So I stumbled across this hike (which was more of a scramble) after a friend showed me some amazing photos from the peak and decided it had to be done. Tower of Babel is probably one of the most rewarding hikes I've ever done, but little did I know what was in store to get there...
Tower of Babel was named by an early explorer of the Canadian Rockies, Walter Wilcox, who thought the mountain had a strong resemblance to the biblical 'Tower of Babel' that reached to the heavens. It's hard to argue with this name when you're standing at the bottom looking up at the prodigious peak.
To begin the hike, head left from Moraine Lake and follow the trail towards Consolation Lakes. Follow a footpath with stairs until you reach a huge rock pile. Look up, see the two peaks, find the gully and that's where you want to get to! There's no right way to climb up this mountain, just aim for the gully in-between Mount Babel and the Tower of Babel. The start of the ascent involves a lot of big rocks that are easy enough to step on one-by-one without any give. As you get a little bit higher, these big rocks turn into smaller looser rocks also known as scree. You'll now find yourself using your hands a lot more as you need more balance and control as the rocks begin to give way below you - the faster you move, the easier it will be. Whilst ascending, I found holding onto the walls of the gully helped me to keep sturdy. As you climb further into the gully, more solid rock becomes available for you to climb and navigate yourself to get to the very top. As you reach the end of all the rock-climbing, turn left and follow the trail for no more than 5 minutes to get to the peak. Sit back, relax and enjoy that view!
Lake Moraine is one of the most photographed lakes in Canadian Rockies - every tourist jumps off their tour bus, takes a quick snap of the jaw-dropping surreal clear blue water and gets back on their bus - but to see it from way up high from a completely different perspective after a vigorous two hour scramble was nothing short of incredible. The glacier fed lake looks even more blue and the Valley of the Ten Peaks as grandeur as ever.
On the way down, you'll see the most popular paths that have guided other people to the peak that you wish you could've seen on your way up. I was definitely expecting a difficult hike for the Tower of Babel, not a 5 minute walk and a 2 hour scramble to the top. Regardless, I am so glad I did it. As a side note, I would definitely recommend wearing a helmet - I had to duck a few times to avoid being hit by somersaulting rocks that had become loose from hikers above. If you do see a rock start to tumble, always shout out ROCK to let anyone below you know.
Round trip: 3.5 - 4 hours
To get to this hike from Banff, take the Trans-Canada Highway 1 westwards towards Lake Louise and then turn right onto Moraine Lake road until you reach Moraine Lake and the free parking lot.