The lower village of Lake Louise
The lower village of Lake Louise holds an array of dining (from cheap to fine), all sorts of accommodation and shopping. A scenic drive will bring visitors to the awe-inspiring Moraine Lake. Romantic and relaxing, the pace in Lake Louise attracts people who want to savour the finer things of life; a good book in front of a fireplace, the stillness of the outdoors, or a quiet walk after dinner.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Known as one of the most spectacular drives in the world, Highway 93 north starts just past the Lake Louise on the Trans Canada Highway. It winds 230 km to Jasper, and takes you by breathtaking views of mountains, glaciers and lakes. If you are driving to Jasper, give yourself about 3 hours as it can be pretty slow going during the summer due to traffic, wildlife, and stopping to admire the views.
Lake Louise Gondola
The area is otherwise known as Lake Louise Ski Resort in the winter. In my opinion, if you have to decide between the Sulphur Mountain Gondola and Lake Louise Gondola, choose Lake Louise, which gives you more bang for your buck, especially the ride and breakfast deal. You have a choice of enclosed car or ski lift chair. I would recommend the enclosed car if you are afraid of heights. The views are spectacular from the top.
The price of the gondola ride includes presentations, the most interesting and informative one being on grizzly bears . The highest concentration of grizzlies in Banff National Park is in the Lake Louise area; the reason being the large number of berry bushes that started growing on the cleared land while the ski resort was being built.
We were at the grizzly bear presentation, and as part of it, were taken down to a small stream . When we returned up the path, there was grizzly bear poop on the trail. The sneaky bear had come and gone and had maybe been within 50 feet of us. Our guide also told us of how, on one of the last rides down, she passed over the splayed out sleeping form of a grizzly who decided to crash for the night in plain view on the ski hill. So, definitely, there may be a chance to see a grizzly
There are also interpreter-guided hikes available for a nominal fee.
The Jewel of the Rockies
Even though at times it gets crowded as a New York 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.
Just as stunning and maybe just a smidge less crowded is Moraine Lake. Moraine Lake is distinctive as it is surrounded by ten peaks which rise 1340 dramatic metres from its teal-colored waters.
There is a lodge located here (yes, it is expensive) and the lake is a well-known hub for some stunning hikes. There is a path to stroll along one side of the lake, plus there is an easy hike up to the much less crowded Consolation Lakes.
Anyone hiking past Consolation Lakes or the lakeshore must hike in groups of six or more, as there is a cranky old grizzly who has made this area his territory. If you don't have a group of six, there are sign-up boards for people to group up. If you try to ignore this, you could end up having an encounter with this grumpy old fellow, or face being fined approx $3000.
As for Lake Louise, to avoid the crowds during the summer, try to get here quite early, or around 5 pm.
If you have only one chance to hike a trail, and you are moderately fit, you MUST hike Saddleback/Fairview. This trail is the highest trail in the Canadian Rockies.
The trail starts behind the canoe house on Lake Louise, and will take about 6 hours, the last leg being up to the summit of Fairview mountain, which is very strenuous. However, keep slogging, and you will eventually get there. The views will just blow you away, and you'll remember them for a lifetime. Oh, and don't forget your camera.
In summer, you don't need any special equipment, you could probably do the hike in a pair of good runners or sport shoes. Remember to bring layers as it can get very cold at the summit with the wind blowing.
This tip is for people who are fairly active and really don't hike, but want to see something other than the little pathway around Lake Louise.
The easy Lake Agnes hike is considered quite pedestrian and is sneered at by seasoned hikers, but it does give you a chance to stretch your legs and see some of the surrounding scenery. You will be able to see two rock formations, called the Beehives. You can extend your hike up to there if you have the energy, it's about another km. The scenery won't wow you, but it's fairly nice.
There is a teahouse at the lake, and sells light snacks, nothing heated though, as they do not have electricity. However, I would recommend bringing your own refreshments, if you do not want to pay $2.00 for a glass of lemonade. There are picnic tables outside the teahouse that you can use if you want to. There are also a pretty waterfall by the teahouse as well.
The trail is well-maintained and you can do it in runners.
Every early to mid January, Lake Louise comes alive with beautiful ice sculptures from the Ice Magic International Ice Sculpture Competition
The gorgeous sculptures are created on the snow-covered front lawn of the hotel, and vary every year, depending on the participants. What is done every year, however, is a huge ice castle right on the lake that you can skate into and around. It really is quite magical, especially at night.
I suggest you go during the week, or a couple of weeks after the competition is over, if you want to avoid the crowds. Lineups into the Lake Louise area can be huge, and you can wait for an hour for a parking spot. The sculptures are left out until they melt away, so you can still see good sculptures into February, if there hasn't been any warm weather
Mush!!!!! Dog sledding
In the winter you can travel the way they preferred before automobiles. Dog sledding is a must for anyone coming to this area in the winter. It will set you back about $250 + Canadian for two people in the sled.
The dogs LOVE to run and as you wait for the workers to hook the dogs to the sled, you'll hear them barking wildly. They were born to run and will not be happy until they are pulling you along the trail at 10-15 mph. It will be a bit bumpy, take pictures.
The guide will inform you about the dogs, telling you their names and how they are bred. Ask them a question.
You go out about one hour and then turn around, partially taking you into the deep forest and across a frozen lake. It was well worth the steep price.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
View From Chateau Lake Louise Lounge
From inside the hotel you obtain an excellent view of the lake from most public areas, even better views from outside the hotel on the terrace. I would expect many of the hotel guest rooms would enjoy spectacular views.Related to:
- Spa and Resort
- National/State Park
Another Lake near Lake Louise but less tourist-infested, you can actually have a sit down by the lake and take it all in without the hoards of Japanese tourists with cameras ruining the views!!
There are alot of walks in the vicinity of the lake, including backcountry ones which it is compulsory to be in a group of 6 due to bears in the area. You can climb up to a rocky outcrop complete with info about the lake dotted around as you go up.
I was at Moraine Lake in early Oct, I did a loop of Alberta and came to visit the lake on the way back, however by this time of year the road was closed off so looks like I was lucky!!!
Best View From Chateau Verandah
There is a sign stating guests are only allowed to take photos from this prime position. We had no problems taking photos, so give it a go when in Lake Louise.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Budget Travel
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