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.

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.


Important information:


Expect traffic congestion in the Lake Louise area throughout the year. Parking is extremely limited and finding a parking spot can be challenging. Planning ahead is key. Booking a seat on a Parks Canada shuttle is the best way to enjoy your visit! Conveniently see both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake with one ticket. Roam Public Transit can also be used to travel from the town of Banff to Lake Louise.
Getting around the Lake Louise area

Hiking in the Lake Louise area:

Trail Distance Time (Round Trip)
Lake Louise Lakeshore 2 km 1 hour
Fairview Lookout 1 km 45 minutes
Bow River Loop 7.1 km (loop) 2 hours
Louise Creek 2.8 km 1.5 hours
 Rockpile 0.8 km (loop) 30 minutes 
Moraine Lake Lakeshore 1.5 km 45 minutes
Consolation Lakes 2.9 km 2 hours
Lake Agnes 3.4 km 2.5 to 3 hours
Plain of Six Glaciers 5.3 km 4 hours
Tramline 4.5 km 2.5 hours
Lake Annette 5.7 km 4 hours
Eiffel Lake 5.6 km 4.5 hours
Larch Valley / Minnestimma Lakes 4.3 km 3.5 to 4 hours
Saddleback 3.7 km to pass 3 to 4 hours
Fairview Mountain 5.1 km to summit 5 to 6 hours
Sheol / Paradise Connector 4.1 km connector only 1 to 2 hours (one way)
Boulder Pass 8.6 km to pass 6 to 7 hours
Paradise Valley and Giant Steps 10.3 or 10.9 km 7 to 8 hours
Sentinel Pass Connector 2.3 km 1 to 2 hours (one way)
Sentinel Pass 5.8 km 4.5 to 5.5 hours
Wenkchemna Pass 9.7 km 7.5 to 8 hours

 Easy trails

Lake Louise Lakeshore

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.

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. Parking lot is accessible by transit and recommended from June – September.

Transit Info

Fairview Lookout

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.

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. Parking lot is accessible by transit and recommended from June – September.

Transit Info

Bow River Loop

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.

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). Lake Louise is accessible by transit from Banff and Canmore.

Transit Info

Note: Trail sections along the west side of the Bow River are closed from May 15 to October 15 to help protect and improve important wildlife habitat. The east side of the loop remains accessible.

Louise Creek

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

Length: 2.8 km one way
Hiking time: 1.5 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 195 m
Trailhead: From Samson Mall (Lake Louise Village), 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.

Rockpile

This short hike will take you to one of the most iconic Moraine Lake photo locations. You will enjoy unparalleled views of the lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Please stay safe and do not climb on the rocks.

Length: 0.8 km loop
Hiking time: 30 minute round trip
Elevation gain: 35 m
Trailhead: Take transit to Moraine Lake (Transit Info). Start on the Consolation Lakes Trail and turn right at the first trail junction.

Moraine Lake Lakeshore

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.

Length: 1.5 km one way
Hiking time: 45 minute round trip
Elevation gain: minimal
Trailhead: Take transit to Moraine Lake, begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Transit Info

Consolation Lakes

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.

Length: 2.9 km one way
Hiking time: 2 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 65 m
Trailhead: Take transit to Moraine Lake. Start at the bridge near the Rockpile at Moraine Lake.

Transit Info


trail rating= moderate Moderate trails

Except for the Tramline Trail, these trails are exposed to avalanche hazard and travel is not recommended from mid-October through to mid-June.

Lake Agnes

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.

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. Upper Lake Louise parking area is accessible by transit and recommended from June – September.

Transit Info


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

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.

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. Upper Lake Louise parking area is accessible by transit and recommended from June – September.

Transit Info


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

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.

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). Lake Louise is accessible by transit from Banff and Canmore.

Transit Info

Note: A trail advisory is in effect from May 15 until October 15 to help protect and improve important wildlife habitat. Hikers are asked to use alternative routes such as the Louise Creek Trail.

Lake Annette

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

Eiffel Lake

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.

Length: 5.6 km one way
Hiking time: 4.5 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 370 m
Trailhead: Take transit to Moraine Lake, begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Transit Info

Larch Valley / Minnestimma Lakes

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

Length: 4.3 km one way
Hiking time: 3.5 to 4 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 535 m
Trailhead: Take transit to Moraine Lake, begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Transit Info


Difficult trails

Except for the official Boulder Pass Trail, these trails are exposed to avalanche hazard and travel is not recommended from mid-October through to mid-June.

Saddleback

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.

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. Upper Lake Louise parking area is accessible by transit and recommended from June – September.

Transit Info

Fairview Mountain

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!

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. Upper Lake Louise parking area is accessible by transit and recommended from June – September.

Transit Info

Sheol / Paradise Connector

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

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.

Boulder Pass

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.

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.


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

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

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.

Sentinel Pass Connector

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.

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.

Sentinel Pass

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

Length: 5.8 km one way
Hiking time: 4.5 to 5.5 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 725 m
Trailhead: Take transit to Moraine Lake, begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Transit Info

Wenkchemna Pass

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.

Length: 9.7 km one way
Hiking time: 7.5 to 8 hour round trip
Elevation gain: 720 m
Trailhead: Take transit to Moraine Lake, begin just beyond the Moraine Lake Lodge.

Transit Info