World-famous for its soaring mountain backdrops, turquoise lakes, ski runs and hiking trails, Lake Louise is a must-visit destination.
During your time in this alpine hamlet there’s lots to see and do and it can be tough to choose activities for just a couple of days. Here we recommend how to spend 48 hours in Lake Louise.
Our suggested itinerary
Morning – Hiking or snowshoeing around Lake Louise
Afternoon – Afternoon: Eat at the Lake Agnes Tea House or go for afternoon tea at the Fairmont
Evening – Enjoy a relaxing spa treatment at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Morning – Visit Lake Louise
Afternoon – Ski, snowboard or play golf
Evening – Go dog sledding or horse riding and then enjoy a nice meal
Morning: Hiking or snowshoeing around Lake Louise
One of the best ways to explore Lake Louise is by going hiking and there are plenty of trails you can follow that will give you stunning views of the lake and of Banff National Park.
Hiking around Lake Louise is usually at the very top of hiker’s to-do lists, but which trail should you go on?
Anne Mauney, who runs the Fannetastic Food blog and has previously hiked in Lake Louise, says, “I highly recommend a trail called the Plain of Six Glaciers – it’s a strenuous and longer hike (10.6 km) that takes you up and up and up to some stunning scenery. Be sure to start early to beat the crowds, and to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the sights!”
This trail then takes you through forests and gives you some incredible views of Lake Louise. From the summit you can hike back down and follow another trail that takes you to the famous Lake Agnes teahouse.
If you are hiking in the Lake Lousie area you should most definitely plan following a trail that takes you past the Lake Agnes teahouse.
Anne Mauney adds, “The last bit of the trail to Lake Agnes is VERY steep – we were wiped by the time we made it there! There’s a less challenging/shorter (but still uphill) trail that leads to this area straight from Lake Louise so there were some families and other hikers around in addition to some nice picnic tables. Be sure to pack a lunch!”
In the depths of winter you won’t be able to go hiking, but there are lots of trails that are open for snowshoeing. This is a great winter activity because it’s easy to learn, can be enjoyed by all ages and lets you explore the snow-blanketed landscape.
Some great snowshoeing trails include the Marsh Loop, a great choice for families, offering expansive views of Bow Valley, and the Ink Pots via Moose Meadows trail, which takes you through dense forests to mineral springs.
Afternoon: Eat at the Lake Agnes Tea House or go for afternoon tea at the Fairmont
After an energetic morning hiking around Lake Louise you should head to the Lake Agnes Tea House for some scrumptious lunch and some views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.
Lake Agnes Tea House is the highest and oldest tea house in Canada and was originally a refuge for hikers. It has been serving tea since 1905 and with no running water or electricity, the fresh food is carried up in the staff’s backpacks.
Dining at this incredible teahouse is an adventure and all the dishes are prepared by hand and all the dishes are made to order. The foods available include sandwiches, soup, mountain bars and lots of tea!
The tea house is surrounded by a circle of peaks offering breath-taking views and a great opportunity to take some fantastic photographs. During your lunch you can listen to the rumble of the nearby waterfall and watch the local wildlife, including marmots and chipmunks.
Lake Agnes Tea House is open from 8:00am-5:00pm seven days a week from June to October. Due to the lack of electricity you will need to bring cash.
As the Lake Agnes Tea House is closed for winter you can instead head to Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for afternoon tea. You can enjoy afternoon tea at the chateau whilst enjoying incredible views of Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier.
During afternoon tea you can enjoy a variety of 35 teas as well as delectable pastries and traditional North American and European style finger sandwiches.
Evening: Enjoy a relaxing spa treatment at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
One of the best ways to rest those weary legs is to enter the tranquil oasis at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
After a day of hiking around the mountains you’ll want to feel refreshed, and at Fairmont’s spa you can enjoy body treatments that will rejuvenate your muscles.
The spa therapists specialise in more than 20 treatments and services, ranging from a foot massage to a luxurious body scrub and facial. You can also enjoy baths to help your mind and body relax even more.
Morning: Visit Lake Louise
The lake is just three miles from the hamlet and many people believe that you are best off visiting the lake before 9am to avoid the crowds.
In the summer you can enjoy the lake’s intense shade of turquoise. It is most vibrant in July and August when the flow of the meltwater is at its highest. If you want to get out on the lake you should rent a canoe from Banff Canoe Club, which offers a rental service for Lake Louise.
In the winter the lake freezes over, but it is still just as picturesque as it becomes a winter wonderland. A popular pastime in the winter months is to play ice hockey on the lake and Deb from travel blog The Planet D highly recommends this:
“Our favourite thing to do in Lake Louise is to rent some hockey gear from Wilson Mountain Sports and then head over to Lake Louise in the dead of winter. It’s frozen over and turns into the most beautiful ice skating rink in the world. There are mini hockey nets sitting in the snow waiting to be used, so we suggest setting them up and organizing a game of pick up hockey. It’s the most fun you’ll have outdoors and it’s the most Canadian thing you could ever try.”
Afternoon: ski, snowboard or play golf
If you’re heading to Lake Louise in the winter, then you need to go skiing as Lake Louise ski resort is one of the largest in Canada.
No matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced skier it is well worth considering Fairmont’s ski guiding adventure for an insider’s tour of the resort. You will be shown the best places to ski on the mountain; from green to double black runs. Experienced skiers can even test their skills on runs that are used in the Alpine Ski World Cup.
Once you’re given your trail map you’ll be able to check out some fabulous terrain and have an enjoyable time on the slopes.
During the summer months golf is one of the most popular activities, and no wonder thanks to the backdrop of the Rockies at the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. Located in Banff National Park, you will get breath-taking views and will be tested by this challenging 18-hole course.
The popular course also has a driving range and a short game practice facility. The course is open from May until October.
If you are a bit peckish afterwards you should eat at Laggan’s Mountain Bakery & Delicatessen, a popular coffee house and bakery in Lake Louise. There are high-quality coffees and teas and a number of delicious meals you can enjoy that are made from scratch, from salads and macaroni cheese to pizza bagels and ribs. A must-try is the famous Health Cookie that Laggan’s makes and this will help refuel you after the day’s activities.
Evening: Go dog sledding or horse riding and then enjoy a nice meal
An unmissable experience is the traditional mode of Canadian winter travel. Lake Louise you can experience the thrill of a husky sled with Kingmik Dog Sled Tours.
Sled dogs will pull you through the Canadian Rockies in what is the most exhilarating way to travel through the area.
The memorable experience will stay with you forever as you will be bundled in a cosy cocoon of cushions and sleeping bags.
Each sled accommodates for two adults and the 30-minute Narnia Tour from Kingmik Dog Sled Tours offers you a great introduction to mushing along a beautiful woodland trail. This tour departs from 4pm.
During the summer you can go on horseback riding trips through the wilderness of Banff National Park. You will go at a steady pace and you’ll follow trails through rivers, alpine pastures and mountain passes.
There are lots of different tours available; from one-hour to full-day tours and there is even an introductory tour to allow you to become more comfortable on the horses.
If you’re looking for tours around Banff National Park, then Banff Trail Riders offer horseback rides and these include a one-hour Bow River ride and a two-hour Sundance Loop ride.
Another popular tour operator that offers horse riding trips around Lake Louise are Brewster Adventures and many of the trails that you will go on are the hiking routes from day 1! The Lake Agnes Tea House Half-Day Ride is a popular route as it offers you a bird’s eye view of Lake Louise.
After the dog sledding or horse riding you should toast a couple of fantastic days with a meal and some drinks.
A spokesperson for Timberwolf Pizza & Pasta Cafe and Explorers Lounge says, “Timberwolf has the best pizza and pasta in Lake Louise while Explorers Lounge is Lake Louise’s nightlife hub. The Lake Louise Inn is proud of Explorers Lounge and Timberwolf Pizza and Pasta Café for offering the only family-friendly and cost-effective dining options in Lake Louise.”
Image Credit: Lake Agnes Tea House, The Planet D.