Canada’s 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 might not always match the hype, but Lake Louise surely does. The only complaint you might have is that it tends to be overrun with tourists because it’s so darn beautiful. Everyone wants a piece of it!
I’ve put together some tips to get the most out of your visit to Lake Louise, Canada in the summer.
To my surprise, Lake Louise is not located next to Banff National Park’s downtown, but is actually about a 40-minute drive away.
Be warned, just because it’s summertime in the Canadian Rockies, doesn’t always mean it’s going to be warm. I would recommend dressing in layers and expect chilly coat weather in the early morning and evenings, and short sleeves and shorts during the warmest parts of the day.
I cannot stress this enough. Like I said above, the only thing that might make this magical lake a less than pleasant experience is if you struggle finding parking or feel like it is overrun with tourists. To avoid this, come early (I recommend no later than 10am) to avoid fighting other tourists for a parking spot, or…having to park in the overflow and then take the shuttle to Lake Louise.
I came for sunrise at 5:15am (this was early June) and even then there were about 20 other tourists out and about sightseeing. Most likely with the same idea I had. Beat the crowds!
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.
Castle Lookout 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 is 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 Hotel 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.
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.
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 fabulous), but I did enjoy brunch at the hotel.
It’s a bit pricey ($30 for the breakfast buffet), but you’re really there for the experience and the awe-inspiring 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.
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Have you visited Canada’s Lake Louise in the summer? Love to know your thoughts in the comments below!