This post is also available in: Nederlands
Lake Louise is one of the most iconic places in the Canadian Rockies and for a lot of people it’s one of the must visit places on their visit to Alberta. Looking for the best things to do in Lake Louise in the summer? I’ve got you covered!
While visiting Lake Louise and catching a glimpse of this turquoise alpine lake is a must do on its own, there’s so much more to see and do here!
Lake Louise has been drawing in visitors to the Canadian Rockies for centuries and once you arrive it’s not hard to see why. While in the beginning I wasn’t fully convinced to add it to our travel itinerary I am extremely happy that we did!
In this guide you’ll find my personal recommendations for Lake Louise, travel tips and all of the best things to do in the area.
8 Best Things To Do At Lake Louise In Summer
Lake Louise is a pristine piece of wilderness that draws in millions of visitor’s every single year.
Lake Louise is world famous for its turquoise lakes, the Victoria Glacier, soaring mountain backdrop, palatial hotel, and incredible hiking and skiing. Surrounded by a lifetime’s worth of jaw-dropping sights and adventures, Lake Louise is a rare place that must be experienced to be believed.
Especially during the summer months there’s a plethora of things to do at Lake Louise. You can easily spend an entire day here without being bored for a single second! And that’s exactly what we did!
How to reach Lake Louise
Lake Louise is the crown jewel of Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Lake Louise is located 60km from Banff and it will take you around 40 minutes to reach the lake by car.
🚘 Renting a car? I recommend getting a car from SunnyCars as they work with local car rental companies. When booking through Sunny Cars, the price already includes all insurance. Book your rental car here.
🚌 Renting a camper? Rent a camper/RV/motorhome from Outdoorsy which pretty much works like an AirBnb for campers.
I promise you, you will the freedom of your own set of wheels to explore Banff.
There’s a pretty big parking lot at Lake Louise but during the busiest summer months it can definitely fill up rather fast, especially on the weekend. So make sure to arrive early, that means before 8am to secure yourself a spot.
Lake Louise introduced paid parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. between May 13 to October 10, 2022. The parking at Lake Louise costs 12.25CAD for a full day of parking per vehicle. You can’t park overnight at Lake Louise but there are designated spots for RV’s and motorhomes. Our regular camper nearly almost fitted into a normal parking spot!
You will also need a valid Parks Canada Pass for all National Parks of Canada.
If you don’t feel like waking up before dawn to see Lake Louise, don’t worry.
Parks Canada has a bus service available from the Lake Louise Park and Ride lot at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. This is only 7km away (10 minute drive) from Lake Louise. The Park & Ride must be reserved in advance. You can see the full details of this process here.
If you don’t have a car and you want to reach Lake Louise from Banff here’s what you should do. You can take the Roam Transit bus and choose Route 8X to catch the express bus between Banff and Lake Louise.
Reach Lake Louise by Tour
When to visit Lake Louise
The best times to visit Lake Louise are during sunrise and sunset, especially during the busy summer months. If you arrive a little before sunrise you’ll also have plenty of time to complete a few of the other amazing activities to do at Lake Louise.
The months of July and August are also the best months to see the lake in its most vibrant color.
If you want to visit Lake Louise in June you better wait until the second half of the month cause the ice on Lake Louise usually only melts at the start of June.
Best things to do at Lake Louise in Summer
1. Watch the sunrise at Lake Louise
My absolute favorite thing to do in the Canadian Rockies is visit one of the alpine lakes for sunrise. I love the serenity that comes with it and how in the early morning the lake serves as a perfect mirror reflecting the beautiful mountains in the back.
Do know that Lake Louise will only get its pristine turquoise color from the moment the sun is high enough to light up the entire lake. Before that the lake looks a little darker but is beautiful nonetheless.
Another advantage of arriving before sunrise is that you can be certain of claiming a parking spot! There will already be other sunrise admirers at the lakeshore but it will still be a lot nicer and quieter experience than a couple of hours later.
2. Canoe on Lake Louise – One of the best things to do in lake Louise in summer
Lake Louise is probably the most iconic place in Banff National Park to rent a canoe. It’s one of the most spectacular scenes in the entire world and even that it isn’t a cheap activity you won’t regret it!
It’s tough to find a more stunning scene to paddle through as you look out to Mount Victoria and the hanging Victoria glacier.
Oh, and there’s no need for over editing your photos, the water actually looks that blue!
You can bring your own canoe or kayak to Lake Louise, but there is no public boat launch.
That means most visitors will have to rent canoes from the boat dock at Lake Louise. The dock is run by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and its open daily in-season from 8.30am to 7pm.
I highly recommend you to get in line around 8am. Why? Well there are two lines, one for the hotel guests and one for regular visitors. As you might guess the hotel guests get the privilege of going first and if you arrive a lot later you may end up waiting a very long time for your canoe. Canoe rentals operate on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Price – 145CAD for 1 hour/ 135CAD for 30 minutes (tax not included)
An hour on Lake Louise should give you plenty of time to take in the views and canoe around the lake.
3. Hike up to Lake Agnes Teahouse
The Lake Agnes Tea House hike is one of the most popular short hikes in Banff National Park and its start is located right next to the spectacular Lake Louise. Now to get to Lake Agnes there are a two options. The shortest way up starts right next to the lake but this trail is also pretty boring and simply goes up through the trees without any spectacular views.
In my opinion the best way to hike up to the Lake Agnes Tea House is by taking a little longer route but one that will take you along incredible vista’s! Simply start by following the trail towards the end of the lake and then follow the signs that lead to the junction trail. This way you will have stunning views over Lake Louise, the enormous glacier in the back and the surrounding mountains! For the way back follow the signs to Mirror Lake and then hike back towards the parking lot. This way you’ll make a much more fun loop trail than the boring out & back trail.
Don’t expect to have the tea house to yourself since this is a very popular trail and if you want to grab a drink you’ll need to have cash with you.
Location – Lake Louise
Distance – 8km
Elevation – 378 meters
Season – June to October
Difficulty – Easy
Duration – 2,5 hours
Driving time from Banff – 40 minutes
4. Climb up to Little Beehive – My favorite Lake Louise hike
The hike up to Little Beehive actually starts at the exact same spot as the Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail and will add 3km extra to your hiking adventure but is very much worth the little extra effort. The view over Lake Louise and the surrounding mountains is absolutely breathtaking and there’s a perfect spot to take photos in a safe way!
Location – Lake Louise
Distance – 11.5km
Elevation – 535meters
Season – June to October
Difficulty – Easy
Duration – 3,5 hours
Driving time from Banff – 40 minutes
5. Grab lunch at the Fairmont Lake Louise
At the Fairview Bar and Restaurant you can enjoy a delicious lunch or go for an afternoon tea if you wish. Or maybe enjy a fancy dinner after a full day of exploring.
Do know that reservations must be made in advance and you can do so by emailing to email@example.com.
6. Walk the Lake Louise lakeshore
The Lake Louise lakeshore walk is the easiest walk that you can do at Lake Louise. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less beautiful! The entire time you’ll see incredible vista’s and you’ll get to admire the turquoise color of the lake from upclose.
Lake Louise is about 2km in length and this is also where the trail ends without encountering pretty much any elevation gain along the way.
7. Admire the Big Beehive from Mirror Lake
On your way up to Agnes Lake or the Little Beehive you should make a small stop at Mirror Lake. It’s a tiny emerald colored lake that offers a perfect reflection of the Big Beehive in the background.
8. Discover Lake Louise on a guided tour
Experience a full-day guided hike through the unrivaled picturesque landscape of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Admire Lake Louise’s pristine wilderness, hanging glaciers, flora, fauna, and geology of the Canadian Rockies.
Hear stories from your guide on the history of Banff National Park and about the local animals while hiking on the trails. The Banff National Park is home to bears for centuries. Get a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat.
Location – Starts at Lake Louise
Price – From €130
Where to stay near Lake Louise
Just like with all of my Canada travel guides I will make a distinction between traveling by camper and traveling by car.
🏕 Best campings near Lake Louise
- Lake Louise Campground – A campsite with 189 sites that comes with showers and toilets and is only 10 minutes driving from Lake Louise.
- Two Jack Lakeside – A smaller campsite that is located close to Banff and a 40 minute drive away from lake Louise.
🏨 Best hotels near Lake Louise
- Fairmont Château Lake Louise – The most luxurious stay possible when visiting Lake Louise.
- Lake Louise Inn – A more budget friendly option when visiting Lake Louise.
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.