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Torrie & Micah – Moraine Lake

September, 17th 2024

Location

Alberta

Sun

Sunrise: 7:16 a.m
Sunset: 7:44 p.m

Moon

Moonset: 09:06am
Moonrise: 5:52pm
Moon phase: full moon -1 day

Moraine Lake

Rockpile viewpoint

Elopement, small wedding at moraine lake, banff

Between the start of the hike and Sentinel pass

Moraine Lake Larches season

By Minnestima Lakes (the spot we talked about for the ceremony)

Moraine Lake Sentinel Pass

Overview

Nearest Town: Lake Louise, AB

Where to sleep: Either at Lake Louise (plenty of options), or there is a lodge by the Moraine Lake.

Location Information: Banff National Park

Good to Know: You cannot go to Moraine Lake with your own vehicle. It requires a commercial or private shuttle to get there. The lake have a tendency to be a mirror during sunrise. The lake changes colors depending on the season, but also on the weather. It will be darker blue for sunrise, gatorade blue for mid-day full sun and a mix of colors with clouds. The hike is more challenging than Peyto Lake but has another set of beautiful views and the effort is worth the reward!

How to Access: Moraine Lake parking and road have been closed to personal vehicle since last summer (2023). The only way to access it now is to park at Lake Louise Village (or Banff or Lake Louise Lake – depending on which shuttle you will be taking) and take a shuttle. There has been only a few shuttles that offer sunrise rides. We will have to confirm with them sometime in March or April for the times (I called them last week and they said it was too early to know the schedules yet. Though Moraine Lake Bus offered a 4am shuttle last year that would allow time to do the hike for sunrise). Here is two of the companies doing it: Moraine Lake Bus and Fairview Limo

Best Lighting: 1h around Sunrise and 2h around Sunset. Good to know: When the sunsets, the best light is actually a few minutes after the sun goes behind the mountains.

Pet Friendly: Hike is pet-friendly.

Permit Information: Needs a National Park Pass. The ceremony needs a Banff National Park permit.

Leave No Trace Considerations: Always keep in mind that everything you bring in has to be taken out. Including flowers, food, drinks.

Privacy/Seclusion (estimate): This is one of the most popular places in Banff National Park, shuttles book very quickly. The “Rockpile” viewpoint is where everyone goes for sunrise because it gives you a view over the Valley of the Ten Peaks and the lake with the sun light going down the mountains while it rises in the sky.

Considerations: There is either the shore of Peyto Lake where you can go for some water photos with paddle boards (you would have to get them before getting there) or the bow lake shore. There is also a very nice road viewpoint on the way back from Peyto to Bow Lake. Here are two photos (first one of the road shot and the second one of the shore of bow lake for sunrise). The Sentinel pass (the spot we talked about for the ceremony) is less travelled because of the hike you have to do to get there.

Higher up Sentinel Pass

Moraine Lake Sentinel Pass

The hike

This is what the hike looks like (source: All Trails). It is harder than Peyto Lake hike but totally doable. It goes up quite a bit but once you are at the “plateau” you have breathtaking views over the mountains, the larches, some lakes.

To get to the lake called Minnestima, it is about 5km from the parking. It takes about 2/2h30 to get there.

Lodging

The only option to sleep at Moraine Lake is the Moraine Lake Lodge. It is the only hotel on site. It might not be the most economical option though (especially with make up and/or hair).

There are a lots of hotels in Lake Louise. This might be a cheaper option. One place I love to stay in Lake Louise is the Hi Hostel (it is an hostel but they have private rooms), because it has a cabin/cosy feeling and is a great price/value deal. It is also close to the shuttle departure (Fairview Limo).

Legal

Moraine Lake is located in the Banff National Park. You will need to obtain a permit from the Parks before hand.

To sign the legal papers, it would be possible to get an officiant with us up there if we all take the same shuttle in the morning, otherwise it is possible to do it back in Lake Louise (or Banff depending on where you are staying the night of).

Timeline Example

2:00am: Wake up & Coffee at Lake Louise Village

2:30am-3:30am: Make up & Hair

4am: Shuttle to Moraine Lake

4:20am: Arriving at the parking at Moraine Lake

4:20am-6:45am: Hiking up Sentinel Pass to Minnestima Lakes

6:45am-7am: Putting on the Wedding Attires

7am-7:30am: Ceremony & Vows

7:30am-9am: Photos & Breakfast on top of the pass

9am-11am: Going back down to the lake with the wedding attires still on (Still some photos taken)

11am-12am: Photos around the lake and by the rockpile

12am-1pm: Canoe on Moraine Lake (last year it was 140$CAD for the canoe rental) or lunch by the lake

1:30pm: Shuttle back to Lake Louise Village

1:50pm: Back at the parking lot in Lake Louise Village

1:50pm-3pm: Break/Rest/Sign the official papers if it has not been done during the ceremony

3pm-3:30pm: Drive to Bow Lake

3:30pm-5:30pm: Paddle Board on Bow Lake

5:30pm-5:40pm: Drive to Peyto Lake Parking

5:40pm-6:30pm: Hike to the “secret” Peyto Lake viewpoint

6:30pm-6:45pm: Dressing up with the wedding attire again

6:45pm-8:30pm: Photos for sunset / Night-Star photos

8:30pm-9pm: Hike back to the parking lot

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