If you only have a couple of days, my top 3 things to do in Lake Louise is to visit Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and hike Plain of Six Glaciers.
Unless you can afford to stay at the Fairmont Hotel, getting around Lake Louise can be challenging. Be prepared for crowds of tourist and many pushy people. It is almost impossible to get a picture without someone walking through it or standing in your way. Parking fills up quickly, causing you to drive around to the various lots waiting for someone to leave or just give up and park along the sides of the road and then walk to the lake.
The best time to visit Lake Louise is right before sunrise. There will be people there but not like other times during the day. It’s very peaceful with only avid photographers taking pictures and if there is a gorgeous sunrise, it’s icing on the cake. We lucked out the first morning with a beautiful pink sky before the sun came out. It only lasted a couple of minutes but it was truly something to see.
You can enjoy the stunning lakefront setting in the early morning when there are not many people out.
It’s very peaceful walking along the lake shore. You will have the place to yourself except for an occasional jogger.
There are plenty of benches to sit and enjoy the view.
Lake Louise is set in a pristine location surrounded by mountains with stunning blue water, but most of the time it is difficult to enjoy because of the crowds.
You never know what each day will bring as we encountered clouds our second morning in Lake Louise. Since we would not get a sunrise, we decided to leave and go to Moraine Lake.
Moraine Lake was our favorite lake. The water color was an unbelievable shade of turquoise blue. To control the crowd, they close the roads during the day and only allow people in as cars leave.
Our first visit to Moraine Lake was in the evening after visiting Lake Louise. It did not have the crowds and was more peaceful. It was much easier to take pictures of this lake.
After parking in the lot, and walking to the lake, you will see a huge pile of rocks. Most people climb this rock pile to the top to take pictures of the lake. J stayed below as I climbed the rocks to take pictures. But after reaching the top, I found there was an easier way without risking your life and limbs scaling this massive pile of rocks.
Looking back at the parking lot from the top of the mound of rocks. It’s quite a way down, what was I thinking??? We saw all ages climbing these rocks.
TIP: Take the walkway to reach the top for pictures of the lake.
After reaching the top, I saw people coming from another direction and was wondering how they got up there. Then I saw the walkway. I took this trail back to get J so he could enjoy the view.
There is a walkway that is not marked that you can reach from the parking lot. Go through this opening (see picture below) and follow this path around and eventually you come to the back of the rocks. There are several steps to climb but that makes it much easier than climbing the rocks like I did.
Aren’t you happy I let you in on this secret, so you can get fabulous pictures of Moraine Lake without climbing that massive rock pile?
Hike – Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse
We got an early start to get ahead of the crowds and was awarded with a spectacular sunrise over Lake Louise, before we continued on the path around the lake to the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse. Hiking up the hill, we looked back at Lake Louise. This would not be the last time we would see the lake, as there are several great views along the trail.
It was nice that they built a bridge so we did not have to walk through the water.
The paths are well marked and steep in sections. Sturdy shoes/hiking boots are highly recommended as the weather would change suddenly during our 7 hour hike.
While hiking, a helicopter flew overhead making several trips to haul a 50 gallon drums to the teahouse. With all the noise of the helicopter, we did not worry about bears along the trail. This is how they get supplies to the teahouse.
We finally made it, but decided to go to the glacier before returning to the teahouse.
After our bathroom break, at the teahouse, we were told it was only another 45 minutes to the glacier, so we continued on.
This is where we made the mistake of taking the horse trail, instead of the hiking trail. This part of the trail was not well marked. If you go on the horse trail turn around and go back and look for the hiking trail. If you end up on the horse trail, this takes you along the bottom and will have to climb the side of the mountain to get back up to the hiking trail.
During this part of our hike we heard six avalanches and was able to capture this one.
This hike was exhausting and took an extra hour or so but evidently we made it to the glacier.
This hike took nearly seven hours before we returned to our car. All we wanted to do was go back to our hotel and relax. We really needed it after that hike.