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15 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise

15 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise

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Both Vancouver and Lake Louise are experiences in and of themselves, with a wealth of natural beauty and fascinating things to do! That’s why a road trip from Vancouver to Lake Louise is one of the most popular, and interesting, adventures in Canada.

Not only are each of these destinations spectacular, but there are some very worthwhile stops along the route as well! If you were to drive straight through, it would take you around 10 hours. But why would you want to do that? Slow down a little and enjoy the drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise stopping at some of the best places to visit in British Columbia and Alberta along the way.

That’s why I’ve written this blog – it is about the top 15 places to see on your journey from Vancouver to Lake Louise. I recommend taking your time on this road trip and appreciating each location along the route. Spend a few days if you can, and if you continue reading, I’ll suggest some great places to stay a night or two.

About the Drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise

The distance between Vancouver and Lake Louise is approximately 800 km (500 miles) on the most direct route, and the journey would take around 10 hours if no breaks were made.

With that said, the most direct route isn’t the most beautiful (in my opinion.) Instead, I recommend that you take the slightly longer route through Whistler. This way, you can hit most of Canada’s most popular Rocky Mountain towns including Whistler, Revelstoke, Golden, and then finally finish in Lake Louise. For something extra special, continue on driving from Lake Louise to Banff.

For that reason, this is probably the most epic road trip you can do in all of Canada.

For the purpose of this blog, I focus on this scenic route, which is 860 kilometers (535 miles) long. So, it is only slightly longer than the most direct route. Without stops, this scenic route will take around 10.5-11 hours.

As I previously indicated, I strongly advise you to take your time on your journey and enjoy and explore each of these particular locations over several days. There are plenty of stops along this road trip that are going to leave you wanting more, which is why I have included accommodation recommendations at numerous stops!

The drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise may be done at any time of year, but the winter months can make the journey more difficult, especially for those unaccustomed to driving in such conditions. It’s lovely no matter what time of year you go, although the roads are considerably simpler to navigate in the summer and fall.

If you wish to travel during the colder and snowy months, you’ll need winter tires (usually November to March). On the ice and snow, you’ll almost certainly encounter along the journey, these tires will give additional traction!

Driving Between Vancouver and Lake Louise FAQs

15 BEST Stops on the Drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise

1. Vancouver City

Coal Harbour, Vancouver
Coal Harbour is so beautiful!

One of Canada’s most dynamic cities is Vancouver. It has a lot to offer nature lovers, adventurers, and even foodies and cultural buffs. Because of it being a great airport hub, and offering plenty of things to do, it’s the perfect starting point for your epic road trip.

Vancouver can be a costly destination, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fun cheap and free activities to check out as well!

Whether you want to get outdoors and go kayaking in False Creek (you can even join a guided kayaking and SUP tour), or stick to the indoors and do a fun brewery tour, there is surely something to do for whatever kind of experience you’re looking to have! If you do check out some breweries, Granville Island Brewing is one of my personal faves.

One of the most famous landmarks in Vancouver is the Capilano Suspension Bridge where you can enjoy a treetop walk through the forest! Lynn Canyon is another opportunity to walk across a suspension bridge, and it’s totally free! Hiking in Vancouver is popular during the summer months especially.

If you’re visiting Vancouver in the winter, you’ll want to go skiing or snowboarding! Mt. Seymour, Cypress Mountain, and Grouse Mountain are all worth checking out. Just rent some gear and grab a day pass!

Vancouver is without a doubt one of my favorite destinations in BC, so be sure to give yourself a decent amount of time to explore the city.

Where to stay in Vancouver:

Times Square Suites for a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park. It’s very hard to fault this hotel and the location is perfect. It is a good mix between being affordable as well as a very nice hotel.

There’s also The Cambie Hostel Gastown for a budget hostel option. The location is in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants and attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too.

2. Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls on the Sea to Sky Highway
Photos don’t do this waterfall justice!

Shannon Falls is one of my favorite places to see on the drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise!

Located just an hour from Vancouver, the falls are a perfect first stop where you can eat lunch, stretch your legs, and take in the sights of the beautiful falls! Shannon Falls is directly south of Squamish (another stop on your road trip), and the hike to the falls is rather straightforward and level. A paved trail is also available for everyone’s enjoyment.

Shannon Falls is a sight to behold at 335 meters (1100 ft) tall. The ideal seasons to visit are late spring and early summer, when the winter snow on the nearby mountains has melted and the falls are at their most powerful. It’s free to visit and you’ll find a large parking lot when you arrive as well as bathroom facilities and picnic tables.

3. Sea to Sky Gondola

Bailey crosses the suspension bridge at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola on the road between Vancouver and Whistler
Bailey crosses the suspension bridge at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola on the road between Whistler and Vancouver

The views from the Sea to Sky Gondola are incredible. On your route from Vancouver to Lake Louise, it’s a must-see! It’s located just outside of Squamish and provides 360-degree views of the Howe Sound.

Once you ride the gondola to the top, you may explore around the summit and see the suspension bridge, as well as have a drink or some food while taking in the sights.

The gondola costs $55.95 CAD per adult for a day pass. Trekking to the point is also an option, albeit it is rather tough (almost 1,000 meters in elevation gain!). You would only have to pay for a one-way gondola ticket to return down. To be honest, the gondola ride is a lot of fun and well worth the $60 – the views are incredible and you get so high up!

4. Squamish

inside of the Howe Sound Brewery in Squamish
If you like craft beer as much as do then you simply must stop here. How Sound Brewery

Squamish is a great place to explore and break up your journey since it’s located about halfway on the drive from Vancouver to Whistler. Squamish is a town with plenty to do, and it’s known for being a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, rock climbing, and windsurfing are all within easy reach!

Stop into the Howe Sound Brewery or the Zephyr Café for a bite to eat or a drink, both of which are lively local hangouts. If you want to learn about culture and history, the Railway Museum of British Columbia is a terrific destination to visit.

It’s also fun to just meander around the downtown area because there are so many lovely small shops and businesses to see.

While in Squamish, make sure to drive out to the Squamish Spit, located at the tip of the Howe Sound near the Squamish Estuary. The main draw here is to check out the windsurfers! The natural environment here is perfect for wind sports, like windsurfing and kiteboarding. It’s pretty cool watching these athletes catch some major air and surfing the waves! 

Where to Stay in Squamish

Squamish is a cute town and a great place to spend a night or two with plenty of hotels to choose from.

Sandman Hotel and Suites Squamish is a great mid-range option. It is located 3.2 km (2 miles) from downtown, has a gym, suites with microwaves and refrigerators, and even has an indoor pool and waterslide!

5. Garibaldi Lake

Garibaldi Lake on a hot summers day!
Garibaldi Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada!

Garibaldi Provincial Park contains Garibaldi Lake, one of Canada’s most beautiful alpine lakes. Despite its beauty, it is far less visited than other Canadian lakes.

It’s probably that the difficult 9-kilometer (5.6-mile) climb to get there, which includes a 900-meter (2,950-foot) elevation gain, that scares people off. While the hike to Garibaldi Lake is challenging, the payoff in this case is definitely worth it.

If you can’t get enough of the view, Garibaldi Lake is a terrific spot to spend the night on an overnight backcountry adventure. You may go to Blacktusk and Panorama Ridge Lookout, two more hikes, after you wake up. Both are longer by 5.5 km (3.4 miles) and 7 km (4.3 miles), respectively, with a 500 m grade (1,640 ft). These hikes are intended for hikers with more expertise.

If you choose to camp overnight, the lake’s campground has around 50 campsites with bathrooms and cooking shelters. Campsites are $13 CAD per person, each night, and must be reserved online in advance or at the Squamish VCisitor entre.

6. Whistler

Whistler is a beautiful mountain town you just have to see for yourself.

There are so many fascinating things to do and see in Whistler that you could easily spend weeks there. If you visit Whistler in the winter, don’t forget to ski, and if you visit in the summer, take advantage of the hiking trails and lakes.

The following are some of Whistler’s most popular activities and attractions:

  • Ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola – Not only is it the world’s longest gondola, but it’s also the world’s highest and longest unsupported span of any lift.
  • Hit the slopes – Whistler Blackcomb is one of the most expensive ski resorts I have visited – which to me was a little off-putting. However, once I was out there skiing you begin to see just how cool this resort is. It has over 200 runs, 3,307 hectares (8,171 acres) of terrain, and 36 different lifts.
  • Explore Whistler village – Take a peek around the neighborhood at the numerous cafes and boutique shops. Pure Bread is a fantastic bakery and coffee shop that you must see.
  • Check out some of the nearby lakes – Green Lake, Alta Lake, and my personal favorite, Lost Lake, are all easily accessible through the surrounding pine forest via beautiful walking paths.

Where to stay in Whistler

If you decided not to stay at Garibaldi Provincial Park, Whistler is another great option for breaking up your road trip. Like I said you could easily spend weeks here doing all of the fun activities and there are some awesome places to stay in Whistler.

For budget travelers, Pangea Pod Hotel is a great option. It’s a basic hotel with pod-style rooms with clean, well looked after facilities. The location is also really good and you are within walking distance to the ski lifts in Whistler Upper Village.

For luxury travelers, I obviously love the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, but another option slightly cheaper is the Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. Its location is perfect for luxury skiers because it’s only 250 meters from the closest gondola.

7. Joffre Lakes

A couple stand on a rock at the Joffre Lakes near Whistler, BC
At Joffre Lakes just outside of Whistler.

This is a must-see on the trip from Vancouver to Lake Louise! Lower, Middle, and Upper Joffre Lakes are the highlights of a hike through Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, with their stunning turquoise blue water. The color comes from “rockflour,” or glacial silt trapped in the water, which reflects blue and green wavelengths from the sun – it’s magnificent!

Upper Joffre Lake is around 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the parking lot and is largely uphill. Along the way, you’ll see three beautiful lakes, stream crossings, excellent views of the mountain range, a waterfall, and the Matier Glacier at the peak overlooking Upper Joffre Lake. Retrace your steps back to the trailhead (a 10 km total hike there and back) and enjoy the easier descent and another look at these stunning lakes.

This is a popular summer attraction, so parking may be a challenge. The parking lot is typically crowded, and street parking is not permitted. On occasion, shuttle buses from a nearby overflow parking lot are available, however this is not usually the case. To guarantee an early arrival, I recommend staying the night before in Pemberton, which is nearby, and heading to the trailhead at sunrise to guarantee a parking spot.

8. Lillooet

The Fraser River runs through a canyon near Lillooet, BC
You can see just how desert-like the landscape is!

After Joffre Lakes, it’s time to drive inland towards the town of Lillooet, where you’re in for a temperature change. Lillooet is a has a desert-like atmosphere and some of Canada’s highest temperatures ever recorded. It’s also located along the Fraser River and provides amazing mountain views.

There are various orchards and vineyards in the region, thanks to the long growing season. Sample some of Fort Berens Estate Winery’s award-winning wine. While you’re here, take a walk across the Old Suspension Bridge. It was built more than a century ago and is solely accessible to pedestrians now.

Check out the Lillooet Museum to examine items from the Gold Rush era, or visit the Reynolds Hotel, even if not to stay, at least grab a bite at their fantastic restaurant.

9. Kamloops

Views from Tower Trail Lookout in Kenna Cartwright Nature Park, Kamloops
Views from Tower Trail Lookout in Kenna Cartwright Nature Park, Kamloops

Kamloops is one of the bigger cities located on this road trip from Vancouver to Lake Louise. This makes it a good stop to fuel up, get groceries, go out for a nice dinner, and just enjoy the city life for a day or two. Besides that, there are actually quite a lot of other adventurous things to do in Kamloops too.

Whether you want to go downhill skiing or snowshoeing in the winter, or enjoy the long summers with excellent weather from April to November by hiking or paddling on the nearby lakes and rivers, Kamloops is a fantastic place to visit in any season.

There are around 100 lakes within an hour’s drive of the city! These are perfect for just about any type of water sport you can imagine.  To see Kamloops Lake from the water, take a boat trip around it. Historic stone railroad bridges and tunnels, as well as rugged bluffs and perhaps even an eagle’s nest, will all be visible.

There are several hiking opportunities in Kamloops with various terrain options. The Kenna Cartwright Nature Park is a nice option, with 40 kilometers (25 miles) of pathways. There are a number of beaches and picnic areas, as well as spectacular views of Kamloops and the Thompson Valley. Go out at sunset or sunrise for a very breathtaking view.

Visitors to the BC Wildlife Park may get up close and personal with over 60 different species. It’s a rescue and rehabilitation center, and the vast majority of the animals have been rescued. There’s a splash park, a playground, and a mini-train for the kids. The park’s adult entry price is $14.95 CAD with discounts for children and seniors.

Where to Stay in Kamloops

There are plenty of hotels to choose from to base yourself in Kamloops for a while and enjoy the city and surrounding area.  

For a more luxury option, try the South Thompson Inn and Conference Centre. It’s located on 55 acres of green space surrounded by mountains and the South Thompson River. The rooms have great views, there’s a 24 hour hot-tub overlooking the river and nearby hiking trails.  

Budget travelers can grab a room at the Kings Motor Inn. It’s a very reasonably priced place to stay with large rooms.

Side trip to Kelowna and Vernon:

From Kamloops, you can go on a bit of a detour if you want to explore the Okanagan Valley. The Okanagan is known for beautiful lakes, warm weather, delicious fruit, and most importantly, wine! Head to the cities of Kelowna and Vernon first, then if you want to venture further south you can check out Osoyoos or Peachland.

10. Salmon Arm

Salmon Arm Wharf
The Wharf is huge!

Salmon Arm is a lovely small town that you’re going to love. When I lived there for a few years, I certainly did. People who appreciate the outdoors, in particular, will find so much to do! Explore the downtown area, eat (and drink) your way through it, or simply unwind. There certainly is something for everyone here.

Salmon Arm has beautiful hikes, delicious fruit, and top-notch vineyards. Here are a few of the best Salmon Arm activities:

  • Walk North America’s largest wooden wharf — All year long, you may stroll down the wharf and take in the beauty of Shuswap Lake. In the summer, when there is live music and food trucks to enjoy, I love it even more! It has a beautiful, community vibe.
  • Mountain bike at Little Mountain Park — I hope you’re ready for an adventure! Mountain biking is so much fun, and Little Mountain Park offers a variety of trails that even a beginner can have fun on.
  • Stock up on cheap local wine at OVINO Winery – OVINO Winery is a very small, family-fun winery set on a farm. They are open for wine tastings, so you can go and test your palette – either try something new or stick with your favorites!

Where to stay in Salmon Arm

This might be a great place to stop for a rest on your journey. Not to mention, I’m sure you have plenty more you want to do in this area, so one day just won’t do!

The Hilltop Inn is a popular option because of its bigger rooms, which can accommodate small families. This hotel also features a pool, free parking, and a complimentary breakfast.

The Inn at the Ninth Hole Bed & Breakfast is the place to stay whether you’re traveling with your significant other or want a luxurious stay for an affordable rate. The accommodations are lovely and very inexpensive. Of course, this location offers a fantastic breakfast and is located in a beautiful setting just outside of Salmon Arm.

11. Revelstoke and Mount Revelstoke National Park

Snowshoeing at the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club in winter
The Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club has good trails with epic views!

Revelstoke is one of the most beautiful tiwns in Canada. It has everything you could ever want with mountain ranges, lakes, glaciers, and more! If there is one place that you absolutely must stop at on your road trip from Vancouver to Lake Louise, Revelstoke should be it!

It’s all about the beautiful outdoors in this town. There is a lot to select from when deciding what to do, from hiking paths to beautiful views. The following are some of the top things to do in Revelstoke:

  • Ride the gondola up at Revelstoke Mountain Resort – It’s without a doubt one of Revelstoke’s best views, and you don’t have to walk up to get there! There are two gondolas at the resort. The first will take you to the pinnacle of the mountain. This second gondola ride takes around 10 minutes, and when you get at the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking valley views!
  • Visit Mt Revelstoke National Park – You can actually drive right up to the peak of Mt Revelstoke in this national park, making it extremely accessible.  You may go hiking on one of the many beautiful trails, enjoy lunch by one of the lakes, or even take a short walk to see all of the beautiful flowers and vistas after parking your car at the summit. You’ll need a Parks Pass to visit this national park.
  • Hit the slopes – If you’re visiting in the winter, know that Revelstoke, British Columbia is recognized for its excellent winter sports. This little alpine community is unmistakably a winter paradise! Revelstoke is famed for its heavy snowfalls and high alpine terrain, which can put even the most experienced skiers to the test. If you’re like me and prefer green or blue runs, they also have those!

Related read: If you want to stay a night or two in Revelstoke (and you should!) check out our guide on the best places to stay in Revelstoke!

12. Glacier National Park

the monument at the summit of Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park
This monument is at the summit of Rogers Pass, the highest point you’ll drive through Glacier National Park.

This road trip takes you right through the middle of Glacier National Park as you drive out of Revelstoke and make your way towards Golden. The road through Glacier National Park is called “Rogers Pass” as you climb through the mountain pass. on this stretch of road you may observe plenty of wildlife including bears and mountain goats in beautiful ancient forests with old cedars and alpine meadows which really set the scene.

Make a point of visiting the park’s Rogers Pass National Historic Site. Hike along Canada’s first coast-to-coast railway route, which is now decommissioned. The visitor center has a plethora of historical information about the area as well as the wildlife you can find in the area.

You’ll also have the opportunity to check out some amazing hikes like the Hemlock Grove Boardwalk, which is a series of boardwalks through the forest, or Bear Creek Falls which provides lovely waterfall views. Bear Creek Falls only takes around 15-20 minutes so it’s the perfect short hike on your road trip from Vancouver to Lake Louise. !

Note: If you plan on stopping in Glacier National Park you’ll need to purchase a Parks Canada Pass. There are various types of passes you can buy that range from $10 to $140 CAD depending on the number of parks, people, and amount of time the pass covers.

13. Golden

Downtown Golden, BC
The streets are so cute! Photo credit: Depositphotos Edb3_16

Golden is another small town in the Rockies surrounded by national parks, mountain ranges, and many outdoor activities, so there’s never a dull moment. Not to mention the amazing restaurants, unique shops, bustling pubs, and intriguing cultural attractions.

Your stop in Golden can be as interesting or relaxed as you like! Here are a few spectacular activities in Golden to consider:

  • Hit the slopes at Kicking Horse Resort – Golden’s Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is a very popular ski resort in Canada, and for good reason! It’s known for the huge amounts of annual snowfall and expert terrain that will challenge even the most experienced riders. It’s a must-visit if you’re in Golden in the winter months.
  • Go whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse — Whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River is such an adrenaline rush. With grade 3-4 rapids, it’s one of the best rivers in Canada to go rafting and easily one of the best things to do in Golden. There are a number of tour groups that you can join, such as this full-day tour.
  • Visit the Wolf Centre – Wolves are only one of the many magnificent creatures that may be found in the Canadian Rockies. While you probably don’t want to run into any in the wild, the Northern Lights Wolf Centre in Golden is an excellent location to learn about wolves and even see them.

Related read: If you aren’t quite ready to leave Golden just yet, check out the best places to stay in Golden.

14. Yoho National Park

People canoe on Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake is the most popular attraction in Yoho National Park.

Yoho National Park, which includes the municipality of Field, is a terrific place to visit; plan on spending at least a few hours (maybe even a whole day) here! The park is known for its towering waterfalls, dazzling lakes, and a variety of year-round activities. There are also shops, restaurants, and other attractions in the town of Field.

The gorgeous Emerald Lake (pictured above) is a must-see, with its brilliant waters that live up to their name. You can walk around the entire lake in approximately an hour, or snowshoe across it in the winter. It’s a great opportunity to see wild orchids, bald eagles, moose, and more. You may also canoe or kayak on the lake’s calm waters. Spoil yourself and stay a night at the Emerald Lake Lodge on the edge of the lake.

Another stunning site is the Natural Bridge, an ancient rock formation that spans the Kicking Horse River. Emerald Lake Road is approximately 3 km (1.9 miles) from Field, making it easy to reach there by car. A guided hike to the area’s fossil beds, which feature 500 million-year-old fossils, is also available.

15. Lake Louise

Bailey stands on a rock overlooking Lake Louise on our trip to Banff, Canada
Lake Louise is so beautiful!

You’ve made it to your stunning destination! From hikes with the most gorgeous views (the Lake Agnes Tea House Trail is one of my favorites) to amazing restaurants Lake Louise really has it all in terms of awesome things to do.

Even something as simple as relaxing on the Lake Louise lakefront is sure to leave you in awe as you look out at the glaciers, mountain peaks, and clear lake!

If you want some more action, why not kayak on the lake in the summer, or if you’re visiting Lake Louise in the winter, get out there on your ice skates.

While you’re at Lake Louise, you should be sure to take the opportunity to see what I consider to be an even more stunning lake, Moraine Lake. It’s just a short 15-minute drive from Lake Louise, and it may be the only lake aside from Lake Louise that has an even more vibrant color.

When you arrive at Moraine Lake, you’ll find lots to do and see. Visit the Rock Pile or walk along the Lakeshore Trail.

Important: Read about parking at Moraine Lake as well as parking at Lake Louise. This is very important before going!

Essential Info About the Drive Before You Go

Views from the sighseeing Gondola in Golden, BC
The road trip from Vancouver to Lake Louise is full of stunning mountain vistas!
  • If you’re doing this trip in the winter, double-check the road conditions first. Winter or all-season tires are required for the vehicle.
  • Get a Parks Pass! You’ll need a pass to get into Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, and Banff National Park. Since you’ll be visiting multiple parks, it is probably worth it to just purchased the Discovery Pass, which is good for a year at many national parks. Pay $145 CAD for an entire vehicle pass (group of people) or $69 for one person.
  • If for some reason you do have to stop along the way because of changing weather conditions, or other circumstances, there are several possibilities along this route if you need to book a last-minute hotel.
  • There are shorter routes for this road trip, however, this one is going to be the most interesting!
  • Some activities book up quicker than others, and this also often depends on the season. Do your research ahead of time to see if the activities and excursions you want to do need to be booked in advance, or can wait until the last minute.
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera! During this road journey, you will see some of the most magnificent landscapes and locales in the Rocky Mountains. It’ll be an unforgettable adventure, and you’ll want to keep track of the memories you make along the way.

Heading to Banff next? Plan your road trip with our guide to driving from Lake Louise to Banff!

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.

Where to Stay in Lake Louise

A foggy morning at Lake Louise
A foggy morning at Lake Louise

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.

Lake Louise Inn

The Lake Louise Inn is still a budget 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.

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!

Renting a Car in British Columbia

Winter road in British Columbia, Canada
Get out and explore in a rental car. The views from the road are just as amazing as the destination!

If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.

Car rental in Canada is relatively cheap, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pickup and drop-off in different locations is around $70 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Rental Cars.com. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Rental Cars.com all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.

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!

Canada Travel Essentials

Bailey stands on a mountain in essential gear for the Canadian Rockies
A windproof jacket and Buff will save you in the mountains!

Before you decide to head off and explore the gorgeous mountains, lakes, towns, and cities around Canada it’s important to have the right equipment. Of course, it’s likely you’ll have most of the basics already but there are some common items people forget that I never travel without.

Crampons: In winter crampons are super handy, but what people don’t realize is that they come in handy in summer too. In fact, up until mid-July, you can still expect icy conditions in the mountains. The pair I use is only $29 and they have lasted me 3 seasons so far!

Waterproof shell: Most people will have this item but I thought I’d include it anyway since it’s so handy in Canada. The Columbia waterproof jacket is a lightweight windproof jacket that will seriously save you in many situations. The best part though? It comes in pink!

Bear bells: These are a must and for the price, you shouldn’t hike without them. The bear bells I use are only $12 and they come with a silencer (a must) so you can easily travel with them.

Scent-proof bag (for bears): Most people think you only need to keep the smell of food away from you when you’re overnight camping. However, bears can smell the food in your bag while you’re hiking and the best way to avoid an encounter is to use a scent-proof bear bag. Basically, you put your food in the bag and the bear cannot smell it while you’re hiking. This is one item most people never have (I never hike without it) but it could save you and the bear.

Buff: I love my buff! Seriously, I go nowhere without it both in winter and summer. There are a few brands around but I always buy the original Buff (you know, the one from Survivor!) They’re a little more expensive but the material is good quality and both breathable and quick drying.

Dry bag: I have expensive camera equipment so I always travel with a dry bag large enough to fit some of my equipment. It can be a camera, book, binoculars, or even my keys. Regardless, a dry bag gives me peace of mind! The MARCHWAY bag is really good quality, and when not in use, takes up only a small amount of room.

Binoculars: I love my binoculars! Seriously they have come in handy so many times, especially when I’m looking for wildlife. The best part is, I use a set that only costs $27 and they serve my basic needs without any issues!

Thanks for reading!

Vailey from Destinationless Travel walks along the Golden Sky Bridge
Thanks for reading!

I’m sure after reading this guide on the best stops on the drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise you’re just itching to hit the road! I hope that this helped you better map your route, and show that it’s not just about where you’re going, but the journey along the way.

Let me know the stop you’re most looking forward to, and if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask! Feel free to check out some of our other guides before you go:

Guide to Visiting Whistler in December

FUN Things to do in Stanley Park, Vancouver

Kelowna’s Best Wineries

Whistler to Kamloops Road Trip Guide

15 BEST Stops on the Drive from Calgary to Lake Louise
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