Discover Lake Louise, the Stunning Jewel of Banff National Park

Lake Louise is a breathtaking destination located in the heart of Banff National Park.

It’s famous for its turquoise waters, the Victoria Glacier, and numerous outdoor activities that attract visitors from all over the world.

Located in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta, this picturesque hamlet offers unforgettable experiences, whether exploring the lake, delving into the surrounding hiking trails, or hitting the slopes for some winter fun.

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Top 3 Facts about Lake Louise in Canada

01

Turquoise Color

The stunning turquoise colour of the lake results from light reflecting off the finely ground rock particles, or “rock flour,” that flow into the lake by the glacial meltwater.

02

Wildlife Corridors

The area around Lake Louise has wildlife corridors for its furry residents. These road corridors offer safe passage for roaming animals, reducing collisions by 80% in the last ten years.

03

Glacial Origin

The lake is glacially fed, primarily by runoff from the surrounding glaciers, including Victoria Glacier, which towers over the lake’s eastern shore.

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Must-See Attractions

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Moraine Lake

Natural Landscapes

Located just a short drive from Lake Louise, you’ll find the breathtaking Moraine Lake. Its deep teal waters create a picturesque view surrounded by mountains, like Mount Whyte and Mount Niblock.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Luxury Hotel

Whether or not you decide to stay at the Fairmont Chateau, this luxurious 5-star hotel is worth admiring. Nestled against the backdrop of Victoria Glacier overlooking Lake Louise, it’s been a beloved staple of the region since its origin as a rail chalet in 1890.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Ski Resort

Renowned for its varied terrain and stunning landscapes, this giant playground for skiers and snowboarders promises a delightful day on the slopes. In the summer, head up the gondola for a chance to spot wild grizzly bears.

Annual Events and Festivals

January 19 – February 4, 2024

SnowDays Festival

This winter extravaganza is all about playing amongst the wonders of Banff National Park and its renowned ski resorts. Heighten the excitement with exhilarating tube park rides at Norquay or Lake Louise, or indulge in the charm of the Canadian wilderness with dog-sled and horse-drawn sleigh rides through snow-laden valleys. SnowDays is the ultimate celebration of winter sports, set in the most quintessential Canadian landscapes.

October, 2024

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival

Delve into the heart of mountain culture at the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival. Held over nine days every fall, you’ll be invited to watch and learn about premier films, books, and photographs, all of which feature mountain adventure. Since its beginning in 1976, the festival has grown into a global phenomenon while its roots stay firmly planted in Banff.

November, 2024

Banff Craft Beer Festival

Immerse yourself in the local flavours at the Banff Craft Beer Festival, hosted at the scenic Cave & Basin National Historic Site. This unique festival celebrates Alberta’s vibrant craft beer community, showcasing an exclusive selection from the province’s finest breweries. With over 40 vendors, you can sample an array of exceptional beers and artisanal eats, all while enjoying live entertainment.

Top Hiking Trails

Lake Louise Lakeshore

Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, AB

If you’re looking for a relatively easy walk with minimal elevation gain, the Lake Louise Lakeshore trail is perfect.

This 4.3-kilometer loop takes you along the lake’s edge, offering stunning views of its mesmerizing turquoise waters. As you stroll along, you’ll feel the mist on your face and hear the gentle waves lapping against the shore.

Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike

Lake Agnes Trailhead, Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, AB

Embark on a moderately challenging 7 km round-trip trail, which takes you through a lush forest filled with the sweet melodies of singing birds.

Along the way, you’ll discover Mirror Lake, a picturesque oasis reflecting the stunning mountains. As you continue uphill, the trail reveals the charming Lake Agnes Tea House, where you can indulge in a well-deserved cup of tea and a delicious homemade cake.

Plain of Six Glaciers

Lake Louise Dr, Lake Louise, AB

A must-do for those seeking a challenge, this 14 km trek takes you on an adventure through the heart of the Rocky Mountains, providing breathtaking views of glaciers, rugged peaks, and stunning alpine meadows. Your destination is the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, where you can enjoy a delicious meal while enjoying the magnificent view.

It will take the average hiker about 4-5 hours to complete, so pack plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy up.

Best Golf Courses

The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course

405 Spray Avenue, Banff, AB

Designed by the esteemed Stanley Thompson and expanded by Cornish and Robinson, this 27-hole course in Banff National Park combines breathtaking scenery with challenging play.

Swing beneath the peaks of Sulphur Mountain and Mount Rundle, head to their driving range, and walk in the footsteps of legends such as Bing Crosby and Bobby Locke.

Canmore Golf & Curling Club

Pro Shop, 2000 8 Ave, Canmore, AB

Established in 1926, the Canmore Golf & Curling Club offers a picturesque and challenging 18-hole, par 71 golf course framed by the Canadian Rockies. Each hole has been specially crafted to distract you with mind-boggling mountain views, leaving you to navigate the water hazards and bunkers.

After your round, head to the welcoming clubhouse to relax with a drink in hand while soaking in alpine views.

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course

1 Old Lodge Rd, Jasper, AB

Opened in 1925 and set amidst the Rockies, this 18-hole course features broad fairways sandwiched between forested landscapes.

Following a meticulous restoration to Thompson’s original vision, this course blends challenge with natural beauty, earning accolades as Canada’s #1 Public Golf Course by SCOREGolf Magazine.

Water Sports

Wild Water Adventures

Rafting

Experience the thrill of the Kicking Horse River with Wild Water Adventures, where you can tackle anything from playful Class II/III rapids to heart-pounding Class IV waters.

Rated #1 on TripAdvisor, they provide everything you need for a memorable half-day or full-day journey, making it an ideal outing for new and seasoned adventurers.

Canoe Lake Louise

Canoe & Kayak

Embark on a majestic paddle across Lake Louise with a canoe rental from the Fairmont Boathouse, and bask in the serene beauty of Victoria Glacier.

Between late May and early October, you can opt for an hourly rental and head out as a couple or family.

Bow River Float Trip

family-friendly river float

Glide along the Bow River with a leisurely float trip, where the tranquil waters offer a fresh perspective on Banff National Park’s majestic Tunnel Mountain and ancient hoodoos. Suitable for all ages and ranging from 1 to 3 hours, this easy adventure connects you with the heart of Banff’s natural beauty and its vibrant wildlife.

Winter Activities

Downhill Skiing

One of the primary winter attractions in Lake Louise is downhill skiing. With its expansive terrain and convenient location, Lake Louise Ski Resort is a favourite for many, featuring a mix of runs suited for novices to pros and essential amenities like a gondola for colder days.

For those seeking variety, nearby Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay provide additional challenges and scenic views, while Nakiska caters to those closer to Calgary.

Ice Skate

Experience the magic of winter at Lake Louise, where the iconic Fairmont Château transforms a portion of the lake into one of the world’s most scenic ice skating rinks. Skating on the frozen expanse is free for those with their own skates, offering a delightful and cost-effective way to revel in the winter season from mid-December to mid-April.

Alpine Social Rentals provides everything needed for those without gear, including hockey and figure skates.

Cross Country Skiing

Lake Louise becomes a cross-country skiing haven in winter, boasting over ten trails with varying difficulties, perfect for all fitness levels. The Lake Louise Loop offers a gentle 4.1-km groomed track with stunning lakeside vistas, while the more challenging Moraine Lake Road provides a 15.6-km trek with slight elevation gains for a rewarding workout. With the option of using your own equipment or affordable rentals from Lake Louise, cross-country skiing here is an accessible and exhilarating way to experience the serene beauty of the Canadian Rockies.

Where to Eat

Lake Louise Village Grill & Bar

$$ – $$$ • Canadian & Asian fare

Bill Peyto’s Cafe

$ – $$ • Homestyle Dining

Trailhead Cafe

$ – $$ • Wraps, sandwiches, all-day breakfast

Where to Shop

Lake Louise General Store

General store

Mountain Lights Books & Crafts

Bookstore

Images of the North

Art Gallery

Where to Sleep

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Tips on Renting a Vacation Property in Lake Louise

Transportation

During the summer months, when parking lots fill up at dawn, shuttles are a great option to get from the Lake Louise Village to the lakeshore and other nearby attractions. Transit services like Roam Transit also connect popular Banff and Lake Louise destinations.

Plan Activities

Lake Louise is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering various experiences catering to every interest and skill level. Circle a few activities in advance and book them if you can. You don’t want to miss out once you’re here.

Pick Your Hiking Days

Exploring the area’s impressive mountain landscapes is a must-do for the more adventurous folks. However, it’s essential to keep weather and safety in mind. Always check the weather, wear appropriate footwear, and tell someone where you’re hiking and when you expect to be back.

Money and Costs

Accommodation costs in Lake Louise vary dramatically, with options ranging from under $100 to upwards of $1,000 per night. Similarly, the area’s prices for activities and dining can differ significantly. It’s wise to have a clear budget before making reservations to ensure you get the best value for your money.

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Going Deeper: Lake Louise History

Lake Louise’s modern-day history starts in 1884, when it was originally settled as a Canadian Pacific Railway construction camp. While the breathtaking body of water was initially known by the local Stoney-Nakoda people as “Ho-run-num-nay” or the “Lake of Little Fishes,” in 1884, it was renamed after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria.

In 1911, with more and more visitors flocking to Lake Louise, the iconic Chateau Lake Louise was built. Through the years, the Chateau evolved from a simple chalet into the luxurious year-round resort it is today. The resort became an essential part of Lake Louise’s story by investing millions of dollars into upgrading the hotel and developing local skiing and hiking opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a stunning alpine lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Its depth varies across different points but reaches considerable depths that add to its majestic allure. While exploring the lake, you may be intrigued by its unique water color, which comes from glacial meltwater that starts to flow as temperatures rise in the spring.

Getting to Lake Louise can be quite simple and convenient. If you’re coming from Banff Town, the quickest route is by car – it should take around 45 minutes to reach the lake. Alternatively, you can use public transportation, such as Roam Transit, which offers regular services from Banff to Lake Louise. There are also seasonal shuttle buses from different locations around Banff National Park, ensuring a hassle-free journey.

Although Lake Louise’s turquoise waters may tempt you, swimming isn’t recommended due to the lake’s frigid temperatures. Fed by glacial meltwater, the water can be frigid even in the summer months. However, you can still engage in other activities, like renting a canoe or enjoying the picturesque shoreline views.

Lake Louise is often hailed as one of the top tourist attractions in Banff National Park for good reason. Its striking blue-green water, flanked by the awe-inspiring mountain peaks of Mount Victoria and a hanging glacier, sets it apart from other lakes. Millions of visitors flock to Lake Louise each year to experience the breathtaking beauty that this natural wonder offers.

Comparing Lake Louise and Banff could be like comparing apples and oranges. Lake Louise is a specific attraction within Banff National Park, while Banff refers to the broader area, encompassing other attractions like hot springs, gondolas, and hiking trails. Both Lake Louise and Banff are fantastic destinations, each offering unique experiences. Your preference will depend on the activities you’re interested in and whether you want to explore one iconic feature or delve into the broader appeal of Banff National Park.

Yes, shuttle services are available at Lake Louise to help you easily move around the area and explore the popular spots. During peak seasons, Parks Canada operates a shuttle service from various designated parking areas to Lake Louise. Additionally, if you’re looking to visit nearby points of interest, such as Moraine Lake or the Icefields Parkway, companies like The Lake Louise Ski Resort also provide shuttle services to numerous destinations in the national park.

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