Eiffel Lake and Wenkchemna Pass hike
The Eiffel Lake and Wenkchemna Pass trail includes a stunning climb up from Moraine Lake with views of the incredible Valley of the 10 Peaks. From the pass enjoy a view into another solitary valley. The wonderful Eiffel Lake is midway through the hike – a destination itself.
If you want to park at Moraine Lake, your best bet is to get there before 6am. To get there, take Lake Louise Drive from Lake Louise Village for 2.0km, then turn left on Moraine Lake Road and follow for 12.2km. Most people end up taking the public transportation.
|When to do|
June through October
Out and back
Eiffel Lake and Wenkchemna Pass
Route Description for Eiffel Lake and Wenkchemna Pass
Parking at Moraine Lake is extremely limited, and the best bet is to aim to get to Moraine Lake before 6am if you want to park.
There are paid shuttle options to Moraine Lake Parking lot. These are available from the Lake Louise Village and the Lake Louise Overflow Parking lot which is where traffic will be redirected to once the Moraine Lake Parking Lot is full. There is nowhere to line up if access is blocked to Moraine Lake Road.
You can also ride a bike to Moraine Lake, and it’s a beautiful ride.
From the Moraine Lake parking lot, walk towards the lake and the lodge. Although the Lake will typically be very crowded between 9 am and 4:30 pm, with the longer daylight hours in the summer months you may have a window to enjoy the lake with fewer people if you’re willing to start outside of the rush hours.
Continue with Moraine Lake on your left-hand side and follow the trail markers for a few hundred meters until you see another sign indicating the start of the trail on the right-hand side. This is a prime bear habitat and therefore during certain times of the year Parks Canada requires hiking in groups to limit bear encounters. Those without the minimum number of hikers often wait by the sign for the next group and offer to hike together to meet size requirements.
The trail immediately starts to climb through the forest with a steady and demanding grade. This is a well-maintained trail, but not ideal to take a child carrier up due to rocks and tree roots. As you continue, make sure to savor the glimpses of the azure blue waters of Lake Moraine and the incredible Ten Peaks through the breaks in the trees. After approximately 350m and a 40-minute climb later, you will reach a fork in the road. Take the route less travelled, going towards Eiffel Lake, not Sentinel Pass.
After approximately another 20 minutes you’ll emerge from the forest onto a rocky, barren slope. A clear, impressive view of the Ten Peaks can be seen from this point. Continue along this predominately flat trail until you reach Eiffel Lake. If this is as far as you are planning to go – stop, admire the views, snap a few photos, then start heading back.
If you have the energy, continue on to Wenkchemna Pass, following the trail, which winds around the right edge of the valley. We once completed this pass when it was quite snowy, which required extensive route finding. Normally during the summer the trail tends to clear.
A few steep switchbacks and some scree slopes later, you will be atop Wenkchemna Pass, with one of the best views of the Ten Peaks. Look back over the pass down into the secluded valley behind you and get a rare glimpse into a world untouched by humans. Return the way you came, and prepare yourself that you may be initially jarred by the sudden influx of people as you approach the parking lot.
Be sure to carry bear spray and hike in a group legally large enough (usually 4 people), as many bears inhabit the area around Moraine Lake.
There are many fantastic picnicking spots around Eiffel Lake, so perhaps opt to pack a delicious lunch rather than purchase one at the lodge.
The Eiffel Lake hike was named one of the best hikes near Banff.
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