When people ask me about the most beautiful part of my travels, I always tell them about my time in Banff. Standing in front of Lake Louise, among the Rocky Mountains… I’ve never been so overwhelmed by natural beauty.
The famous lake is a sight to behold, in fact it made me quite speechless. I quite literally had to drag myself away from my spot on the rocks, looking out over the calm blue against the thick snow topped mountains.
However, there are more ways to enjoy the turquoise waters than just watching them. My day at Lake Louise is probably one of the only occasions where I haven’t suffered from the dreaded FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out’ as we wanderlusters call it. We managed to cram in three activities in our day at the lake, seeing it from every angle and enjoying it in every way possible.
1 – Walk to the lake through the mountains
Without a rental car (funny story – read about it here) and a little hesitant to hitchhike, we were left with little options other than to walk to the lake. Google told us it would take 48 minutes from the HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre where we were staying, so off we went into the forest.
It took us little over an hour but it was well worth it. The sun shone through the tall pines whilst small streams guided us towards the lake. It wasn’t a challenging trek, with only a select few hills, so definitely doable for anyone able to walk the 4.5km.
We were on bear standby, convincing ourselves that any short stump was a bear cub, with its Mumma lurking in the shadows… but there wasn’t another living thing near us, apart from a few squirrels and chipmunks! So perhaps take bear spray, better to be safe than sorry!
2 – Trek up to the Lake Agnes Tea House by horseback
Perhaps my favourite part of the day was trekking up to the Lake Agnes Tea House on horseback, an expensive but forever memorably activity.
The Brewster Stables at the foot of the mountains is home to a few dozen horses, available for riding on a number of different trails. We chose the popular journey to the famous mountain tea house that has been serving fine loose teas to visitors for over a hundred years. The half day adventure cost approximately $150.
The beautiful Badger and I rode Western style for just over an hour before he got a well deserved rest at the foot of the cafe. With each turn, more incredible views over Lake Louise and its surrounding valleys appeared.
Leaving Badger and his friend behind, we came across a lovely small waterfall that we managed to carefully climb over for a perfect view of the lake and Rocky Mountains.
The Lake Agnes Teahouse is incredibly unique. With no running water or rubbish disposal, the staff have to trek up and down the mountain with supplies 2-4 times a week.
After a little wait and bit of luck, we managed to grab a seat and enjoyed hot chocolates and pumpkin spiced loaf to the mountain backdrop. Just when I thought the experience couldn’t get any more magical, it began to snow… in the middle of June.
On the way down we stopped off at Mirror Lake, a stunning clear pool of water that reflects the snowy mountains above it. Badger and his friend could sense they were nearly home as they broke into a trot. After not riding a horse for years, I was nervous at first but my lessons as a child came flooding back to me and I trusted Badger to get me back safely.
You can also hike to the tea house however its a very steep trek, not for the fainthearted!
3 – Canoeing on the lake
There is no better way to enjoy Lake Louise itself then by canoeing across its waters. Canoes and kayaks can be rented from a large hut on the lake with options for 30 or 60 minutes hires ($75 or $85).
Being better value for money we opted for a hour long row across the lake. I would definitely recommend the longer session so that you can relax and get a little further from the waters edge.
It was such a peaceful experience, floating along surrounded by such incredible natural beauty. It also offered a lovely view of the Fairmont Chateau, the famous hotel that is worth an explore if you have time.
Have you ever been to Lake Louise? If not I hope you get to go, and enjoy every second of it as I did.