Lake Louise may be the most visited location in all of Banff National Park. This trail starts on a paved path that leads right out to the banks of the lake in front of the Fairmont Chateau.
Snap a few pictures of Lake Louise with the mountains in the background before following your route notes to the right around the edge of the lake. The pavement will disappear quickly as a dirt trail takes form and you start up the switchbacks towards Mirror Lake. You'll pass a small waterfall before ascending the final staircase up to Lake Agnes Teahouse. This is a great place to stop for a hot drink and snack as the teahouse serves tea, coffee, biscuits, soup, and other small offerings.
Take in Lake Agnes and the views overlooking Lake Louise before looping back down to Mirror Lake and then rejoining the same path you walked up back to Lake Louise.
Bears are present and active around all hiking routes. Be sure to review The Parks Canada information regarding travel in bear country to familiarize yourself with best practices. Always carry bear spray and know how to use it.
The weather in this area can change quickly. Even if you start a hike with blue skies, it could easily be storming (or even snowing) by the afternoon. Check the weather report daily to adjust your hiking schedule as needed.
Trail Conditions can vary based on the season and weather. Check with a local visitor's center or visit the Parks Canada Website for the most up to date trail conditions. Always be prepared to turn back you feel that snow or rain makes a trail unsafe.
- The second half of the loop from Lake Agnes back down to Mirror Lake is quite steep and worn down by walkers. Be sure to secure your footing and use trekking poles for balance.
Tips and hints
- Restrooms: There is a large public bathroom for Lake Visitors in the Parking Lot. The Fairmont Chateau restricts the use of their bathrooms to guests and diners only.
- Cell Service: You might have a small amount of service at the trailhead, but for the most part there will be no service on the hike.
Points of Interest:
This is definitely the main highlight of this route. Read more about it below in Food & Drink.
Food & Drink:
The teahouses on this route are a rare treat. Both teahouses were built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 1900's as a way to tempt people to travel out west. Today they remain fully functional with offerings of tea, coffee, soup, cake, biscuits, and other small snacks. They accept credit cards and American cash at higher fees, so bring Canadian dollars if you have them.
There is also a restaurant, deli & cafe in the Fairmont Chateau if you'd like to sit inside to eat after your hike. The upscale Alpine Social is situated by the windows overlooking the lake but can be quite busy throughout the lunch & dinner hours.
For more places to eat and grocery shop in Lake Louise Village, review your driving route notes.
Parking at the trailhead it extremely limited as the lots fill up fast with visitors. If the parking lot is full, you will likely see automated signs in stating so along the road in Lake Louise Village. Luckily, there is a free shuttle from the overflow parking lot (which is along the Trans Canada Hwy) to the shores of Lake Louise.
The shuttles run daily from May 18 to October 8 and depart every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The last shuttle leaves the Lake Louise Lakeshore at 5:30 p.m.