After pouring over web sites about Lake Louise vs Banff, we finally decided to split our time, 2 nights Lake Louise at the start of our trip and 1 night in Banff at the end of our trip.
Here’s why we are so glad we did. Our main reason for coming to Lake Louise was to hike and see the famous sites of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake that are all over Instagram. These places are very crowded with limited parking. When we arrived cars were lined along the road for miles to get into Lake Louise. Forget about going to Moraine Lake as the road was closed and you had to wait for someone to leave before they would let the next car in.
We stayed at Paradise Lodge & Bungalows which was the perfect location as we were right between the two lakes. We could go later in the evening and have no problems finding parking. But the best time was early in the morning when you can capture a beautiful sunrise over Lake Louise.
Or to see a grizzly bear right along the road as we were going to Moraine Lake at 7:00 in the morning. Talk about making our day.
Arriving around 6:30 in the morning allowed us to get an up front parking space at Lake Louise instead of parking really far away in order to start our hike. Do you know how early you would have to get up to leave Banff and drive to Lake Louise in order to get the lake to yourself?
There is nothing like being out in nature with the peace and quiet to enjoy the surroundings before the hordes of hikers. This walkway over the water was packed with people when we returned.
Even with overcast skies and rain, the trails are busy, especially later in the day.
If you get here too late, then you will be parking along the road and walking to Lake Louise. Traffic is horrible during the day with people trying to find parking.
Paradise Lodge & Bungalow
By staying right down the road, we were back in our room in no time. After our seven hour hike, we just drove back to Paradise Lodge & Bungalow and enjoyed lunch and chilled.
Paradise Lodge & Bungalow sits along Lake Louise Drive, an easy commute to either Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. We reserved a standard one bedroom suite. At check in we were assigned room #38, which was located on the second floor with a great balcony along the road. There are no elevators, so be prepared to carry luggage up a flight of steps. We were assigned our own parking spot which was nice.
TIP: If steps are an issue, request a ground floor unit.
The suite had a full kitchen with everything we needed to cook. They also provided free oatmeal and granola bars, along with coffee and tea. They replenished the oatmeal and granola bars daily. There was a gas fireplace that we enjoyed in the evening. It was the perfect size for us.
The best spot was the view from the couch. It was very peaceful and relaxing after a long hike.
Bottom line, if you want to see Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, stay at least two nights in Lake Louise. You will be glad you did to beat the crowds by going early in the morning or later in the evening to these popular places. You could then stay in Banff after visiting Jasper to see the sites around Banff.