Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one Day

BEST of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one Day 2023

No trip to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada is complete without a visit to the postcard perfect Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

They are famous for all the right reasons with the turquoise blue waters and view of the surrounding mountains that feed glacier water in to the lake. The Fairmont Chateau at the banks of Lake Louise almost gives it a fairytale feeling.

As lake Louise is a an expensive location to stay overnight, many travelers choose to do a day trip from Banff to visit Lake Louise and Moraine lake.

Luckily Lake Louise is only 40 minutes drive from Banff and Lake Moraine is another 30 minutes from Lake Louise, making it very easy to do a day trip from Banff and see both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one day.

You would need to start your day trip early from Banff to experience them both in one day.

Visit Lake Louise and Lake Moraine in one day itinerary

My Lake Louise and Moraine lake itinerary below will allow you to experience both lakes in a day trip from Banff. There are accommodation options listed as well, in case you decide to spend the night at one of these lakes.

Going to the Canadian Rockies? Check out my other posts from Banff and Canadian Rockies series:

Parking at Lake Louise and Shuttle service

Lake Louise is the most famous lake in the Canadian Rockies. Before I saw this lake I was wondering what all the hype is about. We had already seen so many amazing lakes on our Canadian Rockies trip, how different can it be? 

We visited this lake in June first week. Till a couple of days before I checked the live webcams and the lake was still partly frozen. I was hoping we would get to see the blue waters that it’s famous for. We got so lucky. The weather warmed up a day before and it was fully melted!

Parking at lake Louise

As Lake Louise is a must do for anyone visiting this area the parking lot fills up pretty fast. We went in early June on a Wednesday, early in the morning. The parking lot was huge but it seemed like the whole world was there! Luckily we got parking.

In the busy months of July and August parking fills up very early in the morning. It is highly recommended to use the shuttle service and book online!

Shuttle to Lake Louise

There is a shuttle service that runs between the Lake Louise Park and Ride and Lake Louise. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made on the Parks Canada website Parks Canada Reservation System.

If you pick Lake Louise during the shuttle reservation, you board the Lake Louise shuttle at the Park and Ride. After visiting Lake Louise, you can then board a connector shuttle to Moraine lake at no extra cost, with your existing reservation. At Lake Moraine you can then board a shuttle to go back to the Park and Ride to your car.

Things to do in Lake Louise in one day

You can spend half a day just admiring the lake Louise views if you wish, but there are also plenty of things to do at Lake Louise! You can do hiking, canoeing, gondola ride and fine dining. For a day trip, its best to pick one hike, and either canoeing or gondola ride.

Admire the Lake Louise views

Lake Louise Banff Jasper itinerary
Lake Louise

After exiting the parking lot it is a very short walk to the Lake Louise Lakeshore. Lake Louise views are magnificent. The turquoise blue water of the lake, the Victoria glacier, the majestic mountains backdrop, and in front of all is the Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise which stands like a crown adding to the beauty of the scene. Lake Louise is truly more magical than the other lakes in Canadian Rockies.

Hike the Lake Louise Lakeshore trail

The Lake Louise Lakeshore trail is an almost flat, out and back trail on the right side of the lake along the shore that takes you to the other end of the lake. It is a very easy trail and more like a stroll, doable by people of all abilities. It is paved near the Fairmont and then a dirt trail.

The view of the Fairmont Chateau hotel from the other end is really beautiful. The total trail is around 3 miles out and back. It is very busy at the start of the trail but the crowds thin out in the later half. It’s a beautiful walk with picture perfect scenery. 

Time needed: 1 hour. The Lake Louise Lakeshore trail is a free thing to do in Lake Louise.

Lake Agnes Tea House hike

If you are up for a more moderately challenging hike, the Lake Agnes trail that leads to the Lake Agnes teahouse is a very popular trail in Lake Louise.

The trail starts from Lake Louise lakeshore area.  It is around 5 miles out and back with 1,427 feet elevation. Keep around 3-4 hours for this trip. Skip the Lakeshore trail if doing this one, as you will need time to visit Moraine lake later in the day.

The teahouse is very busy during the summer months and there are lines out the door!

Time needed: 3-4 hour. Lake Agnes Tea House hike is a free thing to do in Lake Louise.

Canoeing at Lake Louise

Canoes at Lake Louise
Canoes at Lake Louise

Canoeing at Lake Louise is an incredible experience to enjoy the calm waters of the lake and soak in the views of the Victoria glacier. Paddling your canoe across the iconic Lake Louise will be a memory you will always cherish.

Canoe rentals at Lake Louise are available at the Boathouse on the west shore of the lake. You can rent a canoe for an hour or half hour. Each canoe can hold 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 small children.

There are discounted price for hotel guests vs day visitors. It is around $95 plus tax for hotel guests and $150 plus tax for day visitors. It is an expensive activity for sure but a bucket list activity!

Fairmont Chateau also has a Sunrise Canoe experience at Lake Louise only for hotel guests. Price is around $150 plus tax, but imagine the photo opportunities at sunrise!

Afternoon tea at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

If you have never tried an afternoon high tea before, this is a must do thing at Lake Louise. It is expensive but this is a memorable experience and you will feel like royalty. It was 70$ per person and 40$ for the children when we visited. 

They have a regular menu, a vegetarian/vegan menu and a children’s menu. The tea experience menu has three categories – Scones, Savories and desserts.

The tea menu has a lot of options with all the classic tea blends, herbal teas and specials like Masala chai! Everyone gets their own cute tea pots.  

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise tea
Our Afternoon tea at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

This tea experience at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise was one of the highlights of our trip. I was so glad we decided to try it. This also made us feel part of Fairmont Chateau even though we didn’t stay there, and added to our Lake Louise experience.

Time needed: Afternoon tea at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise will need 2-3 hours.

Lake Louise Summer Gondola

The Lake Louise ski resort operates Gondola rides in the summer. This is a good way to see panoramic aerial ways of Lake Louise and the surrounding mountains.

The tickets can be purchased at the lower Gondola station. They have both enclosed gondola as well as open chair lifts, so depending on the weather you can choose!

There are high chances of spotting wildlife in the mountain while going up or down the Gondola. There are several hiking trails at the top if you would like to explore the area and see different views. The area is electric fenced, so you can explore the trails without worrying about bears.

There is a wildlife information center at the top as well as a restaurant with some great views!

Parking at Moraine Lake and Shuttle service

After exploring the incredible Lake Louise to your heart’s content, go to Lake Moraine. It’s around a 30 minutes drive from Lake Louise. Leaving from Lake Louise latest by 4 PM will allow you to visit both Lake Louise and Moraine lake in one day.

Parking at Moraine Lake

The parking lot at Moraine Lake is a decent size and we were easily able to find parking. But it was a Wednesday in early June. It is highly recommended to book shuttle reservations for Lake Louise and Lake Moraine if visiting in the busy months of July and August. 

To give you an idea, In July and August the Lake Moraine parking lot fills up around 3 AM! People come as early as 2 AM to get parking and wait for the sunrise! Shuttle is your way to go in these busy summer months.

Shuttle to Moraine Lake

There is a shuttle service that runs between the Lake Louise Park and Ride and Moraine lake. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made on the Parks Canada website Parks Canada Reservation System.

If you pick Moraine Lake during the shuttle reservation, you board the Moraine lake shuttle at the Park and Ride.

After visiting Moraine lake, you can then board a connector shuttle to Lake Louise at no extra cost, with your existing reservation. At Lake Louise you can then board a shuttle to go back to the Park and Ride to your car.

Things to do in Moraine Lake in one day

Lake Moraine views

Lake Moraine
Lake Moraine in early June

Moraine lake has unmatched beauty surrounded by the ten mountain peaks, it is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world!

When we reached Lake Moraine, it was a winter wonderland! The lake was still solid frozen with snow on it and everyone was playing in the snow. It was amazing.

There is a huge rockpile on one end, the frozen lake in the middle, and snow covered mountains around it.

I sat on the rockpile and admired the majestic views and happy people all around playing on the frozen lake. It was a meditative experience, and something I will always remember as my happy place.  

Moraine Lake Lakeshore trail

The lakeshore trail is a nice out and back walk along the side of the lake, that goes till the very end of the lake. There is a small stream at the end. The total trail length is 3 miles and is fairly crowded the first half of the trail.

The views are incredible in the morning as the water changes to different hues of vibrant blue with the sun’s location. The canoes in the lake add a nice touch of color in the blue waters.

Moraine Lake Rockpile viewpoint

Almost all of the amazing pictures of Lake Moraine that you see on the internet are taken from the top of the rockpile on one end of the lake. First when i saw that massive rockpile I was wondering how do the people manage to scramble this?

Moraine Lake Rockpile viewpoint
Moraine Lake Rockpile

Later I came to know there is an easy access to the top of the rockpile via some stairs in the back! It is less than half mile and you will be at the top of the rockpile to take that amazing shot of Moraine lake with the ten mountain peaks in the backdrop.

Sunrise and Sunset at Lake Moraine

If you are staying overnight in Lake Louise, and are up for waking up super early like 2 AM or not sleeping all night, many folks go to lake Moraine at sunrise to take pictures. The parking lot fills up by 3 AM!

It gets very crowded on the rockpile and people are waiting with tripods everywhere to take the perfect sunrise shot.

Please keep in mind that sunrise in that region during the summer months is around 5:30 AM and sunset is around 10 PM. If doing a day trip it might be better to stay later for the sunset and then drive back to Banff.

Canoeing at Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake Canoe
Canoes at Moraine Lake

Paddling through the beautiful blue waters of Lake Louise and admiring the mountains around you is a meditative experience.

Canoe rentals are available at Moraine lake on the canoe dock operated by the Moraine Lake Lodge. You can rent a canoe starting at $130 CAD plus tax for an hour rental.

The canoe rentals are first come first served and can seat 2 to 3 adults. The rental includes life jackets, paddles and instructions.

The canoe dock is only operational mid-June to mid-September.

Canoe at Lake Louise or at Lake Moraine

If you are a guest at Fairmont Lake Louise then you will get hotel guest discounts on canoe rentals at Lake Louise. In that case it makes more sense to canoe at Lake Louise.

If you are a day visitor to both lakes then it all depends on which lake you find more beautiful, as everyone has their own viewpoint. The hourly canoe rental prices on both lakes are similar, so other considerations are parking at the lake and the line for canoe rental.

Personally I think canoeing at lake Moraine is a more stunning experience with the majestic ten peaks to admire. Both lake boathouses get busy in the middle of the day, so its best to either go early morning or later in the evening to avoid long waits.

Where to eat at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake

In general, we found food to be expensive at both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake when compared to Banff.

If you are a guest at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, there are several restaurants within Fairmont that cater to hotel guests. Afternoon tea at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a great but expensive dining option for day visitors to the Fairmont.

Lake Louise Inn lobby
Lake Louise Inn lobby

Timberwolf pizza and pasta cafe at Lake Louise Inn is great for lunch or dinner. The have some great pizzas and appetizers. Lake Louise Inn is in the village, a short drive from Lake Louise.

Lake Louise Inn also has a breakfast buffet at their Legends restaurant. The buffet spread was quite good and they even had a chocolate fountain!

Moraine Lake Lodge Cafe is open from 9 AM to 5 PM and has got hot and cold deli items, snacks, beverages. You can buy some snacks and refreshments here for the ride back to Banff.

If you are guest at the Moraine Lake Lodge, you will have access to complimentary breakfast. You can also make dinner reservations at their  Walter Wilcox Dining Room restaurant.

Where to stay at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake

This Lake Louise itinerary is for one day, but if you decide to stay overnight to see sunrise or sunset at either of the lakes, there are some great accommodation options here.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is the place to stay if you can afford it! Its like living in a castle built at the edge of the most beautiful lake in the world! Its luxury at its finest! Maybe one day…

Lake Louise Inn is a budget friendly option at Lake Louise. We stayed here for one night. It was quite nice. The lobby was impressive and they have several restaurants. Some of the buildings are newly renovated.

Moraine Lake Lodge at Moraine lake is a luxury lodge with cabin style accommodations. A lot of amenities are complimentary in the reservation like breakfast, afternoon tea, Canoe rental, free parking and guided hikes.

Things to do near Lake Louise

There are several amazing things to do near Lake Louise:

  • Drive on Icefields parkway and admire the jaw dropping sights from the stops along Icefields parkway. Icefields parkway drive starts from Lake Louise and goes all the way to Jasper National Park.
  • Visit Jasper National Park. Jasper National Park has so many incredible things to do like Lake Maligne, Johnston Canyon falls and Whistler mountain.
  • Visit Banff National Park. Banff National Park is very popular and usually a base for people visiting the Canadian Rockies. There are plenty of amazing things to do in Banff like Banff Gondola, Banff hot springs, Lake Minnewanka and many more.

In conclusion: BEST of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one Day

Lake Louise and Lake Moraine are the most scenic destinations I have ever been to, and a must do in any Banff National Park itinerary. Even if you are short of time it is really possible to visit both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one day by doing a day trip. Pick a few things to do from my list at each lake that best suits you.

Hope this post helps you plan your Lake Louise itinerary and you have an amazing time in the Canadian Rockies!

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