A day trip to Lake Louise is one of the most popular activities in entire Canada. Locals say there can be as many as 15,000 visitors a day to Lake Louise.
Time to spend at Lake Louise: From an hour to a full day.
Parking at Louise: complicated: reserve a seat at the Shuttle bus.
There are two distinct places: village Lake Louise (or highest permanent settlement in Canada) and the actual lake – Lake Louise. Distance between two of them – 4 km. This post about the lake.
A bit of Lake Louise history
Lake Louise was once a recreational spot for wealthy travelers. The first visitors were brought here at the end of the 19th century when the Canadian Pacific Railway made its way to the first part of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (a small summer cabin back then). Nowadays, everybody can enjoy its beauty!
Lake Louise has a swiss charm. Its famous tea houses at the end of the mountain hikes – swiss tradition :).
Lake Louise Day Trip
1. Best time to visit
Lake Louise exposing its beautiful colors when cleared from ice – usually towards the end of June. For best views, choose clear, sunny weather. Overcast and snow (may occur in the first days of September), obstruct the views, make it look pretty ordinary.
2. Parking and crowds
Expect big crowds at Lake Louise. In a peak season, the best time to visit is very early in the morning, but if you want to make sure you’ll get to the lake, reserve a seat at the Shuttle bus.
3. How to get the best view of Lake Louise
In summer, choose mornings for better views. In the late afternoon, the sun will be blasting in your eyes and it’ll be hard to see all the beauty. You will get the best views of Lake Louise from an elevation (like Lake Moraine from the Rockpile or Peyto Lake from the Bow Summit lookout):
4. Day Trip to Lake Louise: Canoe Riding
Canoe rentals are pricy at Lake Louise, but it is a great opportunity to escape the crowds. Expect lines! 2 adults + 2 kids are allowed per boat (or 3 adults, no kids). Sunscreen and sunglasses are essential. Be careful not to slip over the boat into the frigid water!
You can also use your own kayak/canoe, but there is no boat lunch. You’ll have to carry it straight from the parking lot.
5. Day Trip to Lake Louise: Hiking
Choose one of the “Tea House” hikes. You will enjoy great scenery while a cool reward will be awaiting you at the end of the trail – a soup, a huge selection of hot teas, and baked goods. Cash only! There is no electricity or running water, all goods are brought by the staff and helicopters.
Dress up in layers, for cold and hot weather. Expect many people on the trail and at the tables (especially on the Lake Agnes teahouse trail).
6. Day Trip to Lake Louise: Take a Dip!
This was very popular during our visit, among kids and adults. The water felt warmed up at the edge of the lake in the late afternoon. The shoreline is covered in boulders and has nice granite steps – easy for entering the water.
We weren’t ready for a dip (no swimsuits or towels), but some splash felt great to refresh in the summer heat.
7. Day Trip to the Lake Louise: Picnic Lunch
There are a lot of pleasant grassy areas overlooking the lake just past Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which makes a nice place to have a picnic lunch!
The hotel is nice but didn’t impress us at a close distance. I bet it looks magnificent in winter with all the lights and snow!
8. Ice Skating
Lake Louise is one of the best (and biggest) places for ice skating in the entire world and now on our bucket list for a winter trip there :).
Visiting Lake Louise with little kids
The main trail along the lake is stroller super friendly. There’s a lot of open space for kids to run around freely. There is no shade in front of the lake, where most people are hanging out. If you are heat intolerant, beware on a hot summer day.
There is some shade in about 20 min stroll around the lake, but the ground surface of the trail is not even there (with potholes and roots) not suitable for a stroller.
Kids age 6-11 may participate in the Xplorers program, full of fun and engaging activities for the entire family. Pick up a booklet and get more information at Lake Louise Visitor Centre, 201 Village Road.
Lake Louise Day Trip Essentials
- Time to spend at the Lake: from an hour to a full day.
- Parking: reserve a seat at the Shuttle bus.
- Take mosquito repellent, swimsuit, picnic blanket, quick-dry towel.
- Make sure you have a water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and sunhat.
- Check Lake Louise trail conditions, hours, fees, etc. before you go.
Lake Louise on the Map
Have fun at one of the most popular destinations in entire Canada!
Peyto Lake: unbelievable blue (during direct sunlight) and easy to explore;
Maligne Canyon, Johnston Canyon: Canadian Rockies gems, fun to visit with kids;
Alaska road trip: on a budget with kids;