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Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada if not, all of North America! Thanks to its picture-perfect scenery it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country with approximately 3 million visitors visiting the lake annually, most of whom visit in the summer.
Summer is a great time to visit Lake Louise because not only is the weather mild, but there are numerous hikes in the area that are only accessible during the summer. As well as that, there are several fun activities that can only be enjoyed when the weather is warm, such as white water rafting and horseback riding.
Here, I will share with you all the best summer activities in Lake Louise as well as the best restaurants and hotels so that you can enjoy your time in Lake Louise this summer to the fullest.
About Lake Louise in Summer
Lake Louise is one of the best summer destinations in Alberta, in my opinion. The weather is mild, with average temperatures of 16 Celsius (60 Fahrenheit). A big plus too is that there’s little rainfall during this season, with just 14 expected rainfall days for July (which is low for this region, believe me). When it does rain here in the summer it’s typically a light shower.
Of course, the days are longer in the summer with 16 hours of daylight – the sun rises at 5:30 am and doesn’t set until 10 pm!
As mentioned, most tourists visit Lake Louise during the summer months – so it can get pretty busy with thousands of visitors on any given day during June, July, and August. So, it’s important to remember that parking in Lake Louise will be limited, so get here early! As well as that, many of the activities here can book out so purchase tickets in advance if there’s an activity you really want to try out.
It’s worth noting that most visitors to Lake Louise only spend an hour here, taking some photos at the shoreline and moving on which is a shame because there are so many activities on offer, especially during the summer. In fact, a lot of the summer activities are completely free – which is a big bonus.
I recommend spending a minimum of one full day in Lake Louise to truly get a feel for this majestic lake. If you have time, stay the night in Lake Louise village and experience all of the fun things to do in Lake Louise.
Things to do in Lake Louise in Summer
1. Canoe on Lake Louise
When I think of iconic Canadian activities a few come to mind. However, one of the most relaxing and breathtaking is paddling an alpine lake in a Canadian Canoe. You can do this throughout Canada, but there aren’t many places as beautiful as Lake Louise to enjoy this activity, especially in the summer when temperatures are a mild 16 Celsius (60 Fahrenheit).
Plus, the way the light hits the lake in June, July, and August makes the lake appear even bluer!
Canoe rentals at Lake Louise start from $115 CAD for half an hour or $125 for a full hour. Personally, I think a full hour is needed to explore Lake Louise in a canoe and paddle to the far end of the lake. From there you’ll get a whole new vantage point to enjoy this magical place. Plus, you’ll likely get some great snaps!
Canoes can be rented right from the foreshore at the shed on the lake. Bookings are not required but get there early to secure a time!
2. Ride the Lake Louise Summer Gondola
You may know Lake Louise Ski Resort as one of the most popular ski destinations in Canada, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that winter is the best time to visit this gorgeous area. In fact, summer is my favorite time to visit Lake Louise Ski Resort because you can hop on the gondola and take in the truly breathtaking summer scenery.
Think lush mountain landscapes, thousands of wildflowers, and, even the chance to see grizzly bears! You may be lucky enough to see several grizzly bears on your gondola ride, and if you’re really lucky, a baby bear (also known as a bear cub). They are so cute! A grizzly bear sighting is so common here during the summer that they’ve had to fence some of the sightseeing areas off to protect the tourists and the bears.
Once you reach the summit, there’s a small museum and a restaurant (more on that below.) It’s also a good idea to stretch your legs on one of the walking trails here, just make sure you stay within the fenced areas. This is one of my top recommendations for things to do in Lake Louise during the summer!
The Lake Louise Gondola costs $37.95 CAD per adult.
3. Enjoy a drink at over 2,000 meters above sea level
When visiting Lake Louise in the summer, I highly recommend checking out the Whitehorn Bistro for some delicious drinks and food, and even better views! This alpine-themed restaurant is located at the top of the Lake Louise Gondola, at a huge 2,402 meters above sea level – so of course, the mountain scenery from this vantage point is awe-inspiring! In fact, you can see the Canadian Rockies from pretty much every part of the restaurant.
If you’re feeling hungry – they specialize in contemporary Canadian dishes, like their famous Whitehorn burger, charcuterie board, or cheese fondue. This is one of the best restaurants in Lake Louise for good reason!
It’s important to note that, Whitehorn Bistro is only open until 5 pm, so make this your stop for lunch or just for drinks. I love that they offer over 25 different craft beers on their drinks menu.
While prices are reasonable at around $25-30 CAD for a meal, you can also save by taking advantage of the Ride & Dine ticket, which combines the Gondola ride with your meal!
4. Go horseback riding
One of the best things to do in Lake Louise in the summer is to go horseback riding through the mountains, it’s a true Canadian experience! Follow the trail of the first visitors to Lake Louise on a guided horseriding tour with Brewster Adventures, which has been operating for over 100 years! You can choose from a variety of tours like the Plain of Six Glaciers tour, Lake Agnes Tea House tour, Paradise Valley tour, and the Destination Trail Head tour, to name a few.
The Destination Trail Head tour takes you along the northwest side of Lake Louise, spot Mount Fairview and Mount Victoria from here before continuing onto a forested trail. There’s a great photo spot near the end of this trail which takes in Chateau Lake Louise, and of course, Lake Louise. This is a 1.5 – 2 hour ride and costs from $135 CAD.
The most popular tour option is the Lake Agnes Tea House tour, which is recommended for those with previous horseriding experience as the trail climbs steeply up to 7,000 feet. On your climb, the views are fantastic with Fairview Mountain, Big Beehive Mountain, Mount Temple (the third highest mountain in Banff National Park!) and Mirror Lake all to be seen. Your final destination is the historic tea house which was named after the wife of Canada’s first prime minister. It was built back in 1901 but was renovated in 1981. This tour costs $195 CAD per adult and is between 1.5 to 2 hours in duration.
Finally, the Plain of Six Glaciers trail is another popular horseriding trail that takes in epic glacial fields and Mount Victoria. It’s considered quite a difficult trail because it goes across large avalanche paths and below giant rock faces. You will be able to see six glaciers on your ride – Lower Victoria, Upper Victoria, Aberdeen, Lefroy, Upper Lefroy, and Popes. Did you know that Lake Louise was formed millions of years ago from the flow of these glaciers! A bonus too is a stop at the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House, which was built in 1924 and stands at 7,000 feet above sea level! This particular tour costs $260 CAD per adult.
5. Whitewater rafting
The perfect activity for the adventurous traveler is this awesome whitewater rafting tour on the Kicking Horse River! In fact, this river is consistently rated by tourists as the best white water experience in the Banff area.
There’s a rafting tour for everyone and every ability, for beginners and kids, there’s this Family Rafting Tour that operates on gentler sections of the river which means it’s not as fast-paced but it still guarantees some thrills. It’s suitable for children from 8 years old and above and prices start at $99 CAD per adult and $79 per child.
The most popular tour on offer is the Whitewater Exciter, which is offered twice daily and is ideal for those looking for some fast-paced water fun. It’s a 3-hour tour, that includes some big waves and dips, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get wet! You must be over the age of 12 for this tour, with prices starting from $119 CAD per adult it’s a great option!
Their new Evening Float trip departs at 4:45 pm and is 3 hours in length, it’s a relaxing tour ideal for those who don’t want to get wet. Because it’s slower you have the chance to take in the gorgeous scenery and there’s even the chance to see wildlife like bears, moose, and elk!
Each tour listed above starts from the RiverBase Day Lodge, located on TransCanada Highway #1, a 40-minute drive from Lake Louise. Important to note the rafting season is from mid-May to mid-September – so it’s definitely a summer-only activity in Lake Louise.
Related Read: Whitewater rafting is also one of the best things to do in Banff in the summer!
6. Visit Lake Agnes Teahouse
Lake Louise is popular in the winter for the close access to skiing and snowboarding in addition to skating and snowshoeing on the frozen lake. However, the summer offers one of the best activities to take advantage of – hiking! There are so many awesome hikes in and around the area – my favorite is the Lake Agnes Tea House trail. Starting right from the Lake Louise foreshore, the trail has you hiking high above Lake Louise where you can peer down and see parts of the lake from above.
And the best part of hiking, as I’m sure any hiker will agree, is the post-hike snacks and drinks! The best place to do so is at the Lake Agnes Tea House! This adorable tea house is located at the beautiful Lake Agnes, which is a 7km (4.3 mils) roundtrip hike from Lake Louise. It takes about three hours to complete and has an elevation gain of 400m. It’s a good option for those who are moderate hikers.
The Lake Agnes Tea House was built back in 1901, serving hikers with fine loose-leaf teas to refresh themselves! And, it still serves those amazing teas – in addition to coffee, sandwiches, baked goods – to visitors who come from all over the world.
The tea house is only open during the summer months (June-September) from 8 am – 5 pm.
Hot tip: The tea house is usually jam-packed so if you don’t want to wait in line, you’d best get going early in the day.
Related Read: For more awesome hikes in the area, check out our blog about the best easy hikes near Canmore – this blog includes info about 22 different hikes that are all easily accessible from Lake Louise.
7. Hike the Plain of Six Glaciers
Lake Agnes Tea House isn’t the only tea house in the mountains around Lake Louise. In fact, the Plain of Six Glaciers is not only another great tea house to visit but it also only attracts a fraction of the people.
This, along with the tea house’s more remote and rugged location, makes it the perfect option for those who like to get off-the-beaten-path and into the wilderness.
From Lake Louise, it’s a 5.3-kilometer (3.3-mile) hike one way to the tea house with a 400-meter elevation gain. The trail takes around 4 hours to complete if you hike up and back down the way you came.
For those who love to hike, you can actually join the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House hike with the Lake Agnes Tea House Trail. This track is a 14.6-kilometer loop taking around 6 hours to complete with stops. It’s an epic trail that visits two beautiful tea houses in Lake Louise!
If you want to do a guided hike in Lake Louise, then this 6-hour tour is a great option as it includes several of the trails in the area. Plus, the local guide will give you heaps of information about the area, as well as take you to some lesser-known viewpoints.
8. Stay at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is arguably the most luxurious hotel in the Rocky Mountains. Situated on the shores of Lake Louise, the views from the rooms are nothing short of spectacular. On the inside, the hotel appears like something out of a movie with tall ceilings, stunning architecture, and fine details.
A night at this luxury hotel will cost around $500 CAD per night. However, for that you’ll be so close to the lake you can almost touch it. Better yet, you can easily enjoy all the best activities on this list without even getting in your car. Simply walk out the back entrance and enjoy!
If you do want to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, be sure to book it in advance as this is easily one of the most popular places to stay in Banff National Park.
9. Enjoy a meal at the Fairview Bar & Restaurant
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is an iconic landmark in Lake Louise and a place to splurge and treat yourself! But, even if you aren’t staying there overnight, you can still get a taste of luxury by eating at the Fairview Bar & Restaurant, located inside the hotel.
The location of the Fairview could not be better, as the dining room looks out over the beautiful Lake Louise. They are a fine dining location, perfect for a date night or to celebrate a special occasion with loved ones. The romantic ambiance makes it a popular restaurant in Lake Louise for anyone visiting Banff National Park on a honeymoon.
Food options are inspired by the Rocky Mountains, with delicious local ingredients taking center stage.
As an upscale restaurant, prices are on the more expensive side, with dinner entrees averaging $50-60 CAD. They are open for afternoon tea from 12-2:30 pm, as well as from 5-11 pm for dinner, so you can stop in for a bite to eat during the day, or go for a night late-night drink.
10. Lake Louise Lakefront Trail
The views from the Lake Louise foreshore are spectacular, but that is only one point of view. For another, head out on the Lake Louise Lakefront Trail and hike to the far end of the lake. From here, you can look back and enjoy a view of Lake Louise many don’t get to see.
The Lakefront Trail is super easy and flat! From the foreshore, it’s a 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) out and back hike and takes around an hour to complete. As I said, it’s flat and super easy!
The Lake Louise Lakefront Trail is actually the start of the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House hike, so if you’re planning on doing that trail you’ll get to do both.
11. Visit Lake O’Hara
Lake O’Hara is one of the most beautiful but least-visited areas in B.C., that’s because access to the lake is extremely limited so as to maintain the tranquil, memorable experience the area is renowned for. This emerald-colored lake is huge at 34 square kilometers and is most popular with hikers.
There are a few ways to visit Lake O’Hara, the most common way being the day shuttle service. This is only in operation from June 17th to October 2nd, and advance bookings are necessary. A lottery-type system is in place for reservations, with applications coming available online between March 1st and March 30th, you can register via Parks Canada Reservation Service or by calling 1-877-3783. If you are successful you will be informed on April 1st, and you have up until April 15th to confirm your booking. The bus costs $14.70 per adult and $7.35 for children aged between 6 – 16 years, while children under 6 are free.
If you can’t get a space on the day bus, it is possible to hike the 11-kilometer road into Lake O’Hara. It’s an easy to moderate walk that gains up to 400 meters in elevation. It will take approximately 2.5 hours to walk the 11 kilometers, it is best to hike this in summer when weather conditions are ideal, however, in winter you can ski or snowshoe the road.
Alternatively, you can choose to camp for up to 3 nights at Lake O’Hara. You can book via the Parks Canada Reservation Service from February 3rd. Note the campground is only open from June 17 to October 1. If you book a camping spot you can also reserve a bus ride, as described above. There are two other huts you can stay at, these are the Elizabeth Parker Hut and the Lake O’Hara Lodge.
Many people visit Lake O’Hara specifically to hike and with several awesome hiking trails in the area, it’s easy to see why. One of the most popular, and easest walking trails here is the Lake O’Hara Shoreline Trail which is a 2.8-kilometer loop trail and starts from the O’Hara Warden Cabin. There’s a short uphill section that crosses a couple of gullies above the lake. One of the best views on this trail is the large outcrop of pink quartzite and Seven Veil Falls.
Lake Oesa is 3.2 kilometers each-way trail which is pretty challenging but takes in some gorgeous scenery such as colorful meadows, copper quartzite cliffs, and the Oesa Creek pools. The trail mostly follows through first and the main drawcard is that it passes by Victoria Falls and Victoria Lake. There are a couple of sections on the trail where you must cross a scree slope, which is pretty slippy and there are also a couple of steep rocky outcrops that you must climb over, therefore I only recommend this particular hike for those with a reasonable level of fitness.
12. Go cycling
There are over 100 kilometers of bike trails within easy reach from Lake Louise, and they suit all levels of ability. Biking the trails here is typically only available from May to October, unless, you have a fat bike in that case some trails will be open to you in the winter.
The Bow River Loop is an easy, family-friendly trail that is 7.1 kilometers/4.4 miles in length. It’s completely flat, so, there are no tough uphill climbs. The trail follows both sides of the Bow River, and it’s also popular with walkers so keep an eye out for them on your ride. You can cut this ride short if you wish by crossing any of the bridges dotted along the trail. This loop trail connects with another popular easy trail -the Tramline Trail which is 4.5 kilometers/2.8 miles each way and has a slight elevation gain of 195 meters.
For more experienced cyclists, or those looking for a challenge, check out the Ross Lake Trail which starts from behind the Chateau Lake Louise staff residence. This trail is 7.3 kilometers/4.5 miles each way and is one of the only trails that connects Banff with nearby Yoho National Park. There’s a picturesque lake along the trail, which makes for a pretty picture but otherwise, the track follows mostly through sub-alpine forest. The reason it’s rated as difficult is the tough 1.3-kilometer section at Ross Creek.
Tougher again is the 9.3-kilometer/5.8-mile (one-way) Moraine Lake Highline which climbs up Mount Temple and then down onto the shores of stunning Moraine Lake. The upper section of this trail tends to close in late summer to protect the many grizzly bears who forage for food here.
You can rent bikes from Wilson Mountain Sports at 101 Lake Louise Drive and Chateau Mountain Sports at 111 Lake Louise Drive. A mountain bike costs from $49 CAD per day and an electric bike from $79 CAD per day.
13. Enjoy sunrise at Moraine Lake Rockpile
There’s one photo of Moraine Lake that everyone who’s visiting has most likely seen before – it’s the most famous view of the lake and the Ten Peaks. Well, that photo is taken from the Rockpile, and it’s also where I proposed to Bailey on our romantic trip to Banff.
The Rockpile is exactly what the name suggests, a huge pile of rocks. However, this pile of rocks has been turned into the ultimate viewing platform of Moraine Lake and EVERY visitor should walk to the top of the Rockpile to enjoy the view.
My top tip is to visit at sunrise, which is around 5:30 am during the summer months. That way, you can snap some epic shots of the sky lit up in shades of pink and purple, and also because it’s quieter at this time you will be able to nab a hard-to-get parking spot at the Moraine Lake car park. Worth noting is it’s pretty much impossible to get a parking spot here after sunrise.
To reach the Rockpile, take the trail next to the bathrooms in the parking lot. Follow this trail and cross a small wooden bridge. Once you cross the bridge, keep walking up the trail and keep right (left goes to Consolation Lakes) and this trail leads up to the Rockpile where you can find lots of small viewpoints of the lake. This trail is signposted so you don’t need to worry about getting lost.
It only takes 5 minutes to walk to the top of the Rockpile and although not flat, it’s an easy walk!
The road to get to the parking lot is only open in the summer months, typically from the beginning of June to October depending on the weather and snowfall each year.
Note: Many of the best activities in Lake Louise in the summer are actually at the nearby Moraine Lake – a smaller lake located about a 20-minute drive from Lake Louise Village.
14. Canoe on Moraine Lake
Can you imagine anything more mesmerizing than taking in the views of Moraine Lake and the Ten Peaks from a tiny canoe?! Me either!
This has to be one of the most iconic activities you can do at Moraine Lake and it’s actually an iconic activity in Canada too. So, if you’ve ever wanted to canoe in a Canadian lake, I don’t think there’s a more perfect place to do it than at Moraine Lake.
Canoes can be rented from the Moraine Lake Lodge and they start at $95 CAD for one hour. The canoes can fit up to three people so if you’re in a group, this is actually a relatively cheap activity in Banff National Park!
Rentals include life jackets and because of the stability of Canadian canoes, even those with no or limited experience can give it a try.
15. Stay at Moraine Lake Lodge
If you’re still thinking about where you want to stay when you visit Banff National Park, consider spending a night or two at Moraine Lake Lodge.
Moraine Lake Lodge is the only hotel at Moraine Lake and although from the outside the rooms look a little outdated, on the inside you’ll find freshly renovated modern rooms with all the luxuries you could want. Of course, such an amazing hotel isn’t cheap and a room will set you back around $850 + per night!
I’ve personally never been able to stomach that cost so I haven’t stayed myself, but if I ever win the lottery, I might just move there!
Note: Moraine Lake Lodge is only open during the summer months, typically from the end of May until October.
16. Go rock climbing
The best rock climbing in Banff National Park is right here at Lake Louise, and while there are some easy climbs here, the geography of the area means that most climbs here are only suitable for intermediate or advanced climbers. Because this is an alpine area, conditions can be tough during the winter so, summer is the ideal time to try rock climbing in Lake Louise. What’s good too is that most of the climbs here are protected, meaning they are shaded from the at times intense sun.
The Back of the Lake is where you will find most of the climbing trails, and all abilities are catered to on the purple and orange walls of the rock crag there. To reach the Back of the Lake, it’s a 30-minute walk around the back of Lake Louise, across from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Exquisite Corpse is one of the most popular climbing routes at the Back of the Lake. It is a 58-foot climb, and is rated as moderate it also offers excellent protection which is why it tends to be popular. Public Enemy is another popular climb, and although it’s higher at 80 feet, it’s considered a slightly easier climb and is a good climb starter climb in Lake Louise.
Some other awesome climbing routes here include Turtle Mountain, Wicked Gravity, and Mardi Gras. A full list of the climbs available from Lake Louise can be found here.
You can book a guided half-day rock climbing adventure in Lake Louise, prices start from $104 CAD per person. Otherwise, rent some rock climbing gear from Wilson Mountain Sports at 101 Lake Louise Drive or Chateau Mountain Sports at 111 Lake Louise Drive and do it yourself, if you’re confident enough on your own. .
17. Walk to Consolation Lakes
The Consolation Lakes Trail is one of the easier trails that starts at Moraine Lake, perfect for families or those who don’t like long hikes.
It’s a 2.9-kilometer (1.8-mile) one-way trail that helps you escape the crowds of Moraine Lake. It takes you out to two stunning alpine lakes with the most epic mountain backdrops. The Consolation Lakes Trail is relatively flat and a pretty easy hike.
After the first lake, there is a bit of a scramble over some rocks to get to the second. If you’re not comfortable climbing the boulders, you can just visit the first lake. In my opinion, the first lake is more beautiful anyway. All up, it only takes just over two hours to hike the trail there and back.
The trailhead begins at the Moraine Lake parking lot bathrooms. From there, you’ll follow the path to the small wooden bridge and continue on until you reach a bear warning sign. Here, turn left, and you are on the trail!
18. Scramble up the Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel is one of the most highly rated hikes near Lake Louise, and it’s popular with locals especially. However, it isn’t even considered a “hiking trail” according to Parks Canada because it’s actually more of a scramble.
The views from the top of the Tower of Babel are iconic, and that’s why tourists come from far and wide to take a photo at the summit. The views up here of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks are out of this world.
The trail is only 2.9 kilometers/1.8 miles in length, but it’s pretty steep – you will be climbing up 518 meters and the terrain is pretty rough in parts. Despite the steep uphill slog it’s rated as easy to moderate, and will take between 2.5 to 3.5 hours to complete.
The best time of year to hike the Tower of Babel is during the summer months, ideally from mid-June to the end of August. Worth noting is that you need to park at the Moraine Lake car park for this hike (about 20-minutes from Lake Louise village) and as I’ve mentioned earlier, this fills up pretty fast during the summer. Therefore, try to get here before 6 am to get a space or take one of the shuttles from Lake Louise.
Hiking the trail requires a little planning and knowing exactly where to go. I could try to explain it, but this Tower of Babel hiking guide does it really well and it’s actually the blog I used to hike the trail.
19. Hike the Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass
During the summer months, the Larch Valley Trail is one of the most spectacular hikes you can do from Lake Louise. Most tourists hike the Larch Valley Trail in the fall, that’s because in Banff National Park during fall the entire valley here erupts into a sea of yellow Larch trees. But my advice is to try to complete this hike in late July when the wildflower season is in full bloom. During this time of year the crowds are nowhere near the size they are during Larch season and the wildflowers are stunning. Oh, and it’s also warmer!
The Larch Valley trail begins at the Moraine Lake parking lot and follows the Lakeshore Trail, on this trail you will come to a sign for the track which tells you to take a left. From here, the trail rises quickly and steeply above the valley via a total of 10 switchbacks.
The initial climb gains around 450 meters (1,476 feet) in elevation, which is certainly not easy But once you reach the valley, the trail flattens out and you can finally enjoy the scenery! The total elevation gain of the track is 535 meters (1,755 feet.)
It takes around 4 hours to finish the 8.6-kilometer (5.3-mile) out and back hike. If you’re feeling up to it, you can also continue on to Sentinel Pass. Hiking to the pass not only gives you great views of the Larch Valley but also Paradise Valley on the other side. The extra hike to Sentinel pass is 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) each way and takes around 1.5 hours.
20. Eiffel Lake Trail
Eiffel Lake is a remote alpine lake situated not far from the Larch Valley. The beginning of the trail to Eiffel is actually the Larch Valley Trail, however, after you conquer the ten switchbacks you hit a fork in the road with one path heading to Eiffel Lake.
The Eiffel Lake Trail then continues on in the Valley of the Ten Peaks with stunning scenery everywhere you look. In some parts, you can even peer down at Moraine Lake and see her shine bright blue – especially on a sunny day! Eiffel Lake is only a small lake but it’s the surrounding landscapes that make visiting so rewarding.
From Moraine Lake, it’s a 12 kilometer out and back hike to Eiffel Lake that takes around 4 hours to complete. The trail is moderately difficult but those with hiking experience could join both the Larch Valley and Eiffel Lake into one long hike. In total this would take around 7 hours!
21. Visit Emerald Lake
Visiting Lake Louise puts you in the perfect location to enjoy two other nearby national parks in the Canadian Rockies. One of those is Yoho National Park and its crown jewel, Emerald Lake.
Emerald Lake is located around 35 minutes from Lake Louise is largely considered one of the top attractions in Canada. In winter, you can visit the lake and see the famous Emerald Lake Lodge which appears to sit on an island in the lake. Although the small patch of land is actually connected to the mainland the hotel still has 360-degree views of the lake and the President Range.
If you can, visit at sunrise or sunset for the best views (spending a night at the lodge will make this easy.) This place is so beautiful and very popular among photographers!
This highly recommended full-day guided tour is a great way to see the best lakes in the area, including Emerald Lake, Moraine Lake, and of course Lake Louise. This particular tour sells out fast, so be sure to book in advance. Prices start from $191 CAD.
22. Visit Kootenay National Park
Just under a 30-minute drive from Lake Louise is Kootenay National Park, an area that is home to the Rockies, Kootenay, and Park mountain ranges as well as the Kootenay and Vermillion River. It covers a huge area of 1,406 square kilometers, so it’s best to allow several hours or even a full day to explore the scenic Kootenay National Park!
One of the best things to do here is to hike the 1.6 kilometer Marble Canyon trail which will take about 30 minutes to complete. You will cross no less than seven bridges along this easy trail, all of which look down into the limestone canyon. Be sure to snap some photos of the Gatorade-blue waters in the gorge here as well as the lovely waterfall. You can access the trail from the car park here, which is just off the Banff-Windermere Parkway.
Another scenic hike within Kootenay National Park is the 10-kilometer/6.2-mile Stanley Glacier hike, which will take a minimum of 3 hours to complete. It’s rated as moderate, and although the beginning of the trail is pretty easy the final section is an uneven track that involves walking on loose rocks – so a reasonable level of fitness is recommended. There’s incredibly photogenic alpine scenery for most of the trail, with the views of the Kootenay Valley being my favorite.
What’s most interesting about this trail however is the opportunity to see how the forest here has grown back following a particularly bad wildfire back in 2003. Along the trail, you can see badly burnt tree trunks. About 4.2 kilometers is where you can see the Stanley Glacier and a waterfall, in fact, this is where most hikers choose to turn around and go back.
There’s a small town within the Kootenays, aptly named Radium Hot Springs after the famed hot springs outside of town. The Springs are just 3 kilometers from the town and are essentially man-made pools fed by natural spring waters. You can jump right into the cool pool to take a swim, or just relax and warm up in the hot pool. The hot springs are open year-round and because they are owned by Parks Canada, the cost is kept low at about $8 CAD. You can even purchase a punch pass and go multiple times!
Relaxing at the Radium Hot Springs is certainly one of the best things to do in Kootenay National Park. If you have time on your itinerary why not consider spending the night here, I’ve put together a list of the best airbnb’s in Radium Hot Springs that I’m sure you’ll love.
23. Visit Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is easily one of the most spectacular lakes in the Rocky Mountains. Located on the Icefields Parkway, Peyto Lake is most commonly visited by driving to the viewpoint above the lake which is just off the Icefields Parkway (the drive between Lake Louise and Jasper).
From here, you can stare down at Peyto Lake and the surrounding mountains. You’re basically visiting an epic viewpoint above the valley without actually needing to hike… cool right!
There is also a short hike to the bottom of the lake, however, it is unmarked, and to be honest, the views from above are the highlight.
From Lake Louise, Petyo Lake is only 30 minutes away making it super convenient to visit. If you are planning on driving to Jasper after Lake Louise, then you can also visit Peyto Lake when you drive the Icefields Parkway.
24. Drive the Bow Valley Parkway
One of the best things to do in Lake Louise in summer is surprisingly the drive to get there from Banff – the drive between Lake Louise and Banff truly is spectacular! The Bow Valley Parkway is the road that connects Banff with Lake Louise and is one of the most spectacular highways in Canada. This 50-kilometer-long highway takes around 1 hour to drive without stopping but allowing half a day is recommended.
Some of the best places to check out on the Bow Valley Parkway in the summer include:
Castle Mountain Viewpoint – Castle Mountain is one of those mountains you simply can’t miss. At the roadside viewpoint, you get amazing views. However, those who want a closer look can hike 6.5 km (4 miles) out and back to the viewpoint.
Morant’s Curve – This is my favorite place to photograph on the Bow Valley Parkway. Morant’s Curve is a famous viewpoint (pictured above) in the Bow Valley, where the train passes through the valley. It’s stunning and a must-visit!
Moose Meadows – Moose Meadows isn’t home to many moose these days, but it’s a nice place to stop with spectacular views.
Baker Creek Mountain Resort – Looking for a beautiful cabin getaway? The Baker Creek Mountain Resort is the perfect place to stay on the Bow Valley Parkway. Choose a romantic Jacuzzi Suite for couples or a one-bedroom loft for families!
Of course, you can drive this road in any season but summer is the best time to take this particular road trip because the days are longer – there are 16 hours of daylight in the summer months meaning you can take your time and not worry about it getting dark. Plus, the weather conditions are ideal for driving – there won’t be any snow or ice on the highway like there is in the winter.
Note: There will be some closures to vehicle traffic on sections of the Bow Valley Parkway this year (2022). From May 1-June 30 and then again from Sept 1-Sept 30 vehicles will NOT be able to drive the 17km stretch of road from the TransCanada-Highway junction to Johnston Canyon, it will be restricted to cyclists’ use only This is the eastern part of the road. You will still be able to access Johnston Canyon and the Bow Valley Parkway via the intersection near Castle Mountain Chalets.
25. Get your photo taken
I know from experience that taking a good photo is one of the most time-consuming parts of visiting a new place – you need to consider the lighting, the crowds, as well as editing the photos afterward. Well, what if I told you that in Lake Louise you can hire a professional to take care of all of the above, and produce numerous high-quality photos for you to have forever.
In my opinion, a professional photoshoot is the best way to get that Instagram-worthy couple or family photo in Lake Louise, and on this 30-minute scenic photo shoot, a professional photographer will take the time to get the ‘perfect shot’ against the mountain backdrop.
You will get all of the professionally edited photos after the shoot in an online folder. If you’re celebrating a special occasion like an engagement, birthday, or anniversary what better way to capture it with a breathtaking photo – one that you will cherish for years to come. This particular experience costs $150 CAD and should be booked in advance.
Where to Stay in Lake Louise in Summer
Within Lake Louise Village, there are some great places to stay. I am often on a budget and stay at the Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center. This basic hostel comes with everything you need and the location is within walking distance to the shops and restaurants. The private rooms are cozy, clean, and comfortable. Better yet, the onsite cafe called Bill Peyto’s Cafe is a local favorite.
Another medium-budget option is the Lake Louise Inn. Once again the location is really good and most of the rooms are freshly renovated and modern. There is also an onsite pool and restaurant.
For those with a vehicle who want a really unique place to stay, the Baker Creek Mountain Resort is a good choice. The hotel is located on the Bow Valley Parkway around 11 kilometers from town. Stay in a rustic but luxurious cabin in the woods and surround yourself with nature.
Of course, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which I mentioned above, is also a top choice for luxury travelers.
Parking at Lake Louise Lakefront
One very important thing you need to know about visiting Lake Louise Lakefront is the parking problem. To put it simply, you need to arrive early if you want to get a parking spot up at the lake.
By early, I mean before 9 am at least during peak times! After that, it becomes almost impossible to snag a parking spot. In the late afternoon and evenings, it is also less busy and you should be able to get a spot.
In the summer, parking is also paid. From June until mid-October, you’ll be required to pay $12.25 per vehicle per day to park here (2022 updated fees.) The paid parking is in effect from 7 am until 7 pm daily. During the winter, parking is free.
Alternatively, you can plan in advance and ride the Park and Ride shuttle or take ROAM public transport. The Park and Ride MSUT be booked in advance and it now departs from the Lake Louise Ski Resort parking lot. ROAM pubic transit should also be booked in advance during the busy summer months.
The same goes for Moraine Lake, however, it’s even worse! If you want to know more, check out our guide to parking at Moraine Lake – it’s a must-read before you go!
Parks Canada Pass Quick Info
If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks then you’re going to have to pay for a Parks Pass.
Single Daily Admission:
This type of pass is valid for one person for one day. It is ONLY the best value if you are traveling alone and only plan to visit a national park for one day.
- Adult (ages 18-64) is $10.50 CAD
- Senior (65+) is $9.00 CAD
- Youth/Child (17 or younger) is FREE
Group Daily Admission:
If you’re traveling in a group or with family, you can buy a single-day admission for your entire vehicle (up to 7 people in one vehicle.)
- $21.00 CAD gets your entire vehicle entry for one full day
Parks Canada Discovery Pass
The “Discovery Pass” is what Parks Canada calls their year-long (365 days from the purchase date), multi-park entry pass. This pass will give 365 days of access to all participating national parks in Canada. This includes the most popular parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay, Glacier, Mount Revelstoke and so much more.
- Adult (age 18-64) – $72.25 CAD
- Senior (64+) – $61.75 CAD
- Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $145.25 CAD
Hot Tip: Although more expensive upfront, if you plan on spending more than 7 days in different parks in Canada within a 12-month period, then the Discovery Pass is actually the better deal!
Parks Canada Passes can be bought online here or at one of the Visitor Centers of booths at the entrance to many national parks.
Thanks for reading!
I just know that after reading this guide you will be itching to visit Lake Louise in the summer, there’s nowhere prettier in Canada when the sun is shining than this bright blue lake. Plus, with so much to do here in the summer, you will be spoiled for choice with awesome activities – if I’m honest I could easily spend over a week here during the summer.
Let me know if you plan to visit Lake Louise this summer, and if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask! Feel free to check out some of our other Lake Louise and Banff guides before you go: