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Banff National Park

Day Hikes in the Lake Louise Area

Along the spine of the North American continent, the Rocky Mountains rise high into the clouds and blue glaciers cling to their slopes. Green forested valleys provide a vital food source for grizzly bears and other species. This is the Lake Louise and Icefields area of Banff National Park, a landscape of wonder which has been dubbed the “hiking capital of Canada”. Use the trail descriptions to choose a hike suitable for everyone in your party.

Easy Trails | Moderate Trails | Difficult Trails | Trail Report

Hiking in Banff National Park | What to bring | Safety and etiquette 

Lake Louise Area Trails Brochure (PDF)

Thanks to an ongoing collaboration between Parks Canada and Google, you can now explore some Banff National Park highlights using Street View for Google Maps.

Easy trails 

Trail Distance Time (return) Elevation (m) Description
Lake Louise Lakeshore 2 km
one way
1 hour minimal This accessible stroll allows visitors of all abilities to explore Lake Louise. At the end of the lake you’ll discover the milky creek that gives the lake its magical colour.
Fairview Lookout 1 km
one way
45 minutes 100 Leaving from the boathouse on Lake Louise, this short, uphill hike offers you a unique look at both the lake and the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Bow River Loop 7.1 km
round trip
2 hours minimal Travel on a pleasant interpretive trail in the rich riparian zone of the Bow River. These waters travel across the prairies to their ultimate destination in Hudson Bay, over 2500 kilometres downstream of Lake Louise.
Louise Creek 2.8 km
one way
1.5 hours 195 m Hike through a thick subalpine forest, following the entire length of Louise Creek as it rushes from Lake Louise to the Bow River.
Moraine Lake Lakeshore 1.5 km
one way
45 minutes minimal Drive 14 km from Lake Louise along the Moraine Lake Road. Begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.
Consolation Lakes 2.9 km
one way
2 hours 65 Hiking to Consolation Lakes requires much less effort than most of the Moraine Lake trails, but rewards the hiker with views of high alpine meadows, enormous talus slopes and the Quadra Glacier.

Descriptions of easy trails

For maps, detailed route finding and trail descriptions, visit a Parks Canada Visitor Centre or purchase a hiking guide book and topographical map. Cell service is not reliable.

Lake Louise Lakeshore

Length: 2 km one way
Hiking time: 1 hour
Elevation gain: minimal
Trailhead: Upper Lake Louise parking area, 4 km from the village of Lake Louise.

Description: This accessible stroll allows visitors of all abilities to explore Lake Louise. At the end of the lake you’ll discover the milky creek that gives the lake its magical colour.

Fairview Lookout

Length: 1 km one way
Hiking time: 45 minute round trip
Elevation gain: 100 m
Trailhead: Upper Lake Louise parking area, 4 km from the village of Lake Louise.

Description: Leaving from the boathouse on Lake Louise, this short, uphill hike offers you a unique look at both the lake and the historic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Bow River Loop

Length: 7.1 km round trip
Hiking time: 2 hour round trip
Elevation gain: minimal
Trailhead: Parking lot opposite the Lake Louise train station (restaurant)

Description: Travel on a pleasant interpretive trail in the rich riparian zone of the Bow River. These waters travel across the prairies to their ultimate destination in Hudson Bay, over 2500 kilometres downstream of Lake Louise.

Louise Creek

Length: 2.8 km one way
Hiking time: 1.5 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 195 m
Trailhead: From the Samson Mall parking lot, walk along Lake Louise Drive to a bridge crossing the Bow River. Cross the bridge and then look for the trailhead on the downstream side of the bridge.

Description: Hike through a thick subalpine forest, following the entire length of Louise Creek as it rushes from Lake Louise to the Bow River.

Moraine Lake Lakeshore

Length: 1.5 km one way
Hiking time: 45 minute round trip
Elevation gain: minimal
Trailhead: Drive 14 km from Lake Louise along the Moraine Lake Road. Begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Description: This stroll allows visitors of all abilities to explore Moraine Lake. Along the trail you will gain a magnificent view of Mount Fay and the Fay Glacier.

Consolation Lakes

Length: 2.9 km one way
Hiking time: 2 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 65 m
Trailhead: Drive 14 km from Lake Louise along the Moraine Lake Road. Start at the bridge near the Rockpile at Moraine Lake.

Description: Hiking to Consolation Lakes requires much less effort than most of the Moraine Lake trails, but rewards the hiker with views of high alpine meadows, enormous talus slopes and the Quadra Glacier.


Moderate trails 

Trail Distance (one way) Time (return) Elevation (m) Description
Lake Agnes 3.4 km 2.5 to 3 hours 385 Framed by a quaint European-style tea house (seasonal), the Lake Agnes hike is the most “civilized” way to see the Rockies. To get there, hike up the well maintained trail and enjoy a beautiful tarn tucked underneath towering peaks.
Plain of Six Glaciers 5.3 km 4 hours 365 Beyond Lake Louise you’ll discover a high mountain treasure chest; a collection of impressive peaks and glaciers. Here, you can relax and enjoy the view or rest at a quaint Swiss-built tea house (seasonal). (cont.)
Tramline 4.5 km 2.5 hours 195 Follow in the footsteps – or trolley wheels – of travellers who, a century ago, were dropped off at the railway station and then ferried, by tram, on this 3% railway grade to the Chateau Lake Louise.
Lake Annette 5.7 km 4 hours 245 The steady hike through the subalpine forest is a perfect prelude for the wonderful sensory experience that will greet you at Lake Annette.
Eiffel Lake 5.6 km 4.5 hours 370 The trail to Eiffel Lake splits off from the Larch Valley trail and takes you high along the side of the valley to panoramic views overlooking Eiffel Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks.
Larch Valley / Minnestimma Lakes 4.3 km 3.5 to 4 hours 535 Hike into a unique larch forest high above Moraine Lake. Views of the Ten Peaks are breathtaking.

Descriptions of moderate trails

For maps, detailed route finding and trail descriptions, visit a Parks Canada Visitor Centre or purchase a hiking guide book and topographical map. Cell service is not reliable.

Lake Agnes

Length: 3.4 km one way
Hiking time: 2.5 to 3 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 385 m
Trailhead: Upper Lake Louise parking area, 4 km from the village of Lake Louise.

Description: Framed by a quaint European-style tea house (seasonal), the Lake Agnes hike is the most “civilized” way to see the Rockies. To get there, hike up the well maintained trail and enjoy a beautiful tarn tucked underneath towering peaks.

Side trip to Big Beehive: 1.6 km one way; 135 m elevation gain from Lake Agnes. Beyond Lake Agnes, use switchbacks to climb the Big Beehive for a stunning panorama of Lake Louise and the Chateau.

Side trip to Little Beehive: 1 km one way; 105 m elevation gain from Lake Agnes. The Little Beehive was once the site of a fire lookout, and offers commanding views of the Bow Valley.

Plain of Six Glaciers

Length: 5.3 km one way
Hiking time: 4 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 365 m
Trailhead: Upper Lake Louise parking area, 4 km from the village of Lake Louise.

Description: Beyond Lake Louise you’ll discover a high mountain treasure chest; a collection of impressive peaks and glaciers. Here, you can relax and enjoy the view or rest at a quaint Swiss-built tea house (seasonal). Connect the Lake Agnes and Plain of Six Glaciers trails, via the Highline trail, to form a 14.6 km loop. 5 hour round trip.

Side trip to Abbot Pass Viewpoint: 1.5 km one way; 50 m elevation gain; 1 hour round trip. Look down into crevasses on the Lower Victoria Glacier, and look up to Abbot Hut, one of the highest buildings in Canada.

Tramline

Length: 4.5 km one way
Hiking time: 2.5 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 195 m
Trailhead: Parking lot opposite the Lake Louise train station (restaurant).

Description: Follow in the footsteps – or trolley wheels – of travellers who, a century ago, were dropped off at the railway station and then ferried, by tram, on this 3% railway grade to the Chateau Lake Louise.

Lake Annette

Length: 5.7 km one way
Hiking time: 4 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 245 m
Trailhead: Follow the Moraine Lake Road for 2.5 km to a parking lot on the right hand side.

Description: The steady hike through the subalpine forest is a perfect prelude for the wonderful sensory experience that will greet you at Lake Annette.

Eiffel Lake

Length: 5.6 km one way
Hiking time: 4.5 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 370 m
Trailhead: Drive 14 km from Lake Louise along the Moraine Lake Road. Begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Description: The trail to Eiffel Lake splits off from the Larch Valley trail and takes you high along the side of the valley to panoramic views overlooking Eiffel Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks.

Larch Valley / Minnestimma Lakes

Length: 4.3 km one way
Hiking time: 3.5 to 4 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 535 m
Trailhead: Drive 14 km from Lake Louise along the Moraine Lake Road. Begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Description: Hike into a unique larch forest high above Moraine Lake. Views of the Ten Peaks are breathtaking.


Difficult trails 

Trail Distance Time (return) Elevation (m) Description
Saddleback 3.7 km
to pass
3 to 4 hours 595

From the boathouse on the shore of Lake Louise, rise steadily up to Saddleback for tantalizing views of Mount Temple and Paradise Valley.

Fairview Mountain 5.1 km
to summit
5 to 6 hours 1013 In a region that was explored by Swiss Mountain Guides in the early 20th century, it makes sense to challenge your inner mountaineer with a steep hike up a famous peak.
Sheol / Paradise Connector 4.1 km connector only  1 to 2 hours
one way
500 Connect the Saddleback and Paradise Valley trails by using the Sheol/Paradise connector. A car shuttle may be needed depending on your route choice.
Boulder Pass 8.6 km
to pass
6 to 7 hours 640 After 4 km on a wide access road, you will reach a world dotted with lakes and inviting alpine meadows.
Paradise Valley and Giant Steps 10.3 or 10.9
one way
7 to 8 hours 385 Here’s a chance to enjoy great views of Mount Temple, identify midsummer wildflowers and witness dramatic surroundings at the Giant Steps Waterfall.
Sentinel Pass Connector 2.3 km
one way
1 to 2 hours
one way
505 Connect the Sentinel Pass and Paradise Valley Trails by using the Sentinel Pass Connector. A vehicle shuttle is required. Route finding may be required on the rocky slopes on the north side of Sentinel Pass.
Sentinel Pass 5.8 km
one way
4.5 to 5.5 hours 725 Steep switchbacks lead to two famous valleys: Larch Valley and Paradise Valley.
Wenkchemna Pass 9.7 km
one way
7.5 to 8 hours 720 Travel the entire length of the Valley of the Ten Peaks, wandering steadily into a high alpine environment to reach this spectacular pass on the Continental Divide.

Descriptions of difficult trails

For maps, detailed route finding and trail descriptions, visit a Parks Canada Visitor Centre or purchase a hiking guide book and topographical map. Cell service is not reliable.

Saddleback

Length: 3.7 km to pass
Hiking time: 3 to 4 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 595 m
Trailhead: Upper Lake Louise parking area, 4 km from the village of Lake Louise.

Description: From the boathouse on the shore of Lake Louise, rise steadily up to Saddleback for tantalizing views of Mount Temple and Paradise Valley. Here you’ll find good larch tree viewing in the fall.

Fairview Mountain

Length: 5.1 km to summit
Hiking time: 5 to 6 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 1013 m
Trailhead: Upper Lake Louise parking area, 4 km from the village of Lake Louise. 

Description: In a region that was explored by Swiss Mountain Guides in the early 20th century, it makes sense to challenge your inner mountaineer with a steep hike up a famous peak. And the “fair” view at the top? It’s downright spectacular!

Sheol / Paradise Connector

Length: 4.1 km (connector only)
Hiking time: 1 to 2 hours one way
Elevation gain: 500 m gain / loss (depending on direction)
Trailhead: Upper Lake Louise parking or follow the Moraine Lake Road for 2.5 km to the Paradise Valley parking lot on the right hand side.

Description: Connect the Saddleback and Paradise Valley trails by using the Sheol/Paradise connector. A car shuttle may be needed depending on your route choice.

Boulder Pass

Length: 8.6 km to pass
Hiking time: 6 to 7 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 640 m
Trailhead: Fish Creek parking area, off Whitehorn Road, 3 km north of Lake Louise.

Description: After 4 km on a wide access road, you will reach a world dotted with lakes and inviting alpine meadows. From the pass, you get a spectacular view into a remote corner of Banff National Park.

Side trip to Baker Lake: 3.4 km; 130 m elevation loss from Boulder Pass Visit the stunning shores of Baker Lake in the valley below Deception Pass.

Side trip to Deception Pass: 2.4 km; 145 m elevation gain from Boulder Pass Hike over to this windswept pass if you have energy to spare.

Paradise Valley and Giant Steps

Length: 10.3 or 10.9 km one way
Hiking time: 7 to 8 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 385 m
Trailhead: Follow the Moraine Lake Road for 2.5 km to a parking lot on the right hand side.

Description: Here’s a chance to enjoy great views of Mount Temple, identify midsummer wildflowers and witness dramatic surroundings at the Giant Steps Waterfall.

Sentinel Pass Connector

Length: 2.3 km one way (connector only)
Hiking time: 1 to 2 hour one way
Elevation gain: 505 m gain/loss (depending on direction)
Trailhead: Same as Paradise Valley area trails or Moraine Lake area trails.

Description: Connect the Sentinel Pass and Paradise Valley Trails by using the Sentinel Pass Connector. A vehicle shuttle is required. Route finding may be required on the rocky slopes on the north side of Sentinel Pass. Check with the Lake Louise Visitor Centre for more details.

Sentinel Pass

Length: 5.8 km one way
Hiking time: 4.5 to 5.5 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 725 m
Trailhead: Drive 14 km from Lake Louise along the Moraine Lake Road. Begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Description: Steep switchbacks lead to two famous valleys: Larch Valley and Paradise Valley.

Wenkchemna Pass

Length: 9.7 km one way
Hiking time: 7.5 to 8 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 720 m
Trailhead: Drive 14 km from Lake Louise along the Moraine Lake Road. Begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge. 

Description: Travel the entire length of the Valley of the Ten Peaks, wandering steadily into a high alpine environment to reach this spectacular pass on the Continental Divide.