Category Archives: Lake Louise

Moraine Lake – Valley of the Ten Peaks

Highlights: Crystal clear blue lake, spectacular mountain scenery, third highest mountain in the Rockies.
Activities: Sightseeing, photography, walking, hiking, canoeing.
Location: Ten minutes from Lake Louise, one hour west of Banff.
Time: Minimum of one half-hour at the lake.
“I arrived at five in the morning and walked briskly up the trail leading from the lake’s edge towards the towering peak above. When the sun finally rose two hours later, I was ready for it, sitting amongst a carpet of golden larches, peaks glowing a brilliant orange all around me. It still ranks as one of my most memorable hiking experiences.”
Larch Valley at Moraine Lake
September 7, 1994

Photographs © Nature Works

Featuring a crystal clear blue-green lake, a valley hemmed in by ten lofty mountain peaks, and a hanging valley of larches beneath the third highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, it’s little wonder that Moraine Lake rivals Lake Louise in scenic grandeur and fame. One look from the Rockpile at the lake’s edge, and you’re hooked, the scene from the back of Canada’s old $20 bill emblazoned into your memory forever.

From the village of Lake Louise, follow Lake Louise Drive up to the Moraine Lake turn-off and then drive past the Paradise Valley trailhead until you reach a large parking lot on the shores of the lake (12.5 km/7.5 mi from the turn-off). Be sure to bring your camera for pictures of the spectacular view of the lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks (the series of ten mountain peaks that runs from the edge of the lake along the left side of the entire valley).

At the shoreline in front of the parking lot, the Rockpile (literally, a pile of rocks!) is on your left and the lodge is on your right, while straight ahead is the lake and the start of the Wenkchemna peaks. To your right high above the lodge is the icy peak of Mount Temple, the third highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies at 3,540 metres (11,500 feet).

The area offers a wide variety of recreational options. You can rent a canoe from the boat dock and paddle down to the end of the lake, you can take in an easy stroll along the shoreline, or you can hike to any number of wonderful destinations, including the Consolation Lakes, Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass and Eiffel Lake.

Lake Louise Hotels and Accommodations in Alberta, Canada

Lake Louise, Field and Area

Advance reservations are strongly recommended for the summer season, and for all national and international holidays. During ski season, advance reservations are recommended at all Lake Louise, Field and Area hotels. Visitors to the Banff and Lake Louise area may also choose to stay in the mountain community of Canmore, which offers additional accommodations and is located just 15 minutes east of Banff.

The Juniper Hotel and Bistro

Banff – Art-Eco Lifestyle Hotel offers the best mountain views due it’s exclusive location at the base of Mount Norquay, only 2 kms from downtown Banff. This designer hotel features fifty-two accommodations including chalets with kitchens and king jacuzzi suites. Free wireless, bike rentals, outdoor hot tub and full service Bistro, Lounge and Patio. The Juniper is Banff’s only 100% clean energy hotel and is a leader in environmental initiatives.

Website: Click Here!

Fill-up our Cabin Rental Booking Request Form now!

Vacations Roostphoto 01 b1 Holiday Homes in and near Banff National Park   Alberta, Canada

Vacation home rentals in the Banff National Park area and environs.  Over 100,000 professionally-managed vacation homes and condos in 80 destinations.  Also, check out the Free Golf Special when you book now.

Website: Click Here!

Paradise Lodge & BungalowsParadise Lodge & Bungalows
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, near the shores of world-famous Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Paradise Lodge & Bungalows is a family run business. Paradise Lodge has been owned and operated by the Pedersen family for more than 50 years. Each guest can fully enjoy a true mountain experience. Our guests visit from around the world to relax and surround themselves in our spectacular scenery. There are two types of accommodations offered at Paradise, individual cabins and lodge suites.

Website: Click here!

Book Hotels in Lake Louise Thru – Get $100 worth of FREE Activities and Food Discounts
Promo Code: 266527

Free $100 worth of coupons and discounts do not apply when you book directly with a hotel.

Lake Louise InnLake Louise Inn Book Now!

The Lake Louise Inn In Alberta, Canada, Features A Lush, Natural Setting Close To Nature Trails, Scenic Points And Lakes. Shopping Is Available At Samson Mall, Within One-half Kilometer Of The Hotel, And 30 Kilometers Away Is The Majestic Johnson Canyon.

Deer LodgeDeer Lodge – Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada Book Now!

The Deer Lodge Is Secluded Within A National Park Near Lake Louise Village In Alberta, Canada. The Lodge Stands One Kilometer From Hiking Trails And Six Kilometers From The Lake Louise Ski Hill.

The Deer Lodge Retains Much Of Its Original Hand-hewn Log Features And Décor, While Architectural Structures Have Been Restored. A Stone Fireplace Glows, While A Cedar Sauna Banishes The Evening Chill.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake LouiseThe Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada Book Now!

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Sits Eight-stories Tall On The Shores Of Lake Louise. Surrounded By The Canadian Rocky Mountains, The Hotel Is Adjacent To The Plain Of The Six Glaciers Trail. The Hotel Is Less Than Five Kilometers From The Parks Canada Information Center And 10 Kilometers From Lake Louise Mountain Resort.

Post Hotel & SpaPost Hotel & Sp – Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada Book Now!

Perched at 1500 metres amidst the natural wonders of Banff National Park you will find this cherished Alpine chalet. Canada’s largest ski area is just minutes away and the abundance of snow is just one reason a growing number of European skiers visit the area each winter. An award winning wine list, and fresh market cuisine are featured in the renowned dining room.

Emerald Lake LodgeEmerald Lake Lodge– Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada Book Now!

Standing At The Base Of A Placid Aquamarine Lake Beneath Yoho National Park’s Towering Cliff-faced Mountains, The Rural Emerald Lake Lodge In Field, British Columbia, Represents An Ideal Rocky Mountain Escape Within 30 Kilometers, Or 20 Miles, Of Lake Louise Ski Hill And Even Nearer Pristine Waterfalls And The Canadian Pacific Railroad’s Famous Spiral Tunnels. Outdoor Adventure Seekers Can Enjoy Snowshoeing, Cross-country Skiing, Hiking Along Numerous Trials, Rowing Or Canoeing, And Fishing.

Accomodations and Services

alpine-meadows-lodgeAlpine Meadows Lodge

Small Timber frame mountain lodge on a large private reserve in Golden, BC. Just minutes from town. Great location. breakfast included. Spanish spoken. Very memorable place to stay.

Website: Click Here!

Purcell Mountain Lodge

Purcell Mountain LodgeEscape to a place with no roads, no publicized hiking trails, no cars, no crowds, no noise, no pollution. Yet, despite its remoteness, Purcell Lodge offers modern accommodation and facilities that belie its isolation.

Here, you will discover private bedrooms with hand-crafted furniture, wild-flower comforters and balconies on which you can revel in your magnificent surroundings.

Wilderness Hiking Lodge of the Year – 1995
Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report

Website: Click Here!

River to Peaks Inn

rivertopeaksSleep alongside the Kicking Horse River in Golden, BC in this charming bed and breakfast. It’s the perfect cozy accommodation for skiers in the winter or any summer traveler looking for a quaint Canadian Rockies experience.

Website: Learn more here!

GET $100 worth of FREE Activites/Restaurant Coupons when you book!

Sportsman Lodge

1200-12th ST NE

Sportsman Lodge is located in Golden and local attractions include Kicking Horse Resort.

Ramada Limited Golden

1311 12th St N

Ramada Limited Golden is in the business district and local attractions include Kicking Horse Resort.

The Palliser Lodge

1420 Palliser
Lodge Tr.

The Palliser Lodge is located in Golden and local attractions include Kicking Horse Resort.
Recreational amenities include a spa tub…

Travelodge Golden BC

915 10th Avenue
South Hwy 95

Travelodge Golden BC is located in Golden and local attractions include Kicking Horse Resort.

Aspens at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

1340 Palliser Tr.

Located in Golden, Aspens at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is in the mountains and close to Kicking Horse Resort.

Vagabond Lodge at Kicking Horse Resort

1581 Cache Close,
Box 177

Located in Golden, Vagabond Lodge at Kicking Horse Resort is in the mountains and close to Kicking Horse Resort.

Highland Lodge and Spa

1593 Cache Close

Located in Golden, Highland Lodge and Spa is in the mountains and close to Kicking Horse Resort.

Whispering Pines

1336 Palliser Tr.

Balconies offer mountain views. Rooms are individually furnished. Beds come with premium bedding. Furnishings include fireplaces and sofa beds. At the 3.0-star property, accommodations include kitchens with full-sized refrigerators/freezers, stovetops, microwaves, and dishwashers

Emerald Lake Lodge

Emerald Lake Rd.

Emerald Lake Lodge is located in Field and local attractions include Yoho National Park.

Rondo Motel

824 Park Dr.

Located close to both Yoho and Banff National Parks, the Rondo Motel is the ideal choice for a great value hotel in Golden, Shuswap . Lake Louis and the Kicking Horse Mountain resort are within…


1049 TRANS

This elegant full service hotel located in an incomparable setting of majestic mountain peaks glacier carved river valleys and rugged landscapes offers luxurious accommodation…

Lake Louise: The Hiking Capital of Canada

© Lake Louise with the Chateau in foreground

© Lake Louise with the Chateau in foreground

Everyone’s immediate goal is to get to the world famous view at the lakeshore. But why not build in some anticipation? You’ll only be a virgin once, so timing is crucial! To make this moment the best it can be, you must avoid the lakeshore from 10 am to 4 pm (in summer), when the crowds are at their peak.

We recommend spending time doing other things first, like getting to your accommodation, settling in and checking out the immediate surroundings. To fill in your itinerary for day one, check the list of ways to “Round out Your Lake Louise Itinerary” below. One anticipation-building option is to pick up a copy of Jon Whyte’s “Lake Louise: A Diamond in the Wilderness” for a colourful foretaste of Lake Louise’s history and delights (Woodruff & Blum, Lake Louise Shopping Mall or Mountain Lights, Lake Louise Chateau).

Then, as the day is drawing to a close, maybe even after dinner in summer, drive up to the Lake Louise parking lots and quietly make your way to the main viewpoint. If you enjoy a bit of exercise and are staying in the village, it is very pleasant to walk up the Louise Creek trail (45 min), or, to x-country ski or bike up the Tramline trail (25 min), letting the experience unfold a more leisurely pace. Your mind will relax and be ready to take in the peace (and even awe) that evening in the mountains can offer.

Lake Louise: The Hiking Capital of Canada

Lake Louise has many nicknames: the Hiking Capital of Canada, the Skiing Capital of Canada, the Romance Capital of Canada (tied with Niagara Falls), the Diamond in the Wilderness, the Jewel in the Heart of the Canadian Rockies. Finally, we’re also the Highest Community in Canada at 5,020 ft (1530 m).

Hiking is fabulous here because you already start very high in elevation. It doesn’t take long to break out to views. There are over 200 km of trails in the immediate Lake Louise area and many more nearby. And we’ve got something for everyone — from trails flat as a board to trails that take you to the summits.


Click the logo for short side trips and stops on this tour.

The Other Lake – Moraine Lake
The Icefields Parkway Tour
WaterFalls and RockWalls Tour (Yoho)
Hot Springs (Kootenay)
For Train Buffs

Stuff to do for those that don’t hike or ski

Moraine Lake – Don’t miss our “other” lake

© Moraine Lake  - This classic mountain scene is the setting for Moraine Lake Lodge which is open from June - early Oct.

© Moraine Lake - This classic mountain scene is the setting for Moraine Lake Lodge which is open from June - early Oct.

The next stop in the immediate Lake Louise vicinity is our other fabulous lake, Moraine Lake (open in summer only). Moraine can be extremely busy by noon, so it is important to get an early start on the day. Enjoy a hearty breakfast, then head out (say, before 9:30 am) to the shore of Moraine Lake where adventures large and small await.

Do take the Rockpile interpretive trail. The very best views of the lake and surrounding Valley of the Ten Peaks can be had from the top of this, yes… pile of rocks. It is short, with only a little elevation to conquer. Look for the golden-mantled ground squirrel (fat with stripes), the chipmunk (stripes with pointy nose), the pika (a unique high mountain rabbit relative) and the marmot (a ground squirrel on steroids… occasionally sighted). Food and gifts are available at Moraine Lake Lodge. On your right, above the lodge, is Mt. Temple, the third highest peak in banff National Park (3549 m / 11, 636 ft).

There is a short walk along the right bank of the lake and a short hike to Consolation Lakes that are both a great way to extend your visit to Moraine Lake. As well, a number of longer hikes begin at Moraine Lake including spectacular Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass and Eiffel Lake. There may, however, be a bear closure or warning on these trails….

You are in Bear Country:

The Moraine Lake area has been home over the last couple of years to a young, male grizzly bear.

Don’t worry!

Right at the lakeshore your chances of seeing this bear are quite small, but it is an awe-inspiring (and humbling) experience to know that the park is still home to this powerful creature.

Find out more about the grizzly by taking in a Parks Canada interpretive show about bears at the Lake Louise Campground Theatre (schedule available at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre) or by buying one of the many books available.


Click the logo for short side trips and stops on this tour.

Lake Louise
The Icefields Parkway Tour
WaterFalls and RockWalls Tour (Yoho)
Hot Springs (Kootenay)
For Train Buffs

Stuff to do for those that don’t hike or ski

Round out your Icefields Parkway tour

Peyto Lake © Just one of the side trips recommended by the editors along the Icefields Parkway

Peyto Lake © Just one of the side trips recommended by the editors along the Icefields Parkway

Stop at the interpretive signs.

Many of the viewpoints have displays that explain more about the area.

Stretch your legs at one of the short trails along the way. Not only does Bow Summit offer one of the most famous views in the Rockies (Peyto Lake), but also a short interpretive trail that meanders through high elevation meadows. In early summer, this is the only way to see alpine wildflowers without a serious hike. Mistaya Canyon is a 10-minute walk through forest to a stretch of deeply eroded canyon that features potholes worn into the rock. The beginning of the Glacier Lake trail allows you to poke around on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River.

Have an ice cream and stare in amazement at the postcard selection at The Crossing Resort’s gift shop.

Look for wildlife along the way. On a good day in May and June (while there is still a lot of snow high on the mountains), you can often spot every large mammal that the Rockies has to offer — right next to the road. During the rest of the summer, your chances are still good to see animals, especially early and late in the day. Drive carefully. A number of good, pocket-sized books are available about the mammals of the Canadian Rockies.

In winter, be sure to have a full tank of gas, food and water when you take this trip. All services are closed.

THE Picnic

Pack a delicious lunch to eat outdoors.
The parkway is the wildest part of banff National Park and features nature at its most intense and beautiful. You’ll be in a car for much of the trip and what better way to experience this place than to eat while fully immersed in it.

There are picnic areas at Herbert Lake, Bow Lake, Saskatchewan River Crossing, and below Mt. Coleman. Or, bring a blanket and find a quiet and secluded spot by driving into a campground or stopping at a trailhead where you can walk a short distance away.

Lake Louise
The Icefields Parkway Tour
WaterFalls and RockWalls Tour (Yoho)
Hot Springs (Kootenay)
For Train Buffs

Stuff to do for those that don’t hike or ski

Plenty of activities for non-hikers and skiers at Lake Louise

What to do if you don’t ski or hike

We’ve organized things by month, but some activities could be done in multiple months or multiple seasons. Scan this whole page for ideas.


1. When freezing arctic air invades the mountains, it’s too cold to be outside for long, but what a perfect time to head up the Icefield’s Parkway (#93N) from Lake Louise to the Columbia Icefield. On these crystal clear days, the scenery is truly eye-popping.

Start by buying a book on Glaciers at Woodruff & Blum (in the shopping mall) and reading it over breakfast. Bring food, water and make sure you’re gassed up — there are no services open on this road, except Num-ti-jah Lodge at about 25 minutes along your route. Then pick up the “Icefields Parkway” pamphlet from the Lake Louise Visitor Centre and plan to stop and view numerous glaciers from the roadside. At some point, get out of the car for a few moments and really understand a glacier (brrrrr!)

2. Have a video and reading afternoon at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre. There is a fireplace lounge where you can read and a theatre showing videos on park history, avalanches, bears and other animals. Copies of Mountain Heritage magazine, featuring articles on the latest in Canadian Rockies history, are also available. Try to be outside, however, for sunset (sometime around 4:30 – 5:00 pm) and admire the incredible hot pinks on the mountains. It only lasts about 10 minutes, so timing is crucial.

3. The Post Hotel, one of our most luxurious, serves a lovely European tea in their lobby each afternoon. And they have one of our nicest skating rinks tucked against the side of the building. What a combination! Good views of the surrounding mountains, fresh air and casual elegance. Skates can be rented from Wilson Mountain Sports (in the shopping mall).


1. Enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride along the shore of Lake Louise (reservations at Chateau Lake Louise lobby) for around $15 per adult. At the end of the lake, you might see ice climbers practicing their skills on a frozen water fall — Louise Falls. It is one of the few places in the Rockies where you can easily see what these daredevils do on ice. And speaking of ice, in the first half of the month, take a look at the ice sculptures on the lakeshore. They are the result of Ice Magic, an international ice carving competition held in the middle of January.

2. On Wednesday nights in February, the Lake Louise Visitor Centre hosts a speaker series. Hot chocolate and herbal tea are served while local wildlife researchers, historians and other interesting folks give presentations about the history and nature of Lake Louise and banff National Park. 8 pm, free admission.

3. Head down to Emerald Lake for snowshoeing. Only a forty-minute drive from Lake Louise, the open area at the back of Emerald Lake is a perfect place to safely explore on snowshoes (just stay on the flats and away from slopes). Don’t be afraid to poke around off trail and explore. Look for animal sign and practice using a map to identify peaks.

Get a topographical map (bookstores/visitor centres), rent snowshoes & ski poles (Emerald Sports, next to the parking lot) and ask for a short orientation from the rental folks. Historic Emerald Lake Lodge offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food and hot chocolate are available in the lounge all day.


1. Get a quick fossil fix and learn about the Burgess Shale. This famous fossil bed is located nearby in Yoho National Park and is full of fossils dating back to the Cambrian explosion, when life multiplied dramatically for the first time on planet Earth. It is one of only two places in the world where the fossils of soft-bodied creatures have been found. Books on the Burgess Shale are available from Woodruff and Blum (Lake Louise shopping mall), Mountain Lights bookstore (Chateau Lake Louise) and the Friends of Yoho (Field Visitor Centre).

You can’t visit the actual quarry in winter, but you can stop outside the Field Information Centre (25 minute drive from Lake Louise) and have a look at the site through a telescope while reading about the wacky creatures that have been found there. A few sample fossils can be viewed inside the centre. Round out your visit by stopping at the Friends of Yoho shop and buying a Burgess Shale t-shirt, or, heading over to the Velvet Antler Pottery (downtown Field) for a trilobite pin – the only legal ways to take home a fossil!

2. Winter lasts a long time in Lake Louise, and Canadian families have always known about the joys of tobogganing to make winter fun for everyone. The best hill is right next to Chateau Lake Louise (on your left as you stand at the lakeshore and look at the hotel). Rent toboggans from Monod Sports (inside the Chateau) and watch the kids fly!

3. Write a letter or postcard and sip cappuccino while taking in the famous view of Lake Louise. You’ll be part of a tradition. There are beautiful, old-fashioned writing desks in front of the big windows of the Chateau Lake Louise. Many people, both famous and not so famous, have spent their time in the same peaceful and inspiring way.


1. Spend some time learning about the history of Lake Louise. Your first stop is the Lake Louise Visitor Centre’s human history lounge with a few exhibits and the video “Lake Louise, A Mountain Legend.” Wander over to Woodruff and Blum booksellers (shopping mall) and buy “Lake Louise: Diamond in the Wilderness” by Jon Whyte. Next is lunch, an afternoon cocktail, or, tea and chocolate cake (my favourite) in the lounge section of the Lake Louise Train Station Restaurant — a restored heritage railway station. You have reading material, while they have historic photos on the walls, a couple of old-fashioned train cars to view and ambience to burn!

2. Become a train buff. Pick up a copy of “Kicking Horse Chronicles” (Lake Louise Visitor Centre) to read over breakfast. It tells some of the impressive and harrowing tales about the building of the railway over Kicking Horse Pass, 10 minutes from Lake Louise. Then head out and drive the TransCanada Highway (#1) following the same route. Stop at the Spiral Tunnels viewpoint and, in the town of Field, ask for directions to the Bunkhouse, which includes the staff restaurant for men still working on the Canadian Pacific rail line. There’s no sign, but the public is welcome in this diner-style eatery. Daily specials.

3. Bring a kite with you on your Canadian Rockies trip in April. While winter is still king in Lake Louise, the temperatures will be milder and the snow almost gone in the town of Field, 20 minutes and 2000 feet of elevation away. The gravel river flats (right next to the town and the Trans-Canada highway) are the perfect place to get away from power lines and catch the breeze blowing down from Kicking Horse Pass. Park at the Field Visitor Centre or the “back road” (ask for directions).


Most of the well-known commercial visitor attractions open on the May 24th long weekend.

1. Try out bird watching on something easy — ducks swimming in a lake. You will need binoculars (bring your own or buy at Pipestone Photo, shopping mall) and a bird field guide (available from bookstores and visitor centres). In late May, unusual ducks can often be seen on Herbert Lake (10 minutes north of Lake Louise on #93N) as they migrate northward. There is a picnic area and a small, informal trail around the lake. Move quietly. Early morning or evening is the best time to go. You could also check out Kingfisher Lake and McNair Pond (get directions at the Visitor Centre).

2. Look for wildlife on the Icefields Parkway. There is still so much snow up high on the mountains that animals are forced to be in valley bottoms, right next to the road(!), looking for the first fresh spring food. On a good day in May or June, you might see every major mammal we have on the trip from Lake Louise to jasper. Please drive carefully to protect these animals when they are at their most vulnerable. And help save our bears from human habituation by staying in your vehicle if you encounter one.

3. Check out early season wildflowers along the shore of Emerald Lake. Because of its low elevation, things start blooming here before anywhere else. If you are lucky, you’ll hit the first blush of bright yellow avalanche lilies that bloom as the snow melts away. There are rare and unusual plants here too, so be sure to take paper and pencil to sketch things you can’t find in your guide book (draw the whole plant!). And stop in at the Field Visitor Centre for help in identifying things. Wildflower guides available from bookstores and visitor centres.


1. Bike to the Great Divide Picnic Area. Starting in the summer of 1999, the #1A Great Divide Highway from Lake Louise to the Great Divide will be closed to vehicles and become a paved cycling road. This gentle road cuts through mainly old-growth forest and the views are good. Your destination is about 6 km (4 mi) away at the picnic area where exhibits and a divided stream illustrate the concept of the parting of the waters east and west.

Insider info for non-cyclists: You will be able to reach this same spot by car. The road will be open to vehicles from its other end to the picnic area. Take the Trans-Canada (#1) west of Lake Louise for 10 minutes and turn left to join the #1A (also the turnoff for Lake O’Hara).

Pack a generous lunch from famous Laggan’s Deli (Lake Louise shopping mall) and rent mountain bikes from Wilson Mountain Sports (mall). You can park at the beginning of the road or begin your cycle from the village by taking the Tramline trail (add about 4 km or 2 ½ mi and 152 m or 500 feet of elevation). Good June-September.

2. Rent a canoe on Moraine Lake. Start by walking the Rockpile Trail to see the incredible colour of this lake from above. Rentals are located right on the shore and while you’re out, look for the rare and beautiful harlequin duck. They like to sit on logs floating in the water or on the quiet side away from people. Moraine Lake is the site of the first aquatic restoration project in banff National Park. Look for evidence of biologists researching the best way to rid the lake of non-native species and reintroduce the endangered bull trout.

3. The longest days of the year are in June and there can still be light in the sky as late as midnight. Stay up. Take a walk along the Bow River Loop and admire late evening light on the water. Our favourite spot in Lake Louise is the bridge at the far end of this trail (away from the village) when it is still and quiet. If time is limited, park at the main campground bridge and walk only the far half of the loop.


1. Get away from it all at the Corral Creek picnic area (10 minutes from Lake Louise on the #1A Bow Valley Parkway). It’s off the beaten track and generally quiet. You can have a fire there and open grassy areas are perfect for family games. A short walk away is McNair Pond, where you could look for ducks, woodpeckers and swallows in the early morning or evening. Owls have been heard in the area too.

2. Take in an evening show by Parks Canada interpreters. Both the Lake Louise Campground and the Kicking Horse Campground in Yoho National Park (20 minutes away) offer fun and entertaining evening shows about the nature and history of the national parks. Check any visitor centre for schedules. Free admission.

3. See, smell and enjoy wildflowers along the Moraine Lake Road. There are so many microhabitats here (forest, wet areas, dry & rocky slopes, open meadow) that a wide variety of our wildflowers grow right alongside of the road. Normally you’d have to hike a number of trails to see them, but instead drive along a stop at all the pullouts. Bring a wildflower book (bought at the Friends of banff National Park store in the Lake Louise Visitor Centre), paper and pencil.

Walk into the woods or poke around the ditch and try identifying what you see, but please do not pick any flowers or plants. If you are having trouble, sketch the entire plant including the leaves and bring your drawing to the visitor centre or an interpretive programme. Don’t have a book? Pretend you are an old-time naturalist and sketch everything you want to identify. Then use the books at the visitor centre. To avoid traffic, go early or late.


1. Swimming in Lake Louise. Well, not in Lake Louise itself! Most of our lakes are fed by glaciers and too cold for an enjoyable dip (although true locals do cool off in these frigid waters on the hottest days of the summer after a sweaty hike — a breathtaking experience). The beach for Lake Louise is at Herbert Lake (10 minutes up the #93N), which has great views, a diving board and, needless to say, is not fed by a glacier. The water is still nippy, but on fair weather days, it is heavily frequented by the young, local staff which can make for a true beach atmosphere. For quieter times, go earlier in the day… a hot day.

2. Take in a baseball game at the Lake Louise Recreation Centre’s baseball diamonds. The local league plays on week-nights for most of the summer. The late-day light on Mt. Temple and its glacier is sublime (in our opinion!). We challenge every member of the family to wear a hat with an animal on it (available at most gift shops). There is also a playground here.

3. People watch on the shore of Lake Louise. You’ll find strategically-placed benches where you can just let your eyes wander and wonder. Stroll along and count how many languages you are hearing. World famous Lake Louise attracts people from everywhere. Can you pick out the rock climbers heading out the back of the lake to try their skills on the pink and orange cliffs?

4. Pretend your are on the Maid of the Mist at Wapta Falls — Yoho National Park’s version of Niagara Falls. An easy walk takes you to an overlook, but the excitement starts when you follow the trail down to the base of the falls. In August, glaciers are melting like crazy, the river is full of water and the falls produce a rain of mist. Get wet and skip the very flat rocks on the beach in the river. Park at the trailhead. 2.4 km (1.5 mi) and about 15 m (50 ft) elevation loss to the base of the falls.


1. Pack the lunch of your dreams from Laggan’s Deli (Lake Louise shopping mall), bring a blanket and head out to Ross Lake. It is a pretty little lake that is seldom visited by any but locals. The short trail is 1.3 km (less than 1 mi) long and makes its way through first a young forest and then an old-growth forest. It’s quiet and pleasant here. Birds call in the treetops. At the lake, set yourself up on the boardwalk. Look for spawning fish in the stream leaving the lake. Park at the trailhead on the #1A Great Divide Highway.

2. Hike or take a horseback ride to Lake Agnes to see the larch trees in all their glory. From about the third week of September, the alpine larch turn a stunning gold, and when the sky is blue there is nothing better to see in Lake Louise. But surprise… larch trees have needles, not leaves. They grow only at treeline and are most accessible in the Lake Louise area. Lake Agnes, your destination, also features a teahouse for a civilized end to the trip. Horse trips are available from both Timberline tours (522-3743) .

3. Take the Walk in the Past Trail from the Kicking Horse Campground, Yoho National Park (20 minutes from Lake Louise). There is a brochure available at the trailhead (or the Field Visitor Centre) outlining six interpretive stops to make along the trail. They tell the story of the building of the railway over the notorious “Big Hill.” The final stop brings you to the remains of a narrow-gauge locomotive used in constructing the spiral tunnels. 1.2 km (less than one mile), 30 m (100 ft) elevation gain.


1. Where is your favourite place in the world? Chances are it is related to water. Take a mountain bike ride around the Bow River Loop. Early day and evening light on the water make this trip particularly special. Views of the surrounding mountains are good, especially Mt. Temple. You can stop along the way to read exhibit panels about wildlife found around the river. Buy a topographical map (bookstores and visitor centres) and try to identify the mountains around you. Bike rentals available at Wilson Mountain Sports (Lake Louise shopping mall).

2. Join the locals for a cappuccino and sweet treat at Laggan’s Deli (Lake Louise shopping mall) or Bill Peyto’s Cafe (at the Canadian Alpine Centre and Youth Hostel). Insider tip: You can take your cappuccino upstairs at the Youth Hostel to a cosy common room and spend the whole afternoon reading or playing games. They have a number of books there, or, we recommend a look at Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe & Mail for a taste of Canadian politics and thought (available at the Lake Louise Market in the mall).

3. Having no luck seeing animals? There is a solution. Peruse the gift shops at the Chateau Lake Louise and the Lake Louise Village for animal-flavoured merchandise. Christmas is not that far away…. One great gift idea for young folks is to give them a number of presents that all relate to one animal. We did wolves one year and our niece and nephew loved it. They created their own wolf club. The heart of our gift was a wolf sponsorship from the Central Rockies Wolf Research Project, available at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre.


1. If the gods are with us and we get a cold, clear start to the winter (no snow) it can be a lake skating extravaganza! Skating season is eagerly awaited every year, but the window of opportunity can be very short. If you are lucky enough to arrive at the right time, don’t miss it. Rent skates (Monods in Chateau Lake Louise or Wilson Mountain Sports in the mall) and head out for some smooth gliding over crystal clear ice. Herbert Lake (10 minutes up the #93N) is most often the first to be ready. The really intrepid folks can hike up to Lake Agnes. Skating on a snow-free Lake Louise happens only about once every 10 years because it is a deep lake that takes a long time to freeze.

2. Get a geology and rockhounding fix. Start by finding out how the Canadian Rockies were formed at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre. The story is told in exhibits and an entertaining, interactive video starring Dr. G.O. Morph. You could also check out the Rocks and Gems shop in the Chateau Lake Louise. Many of the stones and fossils are not from this area, but are still fascinating to see and collect. While up at the Chateau, pick up a book on geology or glaciers from Mountain Lights bookstore.

3. On Wednesday nights in November, the Lake Louise Visitor Centre hosts a speaker series. Hot chocolate and herbal tea are served while local wildlife researchers, historians and other interesting folks give presentations about the history and nature of Lake Louise and banff National Park. 8 pm, free admission.


1. Join a skating party on Lake Louise. Just in front of the Chateau, a rink is cleared and an ice-castle built. Free hot chocolate and a fire are set up starting 6-7ish every evening. During the day, find your hot chocolate in the Lobby Bar and feel cosy as you look out the big windows at Lake Louise. Skate rentals at Monods (Chateau).

2. Try dogsledding with local guide Doug Hannah. The huskies are howling and you are swooshing through a winter wonderland like a real northerner. The trips are 35 minutes long and take place around the #1A Great Divide highway, which is closed to cars in winter. Reservations made at the Chateau Lake Louise (522-3511 or in person).

3. Be part of the nightlife. You don’t have to go to banff to find party atmosphere. Dancing and socializing can be found at the Glacier Saloon (Chateau Lake Louise), the Outpost (Post Hotel), the Western BBQ and Dance the Torchlight Ski (Skiing Louise) and the Explorer’s Lounge (Lake Louise Inn).

Lake Louise Drives and Walks

Drives and Attractions

A drive in the Rockies with stops along the way will leave visitors with lots of memories to take back home. Many of the scenic drives in and around the village of Lake Louise along with some of the attractions and sights of the area are described in this brochure. Jackets, insect repellent and litter bags are useful for stops along the way. Maps, guidebooks, binoculars, a camera and a full picnic hamper will help you enjoy your visit even more.

Lake Louise

With its blue-green water and dramatic mountain setting, this is the best known and most admired lake in the park. Lake Louise Drive, a paved 4.5 km road, and two trails, the Tramline and Louise Creek, provide access between Lake Louise Village on the valley floor and the lake itself. Pathways lead from the public parking lot to the lake. The magnificent snow-covered peak at the end of the lake is Mount Victoria, named for England’s renowned queen. The lake is named for after one of her five daughters. A stroll through the flower-filled grounds in front of the Chateau Lake Louise is a nice way to spend a half hour. Canoes can be rented from the boathouse at the lake or you can see the lake on foot by walking the Lakeshore Trail. At the Lake Louise ski area, on the opposite side of the valley, visitors can take a chairlift up Whitehorn Mountain in the summertime for panoramic views of Lake Louise and its surrounding peaks.

Moraine Lake: Valley of the Ten Peaks

The sister lake to Lake Louise, in its setting encircled by mountains, is a scene familiar to many from the back of the Canadian $20 bill. From the turnoff on Lake Louise Drive, a 12.5 km drive, closed in winter, takes you to the lake with a number of viewpoints along the way. The Great Divide runs across the tops of the jagged peaks behind the lake. Stoney Indian names were originally given to the 10 peaks by 19th century mountaineers. You can get an excellent view of these peaks and the lake by hiking the Rockpile Trail to the top of the large jumble of rocks at the outlet of the lake. The huge mountain to the north with the glacier on its summit is Mount Temple, third highest mountain in the park. You can also stroll to the far end of the lake on the well-built lakeshore trail, take a short walk to nearby Consolation Lakes or go canoeing.

1A Highway: The Great Divide

The 7.4 km drive from the junction on Lake Louise Drive to the Great Divide follows the original highway over the Kicking Horse Pass. A rustic timber arch marks the divide. A monument on the 1625 metre summit of the pass is near the railway tracks, a short walk from the picnic area. As well as being the major continental watershed, the Great Divide also forms the boundary line here between Alberta and British Columbia and between Banff and Yoho National Parks. This road, like the one to Moraine Lake, is not plowed in winter and then becomes a cross-country ski trail. From the divide, you can continue on to take in many of the scenic and historical attractions of Yoho National Park: the Spiral Tunnels exhibit and viewpoint, Takakkaw Falls in Yoho Valley and Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge. For information on Yoho National Park stop at the Information Centre located beside the highway at the town of Field.

The Bow Valley Parkway

The parkway is a low-speed scenic drive between Lake Louise and Banff on the side of the Bow River opposite the Trans-Canada. To reach the parkway, cross the highway overpass, drive uphill on Whitehorn Road and take the first right turn. Along the route there are interpretive signs, viewpoints and picnic sites.

The Icefields Parkway

This parkway ranks as one of the most scenic highways in the world and is also a good route for viewing wildlife. It starts at an overpass on the Trans-Canada Highway 2.5 km west of Lake Louise. From the overpass it runs for 230 km past Bow Lake, the Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Falls and other natural spectacles to end at the town of Jasper in Jasper National Park.

Self-Guiding Interpretive Trails

You can learn a lot by hiking an interpretive trail. They are short, well-built and easily accessible. Signs, displays, and brochures help you uncover some of the hidden layers of the park’s natural and human history.

Bow River Loop

This 7.1 km loop located on both banks of the Bow River is primarily a nature walk. Interpretive signs along the way will introduce you to the Bow River ecosystem and some of its animal friends. The river loop connects with the Tramline and Louise Creek trails. As this loop is easily accessible from the campgrounds, the railway station and hotels and shops in the village centre, it also serves pedestrians and bicyclists on errands.

Moraine Lake Rockpile

You don’t have to hike far or high to obtain one of the best views of Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. From the parking lot, a well-constructed trail runs to the top of the rockpile at the lake outlet. The round trip distance is less than 0.8 km and the elevation gain about 24 m. The panoramic view from the top may be familiar to you from the back of the Canadian $20 bill. It appears now that rockpile damming the lake is a result of a rockslide off Mount Babel rather than a glacial-formed moraine.

(assistance required) Bow Summit

This trail starts in the parking lot on the Icefields Parkway 44 km north of Lake Louise. You climb uphill (total elevation gain is only 32 m) through a forest at treeline to a viewpoint over brilliantly coloured Peyto Lake, the Peyto glacier and Mistaya Valley to the north. The Timberline Trail loops away from this viewpoint through a meadow where sub-alpine flowers bloom in late July or early August. Signs along the way tell you much about this amazing world at the upper reaches of the sub-alpine zone and how plants and animals have adapted and survived here in harsh, marginal conditions. The total round-trip distance is 2.1 km. The trail is well-constructed and paved and visitors are encouraged not to stray off it. (This trail is not shown on the map.)

Mistaya Canyon

A canyon as spectacular as Maligne or Marble Canyon, it is easily reached on a 300 metre trail. From the pulloff on the Icefields Parkway 75 km north of Lake Louise or 5 km south of Saskatchewan Crossing, the trail follows an old road downhill. You can look right into this deep, narrow and dangerous canyon from a bridge. The canyon has been carved in limestone by the Mistaya River which originates in Peyto Lake only 28 km away. You should stay well back from the unfenced edge of the canyon, especially if the rock is wet. (This trail is not shown on the map.)

Parker Ridge

Parker Ridge is at the same elevation as Sunshine Meadows, 2280 m. The 2.4 km long trail to this spectacular ridge starts from the pull-off on the Icefields Parkway 41 km north of Saskatchewan Crossing. A sweater, windbreaker and a thermos or water bottle are recommended on this hike. High and close to the Columbia Icefield, snow lingers on this ridge until June or later, the growing season is measured in weeks and there is no guarantee of any frost-free nights, yet on a clear calm summer day it can be desert-hot. Colourful alpine flowers bloom briefly in mid-summer, ptarmigan may be seen camouflaged against the rocky ground and mountain goat spotted on the surrounding mountains. Living conditions for vegetation here are harsh even without the trampling of feet on their way to and from the ridge so please stay on the trail. At the summit, (250 m above the parking lot) sweeping mountain vistas and an outstanding view of the Saskatchewan Glacier unfold before you. (This trail is not shown on the map.)

The Park Interpretive Program

The park interpretive program runs all summer long with a wide range of stimulating programs and activities. Evening slide shows and talks are put on in the interpretive theatres in the Lake Louise and Waterfowl campgrounds. You can go on a guided walk with an interpreter, join them for a campfire chat, or find out the answers to your questions about the park. Information on the park interpretive program is published in The Banff National Park Official Visitor’s Guide, the park’s free newsguide which is available at visitor centres.

Strolls and Walks

A stroll or short walk is an excellent way of experiencing the park at your own pace while stopping to take photographs, fish, picnic or just enjoy the scenery. Listed below are a number of trails in or near the Village of Lake Louise.

Louise Creek*

Experience the impressive force of an unchecked mountain stream on this 2.7 km path, the shortest route for hikers between the village on the valley floor and Lake Louise in a hanging valley 200 m higher. Walk across the Bow River highway bridge on Lake Louise Drive. The trail starts on the downstream side of the bridge and closely follows Louise Creek uphill. About halfway up the Tramline crosses this trail. To stay on the Louise Creek Trail cross the bridge at this intersection. The trail you are hiking follows much the same route taken in 1882 by Tom Wilson when, led by his Stoney Indian guide Edwin Hunter, he discovered Lake Louise. At its upper end the trail crosses a public parking lot just before it reaches the lake.


Where this trail now goes, a narrow gauge railway once ran. Starting at a footbridge over the Bow River behind the train station the Tramline runs uphill at a four per cent gradient for 4.5 km ending in the parking lot at the same place as the Louise Creek Trail. It is broad and easy to follow for the most part. Be sure to cross the creek at the bridge where the Tramline and Louise Creek trails intersect. Few signs are there to remind you of the train and its passengers that regularly used this route between 1913 and 1930. The Tramline and Louise Creek trails can be easily combined to form an interesting 7.2 km loop.

Louise Lakeshore*

Starting in front of the Chateau, this broad, level and popular trail follows the northwest shore of Lake Louise for 3 km. It can be a pleasant, relaxing lakeside stroll by day or a lovely moonlight walk. The trail skirts below the high cliffs visible at the far end of the lake (popular with rock climbers). This walk ends at the delta, the flat muddy plain just beyond the cliffs. The trail continues on to the Plain of Six Glaciers. Mountain goats are sometimes seen on the sides of Fairview Mountain across the lake.

Fairview Lookout*

A brisk stroll enjoyable any time of day, it starts at the viewpoint at the outlet of Lake Louise. A well-made trail climbs through a primeval spruce forest to a lookout 100 m above the lake. It branches right off the Saddleback Trail 0.3 km from the start and continues uphill for another 0.7 km to a wooden observation platform offering views across the lake and back to the hotel. Fairview Mountain towers over the lookout. You can return the same way or take the rough 1.3 km long trail that winds steeply down to the lakeshore and follows it through some wet spots back to the boathouse.

Moraine Lakeshore

For some close-up views of the Ten Peaks, walk down this popular trail to the far end of the lake. Just past Moraine Lake Lodge, the Larch Valley and Eiffel Lake trails lead off uphill. Like the Louise Lakeshore trail, only shorter and more secluded, this one follows the northwest lakeshore for 1.5 km to a rocky creek flowing into the lake.

Consolation Lakes

A short walk of 3 km will make you feel you are in the heart of the Rockies, with a sparkling lake at your feet, towering peaks with sheer cliffs surrounding you and glaciers high above. From the Moraine Lake parking lot, you pass the Rockpile Trail and travel most of the way through forest, gaining only 65 m elevation, to the rocky shore of Lower Consolation Lake. A generally wet trail runs around the northeast shore to Upper Consolation Lake about 1 km away but you must ford the creek to get on it. As you hike out you get good views first of Mount Temple and then of the Ten Peaks. * Trails within walking distance of the Chateau Lake Louise.

Day Hikes

Any hike long enough to require taking a pack with lunch and extra clothing is a day hike. Day hikes offer fresh air, exercise and sometimes bad weather, along with plenty to see. For more information on the hikes described here or on other day hikes in the Lake Louise area, consult a hiking guidebook and topographical maps.

Plain of Six Glaciers*

Plain of Six Glaciers and Louise Lakeshore are one and the same trail to the far end of Lake Louise. As you continue up this valley you see below you a turbulent rocky creek, moraines abandoned by receding glaciers, enormous gravel fields (sometimes concealing underlying glaciers) and finally, icy crevassed Victoria Glacier. Glaciated peaks encircle this area on whose slopes mountain goats may be seen. The Highline Trail joins the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail at 4.1 km. A teahouse, serving light lunches and refreshments during the summer, is located 5.5 km from the trailhead. The trail continues up the valley for another 1.3 km to a viewpoint of Abbot Pass and the Death Trap, the enormous glacier-filled gorge between Mounts Victoria and Lefroy. The elevation gain is 360 m at the teahouse and 405 m at the viewpoint.

Mirror Lake: Highline Trail*

The Highline Trail provides an interesting alternative start or finish to the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail. The trail starts at Mirror Lake on the Lake Agnes Trail, 295 m above Lake Louise. The trail map here will help you get your bearings. From this lake, the Highline Trail follows a more or less level course. It emerges on top of the cliffs at the far end of Lake Louise with breathtaking views down to the lake and back to the Chateau Lake Louise. Further on, the glaciated mountains of the upper valley come into view. It joins the Plain of Six Glacier Trail 2.8 km from Mirror Lake. Hiking out on the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail and back on the Highline is less strenuous than travelling in the opposite direction.

Lake Agnes: Beehives*

Lake Agnes is located in a hanging valley 365 m above Lake Louise with beehive-shaped mini-mountains on either side of it. Many people have found the sight of this lovely alpine lake and the incredible panoramic views from the Big or Little Beehive worth the strenuous hike. The well-made 3.6 km trail to the lake starts on the west side of the Chateau. About halfway up, a break in the trees offers a viewpoint over Lake Louise. At Mirror Lake (km 2.7) a map helps direct you through the maze of trails there. A teahouse at the lake serves light lunches and tea during the summer. Take a leisurely stroll to the far end of the lake if you don’t feel up to the 140-metre climb to the Little Beehive or the 170-metre climb to the Big Beehive. The lake is often ice-covered to mid-June; in the fall the area is golden with larches.

Paradise Valley: Giant Steps

The trail through this aptly named valley is a loop with a tail on it. From its start in the gravel parking lot 2.4 km down the Moraine Lake road, it climbs over a ridge to enter the valley and in 5 km comes to the start of the loop at the Lake Annette junction. This 8.1 km loop takes you across vast avalanche slopes to the start of the 0.7 km side trail to the Giant Steps cascade, below steep and rocky Sentinel Pass and under the towering northerly face of Mount Temple with placid Lake Annette beneath it. Standing guard around the Horseshoe Glacier, at the head of the valley, are Wenkchemna, Hungabee, Ringrose and Lefroy – all peaks over 3200 m (10,500 feet). The overall elevation gain from the trailhead is less than 400 m. The total distance is 18.1 km.


A short but demanding trail, it climbs steadily uphill gaining 600 m in elevation in 3.7 km. From the viewpoint at the outlet of Lake Louise it heads up the forested slope of Fairview Mountain. The final leg of the trail zig-zags through a forest of larches to a beautiful alpine meadow. The premier view here is of Mount Temple from the far side of the meadows. For those with mountaineering inclinations, they can follow indistinct trails to the summits of Saddle Peak (90 m higher) or Fairview (411 m). Take the same route back down however tempting other routes may look. The trail continues over Saddleback and drops down into Paradise Valley. It is over 11 km from the Saddleback Pass back to Lake Louise by the Paradise Valley route.

Larch Valley: Sentinel Pass

Just past Moraine Lodge, an uphill trail starts its 3 km climb through forest to Larch Valley and the Minnestimma Lakes (an Indian word for “sleeping water”). It helps to stay on the switchbacks on this trail as shortcuts cause erosion and trail damage. From this valley, 520 m above Moraine Lake and only 205 m below Sentinel Pass, you get wide encompassing views. In autumn, the needles of the larch trees turn golden, making the valley glorious. Many people prefer to end their hike at the valley, but quite a few continue on another 2.8 km to the top of the pass with its powerful views. At an elevation of 2611 m (8566 feet), Sentinel Pass is one of the highest in Banff National Park. Those planning on crossing the pass should be wearing sturdy hiking boots, be aware of the dangers of falling and rolling rock, and be prepared for a long hike. You’ll have to pick your way down a steep, rocky slope to a trail that shortly connects up with the Paradise Valley loop. From the top of the pass, it is 11 km to Moraine Lake Road, and another 10 km by road or trail back to Moraine Lake or another 4 km on to Lake Louise by trail.

Eiffel Lake

The first part of this trail is the same as the Larch Valley Trail. The left hand fork at the Larch Valley trail junction (km 2.4) leads to Eiffel Lake, 3.2 km away, by following the top of a lateral moraine well above the trees. A spur trail runs down to the lake. The main trail continues on to Wenkchemna Pass, about 3.2 km further on and some 350 m higher. Wenkchemna, an Indian word for ten, is the last of the ten peaks. While hiking this trail, all of the ten peaks as well as the debris-covered Wenkchemna Glacier are visible. From the top of the pass you are looking down at the Eagle’s Eyrie and Opabin Pass in Yoho National Park.

Boulder Pass

This trail of contrasts starts in the Lake Louise ski area and ends 8.8 km away on an alpine pass with stupendous views. Turn off the Whitehorn Road onto graveled Fish Creek Road. From the Fish Creek parking area hike or bike the first 4 km up a dirt road offering occasional views of distant peaks and Corral Creek. At the end of he road (and the bike trail) head uphill across a ski slope to the hiking and horse trail. From here on you are in real backcountry, travelling through forest to Halfway Hut in an alpine meadow 470 m higher than the parking lot. The hut, now used only as a day shelter, was once the halfway point and resting place when only a trail ran between the Lake Louise train station and Skoki Lodge. From the hut a separate 1.1 km trail leads to Hidden Lake. Rock-studded Boulder Pass is 1.5 km ahead and only 150 m higher. At the top of the pass, the mountain world unfolds. Behind you is glaciated Mount Temple and ahead is Ptarmigan Lake. Pikas, marmots and Columbian ground squirrels scurry among the rocks. The well camouflaged ptarmigan may be seen. Redoubt Lake is located a rocky 1.3 km and Baker Lake 3 km away from this pass. (The start of this trail is shown on the map.)

General Information

Other Outdoor Activities

Picnicking, sightseeing, and taking a tour are popular activities for people visiting the park. For parents with young children there are playgrounds and picnic areas in Banff and Lake Louise. Canoeing, going on a cruise and wind-surfing are enjoyable water sports. Fishing is permitted with a national parks licence. The adventurous can go backpacking, kayaking, mountaineering and ski touring. In winter, downhill and cross-country skiing are the major pastimes along with snow shoeing, skating and ice fishing. Photography and wildlife observations are year-round activities.

Horse Routes

If you want to experience the park from horseback, several commercial outfitters in Banff and Lake Louise offer guided trips from one hour to several days duration. If you own a horse, you can take it on most trails in Banff National Park. Horses are not permitted on Sunshine Meadows, Sentinel Pass or Healy Pass. The brochure Horse Users Guide provides more information.

Bicycle Routes

Bicycling is permitted on public roads and highways and on certain trails in the park. In good weather, many of the drives described in this pamphlet are more enjoyable to cycle than to drive. The Bow Valley Parkway and Icefields Parkway are marvelously scenic cycle routes suitable for full day trips as well as overnight trips with stops in the campgrounds, youth hostels or lodges along the way. Visit a park visitor centre for details on trails on which bicycles are permitted. Short trips, full day excursions and bicycle camping trips are all possible. Cycling off the trails is not allowed.

Disabled Facilities

Banff National Park has something to offer people with hearing, vision, mobility or mental impairments and plans to make more facilities accessible. An overview is given here; for more details or information on group services contact our Calgary office or one of the visitor centres in the park. (See “More Information” in this brochure for addresses). Information is also available from the Banff/Lake Louise Chamber of Commerce and Alberta Tourism Offices. The Banff Health Unit may be able to provide assistance and rent equipment (phone 762-2290, Monday-Friday).

The Cave and Basin Centre in Banff and the Lake Louise Visitor Centre are fully accessible. The Banff Visitor Centre has been upgraded to permit access by the disabled and a hearing impaired phone installed; the phone number is 762-4256. Assistance is required and available for disabled people wishing to use the Upper Hot Springs. The main floor of the Banff Park Museum is wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair accessible public washrooms are located within half a block of the Banff Visitor Centre and the Park Museum and in drive-in campgrounds and picnic sites in Banff, Lake Louise and along the Bow Valley and Icefields Parkways. The physically challenged can use and enjoy some trails throughout the park. Surface treatments range from asphalt, cinders, crushed gravel and dirt. Many shorter trails are level or have only gentle grades.