One of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Moraine Lake has appeared in countless photographs and postcards and has even graced the Canadian 20-dollar bill. Hence the nickname "Twenty Dollar View", when in reality, this vista of snow-topped mountains, lush larch forest and startlingly blue lake is simply priceless.
Come to Moraine Lake in summer, as heavy snow makes it inaccessible from October to May. It's 14 kilometres from Lake Louise, or, if you're coming from Banff, one hour's drive west. There is a car park, but finding a space can be a struggle, especially in the middle of the day.
The observation platform, from which you'll get those famous views, is just 300 metres up a rocky hill from the car park. Once you're here, take your time and enjoy this singular view. Get some snaps of Mount Temple, which, at 3,540 metres high, is the third-highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Admire the impossibly turquoise water as it reflects the mountains above.
The blue colour, caused by minerals in glacial melt water, intensifies as the sun rises, reaching its zenith at noon. If you arrive at this time you may have a hard time getting past the crowds. Your best bet is to get in position before 10 a.m. and simply watch as the lake brightens. Or rent a canoe and view the water up close.
The lake is surrounded by hiking trails, but, as Moraine Lake is known to be home to bears, walking in the area can be dangerous. Hike in groups of at least four and call Parks Canada for a safety update before you head off.