Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, the village of Lake Louise is surrounded by some of the most majestic mountain peaks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and is amongst the most beautiful areas in all of Canada.
The resort communities of Banff and Lake Louise have been welcoming international visitors for more than a century. In 1883, when the transcontinental railway reached the formidable Rocky Mountains, the attempts of 3 CPR railway workers to stake a claim to the natural hot springs they had discovered bubbling from the base of Sulphur Mountain led to the establishment of Canada’s first national park, Rocky Mountain Park.
Today, Banff National Park is one of four adjoining mountain parks comprising more than 5,200 square miles of spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountain landscape. For current visitors, bathing in the same hot springs is one of many activities offered in Canada’s foremost National Park.
If you visit the Banff/Lake Louise area you will see why each year more than 3.5 million visitors come to enjoy the unique feeling of the Canadian Rockies, and to experience why the United Nations in 1985 declared the Banff area a “World Heritage Site”.
The Lake Louise ski resort shares the same valley as the village and is only a few minutes from any village hotel. Banff/Lake Louise promises memorable skiing and snowboarding amidst the world’s most awesome scenery and breathtaking slopes. Within the protected wilderness of Banff National Park, Banff/Lake Louise offers 3 ski areas. World-famous dry Canadian Rockies powder is available for one of the longest, consistent ski/snowboard seasons in the world, from early November to late May.
Combining wild alpine beauty with first-class amenities, few places in the world have such stunning scenery, and fewer still offer the warm hospitality and excellent service you can enjoy in Banff and Lake Louise.
Location: The Village of Lake Louise is located on the Trans Canada Highway 1 in Banff National Park, approximately 115 miles (184 Km) west of Calgary, Alberta, and 35 miles (58 Km) west of the town of Banff in Alberta.
View map of the area
- Map of Banff/Jasper/Lake Louise
Banff National Park, the first national park in Canada, is home to a variety of distinctive natural features, and cultural and historical sites. Rugged mountains, ancient glaciers, icefields, alpine meadows, beautiful blue cold-water lakes, mineral hot springs, deep canyons and fascinating hoodoos compose the natural landscape and habitat for a great variety of birds and mammals.
Jasper National Park is the largest and most northerly of the four Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks that comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its scenery is rugged, including deeply gouged Maligne Canyon and picturesque Maligne Lake. Thrill to the thunder of Sunwapta Falls; enjoy the serene beauty of glacier-covered Mount Edith Cavell; hike along any of the 1,200 km of trails; have a relaxing soak in Miette Hot Springs, or embark on a number of spectacular mountain drives.
Lake Louise: Upon first sighting the sparkling turquoise Lake Louise, the actual lake itself, it is difficult not to gasp in awe. The beautiful, milky-blue lake rests at the foot of Victoria Glacier, which rises majestically behind it, capped by snow and ice year round. First sighted by Europeans in 1882, the magnificent Lake Louise has become one of Canada’s best-loved and most-visited attractions.
Moraine Lake is a glacially-fed lake situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 6,183 feet (1,884 metres). When the lake is full, it reflects a distinct shade of blue, the colour due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis. The area around Moraine Lake has several walking/hiking trails that are closed from time to time due to grizzly bear activity. The easy Rockpile Trail along the actual moraine, just 300 metres long, leades to a view of the lake from the top of the rockpile that is one of the most photographed locations in all of Canada.
The highest point along the Icefields Parkway is Bow Summit at 2,069 metres (6787 feet above sea level) while the elevation at the Village of Lake Louise is 1,534 metres (5,033 feet above sea level).
The best way to appreciate the breathtaking scenery in the area is to be amongst the mountains that surround you. The top of the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola offers the most spectacular view of Lake Louise, Victoria Glacier, and the mountain peaks of the Continental Divide. The Sightseeing Gondola climbs to an elevation of 6,750 ft (2,057 m), the perfect place to experience the panoramic splendour of the Rockies and the Bow Valley.
Take time for a tour onto the icy slopes of the Athabasca Glacier, located at the Columbia Icefields. You will travel in a specially designed coach to the middle of the glacier, on a 5-km round trip journey. Your driver will point out interesting geological features as you travel in safety and comfort. At the icefall below the glacier headwall, you will have the option of stepping out onto ice formed from snow falling as long as 400 years ago.
The 3 ski areas of Banff Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise provide more than 7,558 acres and over 200 trails offering skiers and snowboarders of any ability countless challenges. From wide-open bowls and tree-lined glades covered with fresh dry champagne powder, to meticulous groomed slopes and state-of-the-art snowmaking, visitors enjoy unspoiled scenery, short lift lines, and guaranteed friendly hospitality.
Cross-country skiing in the Canadian Rockies can be everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Every trail, hill, and corner offers incredible mountain views. Banff National Park and the surrounding area offer a vast network of cross-country skiing trails and gentle touring trails. Advanced skiers can enjoy high-alpine glacier traverses that rival the “haute-routes” of the Alps. Try the smooth tracks of the nearby Canmore Nordic Centre.
Experience mountain skiing via helicopter! The helicopter can deliver you to the top of a remote mountain and pick you up at the bottom after an exhilarating run down untouched powder. Enjoy extraordinary heli-skiing and incredible views for one day, two days, or a week, the choice is yours!
Fly over magnificent mountain landscapes on a helicopter sightseeing tour of Banff National Park offered year round. Enjoy the snow-covered peaks of Mount Rundle, Mount Assiniboine or the highest peaks of the Canadian Rockies along the Continental Divide. In winter enjoy an afternoon sightseeing tours in Panorama, British Columbia.
Heli-Hiking: experience the back country via helicopter! The helicopter can deliver you to a remote site for a half-day stroll up to a week long adventure. Sightseeing from the air is the best way to really gain perspective on the grandeur of the Rockies. Short tours can range from 20 minutes to an hour, more extensive trips between 1-5 days.
Explore the magnificent natural world of the Rockies in a truly Canadian way, on snowshoes! Join a guided tour for an outdoor experience following the tracks of wolves and wolverines, learning how owls hunt, and how life adapts to the cold.
Dog-sledding: the warmest and most comfortable way to enjoy and photograph the Canadian Rocky Mountains in their spectacular winter setting is to do it from a sled pulled through the forest by a team of huskies. “Mush” your own team of sled dogs through the pristine Spray Lakes area adjacent to Banff National Park. Tours can last between 2 and 10 hours, including traditional mountain snacks and refreshments to re-fuel you for the ride ahead.
Weather permitting, horse-drawn carriage rides are available for tours around the Banff townsite. In winter months, enjoy a sleigh ride (approximately 45 to 60 minutes) excursion to the end of majestic Lake Louise. In Banff, sleigh rides along (or on!) the Bow River are available seven days a week, weather and snow conditions permitting.
Golf: The 27-hole Banff Springs Hotel Golf Course offers a challenging golf course, with great fairways and a spectacular scenic layout where moose and elk roam. The feature hole, the Devil’s Cauldron, is an elevated tee above a glacial lake. Teeing-off amongst the backdrop of dramatic mountain ranges with local wildlife as your gallery is an unequalled golfing experience available at several courses in the area, including Silver Tip Golf Course and Stewart Creek Golf Club in Canmore, Kananaskis Country Lorette Golf Course, and Kananaskis Country Kidd Golf Course. Golf Vacations in Alberta and British Columbia.
Flightseeing: Air tour companies offer year-round guided air sightseeing tours of the Canadian Rockies and Columbia Mountains. The companies offer a unique view of the magnificent sights of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Fishing: the famed Bow River in Banff (open year round) and numerous lakes and streams in and around Banff National Park are home to an abundance of fish species that attract Fly and Spin fisherman from all over the world. A number of guides can lead you to the spots only a local would know about. Winter fishing is also very popular, with guides offering the comfort of heated huts and hot drinks to offset the colder conditions. Summertime also offers the opportunity to rent small motorized boats on Lake Minnewanka in Banff, with or without a guide.
Over 1,000 kilometres of hiking trails, rated from novice to expert await you in Banff National Park. Guided tours are available for all levels. They provide transportation, experience and sometimes a lunch. If you wish to explore the mountains on your own, please contact Parks Canada for trail reports.
Training programs are offered for beginners, intermediates and experts in the disciplines of rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, outdoor leadership, avalanche awareness and ski mountaineering. For those preferring a more relaxed and slower-paced alpine experience, enjoy one of the many backpacking or mountaineering adventures offered.
Expect to get wet! That’s part of the fun of river rafting. It also makes this sport perfect for a rainy day. Trips offered by rafting and kayaking companies vary, from float trips down the Bow River to the white water rapids of the Kicking Horse, Kananaskis or Kootenay Rivers. Find the one that’s right for you!
West of Lake Louise is the mountain community of Field in British Columbia, on the banks of the Kicking Horse River at the foot of Mount Stephen in Yoho National Park. The pleasant little village is the administration and information centre for Yoho Park, dispensing trail guides, maps and other resources year-round.
Southeast of Lake Louise is Banff, Alberta, also located in Banff National Park. Banff is a unique place to visit, let alone live. A train whistle blows in the distance as a reminder of the area’s railway roots, while designer shops dot the streetscapes. Banff is a year-round attraction, with people from all over the world lured by the wilderness and the variety of outdoor activities.
Transport: Scheduled van and motorcoach services connect Banff and Lake Louise with Calgary Airport and downtown Calgary throughout the day. A daily bus service is available between Banff Hotels and the Lake Louise Ski Area.