Eiffel Lake Trail – Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada 8/4/17

 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Eiffel Lake Trail – Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

7.2 miles (11.6 km)

 

This may be the most beautiful place I have been in the world, up to this point.  I had seen photos before, but it is just jaw dropping in real life.  Moraine Lake is located in the so-called Valley of the Ten Peaks.

Court, Doc, and I woke up at 6am in order to get a parking spot, as the lot fills up in August by 7 or 8 am and then they shut the road down.  We arrived a little after 6:30am and the lot was about half full.  The color of the lake is more vibrant in full sun, but it was still beautiful before the sun had fully risen and the canoes weren’t out yet.

Parking Lot


Trail Head


Canoes ready to go

 

I knew this trail started out steep, but I underestimated it.  There were 10 switchbacks going up over 1000 feet in roughly half a mile, which was tough.  We took our time though and once we got to the top, the rest of the trail was fairly flat along the contour of the mountain going towards Eiffel Lake.  The wildflowers were in full bloom and the views of the lake through the trees were spectacular.

Starting the climb


Head of a switchback

Resting at the top

Flatter trail


Looking back at the lake

 

About halfway through we came along a marmot literally about 3 feet off the trail.  I froze and stopped Court and Doc, thinking he would frighten easily, but he just kept munching away at the grass next to the trail.  We said hello and went on our way without him missing a beat.

Rocky trail


Marmot


Marmot 2

 

Toward the end, the trail came out of the woods and wound through a scree field as we got close to Eiffel Lake.  The silence was amazing.  We could hear the glaciers and ice across the valley cracking as the morning sun’s rays hit the mountains.  The only other sound was the whistling of the marmots hidden among the rocks.  It was incredible.

Hiking in scree

Some remaining snow


Trail on the right along the scree field

Eiffel Lake

 

We turned and made the trek back down to the lake the way we had come.  The lake was even more brilliant than when we had climbed up and we stopped at the bottom to take our shoes off and dunk our tired feet in the frigid glacial water.

Heading back

Down the switchbacks


End of trail pic

 

At the foot of the lake and start of the trail is a huge rock pile that is actually a glacial moraine (it’s not just a clever name) that formed the lake.  The photos from the top of this rock pile are where the iconic shots are taken that are ubiquitous among Canadian tourism brochures, and with good reason.  I climbed to the top of this pile, clambering up and over precarious boulders with other brave (foolhardy?) tourists instead of taking the easier trail around the back side.

Logs dammed at the rock pile

Glacial moraine damming the lake

We got back to the hotel in the early afternoon and decided bring Suz back to Moraine Lake for the sunset.  We couldn’t let her miss this amazing place.

Sunset


Sunset 2

 

As I said, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.  I hope to eclipse this one day, but it will be difficult.

Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge

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