Lake Louise and Moraine Lake
Location: 55 km west of Banff, Alberta, on the Trans-Canada Highway / #1
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 surrounding 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.
Parking is extremely limited at the Lake Louise lakeshore and Moraine Lake. Parking at these destinations is often full by sunrise and remains full throughout the day in peak season (May to October). Planning ahead is key. Park your car and ride Roam Transit to Lake Louise, or reserve a seat in advance on a Parks Canada shuttle and leave your car at the at the Park and Ride. Make the most of your visit to Banff National Park by using shuttles and transit.
Book your seat in advance - Shuttle Reservations Required
Parks Canada encourages visitors to plan ahead by reserving their bus seat in advance of their visit. Reservations will be available for the summer season on the Parks Canada Reservation System, starting on April 28, 2021.
Reservations are required to get a seat on a Parks Canada shuttle to the Lake Louise Lakeshore or Moraine Lake. Walk-up seat sales are not permitted. Roam Public Transit will operate without reservations. Roam routes 8X, and 10 stop at the Lake Louise Park and Ride and can be used to transfer to a Parks Canada shuttle reservation.
Paid Parking at the Lake Louise Lakeshore
Mandatory paid parking will be in effect for all public stalls in the Lake Louise Lakeshore parking lot from mid-May to mid-October, from 7 am to 7 pm. Look for pay stations when you arrive. You must also have a valid national park entry pass.
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?
Lake Louise Village 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. Exact dates may vary depending on snow conditions. During the winter, the road is trackset for skiing and the lake itself is inaccessible due to avalanche hazard.
During the summer months, Moraine Lake Road only opens to private vehicles as space becomes available in Moraine Lake parking lot. No waiting area is available. Plan ahead and reserve your spot on the Parks Canada shuttle.
When do the teahouses open at Lake Louise?
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.
When are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake busiest?
From May through October, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are extremely busy. Throughout the summer season, parking lots at these locations are often full by sunrise and remain full throughout the day. Moraine Lake Road only opens to private vehicles as space becomes available in Moraine Lake parking lot. No waiting area is available. Plan ahead and reserve your spot on the Parks Canada shuttle.
If taking your private vehicle, expect full parking lots, traffic control personnel, traffic congestion, long waits, and paid parking (Lake Louise Lakeshore only). Visitors are encouraged to have a backup plan.
Visitors are encouraged to leave their cars at home and take transit from either Calgary, Banff or Lake Louise. Visit Getting around for transit information.
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)
How to get to Lake Louise Lakeshore when the parking lot is full
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. The best way to access Lake Louise Lakeshore and Moraine Lake between May and October is to leave your car at home and arrive by public transit.
Here are our top tips:
- Take transit! Roam Transit offers daily service between Canmore, Banff townsite and Lake Louise Village and Lakeshore. For more information on schedules and fares, visit RoamTransit.com
- Book a seat on a Parks Canada shuttle! Reservations are required in advance and can be booked through the Parks Canada Reservation system beginning April 28, 2021. Visit Getting around
- Start your day at the Park and Ride loading area (6km east of the Lake Louise village on Highway 1) and visit both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one day. The round-trip booking includes use of the “Lake Connector” shuttle between Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. It is strongly recommended that all RVs and trailers are left at the park and ride or campground.
- Stretch your legs and hike to Lake Louise via the Tramline Trail or the Louise Creek Trail. Please obey all bear warnings and closures.
- 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:
How to get to Moraine Lake when the parking lot is full
Moraine Lake is one of Canada’s most popular destinations and is open mid-May through mid-October. The parking lot fills before sunrise. Moraine Lake Road only opens to vehicles as space becomes available in Moraine Lake parking lot. No waiting area is available and vehicles (with the exception of shuttles and transit) are not permitted on the road if parking is not available. Plan ahead and reserve your spot on the Parks Canada shuttle to provide certainty in reaching your destination.
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. Expect daily traffic control personnel during peak season.
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.
Here are our top tips:
- Book a seat on a Parks Canada shuttle! Reservations are required in advance and can be booked through the Parks Canada Reservation system beginning April 28, 2021. Visit Getting around.
- Planning a day hike at Moraine Lake? From June 21 to October 11, 2021 Parks Canada will offer early morning shuttles to Moraine Lake for visitors wanting to get an early start to their day. Space is limited so reserve early. Tickets for earlier departures can be booked through the Parks Canada Reservation system beginning April 28, 2021.
- Roam routes 8X, and 10 stop at the Lake Louise Park and Ride and can be used to transfer to a Parks Canada shuttle reservation. For more information on schedules and fares, visit Roam Public Transit.
- 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:
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 Lakeshore (year-round)
- Lake Louise Village (year-round)
- Moraine Lake (mid-May to mid-October)
- Summer Gondola (mid-May to mid-October)
- Lake Louise Ski Area (November 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.
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 Lake Louise Village. 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
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