How to Tour Lake Louise in One Day (Summer Edition)

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Imagine being surrounded by spectacular mountains as you say your wedding vows with a stunning turquoise lake as a backdrop. I would die for a beautiful wedding in Lake Louise. Too bad, Kev and I already had our romantic moments in Taiwan. Yet, I would explore Lake Louise at anytime of the year, for any occasion.

Banff and Lake Louise’s extraordinary natural beauty is incomparable; no wonder people called it Canada’s Diamond in the Wilderness. This summer, our friends invited us to come along on a trip as they checked out a few wedding venues in the area. We immediately jumped at the opportunity to tour Lake Louise, even if it was just for a day.

Now, let’s check out what amazing places and things you can do around the Lake Louise area!

Lake Louise Canadian Rockies

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1| Taking the Lake Louise gondola to Mount Whitehorn

For grizzly bear viewing and a panoramic view of the Rockies, Lake Louise gondola is your best bet. A short 14-min ride, either in an open chairlift or a fully-enclosed gondola, will give you a chance to spot grizzly bears grazing on the slopes. Once up top (at an elevation of 2088m), enjoy the sweeping landscape of Lake Louise from a bird’s eye view.

If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the scenery on foot via several scenic hiking trails, ranging from 1.7 to 3.4 km round trips. Alternatively, you can join one of the three guided walks and learn about the natural splendour with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide (additional fees apply).

Pro tip: Grizzly bears and other wildlife, such as black & brown bears, big horn sheep and moose, are frequently spotted at Lake Louise Gondola from May to September. While sightings of wildlife can never be guaranteed, you can do a bit research beforehand using the Sightings Calendar to check which month has had the highest chance of sighting!

Duration: 1~5 hours (depending if you’re doing walks & hikes)

Lake Louise Canadian Rockies
Lake Louise Canadian Rockies

2| Dining at the Whitehorn Bistro while admiring Mount Temple

To make your visit to Mount Whitehorn more enjoyable, savour a gourmet meal on the expansive deck at Whitehorn Bistro. The upscale, contemporary menu features cheese fondue, signature seafood chowder, house made bison burger and many more, all of which are made from locally sourced ingredients. While you dine, breathe in the Canadian Rockies mountain air and admire the snow-capped Mount Temple, Lake Lousie, the Fairmont Chateau Hotel, and Victoria Glacier, which set the scene for an unforgettable day!

Pro Tip: Save a few bucks by combining meal with the gondola ride. The Ride & Dine Package ($52.95+tax) includes a roundtrip gondola ticket and $25 food & beverage gift card.

Duration: 1 hour

Whitehorn Bistro at Lake Louise Gondola in the Canadian Rockies
Whitehorn Bistro at Lake Louise Gondola in the Canadian Rockies
Lake Louise Canadian Rockies

3| Canoeing on Lake Louise

Lake Louise is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Take part in the ultimate canoeing experience in Lake Louise, where you paddle through the turquoise water towards the mesmerizing views of the Victoria Glacier. Canoe rentals are available at the boathouse, operated by the Fairmont Chateau Hotel. You may rent a canoe at an hourly rate, combine the rental with a breakfast if you’re a hotel guest, or book a trip with an experienced guide. So many options available to get up close and personal with the mountains! (For more information, check the hotel’s rental page)

This summer, my friend, Chris Uyeda, from Seattle visited and explored the picturesque lake on a canoeing adventure! Doesn’t his photo (see below) make you want to experience the beauty and tranquil water of the lake yourself?

Pro Tip: Lake Louise is buzzing with tourists all day long in the summer months. For a quieter experience, do the activity in the early morning (before the tourists arrive) or early evening (after the majority of them have left).

Duration: 30 mins~1 hour

Canoeing on Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies
Photo Courtesy of Chris Uyeda

If you’d like to do some hiking and are physically fit, consider challenging the beautiful Plain of Six Glaciers hike!

4| Enjoying afternoon tea at The Chateau

Indulge in the most luxurious afternoon tea experience at the Fairmont Chateau. A standard high tea comes at $43 pp and includes an assortment of tiny savoury sandwiches and an elegant, tiered platter of delectable pastries, served with your choice of tea. On top of that, the lounge overlooks the scenic Lake Louise! Needless to say, the view is magnificent and provides a romantic setting for couples.

Pro tip: Afternoon Tea is served between 12 PM and 2:30 PM. Reservation is highly recommended.

Duration: 1 hour

Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies
Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies

5| Capturing the 20-dollar view of Moraine Lake

Only 14 km away from the village of Lake Louise, some may say Moraine Lake is even more scenic than Lake Louise. Nestled in the majestic Valley of The Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is utterly enchanting with rugged snow-capped peaks and surreal blue water. It is in fact one of the most photographed scenes in Canada and was featured on the back of the Canadian 20-dollar note issued between 1969 and 1979.

To get the best view of the Moraine Lake, hike up the Rockpile Trail (roughly 300 m) to a spectacular viewpoint. The sight of the astonishingly azure lake, enveloped by beautiful glacier mountains, will truly take our breath away!

Below is a picture of Moraine Lake captured by my friend, Chris Uyeda. Isn’t it picture perfect?

Pro Tip: The road to Moraine Lake is blocked by snow in winter and is only accessible from June through September. To avoid the crowd, come during mid-week and before 10 am or after 5 pm.

Duration: 40 mins

Moraine Lake at Banff National Park
Photo Courtesy of Chris Uyeda

Lake Louise offers a wealth of exciting activities to keep you entertained. Although autumn has already arrived, it is not too late to enjoy the activities listed above. Lake Louise gondola and Moraine Lake will remain open until earlu October. It’s your chance to get the last blast of summer at Lake Louise, a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

Planning to visit in winter instead? Check out my winter adventure for inspiration on what you can do when Lake Louise turns into a winter wonderland!

If you have more time in the Canadian Rockies, don’t miss the opportunities to explore more of Banff, a highlight of Southern Alberta, or even travel to the nearby Jasper National Park!

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Visiting Lake Louise in the summer, but only has one day? Here's a list of must-see attractions to help you explore Lake Louise in 24 hours!



Lake Louise, Canada is a popular summer road trip destination. Make sure to spend one day in Lake Louise while you are in Banff National Park. There is no shortage of hiking trails and scenic spots. Click through to learn more at For Two, Please. #canadaroadtrip #roadtrip #alberta #lakelouise #banff #travelguide #canada #bucketlist #tripplanning #outdoors #hiking #summertravels #nationalparks


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52 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I like the idea of being able to check a ‘sightings calendar’ to increase the chances of seeing wildlife. I am always on the look out for animals but very rarely actually see many. Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited but it was awfully crowded and the canoe rental has to cost more than just about anywhere else in the world.

    • Hi Lyn! At Lake Louise Gondola, grizzly bear is spotted nearly everyday so there is a very high chance of seeing one in the summer. We visited this July and saw one around the trail to the restaurant (inside the fenced-off area, of course)! Summer is beautiful in Lake Louise, but unfortunately like you said, it is very crowded and everything is overpriced 🙁 I would suggest looking into cheaper accommodations outside Banff and Lake Louise (Canmore or Golden are good alternatives), and spend the money elsewhere on activities that are worth doing 😉 Or, just visit in winter, hotel prices are so much cheaper in the winter months!

  2. Great guide – I cannot wait to visit this beautiful spot myself one day! My parents visited a few years ago and their photos were just stunning. Absolutely breathtaking. 

    • Thank you, Juliette! Lake Louise is beautiful in all seasons. In summer, it is perfect for hiking, canoeing, or simply stroll around the lake for a magnificent view of the mountains. In winter, it is popular for skiing, snowshoeing, dog-sledding and many other activities. I hope you come visit soon!

  3. Lake Louise is soooooo beautiful and I would looove to go canoeing and just enjoy the beauty! #WeekendWanderlust

  4. Lake Louise has long been on my travel bucket list – it’s such a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for sharing your awesome tips to make the most of a trip there 🙂

  5. We plan to spend quite a bit of time in the next year or so in Canada visiting the parks. I would need more than a day for these beautiful spots! Hiking and wildlife is paramount.

    • Yes, ideally you’d want to spend more than a day there. But in the summer, hotel rates are ridiculously high as it is the peak season for tourists to visit. That is why we usually take a day-trip there since we live only 1.5 hour away. To avoid the crowd, I would suggest to visit in the winter – fewer people and so much cheaper!

  6. Well, if you have no choice is great to be able to visit Lake Louise at least for a day, but for me this place is the epitome of perfection and luckily I had about 5 days there. I’d love to go back for more. Beautiful pictures!

    • That’s perfect! I would want to spend a few more days there as well – to see more of the park. But since we live so close, we can take multiple weekend trips there throughout the year. Hope you come back to visit one day!

  7. Stunning photos and Lake Louise looks absolutely gorgeous. Seeing the beautiful scenery and the chance to spot wildlife really make me want to visit! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Oh wow! Oh wow! Is this a dreamy place or not? I would have jumped at the invitation to go too. Hope your friends found the perfect place to tie the knot. I guess not a lot of effort was needed since the places in that area are so drop dead gorgeous. Can you clarify about the wildlife? Do you mean that you can see them while riding the gondola or that you can spot them from the top?

    • Yes, Ruth! Both – you can see them while you are riding the gondola (the bears might be roaming on the slopes so you have to pay close attention when the gondola is moving), OR when you reach the top, you might see them from atop (through the fence). You might also have a chance seeing animals if you go on a hike or walk on the mountain after hopping off the gondola. You have to be careful though – they say to “hike at your own risk.”

  9. I have to say that taking it the entire lake is totally doable but if you have the chance to stay a little longer, it really is worth your while. There is so much to do here and as the seasons change, so does the nature of the beauty. If you are in a rush however, this list does indeed hit all the high points.

    • Yes, it is definitely better to stay there for more than a day. We did that once in the winter and absolutely loved it! In the summer, there are tons to do in the park, but the hotel rates are sooo expensive and everywhere is packed 🙁 Some of my friends either couldn’t afford staying at the hotel in Banff or they couldn’t find a room at all. In that case, they have to book room in other nearby area and do a day-trip to Banff/Lake Louise. This guide will hopefully help those who have limited time to check out the area. If you know any accommodation nearby that is cheap in summer, do let me know! I’m definitely interested!

  10. There are some great insider tips here. Lucky you living in Calgary. You can pop in and explore Lake Louise pretty easily. The view from Moraine Lake is stunning and I’m going to check out the Whitehorn Bistro next time I’m in the area.

    • Thanks, Christina! Yes, we’re pretty lucky to live so close 🙂 Definitely go to Mount Whitehorn next time on the gondola! The food at the bistro was great and the view was unbeatable, but I have to warn you about their service XD

  11. High tea from 12 to 2.30? As a Brit, that’s just wrong! Does look good though 🙂

  12. Seems like an incredible place. A gondola, canoeing and great food. What a perfect day!

  13. Wow, Lake Louise is beautiful will definitely have to form part of our bucket list trip to Canada, which we hope to do one day!  thanks for sharing!

  14. I’ve been at Lake Louise about 25 years ago when my kids were toddlers. Time to go back to see how it looks now!

  15. Pingback: Elevate Your Rocky Moutnain Experience at Banff Gondola Summit | For Two, Please

  16. This place looks so beautiful. I love it’s natural raw beauty. And in combination with an afternoon tea, it is just the best thing. Such great pictures! I’ll make sure to visit it soon.

  17. Why not renew your vows here? Problem solved. Great to see the place in summer as we skied there several years ago in a day with bad weather and I couldn’t see the lake at all. 

  18. That dining experience looks pretty special! I love the idea of good food with that kind of view

  19. Great post, I’m a native Calgarian but I left so long ago! Sadly I haven’t done the Gondola there, I’ll definitely have to plan a trip there next time. Great photos!

  20. What a beautiful piece of Earth. When I’m old I want to go to that deck and mountain watch all day.

  21. Lake Louise looks breathtaking! I would love to go there one day or for several days! It’s great that you can see and experience all of this in one day! Thanks for the tips, it’s great for people who want to experience the beauty but may not have alot of time!

  22. No kidding. The lake is so beautiful and totally blew my mind away! I wish I live in Canada!

  23. Wow!! Those photos are amazing!! Lake Louise is definitely on my radar now! 

  24. Canoeing is my best part…..I did that it in Krabi. Love the landscape. You can get some really good landscape shots here.

  25. K this is the craziest thing, my husband and I are house sitting for my parents at the moment, and last night we were debating where the photo above their bed was taken – it’s a blown up photo from the 50’s and looks gorgeous – pretty sure my grandparents took it. It’s totally Moraine Lake!!! I looked at your photo and then ran my laptop to their bedroom, same place! Lol so you answered an ongoing debate 😀

    I would love to visit Lake Lorraine – we’re the adventurous type who love seeking wildlife, so I would love to walk up the mountain instead of taking the gondola – we traveled to Denali National Park in Alaska last year dying to see a grizzly bear, but alas nothing. So if you say this is the best spot for them, fingers crossed & we’ll plan a trip. Obviously wildlife spotting is an unpredictable sport, but I’ll spot them in the wild someday! And then what better way to chill after a hike than with lunch and drinks at the bistro 🙂 Thanks for the post!

  26. Truly amazing place – Lake Louise and its surroundings. Seems to have all the ingredients of a perfect day. I guess hiking down at the end of the day would be the best digestif for the day! 🙂 Of course, considering we don’t bump into grizzlies.

  27. Lake Louise looks so ethereal. The lake framed by the snow clad mountains presents a picture that is so beautiful, it seems to have emerged from a painting. The pictures are so surreal. I would love to take the Gondola and breathe in the fresh mountain air as I feast my eyes on the stunning views below.

  28. Wow this place looks super stunning and exactly how I imagine Canada to be! The scenery is so breathtakingly beautiful!

  29. Grizzly bears! Haha I would love the sightseeing! So many beautiful views and the color of the water is spectacular. I would never imagine such refined food menu at the place!

  30. You can always get married again. Jenn and I are planning to get married every five years or so as every time we reboot our lives. That way you can have a wedding in Canada with everything it means for you and all the people you know there.

    I love the idea of canoeing in the morning when the lake is still and then taking the gondola up for an afternoon walk and an meal on the patio for sunset. We’ll have to bring a jacket for the cooler evenings but it seems like a lovely day.

  31. Oh my goodness. How exquisite! I have heard about Lake Louise, but never thought much about going there. Now I want to. The gondola ride and meal deal sounds like a perfect day to me. Those views are stunning! And that’s without even seeing any bears.

  32. The mountain views from the gondola are amazing! I’ll definitely try to canoe too. So much things to do in Lake Louise!

  33. I’ve always wanted to see Lake Louise after first seeing those turquoise waters! It’s absolutely dreamy. I want to do the kayaking!

  34. I can’t get over how amazingly picturesque Lake Louise is! My brother was just there (he starts grad school in Calgary this week), and I’m already plotting my 2018 trip to Calgary, haha. Thanks for the tip about Moraine Lake — didn’t know about that gorgeous spot! We’ll let you know when we head up north, and perhaps we can meet IRL! 🙂

  35. When I finally get to Lake Louise (I have been wanting to go for years!) it will definitely be for more than one day, but your guide is good start and only reinforces that I still very much want to go there.

  36. Wow, Lake Louise, and Moraine Lake are sooo beautiful! I would love to explore this area and do some hiking. Canoeing on the lake also sounds like the perfect way to get amazing views and lake reflections

  37. I definitely would not want to hike anywhere with bears haha, seeing them from afar is plenty adventurous enough. I would be up for the canoeing and afternoon tea though! 

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