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 don’t 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. 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!
8 Tips for Visiting Lake Louise, Canada
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, since it’s also nearby.
2. Dress Warm
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. Come Early
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. The biggest problem is probably struggling to find parking. To avoid this, come early (I recommend no later than 10am) to avoid fighting other tourists for a parking spot. If the parking lot is full, there is the option of parking in the overflow and then taking the shuttle to Lake Louise.
I visited Lake Louise at 5:15am for the sunrise (this was early June) and even then there were about 20 other tourists. Most likely with 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 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 Hotel Lake Louise.
6. Go Canoeing
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.
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Have you visited Lake Louise, Canada? Love to know your thoughts in the comments below!