Lake Louise and Moraine Lake
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)
Parking is limited at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and fills quickly during daylight hours, so planning ahead is key. Park your car and ride Roam Transit or Parks Canada shuttles from the Town of Banff to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Make the most of your visit to Banff National Park by using shuttles and transit.
When to visit
When 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?
The village of Lake Louise and the Lake Louise lakeshore 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 is inaccessible due to avalanche hazard.
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 or spring. In May and June, check the trail report before departing.
From May through September, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are extremely busy. Throughout the summer season, parking lots at these locations are usual full by sunrise.. Visitors are encouraged to leave their cars at home and take transit from either Calgary, Banff or Lake Louise. Visit www.pc.gc.ca/banff-transit for information. Expect lineups, plan ahead and have a backup plan. Expect that parking lots will be full from sunrise to sundown. Holidays and weekends are especially busy, including:
- 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)
Lake Louise is one of Canada’s most popular destinations and is open year-round. During the summer and fall, parking at the lakeshore fills before sunrise. Visitors are encouraged to take a transit from either Calgary, Banff or Lake Louise.
Here are our top tips:
- Take transit! Roam Transit offers daily shuttles between Calgary, Banff townsite and Lake Louise village and lakeshore. For more information on schedules and fares, visit RoamTransit.com
- Take the early bird shuttle to Moraine Lake. Direct shuttles are available every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. from the Lake Louise Park and Ride from June 24 – September 29, 2019.
- Ride the Parks Canada Shuttle to the iconic lakeside viewpoint at Lake Louise from May 17 to October 14, 2019. Shuttles start at the Lake Louise Park and Ride (Overflow parking lot) located 3 km east of the Village of Lake Louise on Highway 1. It is strongly recommended that all RVs and trailers are left at the park and ride or campground.
- Ride the free, private shuttle from the Lake Louise Summer Gondola to the lakeside viewpoint at the Lake Louise lakeshore. 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 and closures.
- Planning a day hike at the lake? We recommend taking the early bird shuttle that offers service directly to Moraine Lake.
- Diverted or delayed? Shop and dine in the village of Lake Louise or ride the Lake Louise Gondola. We recommend that you plan ahead and always have an alternate plan.
For details and real time updates visit:
Moraine Lake is one of Canada’s most popular destinations and is open mid-May through mid-October. The parking lot fills before sunrise. 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.
RV parking at Moraine Lake is very limited and RVs will only be permitted to travel on the Moraine Lake Road when RV spaces are available. We recommend taking a shuttle for the highest chance of visiting Moraine Lake during the summer.
There are a few options to reach the lake once parking fills:
- A daily shuttle is available from May 24 to October 14, 2019, from the Lake Louise lakeshore to Moraine Lake. Shuttles leaving Moraine Lake will return to the Lake Louise Park and Ride. Tickets can be purchased at the Lake Louise lakeshore for scheduled departures.
- Planning a day hike at the lake? From June 24 to September 29, Parks Canada will offer morning shuttles to Moraine Lake for visitors wanting to get an early start to their day. Space is limited so arrive early. Tickets for the Early Bird Shuttle are available at the Lake Louise Park and Ride.
- Ride a paid, private shuttle. More information is available from the Lake Louise Visitor Centre.
- Diverted or delayed? Shop and dine in the village of Lake Louise or ride the Lake Louise Gondola.
For details and real time updates 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.
© Parks Canada / Alex Taylor
In Canada, national parks enjoy special protections that may differ from other protected places. Please know “what not to do” in a national park.
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.
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