About three miles west of Canadian Highway 1, you would come across the Banff National Park (one of the best in Canada). Near the park, you’ll find Lake Louise. It is one of the most beautiful stretches of open water in Canada. Visiting the lake is not a one-time affair. With Lake Louise Ski resort and many other beautiful locations, you will have a good time for sure!
Much like the famous Abraham Lake in Canada, Lake Louise is a glacial lake. The two lakes share a brilliant blue color due to rock flour. It is carried to them by tributary glaciers that drain into the lake. The Lefroy Glacier is the primary source of the inflow of water and rock flour into the lake.
The Victoria Glacier lies in the background of Lake Louise. Victoria Glacier is spread across the slopes of Mt. Victoria. Another part of Victoria Glacier lies in the valley between the peaks of Mt. Victoria and Mt. Lefroy. This part of the Victoria Glacier is formed from snow falling during avalanches. The toe of Victoria Glacier is covered by rock and rouble.
The lake flows out through Louise Creek, and the waters of Lake Louise are then drained into the Bow River. Following a rather lengthy course, the lake’s waters end up on the other side of the country. They end up in Hudson Bay, a part of the North Atlantic Ocean. The waters are colored a shimmering shade of green mixed with a fair amount of blue. This bright hue was one of the primary reasons it was initially known as the Lake of Little Fishes.
Moraine Lake and Lake Agnes are also accessible through Lake Louise. The area around the lake is the highest point, with permanent settlement in Canada. The city’s elevation is a staggering 5,740 feet or 1.75 kilometers above sea level. The temperature stays pretty low all year round. Still, it is better to arrive early in December or anytime before March.
In fact, the lake stays frozen throughout the winter and spring. It only breaks back into open water around the beginning of June! In some parts of the world, the mercury shoots up to forty degrees Celsius around the beginning of June. That is how different the climate is up there from the more tropical parts of the world.
Snowfall can be expected in any month of the year. Even when other parts of the world might be experiencing a heatwave, this place sees snow. It has, in fact, snowed in every single month of the year. Also, when the so-called summer hits the region. Even when the climate gets a bit comfier, the waters stay mostly frigid. So much so that the temperature of the lake rarely rises above five degrees Celsius. Icicle pieces are found in the water even when the lake is not entirely frozen.
History of Lake Louise
The lake is now named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. She was the wife of the Marquess of Lorne, who was the Governor-General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. She was also known as the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Yes, Queen Victoria of England and Ireland.
However, few know that between the lake being named after the Princess. It is called the Lake of the Little Fishes (Ho-Run-Num-Nay in their native tongue). The lake was also named the Emerald Lake in 1882 by a Canadian Railway worker known as Tom Wilson. So, the lake has had three names throughout its existence.
Which brings us to this particular question, how did the lake come to be in the first place? The answer is rather simple. When a natural dam was formed at the site of the famous Chateau, this dam was mostly built of icy pieces of ruin. This caused the water behind it to back up and turn into the shimmering bluish-green body of water today.
Things to Do
This is the ultimate part, where I get to tell you about all the fun things that you can do at the lake!
Lake Louise area attracts photographers worldwide like a magnet. And why shouldn’t it? There is an endless number of beautiful views just waiting to be captured in a camera lens. That is precisely what motivates the lens-wielders to explore. They like to discover the bounty of breathtaking views that nature has to offer. The lake is recognized as one of the most photographed places in Canada.
There’s no end to the sort of winter and water sports you can take part in Banff National Park. You can try water-based sports like canoeing and kayaking. Canoe rentals are available by the hour. A visit to the lake is incomplete unless you rent a canoe. You can rent a canoe and hire a guide to show you around the lake.
Anyone who has visited the lake will urge you to rent a canoe and explore the waters. Once you rent a canoe, you can take a comprehensive tour of the surrounding peaks. You can take in the beauty of the sparkling waters up close. Don’t hesitate, rent a canoe and ride with the waters!
The west shore of the lake is the best place to look for canoe rentals. The fee for canoe rentals is around $65 or more for adults. For kids, the canoe rentals charges are lower. They are around $30 or more. You can visit the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise website for more details on canoe rentals. You can try white water rafting, rock climbing, and glacier climbing. Banff and Lake Louise are a great combination on your travel itinerary!
Lake Louise area is one of the places where you can ski and snowboard all year round. The temperature always stays low enough for there to be snow. You can stay at Lake Louise Ski Resort during your visit.
You can go ice skating at the Lake Louise ice rink. The lake is open for ice skating from dawn to dusk. December to April is the best time for ice skating. You can rent skates and ice skating gear at a local rental shop. Taking ice skating videos with the Victoria Glacier in the background is a lovely idea!
To the disappointment of more people than I would like to admit, swimming in the lake is not a very bright idea. Even at its warmest, the water temperature does not rise above 5 degrees Celsius. There is a real chance of something terrible happening if you decide to leap into the water. Be safe, above all else.
With the towering Canadian Rockies in the background, hiking enthusiasts would be frothing at the mouth at the thought of having the opportunity to walk the trails that you can find at the Banff National Park. The view is simply exquisite and something worth all the effort that goes into completing a challenge. It is a beautiful hiking trail.
However, hiking is not the only thing you can do to traverse the hills behind the lake’s greenery. Mountain biking is another thrilling experience that a lot of people like being a part of. If you’re someone who loves their bikes, then this place is a must-visit for you! Why not have fun with the biking plus hiking trail package?
I saved the best for the last. That’s right; horse riding is another popular means of enjoyment around the Banff National Park. You can also ride around the place on the back of a horse. Families around the area also come to have a picnic quite frequently, as it is a very favored picnic spot. Banff and Lake Louise is a favorite travel combo for most visitors!
4. The Powder Hound Express
The Powder Hound Express is driven through a ten-kilometer-long trail. It is followed by a half an hour campfire session with hot beverages and baked goodies. It helps make you comfy after the excellent experience. This is an excellent option for all to enjoy their experience at Lake Louise to its fullest.
5. Ease Up With Spas and Hot Springs
6. Enjoy the Scenery
7. Plain of The Six Glaciers Trail
The Plain of the Six Glaciers is a nature trail in the Lake Louise area. The Plain of the Six Glaciers hiking trail is open throughout the year. You can bring your pets for a walk along with you. The Plain of the Six Glaciers hiking trail is not very exhausting.
It is rated moderate and partially paved. You can go hiking, horseriding and bird watching at The Plain of the Six Glaciers. The Plain of Six Glaciers hiking trail is rocky and full of wildflowers. You can also enjoy the forest and waterfalls near the Plain of the Six Glaciers. It is ideal for treks and day trips.
8. Brewster Adventures
Brewster Adventures is an outfitting company near Lake Louise. At Brewster Adventures, you can go horseback riding. You can ride around ranches and trails near the lake. Brewster Adventures prides itself on its century-old stables. They give you an authentic farmhouse experience. You can eat and drink at the Brewster Adventures Cowboy Barbecue. You can also have fun at the Dance Barn. Brewster Adventures is all about the authentic Western Canadian experience.
9. Lake Agnes Tea House
A tea house has historic significance in the Lake Louise region. The first tea house was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1990s. The Plain of the Six Glaciers Tea House is a popular destination. Unfortunately, the place closed down in September 2021.
The only remaining alternative is Lake Agnes Tea House. It lies in a hanging valley above Lake Louise. Lake Agnes Tea House serves a hundred different varieties of loose leaf tea! Lake Agnes Tea House also serves a variety of soups, salads, and beverages.
While you are around Lake Agnes Tea House, look out for Big Beehive. Big Beehive is a mountain shaped like a beehive. Big Beehive offers a beautiful nature trail loop around the lake. Big Beehive is a great location for running, bird watching, and nature trips. However, the Big Beehive treks is a hard nut to crack. It is not suited for beginners!
How to Get to Lake Louise
Places to Stay
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: It was built in the early part of the 1900s. The construction of this hotel was carried out by the Canadian Pacific Railways. It lies on the eastern coast of the lake. It boasts of a suite of about 550 rooms for guests to stay in throughout the year. The views from the hotel rooms are exquisite. They have a four-diamond restaurant, a spa, fitness facilities, horseback riding, and canoeing.
- Deer Lodge: Deer Lodge celebrates its hundredth anniversary in the 2020s. The highlight of the services offered is a rooftop Jacuzzi. It offers astounding views of the mountainous scenery. Stargazing from the Jacuzzi at night is a unique experience for your stay. There’s a stacked bar and restaurant, along with a designated game room, sun deck, picnic area, and a garden.
- HI-Lake Louise Alpine Center: This place is quite affordable. That doesn’t compromise on the quality of services, though. The coffee offered at the Alpine Center is fantastic. Movie nights are also held at the hotel. Other facilities include a picnic area, BBQ, and area-specific activities.
All these places have cozy rooms and offer the best lodging services to all guests. All essential services like ATMs and WiFi are present within reach.
Times to Visit and Tour Plans
Lake Louise has visitors throughout the year. But the mountain backgrounds demand a visit in the wintertime. The snow makes everything better. It is best to arrive early in December or before March. The beginning of December is a popular time for visitors to visit Lake Louise.
The snow starts falling at the time. It marks the onset of the skiing season. You should also check out the amazing accommodation at Lake Louise Ski Resort. If you are planning day trips, you probably won’t need a place to crash. But it would still be a fun visit.
There are no restrictions on visiting the place during summer, though. If the temperature is warm, you will see the cutthroat cod, bull trout, and mountain whitefish. These fish swim in the open waters of the Lake of Little Fishes. You might even be able to catch yourself a feisty dinner if you have the skills!
Coming to the tour planning, the lake itself can be fully explored in a day. A couple of extra hours if you’re really picky about exploring the lake to its fullest. Some of the beautiful spots close to the Banff National Park are:
- Moraine Lake: Moraine Lake has pure blue waters, compared to Louise’s greenish-blue. It is about nine miles from the lake but is still within the Valley of Ten Peaks. Fun Fact: Moraine Lake was used on the background of the 20 dollar note in Canada back in the 1970s.
- Icefields Parkway: It is 150 miles north of Lake Louise to Jasper National Park. This stretch of road has beautiful views of the mountains. You can spot wildlife that dwells in the surroundings.
- Heritage Railway Station: Lake Louise Village lies downhill at about four kilometers. The tiny hamlet is where you’ll find the Heritage Railway Station. It depicts how life is lived among the mountains of the Canadian Rockies. Visit the railway station to learn more about the heritage and history. Enjoy a cozy dinner in a small cabin. It feels like a sweet escapade from the hush and bush of modern city life.
- Lake Louise Ski Resort: It is not just a nice place to crash, but also a scenic location with picturesque views.
Finding a parking lot is a hassle at Lake Louise. Almost every parking lot is full by sunrise. You might have a hard time finding an unoccupied parking lot for the rest of the day. You need to arrive early and find a paid parking lot. Parking spaces are open from mid-May to mid-October, between 7 AM and 7 PM. If you arrive early, you will save yourself a lot of trouble.