Lake Louise, Canada

Anyone been there? Is it as beautiful as the photos? This would be a trip with my wife, not a paddling trip. Any advice would be appreciated.

Yes. Run
It is gorgeous. But it is overrun with tourists. Its got five huge parking lots stuffed with tour buses.

Get there before 10 AM. Go hiking up around the lake to get away from the insane crowds of So Calers taking pics of their massive groups.

You can rent a canoe and paddle the lake. Its (hold on there) $35 for 30 minutes.

Go up to Maligne Lake in Jasper NP. Canoe rental for $30 an hour

Agree with above …
but there are lots of beautiful spots that are not so crowded. We did a big loop Edmonton, Jasper National Park, Columbia Ice Fields, Lake Louise, Banf … very nice trip. Jasper National Park is really nice.

Yes it is beautiful
Don’t go in May.

We were on our way to Alaska with our two kayaks and we had a planned paddle there. We drove up and found hard water.

The area is gorgeous

Jack L

Stunningly beautiful area
Don’t miss Moraine lake while you’re there. Small lake but nice to paddle has the mountains are right at the end of the lake.

Jack, where HAVEN’T you been ?

Jack, where HAVEN’T you been ?
The Moon.

Not the moon, but we did moon
the once a day cruise ship that goes in Glacier Bay, Alaska.

We were on a tiny rocky beach making a pit stop. It was way out, but we were told that the people on board probably were watching us with binoculars.

The females refused to participate!

jack L

I had a dry suit on
in Glacier Bay… so mooning was so much more difficult…

Its fun to “entertain” the tour boat geese.

Two piece ones here
Jack L

There is a book
I used the book “How to Photograph the Canadian Rockies” by Darwin Wiggett. Very helpful. My pictures from my trip are here,

I also have a Garmin gdb file which has the places I took most of these pictures as saved waypoints. If you have a Garmin any Garmin you should be able to read it. Or if you have the Garmin basecamp software on PC you can read it with that and transfer the waypoints to a Garmin Nuvi or handheld. Basecamp is a free download from Garmin. Let me know if you want it.

I went mid September and was in a snowstorm but it quickly melted during the day. About 6 inches so no big deal but early morning they had several roads closed so getting around till mid day was a problem.

I carried bear pepper spray while hiking as there are grizzlies up there.

Don’t miss it !!!
The Icefields Parkway basically runs from Banff to Jasper and right by Lake Louise. We drove from Iowa to Jasper then back. On the way out we also tied in the Black Hills, Big Horns, Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, and Waterton Lakes, Banff, and Jasper National Parks in Canada.

Even if you don’t drive from South Carolina and just want to fly in to Banff, Calgary, or Jasper the Icefields Parkway is not to be missed.

We were there in 1979 (The Athabasca Glacier has receded considerably - when we were there it came much closer to the Icefields Parkway.) It’s on my bucket list to do it again.

Here are some links regarding the Icefields Parkway:

beautiful area

– Last Updated: Jan-10-15 1:32 PM EST –

There are dozens of lakes in the Canadian Rockies just as beautiful or more so than Lake Louise. It gets a lot of photo coverage because of the massive hotel and the paved sidewalk that goes to the back of the lake. If you drive up the Icefields Parkway you will find a vista matching that view around every turn. The first time we drove up there from Banff back in 1975 we only progressed about 10 mph because we were pulling off the road every mile to take photos.

In fact, for the reasons stated above, Lake Louise would be my LEAST likely destination up there. Instead, get a modestly priced comfortable private room at the Banff YWCA Hotel at the end of town (forget it if you like luxury, but I have always been comfortable and happy there -- $59 a night sure beats $300 at the Lake Louise hotel). You can walk to the restaurants and museums from there and even walk along a trail along the Bow river right behind the inn to see the lovely river valley with the Banff Springs hotel in the middle and elk wandering along the braided river. The Sulphur Springs spa above town is a great place to soak at the end of a day of hiking or paddling. I think you can rent canoes and paddle Lake Minnewanka outside town, though it is not a large lake.

Also, Kananaskis Park between Calgary and Banff is spectacular and has some amazing lakes.

By all means, do a day trip to Lake Louise and if it isn't raining, avoid the crowded hotel and take a day hike out the lake path and to the trail beyond the paved path up to the tea house below the hanging glacier. But it would be a waste to limit yourself to Lake Louise. Besides, it is miles from the town of Banff and there is so much more to do there than being trapped at the resort hotel. You can see snow capped peaks and turquoise lakes anywhere from the town of Banff all the way up to Jasper.

If $300 is ok with you, you might want to consider this lodge: much cozier and a more romantic getaway than Lake Louise:

Do a Google image search on "Lakes Canadian Rockies" and you will be blown away.

Okay… I’ll disagree…
I counsel serious outdoors people to completely avoid Lake Louise. It is hideously overrun by thousands of tourists and the traffic can be hell. Not my idea of getting away from it. But if you do go there… stay in the Lake Louise Hostel. Much cheaper than the hotels and you will meet many others with similar interests. Just be sure to get a room that does not face the railway tracks.

Far better are some of the alternatives that have been mentioned. I have seen your posts and am aware of your skills, so you should consider a day (or much better, multiday) trip on Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. If you want to camp on the lake you must make reservations, but for a day trip you can rent canoes or kayaks from the boathouse and still get waaay down the lake to some beautiful areas. There are other great lakes too in this neck of the woods.

Feel free to use the privacy email link if you would like details.


every little breeze
carries 4 pound mosquitos, 1 pound blackflies, and mercury poisoning to contam your tea.

One of the wurst lakes in Canada. Who suggested you go there ?

It’s making me sad
As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to go back to Lake Louise and canoe the lake. I even know which room I wanted in the hotel.

After reading the other posts on this thread I am reconsidering. Today it sure doesn’t sound as appealing to me as it was when I was there; but that was 35 years ago. I guess like a lot of other places in my memory the Lake Louise area has changed considerably. And I’m not just referring to the shrinking of the Athabasca Glacier.

However, these discussions have not dampened my enthusiasm to return to the Banff and Jasper area and traveling the Icefields Parkway.

Guess I’ll just have to replace Lake Louise with Moraine Lake or something else similar.

some good skiing…also think wildlife
sightseeing should be pretty good.


Asian tourists

– Last Updated: Jan-12-15 10:20 AM EST –

It was lovely there on my first trip in 1975, when Banff was still a rustic ski town with a couple of bars, a diner and a small Hudson Bay Company 2-story department store for provisions. By the time of my second trip in 1987 it had been over run with Japanese yuppie tourists in Gucci and Prada toting fancy cameras and the town was full of high end boutiques and restaurants where I could not have afforded the tip, let alone a meal. The Asian economic boom in the 80's and 90's led to BC becoming a favorite tourism destination.

I have a hilarious story of an encounter with a wealthy Japanese couple on the Lake Louise trail, will post later (headed to work now.)

Lake Louise encounter

– Last Updated: Jan-14-15 12:44 PM EST –

On one of my mountaineering trips (late 80's or early 90's) to the Canadian Rockies I was with a group from my outdoor club that included some avid rock-climbers. One day while we were up there a bunch of them wanted to climb the rather extreme rock routes that are at the back of Lake Louise for a day. Not being a fan of vertical rock climbing, I walked back with them but elected to relax and read atop a large boulder (overlooking the lake and the paved sidewalk) that had a lovely recliner shaped depression in the top. It was a gorgeous sunny and warm day and I was often distracted from my reading (a gripping mountaineering novel, of course) by the view of the sparking blue lake and surrounding white-capped mountains.

Other intrusions on my reverie were the cheeky ground squirrels who kept trying to raid the daypack containing my snacks and the circus parade of tourists that passed in occasional clumps below me, on their way to the teahouse a half mile up the trail. Most were in street clothes, sneakers and even flip-flops, some even dragged toy poodles on leashes or pushed strollers or wheelchairs. I describe this just to give a picture of how tourist-easy this "trail" is.

Eventually there came a point where there were no passersby, presumably because it was lunch time. But as I took out my own sandwich I heard chattering people approaching and looked down to see an amazingly attired middle-aged couple (recognized their speech as Japanese). They were arrayed in an over-the-top collection of gaudy "Alpine" gear, as if they had been equipped for a Mount Everest expedition by the same costumer who outfitted Jim Carrey in apres-ski couture in "Dumb and Dumber". From their huge lug-soled black and yellow boots with coordinating gaiters, tweed knickers, parti-colored Nordic sweaters, giant day-glo puffy vests, daypacks with enough straps and buckles and lacing to give an S & M mistress the epizooties to their matching felt Swiss guide hats with pheasant feather cockades and silver stag badges -- they were a sight to see! Also, both were strolling along carrying impressive ski-pole like walking staffs, presumably titanium or carbon fiber. All of their accoutrements were plastered with colorful logos.

As I watched (unseen) from above, the pair paused and he removed his pack, from which they extracted a bag of snacks. The woman began taking photos of the lake, never pausing in her chattering. Meanwhile, a crowd of the notoriously bold and persistent ground squirrels had flowed out of the brush, surrounding the man, and I saw him dip a handful of Nippon GORP out of his sack. I yelled a warning to him but too late -- within a split second of the morsels hitting the ground, the squirrels began to swarm up his body towards the source of the treats -- several reached his head and clung to the hat. He yelped, dancing frantically and trying to brush them off as his wife turned and screamed, then ran to him and proceeded to beat the squirrels (and him) violently with her hiking staff as he stumbled around, crying out and trying to deflect the blows. By that time I was laughing so hard I was choking and almost rolled off my perch. The rodents finally fled and the chastened trekkers recomposed themselves and continued up the trail, aiming an embarrassed nod in my direction as they departed.

I saw the couple again an hour later, on their way back from their "ascent" to the tea house, both carrying what must have been doggie bags from lunch. They did not pause to share with the squirrels (or me).

You described it so well it was almost like I saw it on Youtube (LOL)!