Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park

I hadn’t been this giddy in quite some time. I’m not sure if it was the sight of crystal clear turquoise waters that twinkled under the sun or the fact that we were out paddling again, this time with rocky mountains and glaciers towering all around us. But, it was probably a little of both–the perfect combination of activity, stillness and scenery. The morning left us with smiles that we just couldn’t erase. It’s safe to say, canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, was one of our favorite adventures to date.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

We arrived around 9 a.m., about an hour before the canoe rental shop opened. No one was around, so we ventured off to the nearby trails until we noticed a line start to form for the canoes. We were 4th in line for a boat, and the queue was growing longer by the minute. Our time limit to use the canoe was one hour due to the long lines, so we paid and quickly made our way down to the dock to launch our canoe.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Once we set off, we couldn’t stop gaping with excitement. Watching the paddle take its first dip into the water was a bit mind-boggling. The water was so clear it looked like we were canoeing through the air.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

With each paddle stroke our energy seemed to multiply exponentially and we felt as though we were gliding over glass. “The water! The mountains! Look how clear! Look at the colors!” were all we could manage to sputter. We were completely entranced and continued our oohing and aahing for the majority of the paddle. The shutter on our camera was practically on the brink of burning out with all the rapid-fire photos and videos we took—we just couldn’t put the cameras down.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

When we did finally pull it together, we calmed down and decided to float for a few minutes to soak up the beauty around us. We stared at the glaciers and mountains in the distance, we ran our fingers through the vibrant and clear waters below us, and we put our feet up to soak up the sun rays beaming down from above.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

We had just enough time to paddle to the other side of the lake, relax for a bit and then make our way back to the docks, all while taking a bazillion photos. The lake is small enough where an hour should be plenty of time to explore, but honestly, we could have spent an entire day out on this lake in a canoe.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

We enjoyed it so much, that we actually ended up renting canoes a second time when we visited later in the summer. The first time we made our way to Banff National Park was in conjunction with a filming project, and the second visit was a road trip with a couple of our friends; it just so happens the visits were about a month and a half apart.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

The second time around we encountered completely different lighting and a fairly different style of scenery. What was once a bright, sunny warm day was now an overcast and chilly morning, the mountains had significantly more snow, and the lake changed from a bright, aqua-turquoise to a more deep greenish-teal hue. We definitely felt the shift in seasons even though mid-July and end of August aren’t really that far apart. The mood changed from bright and cheery to moody and dramatic.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

We arrived at the canoe rental facility prior to its opening time once again, which proved to be just as good of a choice the second time around. The lines were long, but thankfully we arrived early enough to be some of the first out on the lake.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

While we had many of the same reactions on our second paddle as we did on our first, we took less photos and spent more time soaking up every ounce of the experience possible. Funny enough, without even trying, Micah managed to capture a photo almost exactly like one from our first trip—from the same spot of the lake and everything. We didn’t even realize we had taken two super similar photos until we were back home sorting through our footage!

Canoeing at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

After our second hour-long trip around the lake, we knew that we had a special connection with this gorgeous slice of Banff National Park. Both trips were fantastic in their own right, and we just can’t seem to get enough of canoeing at Moraine Lake.

  • Marie Hernandez
    Posted at 15:40h, 18 June Reply

    How amazingly beautiful this experience must have been! I can get over that water! Thanks for sharing.

  • Toni
    Posted at 17:00h, 18 June Reply

    As lovers of paddling that looks absolutely perfect. We mostly use sea kayaks but I’m sure we could adjust to the single paddle and open canoe boats to get a good look at that amazing view. The water clarity and colour is incredible.
    Toni recently posted…Visiting Nijo Castle in KyotoMy Profile

  • Laura Lynch
    Posted at 18:42h, 18 June Reply

    Wow, that first picture of the canoe really looks like it’s just floating in the air. I’m going there with my family in August and really looking forward to the beautiful scenery. I’ll have my camera ready for when we set our canoe in the water!

  • Anna
    Posted at 20:00h, 18 June Reply

    What a spectacular post, your photos are incredible. The water (like you say) looks like glass. Did you feel like you were floating in a magical world, half expecting to see a unicorn appear. Wow. So beautiful. Pinning this for sure! 🙂

  • Vicki Louise
    Posted at 05:19h, 19 June Reply

    Oh. my. word – WOW! that water is incredible – I’m sure I would have been as giddy as you if not more so! This is a bucket list experience for me for sure!
    Vicki Louise recently posted…48 Hours in Budapest: The HighlightsMy Profile

  • Evan Kristine
    Posted at 05:39h, 19 June Reply

    I can’t even begin to describe how mesmirizing this body of water is! Canada looked marvelous from your photos dear, you’re so lucky to experience such beautiful nature. Keep the adventure alive! Take care, xx.

  • Anna Faustino
    Posted at 19:55h, 19 June Reply

    WOW! Your photos are stunning as usual. That water!!

  • Lauren Meshkin
    Posted at 02:06h, 20 June Reply

    Wow, this place is BEAUTIFUL. I can’t get over how amazing your photos are. Great post, thanks for sharing! Happy travels 🙂
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  • Mar Pages
    Posted at 02:08h, 20 June Reply

    It really does look like you’re gliding through air! Loved the video, wish I was there right now- so beautiful!

  • Francesca
    Posted at 02:22h, 20 June Reply

    I can’t believe how gorgeous Moraine Lake is – and that I’ve never heard of it! It’s funny how different it was from practically one month to the next. I’m definitely adding this to my wanderlust list! Too bad it’s only an hour rental though!
    Francesca recently posted…What To Do When You’ve Lost InspirationMy Profile

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 20:36h, 20 July Reply

      It’s fantastic, isn’t it?! We were absolutely enamored with the lake and scenery! I agree–it was surprising how different it was the second time around. Hope you make it there to check it out sometime! They might be able to offer rentals longer than an hour if it’s a slower day, but I know what you mean–an hour isn’t enough, I could have spent all day out there!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Wisconsin Road Trip with AmericInn Hotels #InnToWinMy Profile

  • Surfnblue
    Posted at 06:46h, 20 June Reply

    Nice pictures put, pretty neat video !
    I did it long time ago with my lover.

  • Nika Jane
    Posted at 21:14h, 22 June Reply

    The picture itself speaks how beautiful this place is. Thanks for sharing. I guess you’re a having a great time.

    Posted at 23:47h, 04 September Reply

    Do you know the name of the canoe rental shop? I’ve been searching and no luck. Thanks.

  • Brittany Thiessen
    Posted at 20:21h, 12 September Reply

    Renting canoes there looks like such a fun and unique experience! I definitely want to do this next time I visit Moraine Lake. I visited the lake for my first time last week and I was blown away by its incredibly stunning natural beauty. The colour of the water, the tranquility of the atmosphere and the snow peaked mountains… Everything was just perfect and so beautiful.

    I enjoyed reading about your experience!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 03:17h, 16 September Reply

      Isn’t it such a gorgeous spot?! We absolutely loved it there and the canoes were so much fun. Glad you enjoyed your visit too and hope you can take a canoe out next time!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Las Vegas #TravelShare Twitter ChatMy Profile

  • Amal Ibrahim
    Posted at 10:42h, 29 April Reply

    Thank you for sharing! Absolutely stunning scenery. I’m hoping to visit for a few days in late June. I hadn’t planned on canoeing, but seeing your photos and the video have really caused me to rethink the idea.

  • Joelle Vachon
    Posted at 21:30h, 16 May Reply

    Looks beautiful! What time were you there when it was clear and sunnny? We are planning a trip this summer and are hoping to see that beautiful clear turquoise! Thanks

  • Betty
    Posted at 16:49h, 06 July Reply

    What an awesome experience! Do you remember the hourly rental rate?

  • Megan Sheley
    Posted at 11:30h, 10 July Reply

    Hi Jenna! I am planning a trip here for September, was curious where you rented your canoes from on this lake? Do you have a link for it? Looks fabulous!


    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 03:01h, 12 July Reply

      Hope you have a great visit, Megan! We rented the canoes from the Moraine Lake Lodge ( There is a little shack next to the lake and canoe docks where you can go to rent the canoes. When we were there they didn’t take advanced reservations, so you just have to show up and get in line. We got in line right when it opened (I think 10am, but you might want to call to confirm) and there was already a little line forming, so it’s a good idea to get there early if you don’t want a long wait! 🙂
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  • Kimberlee Majdoch
    Posted at 09:40h, 11 July Reply

    Hi, did you rent your canoes from the Lodge on Moraine Lake? I’m going there in a few weeks and want to canoe this lake but can’t seem to find a rental other than the lodge. Let me know where you rented from. Thanks! The video is lovely as are your tips.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 02:52h, 12 July Reply

      Yep, we did rent them from the lodge! There is a small shack right next to the lake where you can rent the canoes–we didn’t have to go inside the lodge or anything first. We just went right to the little shack and hopped in line. I’m pretty sure they are the only place to rent a canoe that’s located directly on the lake. Hope you have a great time! It’s a beautiful place!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Walking Tour through the Streets of Quito, EcuadorMy Profile

  • anne
    Posted at 10:09h, 08 August Reply

    what is the best time to go and be the first in line to rent a canoe? thank you.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 10:29h, 25 August Reply

      We got there about a half hour before they opened and there wasn’t a line yet. Could be different on different days (and you’d probably want to double check the opening time incase it changes), but we thought getting there at 9:30 for a 10:00 open time worked well. You could always get there earlier though and explore the area–there are some great hikes nearby!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Columbus, OhioMy Profile

  • Ana Ramirez
    Posted at 12:44h, 17 January Reply

    I’m starting to book my trip to Banff! Where did you rent your canoes?

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 00:14h, 21 January Reply

      Nice! Hope you have a great trip! We rented our canoes from Moraine Lake Lodge. There was a small stand by the lake that offered rentals and we jumped in line for a rental!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Summer Dog Carting in Churchill, ManitobaMy Profile

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