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35 BEST Things to do in Lake Louise, Alberta (2024 Guide!)

35 BEST Things to do in Lake Louise, Alberta (2024 Guide!)

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Lake Louise is a small mountain village situated within the magnificent Rocky Mountains. It’s surrounded by untouched wilderness and stunning landscapes and has all the ingredients for a bucket-list place to visit in Alberta. It’s no wonder that Lake Louise is one of my favorite places in all of Canada.

To be honest though, it can be hard to know exactly what to do in Lake Louise. Before arriving, I was a little confused as to what the main attractions are, and, on my first visit, only walked the foreshore.

What a waste!

Luckily though, we moved close to the Rocky Mountains and have since revisited Lake Louise countless more times. From incredible hikes to restaurants and all of the epic Lake Louise activities in between, we’ve pretty much done it all!

The best part though? In this blog, I’ll share exactly what I’ve discovered to be the best things to do in Lake Louise so you can decide what you want to do, and exactly how to do it! I’ve also include the best activities at every season, so no matter when you’re visiting you can find something fun to do.

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!

Table Of Contents
  1. The BEST Things to do in Lake Louise
  2. How to Get to Lake Louise
  3. Parking at Lake Louise
  4. Lake Louise, Alberta FAQs
  5. Where to Stay in Lake Louise
  6. Where to Go Next
  7. Before you go…
  8. Why We Book Tours with Viator
  9. Renting a Car in Alberta

The BEST Things to do in Lake Louise

1. Relax at the Lake Louise Lakefront

Bailey looks at Lake Louise from the edge of the lake
Just enjoy the view!
Bailey relaxes on a rock at Lake Louise
Kick back and relax!

When it comes to enjoying Lake Louise, one of the easiest and most common ways is to visit the Lake Louise foreshore/lakefront. Within minutes of arriving, you can have a coffee in hand and stare out at mountain peaks, glaciers, and the bluest lake you’ll ever see.

The best part? This activity is for everyone! You can walk the front foreshore (which is paved for easy access) and read some of the information boards on the area while admiring the view. Be sure to snap lots of photos as this is one of the most breathtaking views in the Rockies!

At the foreshore you’ll also find the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel (a great place to stay – more on that later) as well as canoe rentals. Many of the best hiking trails in Lake Louise also start from here (I’ve also included details about my favorite ones further on in this blog.)

One thing to note is that parking at Lake Louise Lakefront is no longer free during the summer months. From May until mid-October you must pay $36.75 CAD per vehicle per day between the hours of 3 am and 7 pm.

We must also warn you that during the summer in Lake Louise, parking is notoriously hard to get because the lot fills most days early in the morning. If you are visiting in the peak of summer, we recommend arriving around or before 7 am to get a spot. Or, just visit later in the day for sunset. After 7 pm parking is also free and it is the quietest time of day here, honestly, the most peaceful!

Alternatively, book the Park and Ride shuttle with Parks Canada. This shuttle departs from the Lake Louise Ski Resort parking lot and will take you to both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake for only $8 CAD per adult. The shuttle must be booked in advance with some bookings opening on April 13, 2023 this year. If you miss that date, don’t worry, they’ve also saved some spaces for “last minute” bookings. These bookings open two days before your desired departure date at 8 am sharp. Be on the computer ready to book for when it hits 8 am as we anticipate most spaces will fill pretty quickly.

2. Hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House

Lake Agnes Teahouse near Lake Louise
Don’t forget to visit the teahouse!

My favorite hike in Lake Louise is the Lake Agnes Tea House trail. A bold statement, I know, but hear me out – this hike is epic! Starting right from the Lake Louise Lakefront, the trail has you hiking high above Lake Louise where you can peer down and see parts of the lake from above.

Lake Agnes is also a pretty spectacular alpine lake in itself. It’s surrounded by huge mountain peaks and the calm waters create that photogenic reflection.

On top of the views, next to Lake Agnes is the Lake Agnes Tea House where you can enjoy tea, coffee, or a snack! Coffee and cake in the middle of the mountains is always a good idea if you ask me!

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 (or, just bring your patience along with you.) However, even without buying something from the tea house, hiking to Lake Agnes is easily one of the best things to do in Lake Louise!

The Lake Agnes Tea House Trail is a 7.3-kilometer (4.5 miles) return track that climbs 400 meters in elevation. The trail is moderately difficult but not technical at all! The elevation gain will definitely give you a bit of a workout in some sections, but trust us, once you reach Lake Agnes it is all worth it.

Lake Agnes is the end of the trail and where you can turn around and hike back down the way you came. If you hike in the Spring, Winter, or late Fall we recommend wearing microspikes or crampons as the trail can be icy and slippery in some parts.

If you aren’t a confident hiker, you can always book this hiking tour with a local guide. On top of the hiking assistance, this area is also full of history and fascinating flora and fauna which your guide will tell you all about. The tour comes highly rated and costs $175 CAD per person, which is well worth it if it means you’ll get to see the stunning Lake Agnes!

3. Rent a canoe on Lake Louise

Canoe on Lake Louise in Banff National Park
Seriously, how is this place real!

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.

Canoe rentals at Lake Louise aren’t cheap and start from $135 CAD for half an hour or $145 CAD for a full hour. Although pricey, the price is per canoe so you can bring up to two friends with you for free! Three adults are allowed in one canoe, or two adults and two children – perfect for families.

Personally, I think a full hour is needed to explore Lake Louise in a canoe. This way, you can 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 lakefront at the boathouse on the lake (you’ll see the building and line of people as soon as you arrive). They do not take bookings, so be sure to get there early to make sure you get a canoe. Trust us, sometimes there is a huge line to rent a canoe and people wait for hours! We recommend visiting at 7 am to avoid a huge line. Also, avoiding the weekends is also a great idea.

Related read: Visiting Lake Louise in the summer? Be sure to check out our guide to see all the best things to do in Banff duirng the summer, too!

4. Go skiing or snowboarding

Bailey skis at Lake Louise Ski Resort in Banff National Park
Down I go!
Chairlift at Louise Ski Resort in Banff National Park
Back up to do it all again!

There are few things in the world quite as beautiful as the Canadian Rockies. And, what better way to explore than hitting the slopes on Canada’s best ski field? There’s no question that Lake Louise in winter is definitely a top-rated ski destination.

There are a handful of ski resorts near Lake Louise, but the closest is the Lake Louise Ski Resort. This is one of the largest ski resorts in Canada with a 935-meter vertical descent, 7 ski lifts, and 142 kilometers (88 miles) of ski runs. It is well-equipped for any skill level and the gondolas are great for a cold day.

Its location is also super convenient – if you book a hotel in the Lake Louise Village, you’ll be a quick 7 minutes from the resort!

Skiing at Lake Louise isn’t cheap, especially if you don’t have a season pass. A once-off adult lift ticket starts at around $129 CAD with a half-day option at $99. Youths cost $99, children $49, and seniors $99. With that said, it is our personal favorite ski resort in the Canadian Rockies, and once you see those sweeping mountain views, I’m sure you’ll agree with us!

Lake Louise Ski Resort isn’t the only place to ski near Lake Louise, though. There are actually two other ski resorts in Banff National Park – Sunshine Village and Mt Norquay.

Sunshine Village is more suited for advanced skiers and snowboarders as it is full of black and double black runs. There are some beginning runs too, but we think advanced skiers will enjoy Sunshine more. Sunshine Village is located about 40 minutes from Lake Louise, so to maximize your time on the mountain, stay meters from the chairlifts at the Sunshine Mountain Lodge for the night (that is, if you’re lucky enough to snag a booking!). If you’re not, the ride up the Banff Sunshine Gondola is well worth it – whether you’re planning to ski or not!

Mt Norquay offers some of the best views over Banff and Bow Valley. It is one of the smaller resorts and well-suited for beginners. It also has night skiing! Mt. Norquay is the furthest from Lake Louise, about a 45-minute drive, but it is the closest ski resort to Banff town. So if you’re staying in Banff, this might be the best place to go for an easy ski holiday!

5. Visit Moraine Lake

Bailey and her mum pose for a photo at Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake!
Moraine Lake at sunrise in fall
Moraine Lake at sunrise in the fall

Is there a lake more beautiful and spectacular than Lake Louise? In my opinion, there is, and it’s Moraine Lake!

Moraine Lake is located only 15 minutes from Lake Louise and is a must-visit for anyone heading to the Rocky Mountains. This alpine lake might just be the only lake with more color than Lake Louise, and the best part? Its backdrop is the famous 10 Peaks!

These huge mountains tower above the lake provide the ultimate view that’s now famous all around the world. I almost guarantee you’ve seen Moraine Lake before in photographs on postcards or all over Instagram. They actually say it’s the most photographed lake in Canada!

Getting here can be tricky, and we’ve written a whole guide on getting to Moraine Lake from Lake Louise. But whether you take a tour to Moraine Lake or get there aboard a bus or one of the Moraine Lake shuttles, there’s plenty to do and places to explore once you arrive. Some of my favorite things to do at Moraine Lake include:

  • Visit the Rock Pile – This is the most popular place to see Moraine Lake from. From the parking lot, follow the trail to the left up a few stars until you see the beautiful view of Moraine Lake! This is just a short 5-10 minute walk, and there are benches and various viewpoints to enjoy.
  • Rent a canoe – Canoes can be rented from the Moraine Lake Lodge and the price starts at $130 CAD+tax for one hour. The canoes can fit up to three people. Rentals include life jackets and because of the stability of Canadian canoes, even those with no or limited experience can give it a try!
  • Stay at the Moraine Lake Lodge – With parking being impossible at Moraine Lake now (more on that below), staying at the only hotel right on the lake helps avoid that. If you stay at Moraine Lake Lodge you will be right at Moraine Lake for the night and can enjoy both sunrise and sunset. Bookings are almost impossible to get though and it’s often upwards of $1,000 CAD a night!
  • Enjoy the view with a coffee – The Snowshoe Café is Moraine Lake’s very own boutique café serving all your favorites including delicious coffee. It’s located in Moraine Lake Lodge and besides coffee, also sells plenty of food items that are perfect to-go. They have breakfast foods such as quiches and croissants, or if you want, sandwiches for lunch too. My best advice is to grab a coffee and a bite to eat and go for a walk. Or, pack a picnic!
Canoes sit in the water at Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
So stunning!

Regardless of what you do, Moraine Lake lives up to its reputation as Canada’s most beautiful lake!

Important: Read about parking alternatives at Moraine Lake before you go! As of 2023, the Moraine Lake Road and the parking lot are closed to personal vehicles (except those with a disability permit). Parking here was a nightmare, so it was hard to get a spot before these changes, but now it’s impossible! You’ll need to plan ahead to take a shuttle, bus, or a pre-booked tour (like this one!) – which are only able to access Moraine Lake Road from the end of May until mid-October (depending on weather conditions.) You can read our complete guide on how to get to Moraine Lake here!

6. Hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House

Views of the Plain of Six Glacier in Lake Louise
Views of the Plain of Six Glacier in Lake Louise

Lake Agnes Tea House isn’t the only tea house in the mountains around Lake Louise. In fact, the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House 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 (9-mile) 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 will take you to either the Plain of Six Glaciers, Lake Agnes, or both! Plus, the local guide will give you heaps of information about the area, as well as take you to some lesser-known viewpoints.

Related Read: Short on time? Learn about how to spend one perfect day in Banff National Park!

7. Visit Emerald Lake and Yoho National Park

Bailey sits on a railing and poses for a photo at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park
It’s a stunning place!

You might be starting to notice a pattern – there is certainly no shortage of beautiful lakes in the Lake Louise area! In the nearby Yoho National Park, Emerald Lake is considered one of the top attractions in Canada. So, you might as well add it to your list of things to do while visiting Lake Louise.

Its iconic emerald-colored waters invite travelers to explore the area all times of the year. It is a great spot to rent a canoe, go fishing, or if you’re really brave, take a dip in its ice cold waters! In the winter, rent cross-country skis or snowshoes and experience the vast snow covered national park. 

This lake is only 35 minutes from Lake Louise. Make it a day trip or stay at the famous Emerald Lake Lodge to see the most of Yoho National Park and experience the lake without all of the crowds. The lodge appears to be on an island, however, a thin patch of land connects it to the mainland. This gives a 360-degree view of the lake and the President Range, it is quite stunning!

Hot Tip: The Emerald Lake Lodge is one of the most popular hotels in the Rockies, you should check if it’s available and book online here as far in advance as possible to secure a room!

8. Visit Peyto Lake

Daniel poses for a photo at Peyto Lake Viewpoint in Banff National Park
The viewing platform offers a great vantage point!
Peyto Lake Viewpoint in Banff National Park on the Icefields Parkway, Canada
Peyto Lake!

Another gorgeous turquoise glacier lake, Peyto Lake is an attraction you really shouldn’t miss. After being closed for construction for the last couple of years, the viewpoint over Peyto Lake is now open and it’s easily one of the most picturesque scenes in the Rocky Mountains. 

Peyto Lake viewpoint sits 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) above sea level giving a breathtaking view of the surrounding Rockies and the sparkling lake below. Unlike Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Emerald Lake, you won’t be walking along the lake’s edge here, instead, you’ll be enjoying the view of the lake from above on the strategically placed viewing platform.

The lake gets its distinctive color from the glacial rock flour in the Peyto Glacier flowing downstream into the lake, giving it the vibrant turquoise hue. 

Peyto Lake is most commonly visited by driving to the viewpoint above the lake which is just off the Icefields Parkway. No big hike is required for this view, just a short 10-minute walk is all it takes! While there are no paths leading down to the lake’s edge, you can scramble down and go for a swim if you really want. However, not many people do as this glacier-fed lake is nearly freezing! 

Petyo Lake is only 30 minutes away from Lake Louise, making it super convenient to visit if you already have a car. Alternatively, book a private tour like this specific one, that will take you to Peyto Lake from Lake Louise as well as visit some of the other best stops on the Icefields Parkway!

Hot Tip: Heading to Jasper? Peyto Lake is one of the best stops on the road between Jasper and Lake Louise, so just stop there on your road trip! If you don’t have a car, you don’t have to worry, just book this one-way tour that leaves Lake Louise and will drop you in Jasper. Not only is it a method of transport from point A to point B, but it’s also a tour that stops at epic attractions along the way including Peyto Lake!

Related read: With so much to see along the Icefields Parkway, you might have to spend a few days in the area! Check out our guide to the best hotels along the Icefields Parkway!

9. Drive the Icefields Parkway

Scenic road down the Icefields Parkway in Canada
What a place!
a car drives down the Scenic road down the Icefields Parkway in Canada
The Icefields Parkway

Peyto Lake (mentioned above) is actually just one of the many attractions along a stretch of road called the Icefields Parkway. The Icefields Parkway is known as one of the most scenic highways in Canada. In my opinion, it deserves that title.

The highway starts in Lake Louise and finishes in Jasper to the north driving through the heart of the Canadian Rockies – it’s easily one of the best road trips in Alberta. Along the way, it passes tons of beautiful viewpoints, hikes, and natural attractions. Honestly, there are so many highlights you’d need a few days to see them all.

However, for those with little time, you can see some of the highlights of the Icefields Parkway in a day. In fact, from Lake Louise, you can easily visit the Bow Lake Viewpoint, Crowfoot Glacier, Peyto Lake, and even Athabasca Glacier. After, you can drive back to Lake Louise or continue on to Jasper.

Exploring the Icefields Parkway requires wheels, so it’s best to get a rental car if you don’t have your own. Otherwise, consider booking this one-way tour from Lake Louise to Jasper. It stops at many of the best attractions along way and will drop you in Jasper to explore there and stay a few nights. Alternatively, book this tour that returns back to Lake Louise at the end of the day.

Related Read: Planning on staying in Jasper? Learn about the best places to stay in Jasper!

10. Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield

Daniel on one of the large Ice Explorers on the Athabasca Glacier on a tour
On the Athabasca Glacier!
Columbia Icefield Skywalk
Columbia Icefield Skywalk

One of my personal favorite attractions on the Icefields Parkway is the Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield Skywalk – so I thought I should give it an extra special mention with info in case you decide to visit.

The Athabasca Glacier is huge at 6 kilometers squared and is part of the larger Columbia Icefields. It is located about a 1.5-hour drive from Lake Louise on the Icefields Parkway on your way towards Jasper (also a great road trip stop if you’re driving to Jasper.)

There are a couple of different ways to experience Athabasca Glacier but the only way to see it up close is on a guided tour so that you can actually walk on the glacier!

This guided glacier tour departs from the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center (a large building located just across the road from the glacier) and actually drives up and onto the glacier itself in a specially adapted ice-explorer vehicle (see the photo above.) You will be able to hop out and walk around on the Athabasca Glacier and take some photos. Plus, you will even be able to fill up our water bottle with refreshing glacier water.

Afterward, they take you to the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, which is a huge glass-floored viewing platform that hangs weightlessly in the valley. Honestly, the views from it are unbeatable!

Be sure to book this tour in advance, because it is super popular! Dan and I did this tour last year and made the mistake of not booking in advance, so we had to wait around the Columbia Discovery Centre for a couple of hours before they could get us on a tour. It was such a waste of time! You can check availability and book it online here.

Related Read: If you’re heading to Jasper, check out all of the amazing things to do in Jasper! Even in winter, there are lots of fun things to do in Jasper!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

11. Rent a bike and go cycling

Bailey rides a bike in Lake Louise, Canada
In summer, this is the best way to get around Lake Louise!

Biking around Lake Louise is a fantastic way to get outside and experience the area. With over 100 km (62 mi) of biking trails, there is plenty to see! Cycling around the lake, through the mountains, or from town is a fun activity that can suit all levels and all times of the year. 

Renting a bike is very easy in the Lake Louise area. Wilson Mountain Sports is located right in Lake Louise Village. You can pick up your bicycle and ride the area around the village or even make your way up to Lake Louise Lakefront. This is a great alternative to get to the lake, as the parking lot often fills quickly! This is also true for Moraine Lake, although I would strongly recommend an electric bike for the uphill journey.

Chateau Mountain Sports is located in the Fairmont Hotel, right on the Lake Louise lakefront, making it easy to pick up a rental bike and get right into the mountains. Both of these bike rental shops allow you to reserve your rental online and pay at pickup. 

If you’re new to cycling, renting a bike for an afternoon is a great way to try it out. Mountain bikes are perfect for outdoor adventure– there are trails ranging from novice to advanced all around the area. There are road bikes and electric bikes that are ideal for a relaxed ride around town.

You can even bike in the winter with a fat tire bike! 

Bike rental rates in Lake Louise cost from $20 CAD/hour or $49 CAD/per day for an average bike. Of course, eBikes are also available but are more expensive. Bikes for kids or kid carriers are also available.

12. Lake Louise Lakefront Trail

Lake Louise foreshore walk
Head off around the other side of the lake

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 that many don’t get to see.

The Lake Louise Lakefront Trail is super easy and flat, so it’s a great day hike for the whole family! 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.

To access the trail, you’ll need to first get to the Lake Louise lakefront via public transport or parking. Then, just follow the signs for the trail – it’s that easy!

Note: You can also do this hike in winter, but consider wearing snowshoes just to be safe!

13. Stay at the Fairmont Château Lake Louise

Fairmont Château Lake Louise room
Photo credit: Fairmont Château Lake Louise
Fairmont Château Lake Louise view from a room with a wine
Photo credit: Fairmont Château Lake Louise

What’s the one thing we haven’t done on this list but really want to? Stay at the Fairmont Château Lake Louise! This hotel is located right on the water’s edge of Lake Louise and looks more like a castle than a hotel.

In all honesty, we just haven’t had the chance to stay there (yet!) but it is on our to-do list…maybe for our honeymoon in Banff and Lake Louise next year!

The Fairmont Château Lake Louise is arguably the nicest hotel in Banff National Park only rivaled by its sister hotel Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff town. But if the location is everything, then Fairmont Château Lake Louise takes the cake.

This luxury hotel is the perfect place for adventure and relaxation. Outdoor adventure is right at your doorstep, and the hotel offers rentals, tours, and guides. Spend a day at the spa, then dine in one of the many exclusive restaurants the hotel offers. Almost all of the restaurants in the hotel are for guests only (a fairly new rule), so you’ll need ot have a room booked to enjoy them.

We can’t forget to mention the rooms. You’ll swoon over the views from your room, and the beautiful room decor too! Anther perk, you’ll have parking available right next to Lake Louise for an additional $30 CAD a day. While it’s a bit expensive, at least you won’t have to fight for a parking spot!

If you can afford the $500 CAD+ a night it’ll definitely be one of the most memorable things you do in Lake Louise.

So, what are you waiting for, I’d say go for it and spoil yourself a little! You can check availability, prices, and book the Fairmont Château Lake Louise online here!

14. Afternoon high tea at the Fairmont

Views out the window of the restaurant at the Fairmont Château Lake Louise
Views out the window of the restaurant at the Fairmont Château Lake Louise

Remember how I said most of the restaurants in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise were for guests only, well their special Afternoon High Tea is open to anybody!

Experience the historic tradition of the Afternoon High Tea at the hotel as the founders did over 100 years ago! Gather friends to partake in this elegant and unforgettable experience.

Enjoy the luxury of the hotel that overlooks Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier. Lot 35 tea is crafted exclusively for the Fairmont Hotel, it uses the finest teas from around the world.

Afternoon tea is a long-standing tradition accompanied by scones, finger sandwiches, and of course, tea! Feel free to add champagne, too! You’ll enjoy an afternoon relaxing and dining with great company while taking in the beautiful views of the area.

Afternoon Tea is available to reserve online. It is priced at $70 CAD per person and has vegetarian and vegan options. This can be a great new tradition to add to your Lake Louise experience!

15. Enjoy a meal and drinks with a view of Lake Louise

a plate of chicken wings with a bright pink cocktail behind it at Alpine Social
Photo Credit: Alpine Social

Is Afternoon High Tea not your thing? More of a cocktail type of person? Luckily, Alpine Social is the only restaurant (besides the High Tea Experience) in that Fairmont Château Lake Louise that is open to non-hotel guests.

It is conveniently located in the hotel right next to Lake Louise, making it a great stop after a hike around the lake. You won’t be disappointed by this culinary experience and the views are simply a bonus! 

After you’ve spent all day adventuring around Lake Louise, it’s time to sit back and relax with dinner and drinks. Alpine Social crafts alpine-inspired local food that is quite frankly hearty and delicious.

You can also stop in at the bar for a local beer or craft cocktail. This is always my favorite way to end a hike!

Reserve your table online, as it is a popular spot! The restaurant is open year-round, so this can be a treat whenever you make it to Lake Louise.

16. Kootenay National Park

Bailey at Marble canyon in Kootenay National Park
Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park!

Only 20 minutes from Lake Louise Village, yet another outdoor adventure awaits – Kootenay National Park! With rugged mountains, icy blue streams, and colorful mineral pools, it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in British Columbia. 

This area has some truly unique sights like hot springs, hikes, and plenty of other things to do in Kootenay National Park. To help you narrow it down, my top two things to do are to visit Stanley Glacier and Marble Canyon. 

Stanley Glacier is an absolute must-do in Kootenay National Park. It is certainly a more challenging hike, but it is well worth the effort. Right from the beginning you’ll glimpse views of towering glaciers before heading into the tree-lined mountains. You’ll pass high waterfalls and quaint meadows, the views are so enticing that you’ll hardly notice the inclined switchbacks you’re climbing. 

This trailhead is easy to find, and the hike is listed at 10.9 kilometers (6.8 miles) and 604 meters elevation gain. However, most hikers say it is shorter and less challenging than it is ranked. There are many families with children and dogs that complete this hike, so it is a great opportunity to get outside and see the beautiful wilderness! 

Another exciting way to see Kootenay National Park is by hiking the Marble Canyon Trail. This trail has some of the best viewpoints of the Canadian Rockies. You’ll follow the blue river as it weaves through the canyon, providing views worthy of a photo stop. Other trails split off that hikers are welcome to explore if you’re looking for more.

The hike itself can be considered more of a walk, as it is pretty short and flat. It is 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles) out and back, and will usually take hikers 30 minutes to one hour. It is open during the winter, but be sure to wear crampons as it can be slippery!

Marble Canyon is also conveniently located on the closer end of Kootenay National Park near Lake Louise, about a 30-minute drive away.

Related Read: Continue further on past Kootney National Park to visit the holiday destinations of Radium Hot Springs, Invermere, and Fairmont Hot Springs – all cute towns in the heart of BC’s Columbia Valley!

17. Day trip to Banff

Scenic shot of Banff town
Banff is one of the most famous mountain towns in Canada!

If you decided to stay in Lake Louise (which I highly recommend as there are a ton of awesome things to do in Lake Louise) then you should at the very least make a day trip to Banff.

If you’re comparing the two, Banff is a bustling mountain town, something Lake Louise isn’t. And although many of the best things to do in Banff are actually out of town and include many of the places closest to Lake Louise, Banff town is still a great place to enjoy and explore. Only being 40 minutes from Lake Louise makes taking a day trip to Banff easy to access!

The Banff Gondola is possibly the singular most popular activity in Banff – and for good reason! From the top of the Banff Gondola, the views of the mountains and Banff town are out of this world. The first time I rode the gondola was during my first Christmas in Banff and I loved it!

At the top of the gondola, you’ll find a restaurant and cafe, a gift shop, lots of information on the area and wildlife, as well as my personal favorite, the boardwalk! You can buy Banff Gondola tickets online here!

For a pool with a view, the Banff Upper Hot Springs is a fantastic opportunity to relax while taking in breathtaking vistas all year. Soaking in hot water with mountain views at one of the best hot springs in Alberta is exactly my idea of a holiday!

Also, while you’re here, don’t forget to eat and drink. There are several good restaurants and bars in Banff. Parks Distillery is the place to go for a fantastic dinner and craft cocktails, and they even offer free daily distillery tours at 3:30 pm. If you’re more of a beer person, you can’t miss Banff Brewing Co. which is my favorite of the breweries in Banff.

If you’re on a Canadian road trip then I highly suggest spending a few nights in Banff and a few nights in Lake Louise. Although they’re close, there’s so much to do in each town that it pays to stay in both!

Related Read: If you’re spending a couple of nights in Banff, then check out our recommendations on the best hotels in Banff!

18. Ride the Lake Louise sightseeing gondola

Viewpoint at the top of the Lake Louise Gondola
Photo credit: The Lake Louise Ski Resort & Summer Gondola
Lake Louise Gondola during a warm summers day
Photo credit: The Lake Louise Ski Resort & Summer Gondola

Lake Louise is one of the most popular ski fields in Canada but that doesn’t mean you should limit visiting to the winter months. In fact, during summer, the chairlift turns into the Lake Louise Gondola and is open up for sightseeing.

Without hiking, you can head up into the mountains and enjoy some pretty spectacular scenery and also spot wildlife. In fact, Lake Louise ski hill is a very common area to spot grizzly bears in the summer months. So common, in fact, that they actually fence the sightseeing area off to protect both the bears and visitors.

Unfortunately, the day we went we didn’t see any. With that said, it’s a regular occurrence and at any one time, there can be multiple bears within viewing distance.

The sightseeing chairlift takes you up to a restaurant and a small museum. At the top, you can walk around (within the fenced area) and enjoy the views or adventure beyond the fence on a hike. Overall, it’s a great activity to do in Lake Louise during the summer!

This is a popular activity in the summer months and we recommend securing your tickets in advance here. The gondola ticket prices are as follows:

  • $63 CAD for adults
  • $27 CAD for teens aged 13-17
  • $14 CAD for children aged 6-12
  • Free for children 5 and under

19. Fairview Lookout

The view from Fairview lookout in Banff National Park
The lake really is this color! Just wait till you see it!

The Fairview Lookout Trail is an excellent way to see Lake Louise and the historic Fairmont Hotel from a bird’s eye view. While the foreshore of Lake Louise can get pretty busy, taking the short 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) hike up to the lookout is a simple way to escape the crowd and see the area in all of its glory. 

You can easily find this trail at the lakefront and head left past the boathouse before climbing to the viewpoint. There are two trails that will lead you to the top. One follows the shoreline before turning into a steep incline, and the other is a more gradual climb (turn left at the fork). You can turn this into a nice loop by taking one up and the other down. 

This trail is open year-round, but it is recommended to take the gradual trail up during the winter. While there are many incredible hikes around Lake Louise, this is a good one to add to the list for a quick day activity and a beautiful overlook of the area!

20. Hike the Larch Valley Trail

A lady hiking on the Larch Valley Trail
Bailey on the Larch Valley Trail
Bailey on the Larch Valley Trail checking out the larch trees up close during sunrise
Look at the color!

Fall in Banff National Park is a beautiful time of the year. One of the most breathtaking hikes you can do during the season is the Larch Valley Trail. This epic hike starts at Moraine Lake and finishes in the Larch Valley.

In summer, the valley is filled with wildflowers, and in fall, an array of orange and yellow from the Larch trees. Although it’s most popular to hike the trail in the fall, it’s a hike to add to your bucket-list any time of the year. In fact, I love the views of the famous Ten Peaks from the Larch Valley the most, and guess what? You can see them all year round!

The trail is easy to moderately difficult and it takes around 5 hours to complete the 8.6-kilometers (5.3 miles) with an elevation gain of 535 meters. There is an optional add-on to the trail up to Sentinel Pass that takes another hour. You can find this trail at the end of the Larch Valley.

For a full day of adventure, I recommend booking this guided tour to Sentinel Pass. The tour takes you past Moraine Lake, Larch Valley, and up to Sentinel Pass. A local guide will take you to see beautiful views, as well as give you history and information of the area. The tour also provides transportation from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake, which is great as there is no parking at Moraine Lake.

21. Horseback riding

Daniel and Bailey pose for a photo on their horses in Banff

Experience the Canadian Rockies by traveling like the original explorers did, by horseback! Horseback riding tours in Banff National Park are a unique way to experience the beautiful landscape and visit hard-to-reach places surrounding Lake Louise. 

There are plenty of summer trail rides to choose from with Brewster Adventures, ranging from 1-hour rides to full-day excursions. A guided trail ride is an awesome way to experience the wilderness and learn about the history of the land.

You can even ride up to the historic Lake Agnes Tea House or take a trip along the famous Highline Trail!

Prices for the summer trail rides range from $167 CAD per person to $365 CAD depending on the length of trail you choose. Brewster Adventures is conveniently located at the Lake Louise lakefront near the Fairmont. You should book your horseback riding tour online in advance to avoid missing out.

22. Go snowshoeing

Snowshoeing in Canada on trails through the forest
Off we go!

Visiting Lake Louise in winter is just as much fun as in summer. Although many places, such as Moraine Lake, are closed, you can still enjoy some pretty cool activities. One of the best is snowshoeing!

You can rent snowshoes in Lake Louise at Wilson Mountain Sports and head off and explore some local trails. Rentals here start at only $12 CAD for snowshoes, which makes this an awesome budget-friendly activity in Lake Louise.

To find some trails, check out Parks Canada’s winter hiking routes. They have recommendations both in and around Lake Louise and Banff National Park. However, a place I recommend is just around the lake in Lake Louise itself! The perimeter is 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) and makes for a fun snowshoeing adventure!

Booking a snowshoeing tour is also an awesome winter tour to take and then you don’t have to worry about getting lost or teeing up snowshoe rentals! A local guide will take you snowshoeing out on Lake Louise and give information about the wildlife, nature, and history of the area. It also provides a snack and hot chocolate! This tour is $101 CAD for a full four-hour adventure you won’t forget! You can book this snowshoeing tour in Lake Louise online here!

23. Cross-country skiing

Cross country skiing in Canada
It’s a great workout!

One of the best ways to get into the wilderness around Lake Louise is cross-country skiing. Spend a day gliding over the snow up to some of the most beautiful places you’ll ever explore.

Cross-country skiing is extremely popular in the winter months along the Bow Valley Parkway where you’ll find groomed trails. If you have your own skis then you’re set to go, otherwise you rent the gear at any of the rental shops in Lake Louise.

While you can cross-country ski on your own, if you’ve never done it before, then you’re best off booking a tour like this one that teaches you how to cross-country ski in one of the most epic settings possible! If you have an itch for adventure and a desire to learn a new skill, this tour is just for you.

This is actually a great deal, for $150 CAD per person, your group of up to four will spend a whole day learning the basics of cross-country skiing with a private instructor. After your initial lessons, you will get a chance to put your new skills to the test and explore the area. 

Rentals are not included, and be sure to pack a lunch and dress warm! This tour departs from Lake Louise parking lot, so it is conveniently located. You can book this cross-country skiing tour online here!

24. Snow tubing

A kid slides down the Lake Louise Tube Park
Snow tubing!

Snow tubing is a the perfect winter activity for almost everyone! If you’re not a skier or snowboarder but still want to hit the slopes, this is just the winter activity for you. It will leave you giggling like a kid as you fly down the hill.

Sunny Tube Park is an exhilarating activity for the whole family. It is located at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, only a five-minute drive from Lake Louise Village. The two lane tube park is groomed daily, so your experience is safe as well as fun. The best part is that there are tow ropes to bring you back up the hill, so you can save time and energy for sledding!

While at Lake Louise Ski Resort you can take a break from tubing and take a ride on the Lake Louise gondolas. Then head to one of the two restaurants on the mountain to warm up with lunch and hot chocolate! 

Sunny Tube Park is open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, seasonally. Tickets are $35 CAD for adults, $30 for youths, and $20 for children and can be reserved online. 

25. Hike to Consolation Lakes

A lady stands on a rock at Consolation Lakes in Banff National Park
Checking out the first lake on Consolation Lakes Trail.

Consolation Lakes Trail is one of the easiest trails in the Lake Louise area. Unlike most on this list, it actually doesn’t involve climbing high into the mountains (which is a nice break for your legs!) but it still gives some incredible views.

The trail starts at the Moraine Lake parking lot and makes a very gradual climb to Consolation Lakes along a 2.9 kilometer (1.8 mile) trail. Even for a flat easy hike, you will get spoiled by the nature around you! Sometimes an easier hike is nice so you can simply enjoy the scenery.

Eventually, you will hit the lakes and can take some time soaking in the area.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can add to the Consolation Lakes Trail by connecting to the Panorama Ridge. This adds about 4 hours of hiking, so be sure to bring plenty of water!

Keep in mind, Moraine Lake does not have parking anymore. You will need to plan for alternative parking options!

26. Visit the historic train station for lunch

Bailey and I about to eat at the Station Restaurant Lake Louise
The food is amazing!

After your day of adventuring around Lake Louise, you have to stop for a good lunch! One of my go-to lunch spots is the Station Restaurant, located right in Lake Louise Village. Built in a historic train station, this restaurant has a charm that you simply can’t find anywhere else. 

You’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time with the rustic decor and feel right at home with the roaring fire. There is even a mini-muesum downstairs as well as old trains to check out outside. You can even hear nearby trains outside! This is a great stop for kids, as there is so much to look at.

The food and service are as exceptional as the atmosphere. Every meal I’ve had here is delicious, but my favorite is the beef stew (pictured above).  It’s thick, filled with hearty veggies, and huge chunks of Alberta Beef. On top of that, the service is second to none so it’s always a pleasure. Hands down, The Station is one of the best restaurants in Lake Louise.

27. Check out the ice castles and ice bar

A lady poses for a photo at the Lake Louise Ice sculptures
The ice castles at Lake Louise!

If you’ve ever dreamed of wandering through a field of ice sculptures, you’re in luck. Nearly every January, Lake Louise hosts an Ice Magic Festival in which local artists create intricate ice sculptures. The festival itself is a fun experience, but the ice sculptures stay up for the rest of winter.

The ice sculptures are quite impressive, each being made out of 4,500 lbs of clear ice. The artists have 34 hours over three days to construct their sculptures. The final creations are truly stunning. 

Kids love the ice sculptures, so this makes for a great family activity. It is also completely free! With so much to do in Lake Louise in Winter, this makes for a nice afternoon outside. 

For some more adult fun, the Fairmont Château Hotel hosts an Ice Bar that is open to all visitors. This bar is constructed out of 20 blocks of ice, each weighing 300 lbs! It makes for a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be surrounded by the beauty of Lake Lousie, sipping craft cocktails from a bar made of ice. 

28. Go ice skating on Lake Louise

A lady ice skates on Lake Louise
Ice skating in paradise

In the summer, Lake Louise is known for its bright blue waters. But in the winter, the cold temperatures freeze the lake over and change the scenery completely. It now becomes an ice-skating dream!

Ice skating is an activity that is fun for the entire family. Pack some snacks and dress warm so you can spend all day outside, enjoying a beautiful winter day. You can even rent hockey sticks to show your true Canadian side!

After dark, they light up the frozen lake, making for an entirely different night skating experience.

This is one activity in Lake Louise that is completely free if you bring your own skates! But if not, you can rent them from the Fairmont Hotel. Rentals start at only $13 CAD for children for half the day and they even supply a heated shelter to warm up in. They are first come first serve, though.

Ice skating on Lake Louise usually opens in mid-December and is available until mid-April. Obviously, this is dependent on the weather and how cold it is!

Related Read: Ice skating at Lake Louise is one of the best free things to do in Banff National Park – find out what the others are!

29. Check out local eateries

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie with coffees from Laggins Bakery in Lake Louise
A coffee break is a must!

One of my favorite ways to experience a place is to check out the food scene! Lake Louise has all sorts of restaurants, cafes, and shops to explore. How can you maximize your time to experience the absolute best food? Here are some of my favorite local eateries in Lake Louise.

Have dinner and drinks at Bill Peyto’s Cafe

You know a restaurant is good if there is consistently a line out the door. Located in the Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center (a great budget hotel option) is Bill Peyto’s Cafe. This place is a local favorite and the crowd of people every night proves it.

I can personally vouch for the burger and pasta dish, although the whole menu looked appetizing. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so there are plenty of options! It is especially convenient if you are staying in the hostel. 

Don’t make the same mistake we did and visit Bill Peyto’s on your last night, you’ll want to eat there more than once! The food is truly amazing! Best of all, it is open year-round so you can experience it whenever you make your way to Lake Louise.

Enjoy a morning coffee and breakfast at the Trailhead Café

Any day of adventuring needs to start with coffee and breakfast, right? There are two cafes in Lake Louise Village and my favorite is the Trailhead Café.

This place is great because it is quick and delicious! It isn’t a sit-down breakfast spot and their menu is simple. It is perfect for grabbing a coffee and bagel sandwich before heading out on your activity for the day. If you’re anything like me, coffee is essential in the morning, and theirs does not disappoint!

It can get busy in the morning, but it is certainly worth the wait. There are other cafes at Lake Louise or Moraine Lake, but Trailhead is by far the best!

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Old Tyme Candy Shoppe

There’s nothing better than a good, old-fashioned candy store! Especially after a day of exploring, you might be looking for a little sweet treat! The Old Tyme Candy Shoppe is located in the Lake Louise Village and offers some of the most unique and nostalgic candies that you aren’t able to find anywhere! 

They pride themselves on having an extensive selection of retro, import, and novelty confections from around the world, in addition to their handmade chocolates and fudge. There is truly something for everyone, whether you are well-behaved and buy one piece or indulge and get an entire bag! This is also a great souvenir to bring home and share with friends and family.

30. Get professional photos taken

Daniel proposes to Bailey at Moraine Lake
What a magical place to propose!
Baileys engagement ring at Moraine Lake
I said yes!

What better way to remember your time at Lake Louise than by getting professional photos taken? The breathtaking backdrop of Lake Louise provides the perfect photo opportunity, and it is a super fun activity for the day. There are plenty of options to fit your budget and style of photos. 

The Apex Package at Lake Louise is the most inclusive photo opportunity you can book. For a full hour, you can explore eight different locations for a variety of photos and stunning sights of the lake. This accommodates up to six people, the perfect family photo opportunity! The entire photo session and photos are included for $700 CAD and it can be booked online here! 

A slightly more affordable option is the Basecamp Package at Lake Louise. This offers the same beautiful scenery of Lake Louise for your group of up to six. Your 30 minute experience will cover four different locations and provide the photographer and photos in an online gallery. This package is available for $400 CAD and can be reserved online here

Finally, a great activity for a couple is the Trailhead Package at Lake Louise. The stunning backdrop of Lake Louise is perfect for engagement or anniversary photos, or simply to commemorate your trip! The photographer will take photos in one location for 15 minutes and you’ll receive edited photos in an online gallery. This tour is $250 CAD and can be booked online here

Regardless of what package you choose, this might be one of the best souvenirs you can take home to remember your time at the beautiful Lake Louise!

31. Go dog sledding

Bailey with one of the dogs on our dog sledding tour in Canmore and Banff
This was the best part!
Bailey dog sledding in Canmore and Banff

Imagine yourself, speeding across the vast and frozen icefield, the cold wind in your hair, and a rosy-cheeked smile across your face. The best part: you’re on a dog sled! 

This dream can easily become a reality when you visit Lake Louise in the winter. Kingmik Dog Sled Tours offers some pretty amazing once-in-a-lifetime adventures, ranging from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. If you’re looking for a really unique way to get outdoors and enjoy nature, dog sledding is the way to do it! 

You’ll love this unique experience, taking in the sights and interacting with the amazing dogs!

Prices are between $250-450 CAD/tour. And of course, this is a winter-only activity.

Related Read: Dog sledding is also one of the best things to do in Canmore in the winter!

32. Go on a sleigh ride

Brewster Adventures Banff Horse Sleigh Ride
Photo credit: Brewster Adventures Banff

Another cozy winter experience around Lake Louise is going on a sleigh ride! Brewster Adventures offers a unforgettable activity where you take a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh around Lake Louise. You can take in the beauty of the area cozied up under a blanket. It’s the perfect romantic date-night experience! 

The daytime experience allows you to see the towering mountains surrounding the lake. But you can also take a sleigh ride at nighttime and see the ice glimmer in the moonlight. Each experience has its own unique charm. 

The price for these rides is $45 CAD and takes about 45-60 minutes. Reserve your tickets at the Fairmont Château Lake Louise, this is also where the sleigh ride departs.

33. Walk the Bow River Loop Trail

Bow River Loop Trail in Lake Louise
Bow River Loop Trail in Lake Louise, Banff

Lake Louise is a great place to get outside and explore nature! With so many hiking options, it can be hard to choose.

A relatively easy hike to do right in Lake Louise Village is the Bow River Trail Loop, which is just 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) round-trip, covering 81m of elevation gain. It offers gorgeous views around the river, without the hardwork of a difficult hike! The trail starts either at the Lake Louise train station or at the campground.

This trail is open year-round, so you can enjoy it in the sunny summer or the frozen winter!

It is a well-marked and maintained trail that is suitable for all ages. The trail travels right alongside the Bow River and you’ll love the beautiful views!

34. Drive the Bow Valley Parkway

A lady stands near a railing overlooking Morant's Curve on the Bow Valley Parkway during fall in Banff
Morant’s Curve
A car drives along the Bow Valley Parkway

Scenic drives are one of my personal favorite activities. Sometimes, I don’t want to have to hike for epic views and instead want to just relax and take in the views from the comfort of my own car. The scenic drive along the Bow Valley Parkway is perfect for that.

The Bow Valley Parkway is 48 kilometers long (30 miles) and runs parallel with Highway 1 (between Banff and Lake Louise.) It is the more “scenic route” with tons of viewpoints including Morant’s Curve and Castle Mountain.

Johnston Canyon is also located on the Bow Valley Parkway and it’s definitely a place you’ll want to explore (more info on that below).

You can either drive the Bow Valley Parkway as a fun day trip from Lake Louise on its own, or, simply take this route on your way to Banff as opposed to Highway 1. 

Morant’s Curve is an iconic stop on the Bow Valley Parkway. This famous viewpoint overlooks the valley and the Bow River. The train passes through the valley, giving a great photo opportunity as you admire the scenery! 

Morant’s Curve was made famous by Nicholas Morant, a photographer for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was hired to photograph some of the first promotional material for the railway, and this became his iconic shot. Morant’s Curve has been a classic photo stop since the mid 20th century!

Morant’s curve is only 10 minutes from Lake Louise on your way toward Banff. This is the perfect spot to take a break and enjoy the beauty of the area. You might even get lucky and spot some wildlife!

Note: There will be some closures to vehicle traffic on sections of the Bow Valley Parkway this year (2024). From March 1-June 30 and then again from Sept 1-Sept 30 vehicles will NOT be able to drive the 17 km/11 mi 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 that is affected if you’re traveling to Johnston Canyon from Banff. You will still be able to access Johnston Canyon and the Bow Valley Parkway via the intersection near Castle Mountain Chalets.

35. Explore Johnston Canyon

Lower falls at Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
Lower falls at Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
Johnston Canyon Lower waterfall in winter
Johnston Canyon Lower waterfall in winter

Visiting in summer? Winter? It doesn’t matter! Johnston Canyon can be explored at any time of the year. Each season offers a unique experience completely different from the other. It is certainly worth a visit whenever you make it to Lake Louise!

In the summer, hiking through Johnston Canyon is about exploring waterfalls and enjoying the warm weather on a short but sweet hike. The well-maintained path makes it an easy hike for all levels. This is a great way to get the whole family outside and see some of the beauty of the Banff area!

In the winter, the experience completely changes and it’s now a winter wonderland with frozen waterfalls, ice climbing, and snowshoeing. The frozen waterfalls turn blue for a remarkable sight. It is suggested you wear crampons as it gets very slippery! You can also join this icewalk tour to see the frozen waterfalls up close!

In both winter and summer, Johnston Canyon is completely free to explore. The canyon has a 2.7-kilometer (1.7-mile) boardwalk through the middle of it that leads to two waterfalls. You can choose to hike to the end or turn back at the first waterfall (1.7 kilometers in.) Johnston Canyon is located about 30 minutes from Lake Louise Village.

How to Get to Lake Louise

Parks Canada bus the Lake Connector
Parks Canada Bus!

Lake Louise is located close to a number of other popular destinations in Alberta. It’s a great place as a standalone destination or as part of a larger road trip. Here are some of the most common routes to get to Lake Louise:

  • From Banff: Banff is located about 55km southeast of Lake Louise and is a very popular destination, known for the quaint town centre and as a popular ski resort. There are lots of fun things to do and see in Banff too. We’ve written a whole blog about the best ways to get from Banff to Lake Louise. Regardless, you’ll have to either take the Trans Canada Highway (direct route, about 40 minutes to drive), the Bow Valley Parkway (twisty roads, and a longer journey), or hop on a tour to Lake Louise that leaves from Banff.
  • From Calgary: Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and is likely to be where international or out-of-province guests will fly into before traveling to the Rocky Mountains. It is a 180km drive west from Calgary to Lake Louise, which takes almost two hours to drive along the Trans Canada Highway. If you don’t want to drive, these shuttles from Calgary to Lake Louise are a great option.
  • From Jasper: The drive between Jasper and Lake Louise is called the Icefields Parkway and is one of the most scenic routes you’ll ever drive! It takes almost three hours to drive the 320km, but you will likely take longer to stop and get out to enjoy the scenery along the way. Many people stop in Lake Louise on this road as they drive from Jasper to Banff (or vice versa!)

If you don’t have your own car or just prefer a guided tour, there are different options available. This half-day tour takes you between Banff and Lake Louise, stopping at both Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. It stops at viewpoints and provides a comfortable, smooth trip so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery!

Parking at Lake Louise

Bailey pays for parking at Lake Louise in summer
A ticket for parking at Lake Louise

One very important thing you need to know about visiting Lake Louise 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 8 am in the summer months! 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. During shoulder seasons, getting a parking space is a non-issue.

In the summer, parking is also paid. From May until mid-October, you’ll be required to pay $36.75 CAD per vehicle per day to park here (2024 updated fees.) The paid parking is in effect from 3 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 MUST be booked in advance and it now departs from 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!

Lake Louise, Alberta FAQs

Bailey at Lake Louise in Fall
Lake Louise is just a magical place all year round!

Where to Stay in Lake Louise

Lake Louise Inn pool
Photo credit: Lake Louise Inn

If you’re planning to spend more than one day in Lake Louise, then you’ll need somewhere to stay overnight. Being such a small village, options are very limited, so you should book as far in advance as possible. Below are my top three choices in all budget categories:

Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center ($)

For budget travelers, the Hi Lake Louise Alpine Center is the best option in Lake Louise Village. The location is right in town, they have a shared kitchen, basic but comfortable rooms, and friendly staff. You can choose between dorm rooms or private rooms. It is by far the cheapest place to stay in Lake Louise, and honestly, it’s a nice hostel and we’ve actually stayed there a few times. You can book it online with either or!

Lake Louise Inn ($$)

The Lake Louise Inn is still a budget-friendly option but a little fancier than the above hostel. The hotel features an indoor pool, onsite restaurant and bar, modern rooms, and even apartments for larger groups. It basically has all the comforts you’d expect at a standard hotel and the reviews are really good. It’s location is also ideal, right in the heart of Lake Louise Village. You can book the Lake Louise Inn online here!

Fairmont Château Lake Louise ($$$)

For those with a bigger budget, you can’t look past the Fairmont Château Lake Louise. The hotel sits on the shoreline of Lake Louise with epic views in the most stunning of locations. I’ve added spending a night or two here to my personal bucket-list! There are also a few restaurants in the hotel that are only available to hotel guests, not to mention the onsite spa! You can book the Fairmont online here!

Parks Canada Pass Quick Info

If you plan on spending time in Canada’s national parks (including Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Kootenay, and more) 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 a couple of days.

  • Adult (ages 18-64) is $11 CAD
  • Senior (65+) is $9.50 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.)

  • $22.00 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) – $75.25 CAD
  • Senior (65+) – $64.50 CAD
  • Group/Family (up to 7 people in one vehicle) – $151.25 CAD

Hot Tip: Although more expensive up front, 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 or booths at the entrance to many national parks.

Where to Go Next

As mentioned, Lake Louise needs to be part of any road-trip itinerary! While in the area, you can check out these other destinations:

Renting a Car in Alberta

A car drives along the Icefields Parkway
The drive is mesmerizing!

If you’re arriving in Alberta via plane then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. Canada is a large country and traveling between cities and even just getting out to some of the best places to visit in Alberta requires transport. Although you can use public transport, on some occasions, it means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Renting a car will definitely make exploring all of the fun things to see and do in Alberta easier.

Car rental in Canada isn’t super cheap, but it isn’t overly expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though depending on the time of year and the type of car that you rent. For car rentals, I use the website It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used them all over the world including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia. Read our honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!

Before you go…

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie at Lake Louise
Thanks for reading!

Lake Louise is one of my favorite places in Canada both in winter and summer. Every chance I get, I tick off more and more things to do in this small mountain village in hopes to keep adding to this list of amazing things to do in Lake Louise!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope this guide to Lake Louise has helped plan and inspire your upcoming trip. If you loved this blog then check out all our Canada Blogs or these related articles below!

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