Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of paradise is “a place or state of bliss, felicity, or delight.” Moraine Lake fits that to a tee and yet when the valley it sits in was first discovered, it was given a decidedly wrong title.
The valley now is most appropriately called the Valley of the Ten Peaks as it is surrounding by the magnificent Rockies. Back in 1899, an explorer named Walter Wilcox came upon the lake and valley and is quoted to have said:
I stood on a great stone of the moraine where, from a slight elevation, a magnificent view of the lake lay before me, and while studying the details of this unknown and unvisited spot, spent the happiest half-hour of my life.”
“Moraine” is defined as “accumulated stones and earth deposited by a glacier.” Since the lake was at the end of a great valley that at the time was so rugged and rock strewn that Wilcox decided to call it Desolation Valley. He believed that the lake was created by a moving glacier that gouged out the lakebed while depositing great loads of rocks and boulders that blocked the valley’s end and holding in the water. Geologists call this piling a terminal moraine. However today many believe that Moraine Lake’s rock pile was, not created by a glacier, but rather a huge landslide.
Whatever the naming, Moraine Lake is undoubtedly one of the prettiest areas of the Rockies even with the haze that often dove in: