Larch Valley gold.

Just outside of the village of Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, 187 kilometres from where I live in Calgary, visitors can find the cold turquoise waters of Moraine Lake.  If you are able to snag a parking spot (seriously, it’s really, REALLY difficult – read all about the police incident here), you can grab your backpack and take an absolutely splendid hike along densely forested switchbacks to the heavenly Larch Valley.

Cool night-time temperatures and blissful heat during the day have transformed the larches of Moraine Lake from rich green to brilliant gold – and my hubby and I were lucky enough to be able to take a day trip out there to see them last weekend.  They really are jaw-droppingly- beautiful-traffic-jam-worth-it!

What are your favourite plants for spectacular autumn colour?


  1. Wow! Those are gorgeous! Majestic, really. Living in the South, we don’t usually get a lot of color from our trees. But I love how the sedums change color, and the roses begin to bloom again.

    • I haven’t really thought of that before, you don’t get the cool night-time temperatures like we do, so your trees wouldn’t change colour so significantly. I love the sedums in autumn as well…and a second flush of rose flowers is always so wonderful!

    • I had to look up photos of liquidambar, as I’ve never actually seen a live tree; they are indeed spectacular in autumn! Incredible colour, much like maples, as you say. And gingkos are so beautiful, as well! 🙂

  2. The Larch Valley/ Sentinel Pass hike was my third week of September annual sojourn for many years but crowds and Parks Canada regulations have convinced me to find alternatives. It is an elevation thing and Larch trees occur on many less crowded, less regulated trails. For those heading up the switchbacks from Moraine Lake, at the bench, the trail to the left leads to Eiffel Lakes and Wenkchemna Pass. The Larch trees in the bottom of Valley of the Ten Peaks are more protected and tend to keep their needles a few days longer. Excellent pictures and your knowledge of plants adds an interesting dimension. Thanks for sharing

    • Thanks so much for your comments, I appreciate the insight into much less-crowded paths! (It wasn’t too bad when we were there but the whole parking thing is ridiculous and we’re not really fond of hiking with a ton of other people). Good to know!

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