers of trail – so you can skip some of the uphill slog by doing them on the same day…

    1. You are going to have sooo much fun Rachael! I can’t wait to see the views through your lens too. πŸ™‚

      I didn’t write much about it yet, but if you would like to see some more less touristy spots, Kootenay National Park is stunning, but we didn’t see any crowds there at all!

  6. These pictures are stunning! The blue of the lake is absolutely amazing. And being able to see the animals in nature is just such an amazing experience!

    1. Yeah Moraine Lake’s blue waters are incredible. I have seen photos of Eiffel lake looking all greeny/blue too. It just was a bit darker for us dur to those moody skies…

  7. I really enjoyed the detailed post about the hike as it will certainly help me as I plan to visit in the Next summer. Looking forward to a better summer πŸ™‚ keep the amazing posts coming!

  8. I love the scenic views on this hike. It might perfect for me as I have been hiking everyday and going further in the last month. Would love to get to Canada and do this.

    1. The NZ trails are pretty similar in difficulty to the trails here in Canada – I bet you will be fine once you make it over here Rhonda.

  9. I’m so jealous you have so many stunning hikes near you and this is breathtaking! From the crystal clear and turquoise lake with the 10 peaks behind it is incredible. If it looks this beautiful in photos I can only imagine how gorgeous it is in person. Would love to see a marmot one day too! 😁

    1. Thanks Vanessa – To be honest we’re not very close to the Rockies (it’s about 8-9 hours drive) that’s why whenever I write about them it’s a whole bunch of walks in a row!

      But yees I hope you can visit. Your hike-ready legs are totally strong enough to get you into marmot country!

  10. Banffffffffff!!! It’s been on my travel bucket list for at least the last 5-ish years! *-* That water looks magical (+ that squirrel is an adorable chonk, haha)!

  11. I love hiking and I would 100% do this hike for the views alone. Especially the glaciers, I love your description of how they look like frozen waterfalls and I would love to see something like that. Incredible hike and incredible pictures!

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment Rachel! I think seeing glaciers is one of the best thing about the rockies – they are so cool to see!

  12. Lovely pictures! Moraine Lake and BC in general definitely is high up on my bucketlist as soon as travel restrictions get lifted and we’ll be able to travel between the US and Canada again.

  13. Those are indeed spectacular views, Josy. I am impressed by you naming all the 10 peaks. Did you get those from a map?

    1. Thanks Rudy, that took a while so I am glad you like it! I used a mixture of maps and online photos…and then I went to a hiking group on facebook and asked if anyone could spot any errors.

      I am not sure why, but I really love being able to name mountains.

  14. I can’t wait to visit Canada some day – really want to go on a road trip to see all the lakes and hit the best hiking trails! Have bookmarked this so I can remember it. It looks like you had such a beautiful time πŸ™‚

  15. I always feel as if I get an encore trip to the Canadian Rockies in your posts. You always have all the hikes I missed on my last visit. This one is beautiful.

    1. Ah perfect! We can give each other excuses to go back and visit again! πŸ˜€
      I would love to try more paddling in the Rockies.

  16. You guys go on the best hikes! Do you think this hike is so popular because you get the hard part out of the way first thing? And thank you for the reminder to not feed the wildlife. As soon as you said the marmot ran right up to you, I was like, uh-oh, there have been some naughty hikers!

    1. Thanks Ada!
      The maddest thing about this hike is it is not even very popular! Most people crow the trail to Sentinel Pass…so this one is quiet despite these epic views!

  17. Amazing, like all of these hikes that you’ve posted so far! I LOVE your panoramas too, especially the one where you named all the peaks.

    1. Thanks Marco.
      Yeah we do walk quite a lot. We normally do one or two walks most weeks ranging from 10-30km…but all these trails in the Rockies were from a holiday when we walked every day.

      Having said that, we stopped walking for a whole month this summer when it was smoky.

  18. So beautiful!! I actually kinda love how moody the sky is – makes the view even more dramatic. Those cheeky little squirrels are most definitely living their best life lol. If you keep posting about these hikes, Josy, I’m going to spend all my vacation time exploring this area!

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