Did you hear that Parks Canada is closing the road up to Moraine Lake next year for personal vehicles?
It's sad, but true!
I guess I am a lucky person who was able to drive to Banff National Park during the pandemic and got the chance to enjoy Moraine Lake anytime I wanted. During 2020 and 2021, I visited the Canadian Rockies fives times and must have seen this beautiful lake over a dozen times!
Yes, it meant waking up at a ridiculous hour to actually find a spot in tiny parking lot - don't even bother if you aren't at the turnoff before 5am. But I was also able to drive in before sunset and at night to try my luck at astro photography. I said try, not suceed!
This past autumn (October 2022), I was back in Banff National Park, and people were saying the parking lot was getting full at 3am!! Some people I know through social media decided to sleep in the parking lot, so they could hike up to Larch Valley in the morning. I don't think you are supposed to do that, but I have in the past so friends could climb Mount Temple. They said that the hike was really busy, but not many people were taking in the lake. I was sad to have not been able to see the larches in 2022, but happy and lucky I was able to in both 2020 and 2021!
Yes, Moraine Lake is said to be the most photographed location in all of Canada. It used to be on the 20 dollar bill. It's beautiful! It lives up to the hype! But it's also in a national park and part of nature that is meant to be preserved for generations to come.
So do I get why Parks Canada is doing what they are doing? Yes. But also no! Maybe the crazy amount of traffic was a lingering effect of the pandemic being over and more people being able to travel? Maybe it was extremely crowded because so few people travelled the previous two years?
Will see what happens when the road to Moraine late opens up again in the spring. But it looks like the Parks Canada shuttle will not start service until 6:30am, so that means you will need to use a private bus company for a sunrise shoot and/or hike - and who knows how much that will cost. It too bad because I have seen so much joy in people being at Moraine Lake!
If you are mad about it like I am, sign up for the Minister's Round Table on Parks Canada - https://parks.canada.ca/agence-agency/dp-pd/trm-mrt - and have your say on the future of our national parks!
But in the meantime, anyone want to start a bus company with me???