Lake Louise/Chateau Lake Louise., Banff National Park
There probably isn't a whole lot I can say that hasn't been said already. First off, we got here just around 9:30 in the morning - the lower lot was about half full. Within an hour, it was completely full, and the crowds were starting to grow. Due to wifey's bum leg, we decided not to do the full hike along the right side of the lake...we did walk a bit away from the main "entrance" area, and as has been stated, even a short walk will get you away from the mass of people. The lake itself is a breathtaking sight - such a beautiful color. There was an onsite canoe rental place, that on another day might have been a good option for us. However, we still had several things to see that morning, so we decided to forgo it.
The best piece of advice, if you haven't read it ten times already. GET HERE EARLY!
So beautiful !!
We parked and took the short walk to the lake. Everything is snowy and icy , even though it is officially spring. The mountain towering over the lake comes and goes through the clouds. Boy it sure is cold though.My hands and face are all chaffed from the cold.
Lake Louise must be the most popular, most visited and most photographed place in the Canadian Rockies. Despite all the big crowds (especially in the summer) Lake Louise is a must see. Reflected in the usual calm waters - which range from emerald green tot aquamarine - is a spectacular amphitheatre of high peaks crowned by Mount Victoria (3,464m / 11,365ft) and the Victoria Glacier on the crest of the Great Divide. Scenery-stunned visitors are often brought to their senses by the rumbling of ice crashing down the glacier in the summer.
Lake Louise was knows as the "Lake of the Little Fishes" to the local First Nation people and was discovered for the western world by CPR survey scout Tom Wilson in 1882 when the natives guided him there. He named it "Emerald Lake", but it was later renamed Lake Louise to honour Queen Victoria's daughter.''
There are several trails here as well with the most popular the lakeshore trail. If you wish you to go beyond the lakeshore you can continue this trail to the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse or the Lake Agnes Teahouse. These are both quite popular and you may encounter quite some people, but if you start early enough you might be able to avoid the big crowds.
Lake Louise is the most famous lake in the Canadian Rockies and perhaps the biggest draw of the entire area. It is an absolute wonder- a glittering gem backed by the massive, glacier-capped Mt. Victoria. It is also crazily overcrowded and overdeveloped. The parking lot for the lake is probably half the size of the lake and the eastern end of the lake, instead of being left naturally, has an artificially rocky shoreline and the massive Chateau Lake Louise, which, while being a pleasant enough building, is a serious blight to the natural splendor of the lake. However, it's possible to escape the crowds by taking hikes along the lakeshore or farther out to Lake Agnes or the Plain of Six Glaciers.
Avoid coming between 10 AM and 3 PM in the summer, or parking will be impossible.
Lake Louise is Banff National Park's crown jewel and in park so packed with scenic beauty, that is saying a lot. As with most things renowned as the best, one should not expect to find it to themselves. It's not a remote lake that requires many days to hike to. As with all things that have parking lots with a short wheel-chair accessible path leading right to their edge, it can be crowded.
Lake Louise is not particularly large at less than a square kilometer. What sets it apart is its emerald color, the result of sediment in its water due to it being a glacier fed lake. Of course, it does not hurt that is has some incredible craggy peaks as its backdrop. Despite its grandeur it is very accessible and user friendly, only 5 kilometers from the small town of Lake Louise and just off the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park.
It is named after the fourth granddaughter of Queen Victoria. One feature that perhaps spoils some of its natural wonder is the presence of Chateau Lake Louise right on its shore. Obviously, those staying in the hotel will likely feel differently about that. A very well maintained trail suitable for all hikers runs along its northwestern shore and quite a network of trails leave from here into many directions.
Lake Louise (the lake, not the village) is situated about 2.5 miles up the mountain from the village of Lake Louise. Also situated on the shore of Lake Louise is the famous Chateau Lake Louise. This is a great place to stay if you have deep pockets. If, like me, you don't have deep pockets then do what the locals do. Drive up to the lake, park in the public parking lot (it's free) and walk down to the lake. Take a few photos and wander through the market area of the Chateau, if you want. There are several trailheads that take off from this area as well: Lake Agnes, Plain of Six Glaciers, Saddleback and Fairview.
Lake Louise is the most famous glacial lake in the Canadian Rockies and one of the most beautiful in the western Hemisphere. It was given it’s name in 1884 to honor Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, sixth child of Queen Victoria. The lake is 5,689 feet above sea level. Melting glacier sediment with finely ground rock in the run off creates the striking turquoise color of the lake and keeps it at a frigid temperature year round.
Even though at times it gets crowded as a busy city street, Lake Louise, known as "The Jewel of The Rockies" has retained its stunning beauty. The tiny village of Lake Louise is located just off the Trans Canada Highway, and consists of mainly a few hotels, a couple of gas stations, and a small strip mall. The lake is located 5km up a steep two-lane road not far from the village. There is a huge, 3-level parking lot located at the lake, but often during midsummer it can be full. This is not even due to the tour buses, as they have their own parking lot. Avoid the crowds by getting here very early in the morning, or at 5 or 6 pm.
Most people are content to stroll the walking path around the lake and visit the world-famous Chateau Lake Louise. The hotel is worth seeing, and is decorated in the grand style of the Banff Springs Hotel. Built in 1890, the hotel had major renovations done in 1990. If you want to canoe on the lake, there is a small log cabin located near the hotel where you can rent one.
If you are ambitious, and want to do more than stroll around the lake, there are many hiking trails that start in this area the most popular and easiest being Lake Agnes. Inquire at the Parks Information Centre for hikes appropriate to your ability. The Parks Information Centre is located in Lake Louise Village, just by the strip mall.
The chateau Lake louise is part of the historic Fairmont chain of hotels spanning the country. built in the early days of the Canadian national Railways as a luxury hotel for the burgeoning tourism industry in the west, The hotel is not as appealing as others in this series. After visitng the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec city and the Banff Springs Hotel, Lake Louise just doesn't compare. It appears to be undergoing a facelift at the moment as there were several construction sites at the hotel while i was there so in the coming years, maybe we'll have a spruced up hotel to visit.
Similar to Lake Moraine, you are able to venture out onto the water in a canoe for an hour and take in the lake. Due to the day being overcast, grey, and dreary, the photos I have are a little drab but on a clear sunny day i really think that Lake Louise would really sparkle!
A section of Lake Louise is kept cleared of snow in the winter, so that people can come here to go skating. It's free!
There are benches by the lake where you can sit to change into your skates, and sometimes they have a bonfire going to warm you up.
The International Ice Festival is held annually on the grounds of the Chateau Lake Louise, during the last week of January.
It is an ice sculpture competition. The talent is remarkable, and the carvings are outstanding.
The carvings remain to be seen by the public for as long as weather permits.
My camera really doesn't do these carvings justice - we were there late in the day and the light was bad. They really are incredible to see, make sure you go if you get the chance.
the view from the lakeshore is know the world over. Prepare for crowds! But walk half a kilometre along the sore to leave the crowds behind. Public parking: Keep left at the Chateau Lake Louis jinction.
Just like I wrote about the Icefields Parkway: go in the middle of the summer to make sure you're actually going to see water.
I went at the beginning of May and not only was there still snow on the ground, the Lake was still mostly frozen. A little disappointing...
After all my wandering in the area, I finally found the UNESCO plaque here at Lake Louise .... since I didn't have time to wander the paths and explore, I didn't find it very special at all .. just another beautiful lake in the Candadian rockies :)
I watched folks kyak, walk, talk, and snap pictures galore ..... if I had more time, it would have been nice to have a tea break at the hotel restaurant, or to walk one or more of the paths ... as it was, my time was running very short for my little visit to this area, and I needed to get back into the car and begin the trek back to the Edmonton Airport.
Would I stop here again? I don't know ... I think I would if I had time to take the trails ... but for a quick stop, not really worth it in my mind ....