A visit to Lake Louise is a necessary part of any visit to the Banff area. Depending on your expectations, you might find this a pleasure or a minor hassle. The first thing that struck us was that, other than the lake and Chateau, there was not much in Lake Louise. The village is separate from the lake and contains a couple of motels, restaurants, and gas stations.
Lake Louise itself is beautiful. It is located up the mountain at the base of a glacier. The glacier-tinted water and the mountainous background make for a picturesque setting. The grand old hotel, the Chateau Lake Louise, sits at the near end of the lake and makes a great picture itself. During our visit (June 2003) construction of a new wing on the hotel spoiled some of the views. Try, if you can, to avoid the crowds. Check out the hotel interior while you are there. The hordes of people come by the busload and swarm over the near end of the lake. Take the path on the right of the lake for a walk that will get you away from some of the crowd and give some nice views back at the Château. For a better view and to really get away from the crowd, take the hike up to Fairview. The hike requires some climbing on a well-maintained hiking trail. From the viewpoint you can retrace your steps (the easier way) or continue down a steep section of trail to a rugged path along the lake and back to the start point. We felt that this chance to get away from the crowds and to get a different viewpoint made the visit to Lake Louise enjoyable.
About 12 km from Lake Louise is Moraine Lake. This lake, even further up the mountains, is also very pretty, with numerous mountain peaks rising in the background. Although hardly deserted, this lake is less crowded than Lake Louise. The best viewpoint is atop the rockpile, which forms a natural dam at the bottom of the lake. The path up the rockpile is well constructed and most people, including children, should have no trouble making the short hike.
Also in the Lake Louise area is the "gondola" at Lake Louise Ski Area. The ski area is across the valley from the village and lake and offers some nice views. At the ski area you will go to the bottom of one of the ski lifts where you will have a choice of riding a chairlift or an old gondola car that they put on for the summer tourists. Take the chair, unless it is cold or you are traveling with young children. At the top you will need to walk to a nice viewpoint and then further down to an interpretative center. Call in advance for the schedule, if you want to take a guided hike. These trips leave at only a few times and some last two hours.
Results 1-10of 17 Reviews
by Gerry May
July 8, 2003
From journal A Week in the Canadian Rockies
Sleepy Hollow, New York
March 20, 2006
Over the 5 full days we stayed in Lake Louise, we had several excellent snowshoe hiking experiences. We are not skilled back-country skiers, that ability would have extended our range quite a bit, but we found plenty to keep us busy. Let me enumerate a few:
Plain of Six Glaciers—immediately across Lake Louise from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Skiing on the lake or along the path is flat and easy. Once at the end of the lake, the path is well-marked, but steep for climbing in skis. I wish we had brought our snowshoes. We did get up to the cirque that lies at the foot of the ring of mountains, and the views were wonderful. Even with relatively limited back-country skiing ability, we were able to ski down at the end of our hike.
Palmer Ridge—This one we heard about in a random encounter with a guide at a viewpoint. It’s difficult to find a good place to hike up to that takes you beyond the tree line, and this one is just great. It is a few kilometers south of the Columbia Icefields Visitors Center, along the highway up to Jasper. It is up near a pass, and climbs quickly above the trees. There are great views in every direction at the top. It was very windy the day we were there, but thrilling for the views.
Bow Glacier—Tromp across Bow Lake (well-frozen when we were there) and across the moraine, then up to the glacier. Nice moonscape left by the (unfortunately) receding glacier, and a pretty landscape.
Yoho Pass—Yet another tromp across a lake, Emerald Lake this time. This one is well-marked on the maps. Once across the lake, there is a trail across the ski routes and on up to the pass. Beautiful views again, and very accessible.
From journal Snowshoeing Near Lake Louise
March 14, 2002
This is Canada's largest skiing area in the Rockies.
This massive skiing area is spread over four mountains that will challenge your skiing skills.
Lake Louise is located 55 km (35 miles) west of Banff and is very easily accessed by the No. 1 TransCanada Highway.
(to see the area please view my photo album: http://community.webshots.com/album/27167170MuFeIyJYaq )
Here you can ski over 60 miles of ski trails.
Many fast ski lifts will whisk you up to the top of 10 000-foot mountains.
Every chair has an easy way down allowing beginners to ski the whole area!
New modern facilities include: three mountain lodges; a complete ski shop with rental equipment; and a new day lodge which offers comfortable rest and meals between the runs.
Free bus shuttles skiers from the Lake Louise hotels to the hill in minutes.
Skiing season begins here in late November and lasts till the middle of May.
Because the skiing area is at a low elevation expect the snow to melt in the first days of April and it is very hard on your legs.
Many ski runs are covered by man made snow and this snow in the spring creates a feeling of slowing down your perfect run….
To view live web cam please use this link:
From journal Banff, Skiers Paradise
February 25, 2004
Lake Louise is truly a world-class ski resort. This was the first mountain that I had ever skied and was a bit intimidated by the size. I hadn't skied in three years prior to skiing here and surprised by how steep some of the green runs were, particularly on the front of the mountain. This isn't a mountain that is very well-suited for beginners, in my opinion. There is a small bunny hill on the front of the mountain, but the next step up from that are the greens, and I found them to be fairly steep and long.
I much preferred the backside of the mountain, especially the green bowl and the Larch area. The Larch area is facing the backside of the mountain and is less steep, but the runs are also not as long, which is good for novices like myself. The bowl is also fun, but it can be very scary if it is windy and snowy because the visibility is very poor, and with no trees, it is difficult to see where you're going. If you get too far over to the edge of the run, you can fall right into a double black diamond!
The snow quality was tremendous and the views were unbelievable. It took your breath away! Unfortunately, we only had a few sunny days, so we didn't see as much as we might have otherwise seen, but what we did was amazing.
From journal Ski Banff!
, New Mexico
July 23, 2001
From journal From Banff to Jasper
by Foxboro Marmot
April 2, 2002
Lake Louise covers 4200 skiable acres. An advertisement I saw claimed that even on the busiest days, there was more than one acre per skier. Well in March we must have had 5 or 6 acres each. Lift lines were minimal, with only a few minutes wait loading at the base. Everywhere else was pretty much ski right onto the lift.
Because of its size, Lake Louise reminded me of Squaw Valley. It may take some time exploring before you find trails or an area you like. But keep looking, because there's something for every skier somewhere on the mountain.
Scenery at Lake Louise is spectacular, but was only visible for a day and a half out of our five days. Take your camera on a good day and snap your pictures early because low clouds can move in quickly! Because of the size of the area, there can be low visibility on on side of the mountain and clear views on the other.
We found the best ski area food in western Canada at Lake Louise's Lodge of the Ten Peaks. There's a stand where they'll make a huge fresh submarine sandwich with your choice of breads and fillings with a side of potato salad for only $7.45 CDN... add a bowl of soup for 50 cents more. Fresh fast and filling!
From journal Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper
February 7, 2005
From journal Fantastic Lake Louise Exceeded our expectations
March 10, 2004
From journal A week in Banff
San Francisco, California
December 20, 2001
From journal Exploring The Canadian Rockies
Vancouver, British Columbia
August 14, 2003
If ever we have a second honeymoon, we are definitely going to Lake Louise!
From journal Alpine April--A wonderful week in Banff