This remote hamlet is named after its glacier lake, which is so picturesque and placid that you won’t believe it’s real.
All of the glacial lakes of Canada’s Rocky Mountains are stunning, but there is something about Lake Louise that makes it look too good to be true. Yet, this hamlet is very real and even though it feels like it’s a world away from Calgary, it’s not hard to reach. Finding a diamond like this deep in the vast wilderness of Banff National Park certainly adds to the lake’s appeal.
The village of Lake Louise, 5 kilometres (3 miles) downhill from the lake, has shops, gear rental stores, restaurants and a range of accommodation options. The stately hotel Chateau Lake Louise is part of the elevated Lake Louise Mountain Resort at the lake’s edge, providing a scenic place to eat, rest or soak in the spa.
Lake Louise is a popular tourist destination during both the ski season and summer months and offers plenty of exciting, or relaxing, activities year-round.
In summer, put your feet up in the resort or camp out in the wilderness. If you like hiking or horse riding, join a guided tour to traverse the trails around the lake, until you reach the point where you can overlook Peyto Lake with its beautiful turquoise-colored water. Another trail leads to Mirror Lake. Canoeing is the best way to explore the lakes, because the water is too cold for swimming.
By winter Lake Louise is in full swing again as it shifts to accommodate the flocks of wintersports fanatics. Lake Louise is home to some of Canada’s best powdery slopes. The town’s luxury ski resorts offer gear rental and direct shuttles to the mountains.
Reach Lake Louise, in the province of Alberta, by driving along the Trans-Canada Highway northwest from Banff, a 57-kilometre (35-mile) journey. Buses from Calgary, which has an international airport, take just over two hours to get to Lake Louise, but the best way to see the area is by car. The next town up, Jasper, is more than three hours away along the Icefields Parkway, a very scenic journey.