The jewel of Banff National Park is Lake Louise, with its shimmering turquoise-green waters and surrounding snow-capped mountains rising to 10,000 feet. Although the water is too cold for swimming, it is ideal for canoeing. At the western end of Lake Louise, Mount Victoria (3,469 meters) rises in majestic splendor.
A breathtaking view can be had from the famous Fairmont Château Lake Louise or from the shoreline in front of the hotel. This is one of the best resorts in Alberta. Even if you don’t stay here, it’s one of the best places to eat. From the resort, a paved trail runs along the water’s edge with beautiful views of the lake, mountains, glacier, and castle.
If you’re staying in Banff and looking for an easy way to see some of the beautiful surrounding lakes, including Lake Louise, a great option is the Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Excursion. This four-hour, 15-minute small-group guided tour takes you to the highlights of both areas. It also allows you to avoid all the hassles of trying to find parking and booking shuttle buses.
A very important note about parking: if the parking lots fill up, the park service closes the road and you will be forced to use the buses. There is only limited parking available at Lake Louise and the park has recently instituted shuttle buses to alleviate congestion. These buses depart from the Lake Louise Park and Ride center, located off the Trans Canada Highway, four miles from the Lake Louise town site, and run every 15 minutes from 8 am to 6:30 pm. Reservations are required and can be booked beginning April 1 of each year.
Your ticket to Lake Louise also includes a ride on the connecting shuttle to Moraine Lake.
Lake Louise Castle: This iconic hotel is part of the Lake Louise scene and a great lunch spot overlooking the lake. In 1890, the Canadian Pacific Railway built the first Château Lake Louise on the moraine at the end of the lake. Easily accessible by train, Lake Louise and the surrounding countryside soon became a tourist hub. From here expeditions departed to explore the rocky region on horseback. Mountaineers from England and the United States climbed the still unknown peaks.
the present day castle lake Louise it was built in 1924 after a fire destroyed its smaller wooden predecessor. In the early days, horse-drawn coaches, later to be replaced by streetcars, transported guests from the railway station in the valley to the hotel six kilometers away.
In the 1920s, a highway was built from Banff to Lake Louise. In the Bow River Valley, the vacation town of Lake Louise developed with nearly 400 permanent residents.
Lake Louise Hikes: Known for many photos and postcards, Lake Louise is a starting point for some rewarding hiking trails, the best of which is perhaps to the Plain of Six Glaciers.
Another very popular walk leads to Lake Agnes (altitude difference 365 metres), which sits in a picturesque spot between the two round hills known as the beehives. The strenuous climb to the top of one of the hives is rewarded with a magnificent view of the entire area. In summer, the Lake Agnes Teahouse supplies food and drinks for hikers.