Spotlight On: Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail

Two people walking down large rock steps in the foreground, mountains in the background
Moraine Lake Bus Company

If you’re looking for phenomenal opportunities for photography and breathtaking views, be sure to check out the world-renowned Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The scenery is so incredible that it’s one of the most photographed lakes in Canada! It’s also a great area for hiking. It has trails for all abilities, with one of the most popular — and family-friendly — being The Rockpile Trail, which takes visitors to the top of one of the Rockies’ best lookout spots, The Rockpile.

If you’re planning a trip to Moraine Lake this year, heading to the top of the famous Rockpile should definitely be on your agenda. And if you’re still ironing out your travel plans, we’ve got you covered. Here, we’ll showcase just how easy it is to hike the Rockpile Trail: one of its most family-friendly hikes in Banff. Last but not least, we’ll provide some information on our convenient shuttle to Moraine Lake so you can see just how simple it is to get there and back, stress-free.

Why Take the Rockpile Trail?

The Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail takes visitors to the top of the Rockpile: a site offering visitors an elevated vantage and a perfect lookout over the gorgeous Moraine Lake. The view here is something that will stay with you forever. It’s an iconic part of the Canadian Rockies and one of Canada’s most treasured natural settings.

The view from the Rockpile Trail lookout is often called ‘The $20 View.’ The scenery is so impressive here that it was featured on the Canadian twenty-dollar bill between 1969 and 1979 in a print series called Scenes from Canada.

All About the Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail

The Rockpile Trail is one of the most family-oriented Moraine Lake hikes; it gives visitors of all ages a great spot to take photos, sit back, and enjoy the scenery. The Rockpile Trail is less than a one-kilometre round-trip and has an elevation gain of only 30 metres, which is gently distributed throughout the path. This makes it achievable even for those who don’t consider themselves hikers.

With minimal stops along the way, the trail could take you between 10 to 20 minutes there and back — though the time will be dictated by your pace and how often you pause along the route. The Rockpile Trail consistently winds upwards, and the path is lined by rocks on either side, which make it impossible to get lost or lose sight of the way forward.

Two women sitting on a rock wall turning to look at the camera. There’s a lake and mountains in the background

The Steps Involved When Taking the Rockpile Trail

The Rockpile Trail starts to the left of the lower parking lot. Again, this is extremely easy to find: it’s clearly sign-posted, and our friendly drivers can point you in the right direction if you ever need a helping hand.

A wide, well-maintained path leads away from the car park to the start of the Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail. Shortly into your adventure and after you’ve left the parking lot, you’ll cross a sturdy wooden bridge over a gentle stream.

Next, you’ll climb a series of stone steps. Midway up these steps, a sign will point you toward another, longer hike —the Consolation Lakes Trail. Keep right to get to the top of the Rockpile.

These steps might initially seem daunting for the novice hiker. But the towering, snow-capped mountains ahead and the evergreen trees standing at attention alongside the paths of the Rockpile Trail will soon distract you from this minor incline.

Once you reach the spectacular viewpoint at the end of the Moraine Lake Rockpile Trail, informational signs will explain the area’s fascinating geography and topography. Here, you can relax and take as many photos as you’d like or simply appreciate the view and enjoy the beauty of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Be sure to watch for some of the native bird life, including Grey Jays, Osprey, and White-Tailed Ptarmigan.

We Can Get You There

We promised you shuttle information, and here it is! We provide a convenient shuttle service to the Moraine Lake car park from two central pick-up locations in Lake Louise — Lake Louise Village (Samson Mall) and the Lake Louise Summer Gondola.

Our shuttle service departs from our Lake Louise Village location as early as 4 a.m. — for those eager to escape the crowds and see the sunrise at Moraine Lake  (we highly recommend it, both for its stunning visuals and for those wanting to visit the lake at the quietest time of day) — with regular services throughout the rest of the morning and into the afternoon. Some of our buses even stop at Lake Louise for an hour, allowing you to visit Banff’s two iconic lakes in the same day.

Upon arrival at Moraine Lake, the choice is yours. You can use the Rockpile Trail and take some photos from the viewpoint, then meet your scheduled return shuttle bus back to town. Or you can spend the rest of the day hiking some of the nearby trails or renting canoes and paddling over the calm, peaceful waters of Moraine Lake. When you book your ticket with us, it’s a round-trip fare, meaning you know exactly when you’re coming and when you’re going. There’s no waiting in line or standing around during broad pick-up windows. Why waste even a minute of your vacation?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about our shuttle rates and schedule. We’re more than happy to help you plan the perfect trip or give you some advice. You can email us at, call us toll-free at 1-844-MORAINE (667-2463), or from a local number (for those of you in town looking for a ticket) at (403) 476-5686.

As you may have guessed, we’re very passionate about Moraine Lake. Book your tickets today, and let us help you get there!

Book your Moraine Lake shuttle today