Valley of the Ten Peaks (Banff National Park)

Valley of the Ten Peaks (Banff National Park)

Have you ever dreamed of visiting a place where you can see ten majestic mountain peaks in one panoramic view? A place where you can hike, canoe, camp, and enjoy the beauty of nature in all its glory? A place where you can experience the thrill of adventure and the serenity of solitude?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to add Valley of the Ten Peaks to your bucket list. This stunning valley is located in Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest and most famous national park. It is home to ten peaks that rise above 10,000 feet, each with a unique shape and name. The valley also features Moraine Lake, a turquoise gem that reflects the peaks and the sky like a mirror.

In this blog post, I will share with you my personal experience of visiting Valley of the Ten Peaks, and give you some tips on how to make the most of your trip. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a novice explorer, you will find something to love about this magical place.

How to get there

The easiest way to get to Valley of the Ten Peaks is by car. You can drive from Calgary, Alberta, which is about 120 miles away, or from Vancouver, British Columbia, which is about 500 miles away. You will need to purchase a park pass to enter Banff National Park, which costs $10 CAD per day or $70 CAD per year.

Once you are in the park, you will need to follow the signs to Moraine Lake Road, which is a 9-mile scenic drive that leads to the valley. The road is open from mid-May to mid-October, depending on the weather conditions. It can get very busy during peak season, so I recommend arriving early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid traffic and parking issues.

Alternatively, you can take a shuttle bus from Lake Louise Village or Banff Townsite to Moraine Lake. The shuttle service runs from late May to early October, and costs $15 CAD per person for a round trip. You can book your tickets online or at the visitor centers. The shuttle buses have large windows so you can take in the spectacular mountain scenery during the ride. The knowledgeable shuttle drivers also provide interesting commentary about the park's history, geology, and wildlife. Riding the shuttle allows you to relax and enjoy the view rather than having to concentrate on navigating the roads.

What to do

There are plenty of things to do in Valley of the Ten Peaks, depending on your interests and abilities. Here are some of the most popular activities:

  • Hiking: There are several trails that start from Moraine Lake and offer spectacular views of the valley and the peaks. Some of the most popular ones are:

    • The Rockpile Trail: This is a short and easy hike that takes you to the top of a pile of rocks that overlooks Moraine Lake. It is one of the best spots to take photos and enjoy the scenery. The trail is about 0.5 miles long and takes about 15 minutes to complete.

    • The Lakeshore Trail: This is another easy hike that follows the shore of Moraine Lake. It is a flat and paved trail that offers stunning views of the water and the mountains. The trail is about 1.5 miles long and takes about 45 minutes to complete.

    • The Larch Valley Trail: This is a moderate hike that takes you through a forest of larch trees, which turn golden in autumn. The trail also leads to a meadow where you can see all ten peaks in one view. The trail is about 2.5 miles long and takes about 2 hours to complete.

      • The Sentinel Pass Trail: This challenging 9 km trail climbs through switchbacks and scree slopes, leading to one of the highest passes in Banff. The breathtaking scenery includes Paradise Valley and the aptly named Sentinel Peak. Complete the hike in 4 hours round trip.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking: Paddling on the calm turquoise waters of Moraine Lake allows you to admire the mountain reflections from a unique vantage point. Canoe rentals are available at Moraine Lake Lodge from June to September for $120 CAD per hour. No motorized boats are allowed. If you have your own canoe or kayak, there is a small beach area near the lodge for launching. Paddling to the far end of the lake opens up spectacular views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the water.

  • Rock Climbing: Experienced climbers can ascent a variety of challenging rock faces in the valley, including the renowned Tower of Babel. However, rock climbing is not recommended for novices due to the complexity and risks involved. All climbers must obtain permits from Parks Canada beforehand.

  • Ice Climbing: During winter, ice climbers flock to the frozen waterfalls around Moraine Lake. Again, this activity requires advanced training and equipment given the inherent dangers. Guided ice climbing tours can be arranged through local outfitters.

  • Camping: If you want to spend more time in Valley of the Ten Peaks, you can camp at one of the two campgrounds near Moraine Lake. The Moraine Lake Campground has 20 sites for tents only, and costs $27 CAD per night. The Consolation Lakes Campground has 10 sites for tents only, and costs $17 CAD per night

  • Stargazing: The park's dark night skies offer exceptional stargazing when free of clouds and moonlight. In summer, ranger-guided astronomy programs are offered at Moraine Lake, or you can pick out celestial features on your own including star clusters, planets, and even the Milky Way galaxy. Bring binoculars or a telescope.

What to see

Besides the ten peaks and Moraine Lake, there are other sights to see in Valley of the Ten Peaks that will make your trip unforgettable. Here are some of them:

  • The Wenkchemna Glacier: This is a massive glacier that hangs above the valley and feeds Moraine Lake. You can see it from the Rockpile Trail or the Lakeshore Trail, or get closer to it by hiking the Eiffel Lake Trail or the Wenkchemna Pass Trail. The glacier is impressive and awe-inspiring, especially when it catches the sunlight.

  • The Tower of Babel: This is a towering rock formation that stands at the entrance of the valley. It is named after the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, where people tried to build a tower that reached the heavens. You can see it from Moraine Lake Road or from the Rockpile Trail, or climb it if you are an experienced rock climber. The tower offers a challenging and rewarding ascent, as well as stunning views of the valley and the lake.

  • The Consolation Lakes: These are two small lakes that lie beyond Moraine Lake, at the end of the Consolation Lakes Trail. They are surrounded by forest and mountains, and offer a tranquil and secluded spot to relax and enjoy nature. You can also see some wildlife, such as squirrels, chipmunks, and birds, along the way.

  • Paradise Valley: Marvel at this glacier-carved valley from the Sentinel Pass Trail overlook. The contrast of jagged peaks and smooth valley floor is exceptional.

What to pack

Before you head to Valley of the Ten Peaks, make sure you pack the following items to ensure a safe and comfortable trip:

  • A backpack: You will need a backpack to carry your essentials, such as water, snacks, sunscreen, camera, map, etc. Choose a backpack that is comfortable and fits well on your back.

  • A jacket: The weather in Valley of the Ten Peaks can change quickly and unpredictably, so you will need a jacket to keep you warm and dry. Choose a jacket that is waterproof, windproof, and breathable.

  • A hat: You will need a hat to protect your head and face from the sun and the wind. Choose a hat that has a wide brim and fits snugly on your head.

  • A pair of sunglasses: You will need a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare and the UV rays. Choose a pair of sunglasses that has polarized lenses and fits well on your face.

  • A pair of hiking boots: You will need a pair of hiking boots to walk on the trails and explore the valley. Choose a pair of hiking boots that has good traction, support, and cushioning.

  • A first aid kit: You will need a first aid kit to treat any minor injuries or illnesses that may occur during your trip. Choose a first aid kit that has bandages, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, etc.

A few key tips:

  • Check current trail conditions and weather forecast before hiking
  • Allow plenty of time to acclimate to the elevation
  • Always stay on marked trails and walk in groups if possible
  • Properly store any scented items to avoid wildlife encounters
  • Carry all garbage out of the backcountry


Valley of the Ten Peaks is one of the most beautiful places in Canada and in the world. It offers an unforgettable experience for anyone who loves nature and adventure. If you are looking for a destination that will inspire you and make you feel alive, then you should definitely visit Valley of the Ten Peaks.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and learned something new about this amazing place. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. And if you have visited Valley of the Ten Peaks before, I would love to hear about your experience.

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