On any Western Canada itinerary, marvelling at all the best things to do in Lake Louise is a must.
Lake Louise is among the most popular places to go in Banff National Park. Its turquoise hues, set to a stunning backdrop of the Canadian Rockies, dazzles visitors from around the world.
Not sure what to do in Lake Louise? Get started planning your trip to this top Canadian destination with this guide to the best places to visit in Lake Louise, Alberta…
What to do in Lake Louise
Well, this one’s obvious… Need help starting your quest to discover all the best things to do in Lake Louise? There’s a simple answer: Lake Louise itself!
Brushed in shimmering turquoises, the lake is stunningly beautiful. It’s backed by the mighty snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Ringed by deep pine forests, Lake Louise is fed by the crystal-clear waters melting off of the Victoria Glacier.
The panoramic mountain & lake views from the shoreline form one of the most iconic scenes in Canada!
Start by checking out the lake from the “classic” northeast panorama point. From near the Fairmont Chateau, you’ll see the lake in its full glory.
Besides the lakeviews, there’s plenty to keep you entertained on its shores all year round.
Visiting Lake Louise in winter, you can enjoy outdoor activities on the lake itself. Go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating. For a less active pursuit, delight in a horse-drawn sleigh ride on the lake.
Planning to travel to Lake Louise in summer? Take to the waters on a canoe or kayak. Or slip on some hiking shoes and saunter along the Lake Louise Lakefront Trail—and beyond! Such as…
Lake Agnes Trail
One of the best hikes in Lake Louise, the Lake Agnes Trail moves upward from the lakeshore. The trail slips past Mirror Lake towards the 466-metre level. At the trail’s apex, you’ll stumble upon the historic Lake Agnes Tea House.
This famous tea house was built on the shores of Lake Agnes at the turn-of-the-century in 1901. It’s among the most interesting historic places to see in Lake Louise. After the hike, the teahouse is a great place to rest your legs to lovely lake views.
(NOTE: The teahouse is only open between early June and mid-October.)
If more hiking is in the cards, you’ll find some more challenging hiking trails beyond Lake Agnes. Like…
The Big Beehive Trail
Continue along the northern shore of Lake Agnes and loop along its east. Soon, you’ll slide up & along The Big Beehive Trail, one of the top tourist attractions in Lake Louise.
The Big Beehive Trail is a moderately challenging hiking trail. The trail summits the mountain of the same name.
Tough out the moderate burn on your quads on the ascent. It’s well worth it. At the top, you’ll enjoy spectacular views over the Canadian Rockies and Lake Louise.
Even in all its glory, Lake Louise has a mega competitor for title of most beautiful lake in Banff National Park: Moraine Lake.
This insanely popular glacial lake is near the top of any list of things to see in Lake Louise. It’s painted deep blue colours and fringed by the rugged Rocky Mountains. The scene at Moraine Lake is so iconic it even made its way onto the Canadian twenty-dollar bill in the 1970s!
The only caveat to visiting Moraine Lake is its growing massive popularity. With its off-the-charts Instagrammability, Moraine Lake fills with visitors daily. Almost instantly. Get to the parking lot as early as possible in the morning to avoid the rush.
Got extra time on your visit? Check out Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass. It’s one of the area’s best hikes and one of the top places to see fall colours in Banff National Park. The trailhead for Larch Valley trek departs from the right side of the parking lot.
Moraine Lake is 30 minutes south of Lake Louise. It’s about half an hour closer than visiting from Banff.
Be aware that the road to Moraine Lake closes from mid-October until mid-May due to avalanche risk.
Lake Louise Ski Resort
Lake Louise Ski Resort is near the top of any list of what to do in Lake Louise in winter. The resort is less than a 10-minute drive from Lake Louise Village.
The resort features 145 world-class runs for skiers & snowboarders. Zooming down the Rocky Mountains, you’ll enjoy some of Canada’s most spectacular mountainside views.
Besides skiing & snowboarding, the resort offers an array of hiking trails. They’re a great way to pad your summer Alberta adventure. (Be sure to keep the bear spray handy!)
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Best known as one of the best places to stay in Banff National Park, the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a destination all to its own. Even if you decide not to stay here!
This legendary luxury hotel dates back to 1890. It was built alongside a flood of grand railway hotels that swept across Canada during the boom era.
Don’t want to cough up the cash to spend a night at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise? Grab a glass of wine and an alpine-inspired Germanic meal at Walliser Stube instead. Or enjoy a sophisticated cocktail at the elegant Lakeview Lounge for a taste of Canadian history.
Plain of Six Glaciers
Another top hike in the area, the Plain of Six Glaciers is famous for its spellbinding mountain views. It also showcases amazing vistas towards Lake Louise and its legendary luxury hotel.
The popular trail leading the Plain of Six Glaciers isn’t the easiest in the area. But the moderate difficulty is well-worth the panoramas you’ll experience at the end.
Be sure to bring plenty of water along. The 14.6-kilometre return trip can be challenging—particularly in the heat of summer!
If you want to escape the tourist crowds, delay your visit until the fall shoulder season.
Where to stay in Lake Louise for sightseeing
Although small in size, Lake Louise is among the top Canadian travel destinations. And the biggest challenge to choosing where to stay in Lake Louise is availability.
There’s a very limited selection of accommodations here. There are only a few options by the lakeside. You’ll also find a handful of others around Lake Louise Village and off of the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A).
Many travellers choose, instead, to stay in Banff and drive to Lake Louise.
- Lake Louise Inn: Despite its name, this accommodation option is more of a resort than an inn. It includes a handful of awesome extras for guests. You’ll enjoy the heated pool, hot tubs, private balconies, and fireplaces. There are also two restaurants & bars on-site.
- Baker Creek Mountain Resort: This mountainside resort offers private rooms, suites, and chalets. It’a great choice for exploring the area’s nature. There’s a handful of great amenities here, too. They include a fitness centre, stream room, and sauna. You’ll also enjoy activities like horse riding and ice skating in the winter. The resort is located on the Bow Valley Parkway about 20 minutes south of the village.
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: One of Canada’s most legendary hotels, this 5-star is the top luxury hotel in the area. Built on the lakeshore in 1890, the hotel offers elegant & sophisticated rooms. It also shines with its luxurious amenities. You’ll be able to relax in the spa and indulge in an excellent selection of on-site eating & drinking. With spectacular lake views to boot!
When to visit Lake Louise
The best time to visit Lake Louise is between late June and early to mid-September.
In the summer months and the fall shoulder season, the area’s top hiking trails will be open & accessible. The glacial lakes will also be unfrozen, showing off their dazzling blue colours.
If you don’t mind the colder temperatures, winter is another great time of year to visit. The area is ablaze with tons of winter activities. You’ll enjoy everything from cross-country skiing to snowshoeing to ice skating. Of course, the skiing here is also fantastic. The resort offers some of the desired runs in Canada.
From Banff: Lake Louise is located about 60 kilometres northeast of Banff Town. The drive along the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1) takes about 40 minutes. The scenic alternative route from Banff to Lake Louise is via the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A). The Bow Valley Parkway runs alongside the Bow River. This route will take about an hour and a half.
From Calgary: Lake Louise is one of the best day trips from Calgary. Lake Louise is 182 kilometres from Calgary along the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1). In good conditions, the journey is about two hours.
From Jasper: Lake Louise is located 233 kilometres southeast of Jasper. The drive along the beautiful Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) is about three hours.