Lake Louise, which is the name of both the village, and the stunning alpine lake, is situated a short 35 minute drive west of Banff, and as a community, it is far smaller and less populated than either Banff or Jasper. The alpine scenery and mountain lakes in this area are perhaps more beautiful than anywhere else in the Canadian Rockies, making a visit here an essential element of any tour of the Mountain Parks.
A visit to Lake Louise would be a comfortable day trip from Banff or Canmore, and there is a good selection of hotels here if you would like to stay a bit longer of if you want to break up your journey between Banff and Jasper.
History of Lake Louise
Lake Louise was named in 1884, after Princess Louise, one of Queen Victoria’s daughters. Similar to the neighbouring town of Banff, it was the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway that put Lake Louise on the international tourist map. Lodging in Lake Louise had humble beginnings, with a log cabin built for mountaineers in 1890, on the site occupied by the Chateau Lake Louise today. From the early days, the famous Swiss guides, employed by Canadian Pacific, would guide European visitors to the magnificent peaks in the area and, to this day, hiking, climbing and skiing are still some of the many reasons to visit this impressive corner of Banff National Park.
Lake Louise Tours & Sightseeing
A visit to Lake Louise is not complete without marvelling at the lake herself, and taking a walk along her shores, and the less famous but no less beautiful Moraine Lake is also well worth the short detour. Hiking in the Lake Louise area is outstanding, and if you would like to gain a mountaineer’s perspective with less physical effort, you may wish to take a ride in the sightseeing gondola. Of course, if you come in the winter, that same gondola is one of the main lifts at Lake Louise Mountain Resort, one of the biggest and best ski resorts in Canada.
Some of the Banff bus tours include a visit to Lake Louise, and likewise there are several tours starting in Lake Louise that take in other highlights of Banff and Jasper National Parks.
A peaceful few hours can be spent in a canoe on Lake Louise, but if whitewater sounds more appealing, there are rafting trips that take place on the Kicking Horse River less than an hour away.
Lake Louise Hotels & Accommodation
Due to its lakeside location, the Chateau Lake Louise is probably the most well known hotel in Lake Louise, and the combination of its grandeur, magnificent views, and excellent restaurants, make it a fine choice for anyone looking for luxury hotels.
Mid-priced accommodation can be found at the Lake Louise Inn, closer to the village centre, where many of the rooms have kitchen facilities, and a more rustic but extremely charming cabin experience can be found at Paradise Lodge, which is only open during the summer months. For the budget conscious, the Lake Louise hostel is a great choice, particularly for hikers and skiers.
There are no bed and breakfasts in Lake Louise, but camping is popular both close to the village, and along the scenic Icefields Parkway.