Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a beautiful mountain lake in the middle of Banff National Park in the Alberta Rockies region of Alberta, Canada. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, and at the far end is a large glacier. The lake is quite isolated, but provides a magnificent setting for a luxury resort, the Châteaux Lake Louise, and a conference wing on the 'inland' side of the hotel.

There is a very small town of the same name at the base of the mountain.


The lake, a major tourist attraction, can be crowded during the day as multiple coach tour groups arrive. Before 8AM, one may see the lake with few people around; at dawn, the light shines onto the back wall of the glacier lake. Just before dusk is also reasonably quiet.

Get in

By car

Lake Louise is 186 km (120 miles) west of Calgary, and 56 km (36 miles) North-West of the town of Banff on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1, Alberta 93).

An alternative from Banff is the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A), this is a restricted speed narrower tree lined road, which although does not provide such clear views of the mountain does provide a better chance of seeing wildlife such as bears and deer.

If you are driving and would like to check out the Parks Canada road report

By plane

To book an airport shuttle ahead of time, contact Brewster Airporter & Resort Connector, Mountain Connector or Banff Airporter Inc.

By bus

Get around

Once in Lake Louise, you have access to some of the most beautiful drives in North America.

National Car Rental is located in the village of Lake Louise and there is a Hertz location in the Fairmont Lake Louise hotel. Otherwise the tour buses are an option. .


View of the lake

The main attractions at Lake Louise are the vibrantly coloured glacial lakes and Victoria Glacier at the head of Lake Louise. Other lakes to stop and explore in the area (all within Banff National Park) are Moraine Lake, Bow Lake and Peyto Lake.


As a ski-resort and wilderness area, tourist activity varies according to the season. The primary form of spring and summer recreation in the area is walking around the lake on the lakeside path, hiking on mountain trails leading from the lake, and admiring the scenery. During the summer, canoes can be rented and fishing is a popular activity. The ski resort turns into an interpretive centre in the summer months and gives visitors a beautiful view of Lake Louise from the top of the Gondola.

View along hike to Victoria Glacier





There isn't a lot of shopping in Lake Louise. There are some stores at The Fairmont Château Lake Louise as well as in the hamlet at Samson Mall.

There are two gas stations in the village providing fuel and basic supplies.

You can rent sporting equipment at Wilson Mountain Sports.


Most of the restaurants are located within the hotels in the hamlet of Lake Louise. Dining at the Post Hotel is simply amazing. Additionally, ask at your hotel or camp-ground where they would recommend.

There are a couple of restaurants located at Samson Mall, also the Station Restaurant which was converted from the heritage-listed train station and another at a gas station. There are also a few restaurants located just outside of Lake Louise at the various other hotels just off the beaten path. Bill Peyto's Cafe in the hostel serves good basic food.


For a drink most hotels in the hamlet of Lake Louise do have a bar or pub.


The lake is approximately an hour's drive from Banff, where a much wider variety of accommodations are available.

Stay safe

Go next

Escape the crowds of tourists at Lake Louise and travel up the Icefields Parkway Highway 93 North - Banff to Jasper Highway, one of the most scenic drives in North America with sites such as: Bow Lake, Bow Glacier, Crowfoot Glacier, Mistaya Canyon, Waterfowl Lake, Parkers Ridge, Wilcox Pass, Into Jasper National Park, Columbia Icefields, Athabasca Falls, and eventually Jasper.

Along the Icefields Parkway there are numerous opportunities to camp or stay in a rustic wilderness hostel.

For the adventurous you can get to Banff from Lake Louise on foot via the Saddleback Trail. It is an easy to moderately difficult 4-5 day hike complete with empty camp-sites. The trail is passable from July through to October. Check with the Park Canada Information office in town for up to date trail conditions, the disposition of any local Grizzlies and advice.

Routes through Lake Louise

Kamloops Field  W  E  Banff Calgary
END Jasper  N  S  Radium Hot Springs Cranbrook

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, December 11, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.