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5 BEST Hikes in Lake Louise (that start from the Lakefront!)

5 BEST Hikes in Lake Louise (that start from the Lakefront!)

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When you think of Lake Louise, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the epic Lake Louise Ski Resort, the iconic blue lake, or is it your favorite restaurant in Lake Louise Village? For me, it’s got to be the turquoise lake at sunrise, with the beautiful Fairmont Hotel basking on the shoreline.

But there’s so much more to Lake Louise than what you see from the lakefront!

Even if you’ve never visited Lake Louise before, chances are you’ve seen it online or in photos already, but what you may not know is that there are a couple of beautiful trails that lead directly from the lakeshore. Whilst some hikes, like the Lakeshore Trail, wind their way along the lake’s edge, others are a little more secretive and wind their way up into the nearby hills, with unknown treasure on the other end!

Dan and I absolutely LOVE a good hike, especially ones that offer something special, like one-of-a-kind views or a tucked-away teahouse (more on this later!). So, whether you’re a novice hiker or a seasoned pro, traveling solo or with the family, I wanted to share with you some of my all-time favorite hikes from Lake Louise Lakefront!

P.S. As the lake itself tends to get really busy in the summer months, these routes offer a much-welcomed break from the crowds.

Note: Lake Louise is actually the name of both the village and the lake. This blog focuses on the hikes that actually start from the lake, so once you park, you are ready to lace up your boots and hit a trail!

How to Get to Lake Louise

lots of cars parked at Lake Louise
It gets really busy here at the Lake Louise parking lot!

Lake Louise Drive Construction Notice: This summer (2024), construction will be on Lake Louise Drive, causing significant traffic delays. This means you could spend well over an hour sitting in traffic just to be turned away for lack of parking (over a thousand people are turned away each day during the peak summer months!). To avoid this, consider booking this hop-on hop-off shuttle from Banff instead! Check availability for the shuttle here – it fully books out in the summer months!

First things first, you’ll want to know how to get to Lake Louise Lakefront! While it can be tempting to just hop in the car and drive to the parking lot, I’d suggest having a little read through the other options first – especially considering some of the downsides of finding parking at Lake Louise.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to get to Lake Louise!

By car

Although parking at the nearby Moraine Lake is no longer possible, it IS still possible to park at the Lake Louise Lakeshore day-use area. However, this gets really (really) busy during the summer, to the point where it’s forbidden to sit and wait for a parking space. As you can imagine, this can become a headache pretty quickly!

Chances are that if you try to get a parking spot at Lake Louise during the summer months, you will get turned away. In the winter, it is much easier.

Parking fees at Lake Louise have also recently increased as of 2024, now costing $36.75 CAD per vehicle per day. Paid parking here is in effect from 3 am to 7 pm daily, so you can actually avoid the parking fee by dropping by in the evening – even better if you get there in time for sunset.

The Lake Louise shuttle

With parking being pretty difficult at the lake, another option would be to take the shuttle that’s run by Parks Canada. Especially in the summer and on the weekends, these shuttles are a lifesaver and really help to avoid all that parking stress we dread.

The Park and Ride shuttle now departs every 20 minutes from the Lake Louise Ski Resort parking lot, which is just a 7-minute drive from downtown Lake Louise. Tickets cost just $8 CAD for adults and are free for youths 17 and under. You can grab the shuttle between 8 am and 6:20 pm, although you are required to book your slot ahead of time.

Guided tour

Of course, if you prefer a hands-off experience, you can also opt for a guided tour of Lake Louise, where all transport is taken care of for you! We love this half-day tour which visits both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake – it’s the perfect introduction to both lakes, and you even get a little bit of time at each lake to explore and take plenty of photos.

Tickets for this small-group experience cost $104 CAD for adults (13+) and $53 CAD for kids (6-12). This is a popular tour though, so it’s a good idea to reserve your dates in advance on Viator (which has a 24-hour cancellation guarantee!).

Important Note: Visiting Lake Louise does require a valid Park Pass as it’s located within Banff National Park. If you’ve already purchased your daily pass or the annual Discovery Pass, then you’re good to go. If you haven’t yet, then the kiosk machines in the car park also have the option for you to add this on for $10.50 CAD or $21 CAD for a family or group of up to seven people.

The BEST Hikes at Lake Louise (that actually start from the Lakefront!)

1. Mirror Lake

bailey stands at the edge of Mirror Lake with Big beehive in the backgorund near lake louise
Mirror Lake!
Big Beehive reflecting on Mirror Lake
From Mirror Lake you can see Big Beehive
  • Distance: 6 kilometers (3.7 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Elevation gain: 355 meters (1,165 feet)
  • Time needed: 2 hours
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: Lake Louise lakefront parking lot

As we’ve seen, Lake Louise can get pretty busy, especially during the summer months, which is where trails like the Mirror Lake trail come in! Most people tend to stay by the lakeshore, so if you decide to walk this easy trail, you’re in for a treat.

Starting from the paved path to the right of the Lake Louise lakeshore, this route winds through a beautiful alpine forest up a gradual incline. It’s easy to forget just how high you’re climbing until you look over at Lake Louise and see it dropping down below!

If you look through the canopy of trees to your right, you might even occasionally see glimpses of the Big Beehive, a giant cliff which towers up in the distance that just so happens to look like its namesake. After about an hour’s walk, you’ll reach Mirror Lake, which gets its own name from the fact that the round lake looks a little bit like a glass mirror!

This is a pretty straightforward hike that is definitely doable for families with younger kids looking to stretch their legs. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can continue on and head to Lake Agnes Teahouse (more info coming on that below).

Tip: Before you kick off your hike, I’d recommend grabbing a quick bite to eat or a snack from Trailhead Café in the village. Their breakfasts are so amazing and are sure to give you all the energy you’ll need to conquer this trail.

Related Read: Looking for more easy hikes in the area? Check out some of the best easy hikes near Canmore and the best easy hikes in Banff!

2. Lake Agnes Teahouse

Lake Agnes Teahouse near Lake Louise
Don’t forget to visit the teahouse!
The views of the mountains at Lake Agnes
How clear is this water?!
  • Distance: 7.4 kilometers (4.6 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 435 meters (1,427 feet)
  • Time needed: 3 to 4 hours
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: Lake Louise lakefront parking lot

Up for a bit more of a challenge? Following on from the Mirror Lake hike, you can continue the trail further uphill, and you’ll soon arrive at the ever-popular Lake Agnes Teahouse.

The Lake Agnes Teahouse trail as a whole can be relatively challenging for beginners to hiking, but if you’re reasonably fit and have a few hikes under your belt then you should have absolutely zero issues. Plus, there are also plenty of places to stop, rest, and catch your breath along the way, so there’s absolutely no rush at all.

From my own experience, I’ve found that the conditions are best between June and early October, as there is an avalanche risk here in the winter. The teahouse itself also closes after Canadian Thanksgiving, so keep that in mind if you’re planning a visit later in the year!

Once you arrive at the tea house, it’s time to try out some of the local specialty… Tea! There are actually over 100 types of tea on offer here, as well as sandwiches, soups, snacks, soft drinks, and much more on their menu. It’s also in a prime location on the shore of the bright blue Lake Agnes, so it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy that well-earned brew.

3. Plain of Six Glaciers

views on the Plain of Six Glaciers trail
Views along the trail!
  • Distance: 10.6 kilometers (6.6 miles)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation gain: 400 meters (1,312 feet)
  • Time needed: 4 hours
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: Lake Louise lakefront parking lot

If you’d like to sample all the views that Lake Louise has to offer, then you’ll also want to try the Plain of Six Glaciers hike, where the 10.6 km (6.6 mile) trail winds upwards to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. The first 3 km (1.9 mi) is very flat and is actually the same route as the Lake Louise Lakefront Trail (more info below), but you’ll then follow the trail as it splits off and makes its gradual climb.

After about 5.3 km (3.3 mi), you’ll glimpse the tea house through the trees, and then you’ll know you’ve officially made it! Once you’re here, you can choose from their tea selection board and if you fancy something sweet, try their treat of the day. There are also a few different meal options on their menu, making this a nice spot to grab lunch too.

You can also extend this hike by joining the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House hike with the Lake Agnes Tea House Trail. This turns into a 14.6-km (9-mile) loop that takes around 6 hours to complete with stops along the way – talk about a day full of epic trails and sights!

If you’d love to get to know more about the history of Lake Louise, as well as listen to some amazing stories about the wildlife, famous people who have visited, and more, then why not opt to take a guided tour? This 6-hour guided tour offers just that, the chance to get to know Lake Louise like the back of your hand and also get to visit some lesser-known viewpoints too!

Top tip: When visiting the tea houses, it’s best to bring cash with you, as there’s often a small fee involved when paying with card.

Related Read: Speaking of glaciers, if you get the chance to visit the Athabasca Glacier on the Icefields Parkway, you’re sure to have an amazing time.

4. Lake Louise Lakefront Trail

Lake Louise foreshore walk
Head off around the other side of the lake.
  • Distance: 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 101 meters (331 feet)
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: Lake Louise lakefront parking lot

For the very best views of Lake Louise up close, then you just have to give the Lakefront Trail a try. It’s a very flat trail, so it’s suitable to walk at any time of the year (even during winter in Lake Louise). What’s more, the wide paths make it perfect for families with kids, where hikes like the Lake Agnes Teahouse might be a little bit too challenging.

I still remember the first time I walked the Lakefront Trail, which led me right up to the Victoria Glacier for a seriously cool viewpoint! Of course, pretty much every step you take gives you a new angle of the lake, so it’s hard not to be constantly taking photos…

The trailhead is on the north shore of Lake Louise, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from Lake Louise Village. Or it’s a 68 km (42 mile) drive from Banff to Lake Louise, which should take just under an hour.

5. Fairview Lookout

The view from Fairview lookout in Banff National Park
The lake really is this color! Just wait till you see it!
  • Distance: 2.3 kilometers (1.5 miles)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation gain: 161 meters (528 feet)
  • Time needed: 1 hour
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Location: Lake Louise lakefront parking lot

If you’re a little strapped for time but still want to hike a short trail at Lake Louise, I’ve got you covered! This trail to Fairview Lookout takes about an hour and is the perfect way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Once at the top, you can enjoy uninterrupted views of Lake Louise and the Fairmont Chateau Hotel!

The trail begins right at the lakeshore, heading left past the boathouse before climbing up to the viewpoint. It isn’t particularly difficult, however there are short bursts of elevation here and there, which can seem a little steep at times. However, once you reach the top, it really does pay off with those well-deserved views – I hope you brought your camera!

There is also a second route up to Fairview Lookout from the lakeshore, which is a much more gradual climb and safer during the winter, especially if you don’t have ice cleats. While you can totally walk the trail without them, they definitely help during the wintertime.

Related Read: For another easy trail with awesome views, try the hike up to Consolation Lakes from Moraine Lake!

Where to stay in Lake Louise

Lake Louise Inn pool
Photo credit: Lake Louise Inn

Alongside Banff, Lake Louise is one of the most popular destinations in Banff National Park, so it’s important to have a look at accommodation well ahead of time to secure your dates and find the best deals! After a day out hitting the trails, you want to be able to return to a hotel that’s clean and comfortable – here are some of my personal suggestions:

Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center – $

For those traveling to Lake Louise on a tighter budget, then the Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center will be your go-to option in Lake Louise Village. In fact, I think this is one of the nicest hostels I’ve visited in Canada, especially considering you don’t tend to find many of them!

The hostel is situated right in town, so it’s easy to walk anywhere in the village, as well as take the shuttle to Lake Louise. It also has a shared kitchen that’s great for making up your lunch for the day, as well as pretty comfortable dorms too.

A bed in a dorm here starts from around $142 CAD and can be on either or

Lake Louise Inn – $$

While I’d still technically class the Lake Louise Inn as a budget option, it is a bit fancier than Hi Lake and has plenty of private rooms too. The hotel also has its own indoor pool, an on-site restaurant, as well as a bar! Great for meeting like-minded travelers and listening to their recommendations about what to see.

The modern rooms here are really spacious and clean, and if you’re in a larger group, they also have apartments with kitchens. Rooms here in peak season average around $423 CAD in the peak season but can go as low as $170 CAD in the low season.

You can easily check availability and book a stay at Lake Louise Inn online with

Fairmont Château Lake Louise – $$$

Offering the ultimate luxury stay in Banff, let alone Lake Louise, the Fairmont Château Lake Louise sits right on the bank of the lake. As you can imagine, the views here are on a whole new level, and its location makes it so convenient if you’re out and about exploring the trails around Lake Louise.

Inside the hotel, there are 6 unique restaurants ready to serve you as well as a heated indoor pool, fitness center, spa, and sauna… I could go on and on! Staying here is definitely on my bucket list, but if you’re lucky enough to stay here for yourself, I hope you have a super amazing time (maybe I’m a little bit jealous).

The price per night average at the Fairmont averages around $700 CAD, but can raise considerably higher in the peak season, so don’t forget to book ahead of time to secure your room.

Related Read: Short on time? Learn how to best spend one day in Lake Louise with our carefully crafted itinerary.

Other Things to do While You’re in Lake Louise

Daniel on one of the large Ice Explorers on the Athabasca Glacier on a tour
Explore the Columbia Icefield on a glacier tour!
Canoes at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
Moraine Lake is one of my favorite places in the world!

Find yourself with a little bit of extra time on your hands after that epic hike? Or maybe you’re looking to fill your Banff itinerary with some fun new activities. We have a full list of the best things to do near Lake Louise, but I put together a few of my can’t-miss activities while you’re here.

  • Ride the Lake Louise Gondola – The Lake Louise Gondola is the perfect summertime activity, where you can enjoy some amazing views and maybe spot some wildlife too! There are viewing platforms, hiking routes, and even a restaurant at the top, so you can make a day of it. Tickets for the gondola cost $65 CAD per adult and can be booked here.
  • Rent a canoe and get on the lake – As much as I enjoy taking in the views of Lake Louise, it’s even more fun to get on the water! You can rent a canoe from the boathouse for $165 CAD per hour and spend some time paddling through the turquoise waters. The boathouse is located right at the foreshore and is open from mid-June through September. 
  • See the sunrise at Moraine Lake – If you don’t mind being a bit of an early bird, it’s worth the effort to get out of bed to see the sunrise at Moraine Lake! It’s a bit complicated to get to Moraine Lake since the road is closed to public vehicles, so the best options are this private shuttle or taking this award-winning sunrise tour.

Thanks for Reading!

Bailey and Daniel at the edge of Lake Louise in Banff
Thanks for reading!

Whether you’re making a road trip from Calgary to Lake Louise or are simply looking for fun new activities to try at Lake Louise in summer, I hope you get the chance to explore some of these trails for yourself. Do let us know in the comments which trail (or trails!) you’re planning to try out, or maybe there are some you’ve hiked before but can’t wait to revisit.

If you have some extra time on your hands, there are also a ton of fun things to do at Moraine Lake! If you loved this blog, there are a few more blogs that I think you’ll find interesting:

10 Absolute MUST-DO Day Hikes in Banff and Jasper!

13 Things to KNOW Before Visiting Yoho National Park

4 BEST Whitewater Rafting Tours in Banff + Pros and Cons of Each Tour

Grassi Lakes Hike – Epic Views and Crystal Clear Lakes