Walter Wilcox said that “no other image has ever given me such a feeling of uplifting solitude and stern grandeur”. He was the discoverer of Lake Moraine in 1899, and he was also the one who gave it its name. Deeply impressed by the view in front of him, Wilcox declared that this is the most beautiful lake that he had ever seen and that the half hour he stood in front of it, was the happiest time in his life.
The lake is situated at an altitude of about 1000 meters and the towering mountains around the lake tower another 900 meters. This 120 million year old Wenkchemna Mountain is part of the Canadian Rockies, close to the, more popular Lake Louise. The whole area is part of the Banff National Park since 1885.
Moraine Lake, which was once the image on the backside of the $20 Canadian bill, was formed due to an stone avalanche from the nearby Babel Mountain. The stunning blue the lake has to offer is given off by the “rock flour” which are fine-grained pieces of rock, generated by the mechanical grinding of bedrock by glacial erosion. This silt ends up in the lake during summer, when glaciers from higher up start to melt.
These fine particles of stone absorb all colors of light with the exception of blue, which they reflect, giving the lake it’s stunning color. It’s no surprise then that Lake Moraine is called “the jewel of the Rockies” since it offers the bluest waters you have ever seen.
The lake and it’s surroundings are home to a large number of wild animals such as: The Bighorn Mouflon, Moose, Mountain Goats, Black and Grizzly Bears. It contains a critical bear habitat where a concentration of female grizzlies live and raise their cubs. Visitor access is managed in order to protect visitors and minimize disturbance to bears.