Lake Louise is probably one of the most famous places in the Canadian Rockies and for a reason. It is not just Lake Louise itself that is stunning, there are more lakes or other sights to visit and enjoy in the area. This travel guide to Lake Louise describes and visualizes the best places I’ve visited or I wanted to visit. Yes, you read that correctly: wanted to visit. It was such a shame that due to the snowfall (that already changed our itinerary around the Icefields Parkway), Moraine Lake closed for the season 2 days before we arrived!
Well, the main sight in the Lake Louise area (the name tells, right) is Lake Louise, the most popular lake of the Rocky Mountains, itself. It is well known for its blue waters, even though they didn’t show it on the first day we visited. However, even though the bright blue color was lacking, the environment and rock formations around are still stunning. Money to burn? Stay for a night in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
We visited the place twice, as one day the weather cleared up and we were wondering if we could see the lake with a little bit of blue colors. Next to that, we went back to town to buy some cleats for under our walking shoes, so we would still be able to hike up towards Lake Agnes.
Lake Louise is one of the main sights, it can get insanely busy. Therefore, I would always advise arriving early in the morning, since the parking lots fill up quickly. We were lucky, as we visited beginning of October, slightly out of high season to escape the crowds.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to hike all the routes we planned, mainly due to winter kicking in early. One of the hikes we were able to perform though, was the hike towards Lake Agnes. The amazing thing about this hike? It ends at a tea house! As I won’t describe the full hike, I would highly recommend this hiking report to check when starting this trail. I did enjoy hiking up there, with amazing views along the way and another lake to admire when arriving at the tea house. I loved the vibe of the tea house and it is great to settle down, warm up and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and an energy bar. Don’t forget to bring cash and take seasonality into account. Generally, the tea house is open between the end of June and the end of September.
The distance is 7.5 km
The hike takes around 3 hours
Elevation is around 350 meters
Unfortunately, no personal stories about this hike. The path heading towards the Plain of Six Glaciers wasn’t accessible due to avalanche risk. (Did I mention the snowfall we had before?!) However, to offer a full overview of what to do around Lake Louise, this hike has to be part of the list. Normally, we would have extended our day of hiking with a tour towards the Plain of Six Glaciers (with another tea house as a reward!), but well. This trail can be combined with Lake Agnes, as part of the trail is overlapping. The Plain of Six Glaciers also rewards you with views over Lake Louise from the other side, which means you can shoot photos including the famous hotel.
Not being able to visit Lake Moraine was probably the biggest bummer of the trip. I was so looking forward to visiting this beautiful lake and when looking at the pictures of others I had the feeling the place was even more stunning than Lake Louise. So, just one piece of advice, when visiting the area and Lake Moraine is still open, you’ll have to go! And send me some pictures :). From Lake Moraine, I would have loved to take the Larch Tree Valley hike and head towards the Sentinel Pass.
Another sight in the neighbourhood of Lake Louise. Johnston Canyon is a canyon, seen as one of the most popular day hikes in the area and is suitable for all fitness levels and ages. When heading to the upper falls (furthest away) the return trip is only 4.8 kilometres. We were very happy to have our cleats under though, as the trail was icy and slippery, which ruins the experience when visiting under these conditions. Many visitors also combine this canyon with a visit to the ink pots, which are about 2,5 kilometres further out than the upper falls.
I think the canyon is pretty, but I wasn’t fully blown away. It was a nice addition as we weren’t able to see some places and hike trails with higher elevation levels. However, if you are afraid of missing out on something, don’t worry too much.
I also have to admit, that it might be prettier on a sunnier day and in summer as the turquoise waters pop more.
Even though the Lake Louise area might not be all-around food and drinks, we decided to leave our camper for a night and head to a cozy restaurant I would like to recommend. We headed to “The Station Restaurant”, where you’ll eat your dinner in an old station. The food and service were great, the prices are alright (don’t expect them to be low) and we just loved the experience of a good meal in such a unique place after days of camper food.
Last but not least, some advice on camping in the area. We stayed at Lake Louise Campground, which is a simple camping suitable for tents and campers. During the time we were there, everything was self-service (which worked completely fine). Another option in the neighborhood is the Johnston Canyon Campground.