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Hiking at Lake Louise: The Best Trails For First Time Visitors In Banff National Park 


Banff, Canada

by Coco Tran On September 9, 2023

lake agnes tea house hike lake louise

If you only have time for one hike at Banff National park than these hikes are the best ones!

Hiking at Lake Louise:

Hiking Essentials for Banff Lake Louise Hike

Hiking Essentials for Banff Lake Louise Hike

Before we delve into the various hikes at Lake Louise, let’s go over some essential tips to ensure your hiking adventure is safe and enjoyable. First and foremost, make sure you wear comfortable, sturdy hiking shoes or boots, as the terrain can be uneven and rocky in some places.

Carry a backpack with enough water to stay hydrated throughout your hike, along with some energy-boosting snacks. Dress in layers, as the weather can change rapidly in the mountains. It’s essential to have a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s rays, especially at higher elevations.

Lake Louise area Parking and How to Get There

Lake Louise is located in the heart of Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To hike Lake Louise and to reach the trailhead for most hikes at Lake Louise, you’ll first need to get to the Lake Louise lakeshore parking. Lake Louise parking is challenging here so you’ll have to follow my tips on how to get parking at lake louise. If you’re traveling by car to Lake Louise you definitely need to plan ahead of time!

Alternatively, you can also take a shuttle from the town of Banff, which is approximately 35 kilometers away. The shuttle service offers a convenient and eco-friendly way to access the hiking trails without the hassle of finding parking at the trailheads.


My Top 2 Picks: best hikes in lake louise

#1 TOP pICK
Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/hike-at-lake-louise/

AGNES TEA HOUSE hike

  • 2-3 hours 4 mile hike
  • beautiful view and tea on top
  • perfect hike if you have limited time
#2 TOP pICK
Fairmont Lake Louise Best Hotels in Banff For Couples

FAIrVIEW TRAIL

  • 2 hour hike around
  • great view of lake loiuse
  • Easy hike

best lake louise hikes

best hikes around lake louise 

Tea House Hike

Distance: Approximately 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles) round trip
Duration: 1.5 to 2 hours
Terrain: Easy
Trailhead: Google Maps URL

lake agnes tea house hike lake louise

This popular lake Louise hiking spot, considered one of lake louise best hikes. The trail is moderately steep but well-maintained, passing through a beautiful forested area and offering occasional glimpses of Lake Louise. The highlight of this hike is reaching the Lake Agnes Tea House, where you can enjoy delicious refreshments and stunning views of Lake Agnes. Enjoy some tea at the teahouse once you reach the top! Fun fact, all the teas and supplies are hiked up weekly by volunteers. 

Why Hike It: The Lake Agnes Tea House Hike is a perfect choice if you only have time for one hike. This is the hike I did and I would recommend it. Bring cash for the teahouse they do take cards but the wifi isn’t great up there.   for hikers looking for a moderately challenging yet rewarding experience. The picturesque views of Lake Agnes and the charming tea house nestled amidst the mountains make this hike truly unforgettable.

Six Glaciers Trail

Distance: Approximately 13.6 kilometers (8.5 miles) round trip
Duration: 4 to 5 hours
Terrain: Moderate
Trailhead: Google Maps URL

 This trail boasts awesome views of six glaciers as you hike along the eastern shore of Lake Louise. The trail gains elevation as you progress, leading you to a teahouse offering delectable treats and unparalleled views of the surrounding glaciers.The trail is moderately challenging but rewarding, making it a popular choice for seasoned hikers

Why Hike It: If you want to immerse yourself in the beauty of glaciers and breathtaking landscapes, the Six Glaciers Trail is the one for you. This hike provides an incredible opportunity to witness the raw magnificence of nature up close.

Little Beehive Trail

Distance: Approximately 9.4 kilometers (5.8 miles) round trip
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Terrain: Strenuous
Trailhead: Google Maps URL

This moderately steep trail takes you through a lush forest and then opens up to vast alpine meadows. For those seeking a more challenging hike with exceptional rewards, the Little Beehive Trail is the ideal choice. As you ascend, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of Lake Louise and the surrounding landscapes. The hike culminates at the Little Beehive, providing a bird’s-eye view of the breathtaking Moraine Lake below.The summit rewards you with sweeping views of Lake Louise, Lake Agnes, and the surrounding peaks.

Why Hike It: The Little Beehive Trail offers a fantastic blend of forested paths and alpine vistas, making it a favorite among photographers and nature lovers. It’s a great hike for capturing stunning panoramic shots of the lakes and mountains.

Larch Valley Trail

Trail Distance: Approximately 4.4 kilometers (one way)

Duration: About 2.5 to 3.5 hours (one way)

Terrain: The trail winds through a picturesque valley, surrounded by towering larch trees. During the fall season, the larches turn a brilliant golden color, creating a magical ambiance.

Why Hike It: Larch Valley is a photographer’s dream, and the hike itself is an enchanting experience. The golden hues of the larches against the backdrop of the rugged mountains offer a unique and captivating scene. This hike is popular during Larch season which start in September.

Sentinel Pass via Larch Valley Trail

Distance: Approximately 10.8 kilometers (6.7 miles) round trip
Duration: 5 to 6 hours one way
Terrain: Strenuous
Trailhead: Google Maps URL

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey to Sentinel Pass via the Larch Valley Trail. Witness the stunning transformation of the larch trees during the fall season, turning the valley into a golden wonderland. The trail demands stamina as there is significant elevation gain but rewards hikers with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

Paradise Valley Trail

Distance: Approximately 11.6 kilometers (7.2 miles) round trip
Duration: 4 to 5 hours
Terrain: Moderate
Trailhead: Google Maps URL

Embark on a scenic journey through Paradise Valley, surrounded by lush forests, sparkling rivers, and stunning mountains. The moderate trail is perfect for nature lovers and photographers looking to capture the raw beauty of Banff National Park. Don’t forget to bring a picnic and enjoy the serenity of nature.

Moraine Lake Hike

Trail Distance: Approximately 3.4 kilometers (one way)

Duration: About 1.5 to 2 hours (one way)

lake moraine

Terrain: The trail to Moraine Lake is relatively short and moderately steep. Once you arrive at Moraine Lake, you’ll be greeted by one of the most famous and iconic vistas in the Canadian Rockies.

Why Hike It: Although not a long hike, the Moraine Lake hike is a must-do for anyone visiting Lake Louise. The striking beauty of the turquoise lake surrounded by majestic peaks is a sight you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Sentinel Pass – Paradise Valley Trail

Trail Distance: Approximately 11.6 kilometers (loop)

Duration: About 5 to 6 hours

Terrain: This challenging hike takes you up to Sentinel Pass, offering jaw-dropping views of Paradise Valley, Moraine Lake, and the surrounding glaciers.

Why Hike It: While more demanding, the Sentinel Pass hike is an incredibly rewarding adventure. The breathtaking vistas from the pass make the effort more than worth it, and you’ll leave with a sense of accomplishment.

Fairview Lookout: A Glimpse of Serenity

Distance: Approximately 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) round trip
Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours
Terrain: Easy
Trailhead: Google Maps URL

best hikes at lake louise

This lake louise trail offers one of the best views of Lake Louise Chateu with the Fairview Lookout hike. The trail starts near the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and leads you to a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking Lake Louise and the surrounding mountains. This short and easy hike is perfect for those seeking a quick escape into nature’s beauty.

Mirror Lake: A Serene Alpine Oasis

Distance: Approximately 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) round trip
Duration: 1 to 1.5 hours
Terrain: Easy
Trailhead: Google Maps URL

best hike at lake louise

Known as one of the best hikes Lake Louise offers. Nestled amidst towering trees and alpine meadows, Mirror Lake provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The hike takes you on a picturesque journey to the mirrored waters of the lake, offering stunning reflections of the surrounding peaks.

Six Glaciers Trail: A Glacier Wonderland

Distance: Approximately 13.6 kilometers (8.5 miles) round trip
Duration: 4 to 5 hours
Terrain: Moderate
Trailhead: Google Maps URL

Prepare to be mesmerized by the epic views of Six Glaciers Trail This Lake Louise trails is a  moderate hike takes you through lush valleys and offers breathtaking views of six magnificent glaciers. As you make your way through the rugged landscapes, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable vistas of glacial wonders.

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MY RECOMMENDED ITEMS FOR YOUR HIKE:

DON’T MISS: BEST THINGS TO DO AT LAKE LOUISE

Hiking Tips and Safety

Hiking Tips:

Choose hikes that match your fitness level and experience. If you’re new to hiking or visiting from a lower elevation area, start with shorter, easier trails before tackling more challenging ones.

Weather Awareness: Mountain weather can be unpredictable. Always check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for sudden changes in conditions.

Stay on Marked Trails: Straying off the marked trails can be dangerous and may harm fragile ecosystems. Stick to designated paths to protect the natural environment.

Leave No Trace: Preserve the beauty of Lake Louise by carrying out all your trash and leaving the trails as you found them. Respect nature and wildlife by observing from a distance.

Hike with a Buddy: Whenever possible, hike with a partner or a group for safety and companionship. If you’re going solo, inform someone of your hiking plans and expected return time.

Stay Hydrated: Carry an ample water supply, especially during strenuous hikes. Staying hydrated ensures you can enjoy the trails to the fullest.

Be Mindful of Wildlife: Banff National Park is home to diverse wildlife. Observe from a safe distance and avoid feeding or approaching animals.

Capture Memories: Bring a camera to capture the stunning vistas and share the beauty of Lake Louise with your loved ones.

Check Trail Conditions: Trail conditions may vary based on the season. Check weather forecasts and trail updates before embarking on your hike.

Respect the Environment: Follow the “Leave No Trace” principles and ensure you leave nature undisturbed for future generations to enjoy.

Seek Local Guidance: If you’re unsure about the trail difficulty or conditions, don’t hesitate to seek advice from local experts or guides.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/hike-at-lake-louise/

 TAKEAWAY

Hiking at Lake Louise is an unparalleled adventure that allows you to connect with nature in its purest form. The trails at this jewel of Banff National Park offer a diverse range of experiences, from serene lakeside strolls to challenging alpine ascents. Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking epic vistas or a novice looking to soak in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise has something to offer for everyone. So, put on your hiking boots, pack your sense of wonder, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on Earth. Happy hiking!

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FAQ

Can I hike to Fairview Lookout during winter?

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