Lake Louise Guide for Backpackers

Fairview Lookout Lake Louise

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Lake Louise is one of the most scenic destinations in the world. With electric blue glacier-fed Lakes, Rocky Mountains in every direction and an incredible range of wildlife, it’s easy to understand why.

I was lucky enough to call Lake Louise home for 2 years.  What I found to be great so about Lake Louise and the Rockies is that once you arrive, you can explore and experience this amazing part of the world for free, or at a relatively cheap price because the best things to do, such as hiking, are totally free.

If you love nature, adventure and the great outdoors, Lake Louise is for you.  I hope you find this Lake Louise Guide helpful for planning your trip.

Winter activities in and around Lake Louise

Lake Louise offers a vast range of outdoor winter activities including downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, dog sledding, hiking and ice climbing.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding at Lake Louise Ski Area is a popular activity, and in my opinion, one not to be missed. Lake Louise has some of the most diverse terrain catering for advanced to beginner skiers and snowboarders. The ski area has 145 marked runs, 10 lifts, 1700 hectares of tree runs, a boardercross track and a park for the more advanced riders. Cost is around $100 per day if you have your own gear.

Lake Louise Ski Area also has a snow tubing park for those of you looking for a fun activity. If you are not a snowboarder or skier you can always take the sightseeing Gondola to the top to get some breathtaking photos to show your friends and family back home.

During the winter I led snowshoeing tours through the Canadian Rockies, which was the ultimate working holiday job. The photo below is from a snowshoeing trip up Saddle Back peak in Lake Louise.

My favourite snowshoe trails include Fairview lookout(3kms return), Saddleback Peak(10kms), Lake Agnes(6kms), Johnstons Canyon(6kms) and Peyto Lake(2kms).

 Lake Louise Guide for Backpackers

Another cheap and exciting activity is ice-skating on Lake Louise. With the cost of rentals at $12, it’s a bargain, and what better place to ice skate than on a frozen lake.

Lake Louise Guide for Backpackers

Summer activities in and around Lake Louise

Summer activities include hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, canoeing and horseback riding.

Hiking is a popular activity for backpackers as not only is it free, it offers some of the most amazing views in the world.

Lake Louise has an abundance of hiking trails, including the Plain of Glaciers Tea house hike, Lake Agnes, Saddleback Pass, Paradise Creek, Fairview Peak, Big Beehive, Little Beehive and Fairview lookout, just to name a few.

My favourite summer trail is Fairview Peak, followed by Big Beehive and Peyto Lake.

Fairview Mountain Peak

Lake Louise Guide for Backpackers

Lake Agnes

Lake Louise Guide for Backpackers

Big Beehive

Lake Louise Guide for Backpackers

Moraine Lake

Lake Louise Guide for Backpackers

If you get to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake and don’t feel like hiking, rent a canoe and explore the lake from the water. This will cost around $20 per hour for rentals.

Another experience I highly recommend is White Water Rafting. Rushing down the glacier fled rivers at high speeds gets your heart pumping and is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face for days.

The great thing about summer in Lake Louise is that the sun stays up until approximately 11 pm, meaning you can fit a lot of fun and adventure into one day.


Summer: June – August, however, it is warm until late September.

Winter: December – February

Summer is Lake Louise is unbeatable.  With warm temperatures and sunlight until 11 o clock, summer is definitely the time to visit.

Winter in Lake Louise can get really cold, however, if you are visiting to ski or snowboard this won’t bother you.

Spring is a great time to ski/snowboard in Lake.


Recommended trip length

I recommend staying in Lake Louise for 3-5 nights.


Getting around Lake Louise

You can get to Lake Louise from any location in Canada via Greyhound.

If you arrive via Calgary Airport… Brewster bus service takes you directly to Lake Louise.

The town of Lake Louise is small. You can still access many hikes and attractions however to take full advantage of your time in the area I would recommend hiring a car as there is so much to see and do.


Where to stay in Lake Louise

Budget options

Hostel International Lake Louise: the cheapest option available in town.

Lake Louise Campground: If you have camping gear.

Mid range

Lake Louse Inn: The hot tub has the best view ever. I love watching it snow from the hot tub, the view in unbeatable.


Chateau Lake Louise: Right on Lake Louise.

Search for cheap accommodation options here.


Eating on the cheap in Lake Louise!

Lake Louise isn’t the cheapest destination in terms of eating out; however there are ways to save.

HI-Lake Louise Alpine Centre has two huge, fully equipped kitchens, which I would recommend making use of. Out of the all the hostels I have travelled to, HI-Lake Louise Alpine Centre has the nicest facilities making it a home away from home. Unfortunately, grocery shopping in Lake Louise can be expensive, so if given the opportunity I would recommend bringing in groceries from Banff, Jasper or home.

Cooking meals is a great way to save money. After a big day out, however, sometimes you want to eat out. Cheap places to eat include:

Laggans bakery located in Samson Mall is the cheapest place to grab a bite to eat. With a large selection of pastries, pizza, pies, bagels and more, you can pick something up to eat from around $2-50 to $6.

Trailhead Café   Also in Samson Mall. Trailhead is the place to go if you looking for a delicious wrap or sandwich. Wraps will cost around $7-10.

Mountain Restaurant Another favourite, and a great option if you are starving after a huge day on the hill is a Mountain Burger. It is as big as it sounds and is guaranteed to satisfy. It will cost $14.

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Disclosure: This Lake Louise Guide for Backpackers contains affiliate links.

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