Sunday, September 7, 2014

Eiffel Lake

Trip Date: September 2014

"If you don't like the weather in Alberta, wait ten minutes!"  I was introduced to that expression shortly after moving here from Saskatchewan.  At first I thought people were being a bit over dramatic, but the longer I live here the more realistic that statement becomes.  That espression really hit home when Christine, Sarah, Jeff, and I hiked to Eiffel Lake in early September.  We experienced all four seasons over the span of a few hours.  Sunshine, rain, wind, snow, and drastic temperature changes were all prevalent throughout the day.

Eiffel Lake is located in the Moraine Lake area of Banff National Park.  The trailhead is the same for the hike to Larch Valley. If you'd like more information about Larch Valley please read my previous posts here and here or the most recent story I did for Calgary is Awesome.  Parks Canada rates the hike as 'moderate'.  It's 5.6km one-way with an elevation gain  of 370m.  The trail splits off the Larch Valley trail after switchback section.  You're rewarded with amazing panoramic views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks and a picturesque alpine lake.

The turquoise waters of Moraine Lake.  Is there a better starting spot for a hike?
The trail quickly gains elevation through a series of switchbacks.  As you continue to climb views of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks begin to emerge. 

Mt. Fay and the Fay Glacier above Moraine Lake
I'd been to Larch Valley on a couple of different occasions, but this was the first time I had been to Eiffel Lake.  After the trail branched away from Larch Valley we were in uncharted territory.  From this junction the trail levels out considerably and the remaining distance to Eiffel Lake is relatively flat.  Parks Canada requires any hikers in the Moraine Lake area to be in groups of four or more due to the high concentration of bears in the area.  Luckily we didn't see any of the resident bruins, but we did see a lot of their scat along the trail.

You can see the snow squall moving in from the right.  Our view of the Valley of the Ten Peaks was obstructed by the snow for a brief time.
The snow disappeared as fast as it arrived and we were rewarded with some spectacular views of the Valley of the Ten Peaks
Our first view of Eiffel Lake
Christine and Sarah thoroughly enjoying the view
Jeff is dwarfed by the surrounding peaks
Eiffel Lake with Wenkchemna Pass in the background
Rain and cooler temperatures forced us to turn around after a quick lunch break
Rome, Sarah, Jeff, and Christine hiking back to the parking lot
I spotted this Pika playing in the Rockpile near Moraine Lake
It felt great to get back into the mountains after being away for most of the summer.  I hope there's a few more opportunities for hiking this fall before the snow decides to start sticking around.  I'm not ready for winter just yet!

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