Kendall is a born and raised Canadian who loves to travel, eat her way through new cultures, and write about her experiences. Her most recent adventures include Germany, Banff, and Malta. When she’s not dreaming of faraway places, you can find her hanging at a dog park or taking on new challenges, like training for mud-soaked obstacle courses. She currently lives in Calgary, Alberta.
Latest posts by Kendall O’Geil (see all)
- Top 5 Things to Do in Lake Louise in the Winter - January 10, 2018
- How to Spend a Weekend in the Beautiful Lake Louise - November 24, 2017
- A Quick Guide to the Canadian Words and Phrases - October 13, 2017
For over a hundred years, the area surrounding Lake Louise has been a highly-touted natural attraction that has drawn visitors from around the world. Whether you are an Alberta or BC native or just in Western Canada for a visit, spending a weekend in Lake Louise can be the highlight of any long-stay vacation or a road trip into the mountains.
There is so much to see, and only three days to do it! Here is a great sample itinerary for those wishing to explore the best parts of Lake Louise in only a weekend.
If you are coming in from the nearest city of Calgary, the drive is about 190 kilometers to get to Lake Louise. You can also arrive there with a bus (via Greyhound or Brewster). The bus is a preferred option for many skiers who use it to hit the slopes for a weekend. I personally recommend to drive. No matter the season, it is always a picturesque drive with winding roads, luscious pine and aspen trees, glacial streams, and the occasional wildlife sightings.
If you’re spending a weekend, you’ll have to pre-book your accommodations in advance. Of course, the Fairmont Lake Louise hotel is a fabulous option set in front of the stunning mountain backdrop for those wanting to splurge. Other excellent hotel options include the Deer Lodge where you can enjoy the stunning mountain views from the rooftop’s hot tub, as well as Paradise Lodge & Bungalows, which offer larger, cabin-like accommodations.
After you check in to your hotel, head into the main area of this mountain hamlet and spend some time wandering through the charming, little shops before dinner.
Wake up with the sun and stop by the Laggan’s Mountain Bakery & Delicatessen for a freshly brewed coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Be sure to pick up some of their mouth-watering baked goods from under the glass, before you head out for the day.
The best way to spend a Saturday in Lake Louise is of course by hiking! You can choose from a variety of half-day hikes such as the easy Consolation Hike, the steep Saddleback Pass, or the ever-popular Lake Agnes Tea House hike. For a full-day adventure, go beyond the crowds, taking Saddleback even further to Mount Fairview, or catch one of the most picturesque viewpoints in all of Banff’s National Park at the high crest of Lake Helen.
If you prefer to hike with a group, the Fairmont hotel offers a Mountain Adventure Program, with their own guides leading the hikes along some excellent routes, explaining the lookouts as well as the areas of historical significance. There are countless hiking options, from late Spring to the early Fall, and for every skill level, ensuring your weekend in Lake Louise is a memorable one.
After an early start and a long hike, take your weary feet down to the Fairmont Lake Louise. Spend a casual afternoon enjoying a high tea, finger sandwiches, elegant desserts and the best lookouts over the magnificent lake, while discussing your morning hike.
Feel free to take the rest of the afternoon off, kicking back in a hot tub and enjoying the crisp mountain air. If you’re up for more adventures, you can also try horseback riding, taking a stroll along the edge of Lake Louise, or maybe renting a canoe while watch the sun go down from the best viewpoint on the lake.
For a delicious dinner, head over to the Lake Louise Station Restaurant. Here you’ll find a mountain twist on classic eats and some Canadian favorites, like poutine and burgers. If you’re up for a late night, make your way to the basement of the Post Hotel where you can grab a beer at The Outpost Pub, relax by the fireplace and watch a big screen TV.
Spend your final day in Lake Louise checking out one of the most Instagrammed locations in Alberta — Moraine Lake. This lake is the epitome of the Canadian Rockies, with its ice blue water, imposing pine trees and the gorgeous mountain peaks so tall that you can’t even spot them among the mist and clouds on cooler days.
If you come in May, it is likely that the lake will still have some ice cover, but once the weather warms up and the glaciers begin to melt, the silt and water runoff give Moraine Lake the stunning colour that it is known for.
Moraine Lake is located on only a short drive from the Lake Louise. Hiking the moderately easy Rockpile Trail gives you the best views overlooking the area.
Pro tip: if you want to see the lake at its quietest, then visit it in the early morning or late afternoon hours to avoid the huge midday crowds. Unfortunately, even on the slowest Summer days, the lake can be full of tourists! You can also hike further up to the Lakeshore Trail, weaving in and out of trees to come to a higher vantage point, where few people usually venture to.
On your way back into Calgary, stop by the Storm Mountain Lodge on Highway 93 for a sumptuous late lunch or early dinner. The rustic cabin in cozy, forested surroundings is the best place to split a charcuterie board or sample some elegant Canadian cuisine. The peaceful and short drive back into Calgary is best done on a full stomach, reminiscing over the great beauty and the truly awe-inspiring scenery one can find in the special area of Lake Louise.