Founded in 1890 as Laggan Station, Lake Louise was once a wild outpost at the end of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Today this hamlet, lake and the nearby area offer some of the finest hiking, skiing and site-seeing in the world. Lake Louise and Moraine Lake usually melt by late May. Alpine hiking season begins in late June.

Location: 55 km west of Banff, Alberta, on the Trans-Canada Highway / #1 (map

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Best times to visit

Best times to visit

Lake Louise is one of Canada’s most popular destinations. Planning ahead is essential!

When are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake open?
When do the teahouses open at Lake Louise?
When are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake busiest?
How can I get to Lake Louise when the parking lot is full?
How can I get to Moraine Lake when the parking lot is full?
When do the free shuttles run to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake?

When are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake open?

The village of Lake Louise and the lake itself are open year-round. 

The 13 km road to Moraine Lake opens the Tuesday after Victoria Day in mid-May and closes the Tuesday after Canadian Thanksgiving in mid-October. During the winter, the road is trackset for skiing and the lake itself inaccessible due to avalanche hazard. 

When do the teahouses open at Lake Louise?

The charming Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glaciers tea houses are the most popular summer hiking destinations in the Lake Louise area. These privately operated teahouses open mid-May and close after Canadian Thanksgiving in mid-October. 

The hikes to the teahouses are not safe from November through mid-May due to avalanche hazard. Do not hike to Lake Agnes or to the Plain of Six Glacier during the winter and spring. In May and June, check the trail report before departing. 

When are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake busiest?

From May through September, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are extremely busy. Throughout the summer season allow extra time to reach your destination. Plan ahead and pack your patience. Expect delays and diversions between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. especially on weekends. These holidays and weekends are especially busy.

  • Victoria Day (May, date varies by year)
  • Canada Day (July 1)
  • Heritage Day (first Monday in August)
  • Labour Day (first Monday in September)
  • Larch season (weekends in September)

From November through April, Lake Louise is a winter wonderland! We receive more snow than other parts of Banff National Park and are proud to have one of the longest ski seasons in North America. The busiest weekends during the winter are:

  • Boxing Day through New Year (December 26 to January 1)
  • Ice Magic Festival (January, dates vary by year)
  • Family Day (second Monday in February)
  • Easter weekend (dates vary by year)

How can I get to Lake Louise when the parking lot is full?

Lake Louise is one of Canada’s most popular destinations and is open year-round. During the summer and fall, parking at the lake fills early in the day. When parking is unavailable you may be invited to take a free shuttle or diverted to the Lake Louise Summer Gondola while congestion clears. Here are our top tips:

  • Beat the rush! Arrive at Lake Louise before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. or at Moraine Lake before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m. for the best chance at finding parking.
  • Ride the free Parks Canada Shuttle to the iconic lakeside viewpoint at Lake Louise from May 19 to October 9. Strongly recommended for RVs and trailers. 
  • Ride the free, private shuttle from the Lake Louise Summer Gondola to the lakeside viewpoint at Lake Louise. Shuttles are unable to accommodate dogs or bikes
  • Stretch your legs and hike to Lake Louise via the Tramline Trail or the Louise Creek Trail. Please obey all bear warnings or closures.
  • Planning a day hike at the lake? We recommend taking an early shuttle to miss the crowds. 
  • Diverted or delayed? Shop and dine in the village of Lake Louise or ride the Lake Louise Gondola and return after 6 p.m.
  • Are you a local or frequent visitor? Why not check out some beautiful places nearby.

For details and real time updates visit:

How can I get to Moraine Lake when the parking lot is full?

Moraine Lake is one of Canada’s most popular destinations and is open mid-May through mid-October. Parking fills early in the day. During the summer, the road to Moraine Lake opens only when parking is available. There are no designated areas to wait for the road to open. Parks Canada asks that you do not park on the side of the road to wait for a road opening. This creates congestion and can be dangerous for other drivers, pedestrians and emergency vehicles.

There are a few options to reach the lake once parking fills:

  • Visit Moraine Lake before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. for the greatest chance of finding parking
  • Ride a paid, private shuttle. More information is available from the Lake Louise Visitor Centre
  • In the fall, ride the free Parks Canada Shuttle to Moraine Lake during larch season. Required for RVs and trailers between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Shuttles are unable to accommodate dogs or bikes. 
  • Planning a day hike at the lake? We recommend taking an early shuttle to miss the crowds. 
  • Diverted or delayed? Shop and dine in the village of Lake Louise or ride the Lake Louise Gondola and return after 6 p.m.
  • Are you a local or frequent visitor? Why not check out some beautiful places nearby.

For details and real time updates visit:

When do the free shuttles run to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake?

Shuttles run daily from mid-May to mid-October with multiple departures each hour. Staff are available at all shuttle stops to provide information and trip planning advice. Enjoy your visit!

Parks Canada is pleased to be working toward comprehensive public transit in the Lake Louise area.

Things to do

Things to do

Every destination in the Lake Louise area is beautiful but only some are open year-round. This is when the most popular local destinations are open:

  • Lake Louise (year-round)
  • Village of Lake Louise (year-round)
  • Moraine Lake (mid-May to mid-Oct)
  • Summer Gondola (mid-May to mid-Oct)
  • Lake Louise Ski Area (Nov to May)

Lake Louise and Moraine Lake usually melt by late May. Alpine hiking season begins in late June. Ski season begins in mid-November.

Locals know that Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are only the beginning!

Some of the Canadian Rockies most thrilling destinations are right on the doorstep. In the same amount of time it takes to reach Moraine Lake, locals and frequent visitors can travel to one of the tallest waterfalls in Canada, the turquoise headwaters of the Bow River, or hike to a wild glacial moonscape above Bow Lake.

 Safety

Safety


Female grizzly bear #142 near Lake Louise. © Parks Canada / Alex Taylor

Summer

In Canada, national parks enjoy special protections that may differ from other protected places. Please know “what not to do” in a national park.

Winter

Walking, snowshoeing or tobogganing? You don’t need to venture far to be in avalanche terrain. November through June, not all sign-posted destinations are safe for travel. Choose your winter destination from a list of designated trails.

Visitor centre

Visitor centre

The Lake Louise Visitor Centre offers information from both Parks Canada and Banff Lake Louise Tourism about the mountain national parks, accommodations and activities. It is located in the heart of the village of Lake Louise. Parking for vehicles and RVs is available in the village parking lot. A small grocery store, outdoor store, cafés, book store, post office and bank machine are also available here.

Lake Louise Visitor Centre
201 Village Rd, next to the Samson Mall
Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0
GPS: 51.426275, -116.179304

 

Aerial view of the Lake Louise village and lake.

 

Map

Map of Lake Louise area