Are you planning on visiting Lake Louise? Lake Louise is the show-stealer of Banff National Park, and a definite “must see” during your visit. It’s the most photographed lake in the world, and it’s no secret as to why. This place is stunning. Often times, famous locations don’t match the hype, but when you visit Lake Louise you’ll see, it surely does. The only complaint you might have is that it tends to be overrun with tourists because it’s so darn beautiful. What can I say? Everyone wants a piece of it!
To help you get the most out of your visit to Lake Louise, Canada, I’ve put together these tips for you, enjoy. Let’s dive in!
8 Super Handy Tips for Visiting Lake Louise
1. Lake Louise Location
To my surprise, Lake Louise is not located next to Banff National Park’s downtown. Instead, it’s actually about a 40-minute drive away. If you’re staying downtown, it’s best to plan out your day by pairing your visit with Moraine Lake (another GORGEOUS lake) since it’s also nearby.
2. Dress Warm When Visiting Lake Louise
Be warned, even if it’s summertime in the Canadian Rockies, that doesn’t always mean it’s going to be warm. If visiting during the summer months, I would recommend dressing in layers. Expect chilly coat weather in the early morning and evenings, and short sleeves and shorts during the warmest parts of the day.
3. Best Time of Day to Visit Lake Louise
The best time of day to visit Lake Louise is either early in the morning or later in the evening. I would recommend arriving no later than 9am-10am for the morning and 6pm or later for the evening. I cannot stress this enough. Like I said above, the only thing that might make this magical lake a less than pleasant visit are the crowds of people ruining the experience. You need to avoid peak times such as 12pm or 1pm because you will struggle to find parking and Lake Louise will be overrun with tourists.
If you do arrive later in the day you risk not being able to park in the Lake Louise parking area. You’ll then have to park in the overflow parking and take a shuttle to Lake Louise.
To give you an idea of what the crowds are like, I visited Lake Louise at 5:15am for the sunrise (this was early June) and even then there were about 20 other tourists. They most likely had the same idea I had, beat the crowds!
4. Walk Along the Rim of Lake Louise
There is a nicely paved pathway around the perimeter of the lake that is perfect for strolling. The views of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise are gorgeous! You’ll likely even see people jogging along the pathway since it’s flat and easy. There are also a number of longer hikes that start from Lake Louise.
5. Castle Lookout Hike at Lake Louise
I would highly recommend hiking the 1.3km (0.8 miles) to Castle Lookout. It is a bit of a steep climb, but its definitely worth it. It took me about 20 minutes one-way to get to the lookout. From here you can see amazing views of the lake and the castle-esque Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
6. Canoe Lake Louise
Canoeing the turquoise waters of Lake Louise is one of the most popular and iconic summer activities you can do! But its popularity has definitely skyrocketed the price. It is $105 per hour ($95 per half hour) for non-hotel guests and $65 per hour ($55 per half hour) for hotel guests.
The canoes do hold up to 3 adults, so that does help if splitting the cost of the canoe. Canoe rentals become available when the lake thaws, which tends to be from June through September. Hours may vary depending on weather, but generally 11am-7pm.
7. Grab a Coffee at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Café
If you do decide to visit Lake Louise in the morning, I highly recommend grabbing a coffee or snack at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Inside the hotel you’ll find a pleasant little café where you can warm up and enjoy a steamy cup of coffee.
You’re welcome to take a peak around the hotel as well. You’ll find a few gift shops down the long corridor off to the right side of the hotel entrance.
8. Have Brunch or Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Better yet, if you have the time, take in the true Fairmont experience and dine in! I was unable to come for afternoon tea (although that sounds amazing!), but I did enjoy brunch at the hotel.
Brunch is a bit pricey ($30 for the breakfast buffet), but you’re really there for the experience and the views of the lake. You have the choice of a breakfast buffet, which includes basically everything under the sun you could possibly want (and endless cups of coffee!), or you can order off the menu a la carte.
I absolutely LOVED visiting Lake Louise! It was the main reason why I wanted to go to visit Banff National Park, and it did not disappoint. I hope you enjoy these tips about Lake Louise, and be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see some photos from your trip!
If you’re wanting to book a tour during your visit to Lake Louise, I would definitely consider the below tour options. They’re all awesome, but the Icefields Parkway is seriously amazing!
- Lake Louise to Jasper One-Way Tour
- Price: $199.40
- Lake Louise and the Icefield Parkway sightseeing tour
- Price: $135.08
- Hop-On and Hop-Off Banff Bus
- Price: $43.70
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Do you plan on visiting Lake Louise, Canada? Love to know in the comments below!