Known to the Stoney Indians as “Lake of the Little Fishes”, and called “Emerald Lake” by its first European visitor in 1882, Lake Louise was renamed in 1884 to honour Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, daughter of Queen Victoria. The Village of Lake Louise offers a range of lodging, dining, and shopping options; from here, it’s a 5 minute drive to the Lake.
1. Lake Louise Visitor Centre (beside the Samson Mall; 522-3833)
It ’s an interpretive centre as well as an information centre. Discover how the Rocky Mountains came to be, and learn about the more recent natural and human history of the Lake Louise area.
– Park information, maps, brochures, passes, permits, backcountry reservations
– Exhibits explaining the geology of the Canadian Rockies
– Banff/Lake Louise Tourism Bureau information services (JUN 01 – SEP 30)
– Friends of Banff National Park gift shop (MAY 29 – SEP 28)
SPRING (MAY 29 – JUN 18): 8 am – 6 p.m.
SUMMER (JUN 19 – SEP 07): 8 am – 8 p.m.
FALL (SEP 08 – SEP 27): 8 am – 6 p.m.
WINTER (SEP 28 – MAY 28): 9 am – 5 p.m.
2. Lake Louise — the Lake (4.5 km from Lake Louise, the Village)
This is one of the most famous images of Canada. Interpretive exhibits along the lake explain, among other things, why the water is such a wonderful colour. To avoid the summer crowds, enjoy its magic in morning or late afternoon light. Or take a hike; there are more than 75 km of trails to choose from in this area. Ask for the Lake Louise Drives & Walks brochure.
3. Moraine Lake & the Valley of the Ten Peaks (15 km from Lake Louise, the Village)
Moraine Lake is even more brilliant in hue than Lake Louise, with similarly stunning scenery and hiking opportunities. Interpretive exhibits here describe the geology of the area. Moraine Lake Road is open as snow conditions permit, MAY – OCT.
4. The Great Divide (8 km from Lake Louise, the Village)
Take the old 1A Highway west from Lake Louise to the Yoho National Park border and see the ‘parting of the waters’ and a replica of the original Continental Divide Arch. Open MAY-OCT as snow conditions permit.
5. Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola (4.5 km from Lake Louise, the Village; 403-522-3555)
Interpretive talks, displays and hikes are offered here JUN – SEP, along with a gondola ride and spectacular views of Lake Louise, Victoria Glacier, and the peaks of the Continental Divide.