Lake Louise Ski Hill
If you have kids, taking the gondola up the Lake Louise Ski Hill is a great trip for the whole family. Not only do you get great views across the valley, but you can add on the Trail of the Great Bear guided hike and the whole family can learn about Grizzly Bears in Banff National Park.
From Lake Louise Village, drive west on Lake Louise Drive towards the TransCanada Highway. Drive over the TransCanada and up a hill on Whitehorn Drive. When you get to the Lake Louise Ski Hill park in the parking lot.
|When to do|
July to early October
Out and back
If you’re tired of the crowds at Lake Louise, consider a trip to the Lake Louise Ski Resort, on the other side of the valley. This is a great family trip, and combines great views, a bit of hiking and lots of information from the Wildlife Interpretive Centre. We suggest adding on the Trail of the Great Bear guided hike if you have kids, as kids love the information and hike on this trail.
Once you have your ticket, head down to the Glacier Express chairlift. In winter this is a chairlift, however in summer they also have some gondola cabins. The gondola cabins are great for families with young children, as the gondola is enclosed and much safer with young children.
Once on the gondola (or chairlift) you are on a 1.8km ride that gains 442m as it heads up to mid-mountain at Lake Louise. On the ride up, keep your eyes open for wildlife below, as well as stunning wildflowers. There is usually at least one bear seen from the gondola each day, so maybe today will be your lucky day!
Once you reach the mid-mountain station, get off the gondola and follow the trail as it winds down to Whitehorn Lodge. The trail is only 600m long, and it is wide and little kids will enjoy the hike.
The trail ends at Whitehorn Lodge. Upstairs is the very good Whitehorn Bistro, with some of the best views and cuisine in the area. Below the Bistro is the wonderful Wildlife Interpretive Centre, which kids love. There are some activities here for kids as well as interesting interpretive exhibits about wildlife in Banff National Park.
From the Wildlife Interpretive Centre, we suggest buying tickets for the Trail of the Great Bear Guided Walk, which is a great hike for children. This is a short hike through the forest with a guide, who does a great job sharing information about bears in the Canadian Rockies. Our kids loved it, and talked about it for days afterwards. The trip takes about 45-minutes.
Once you are done the guided walk, return to the gondola and take the journey back down to the base area, where they have outdoor games perfect for the kids.
We like to plan an entire day based around using the services at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Once we’ve done our hike we have a meal at one of the restaurants at the hill, before we take a free bus transfer up to Lake Louise and back.
In addition to a lot of parking, Lake Louise Ski Resort also provides a free shuttle for their customers to Lake Louise! This is a great service, and allows you to not have to worry about waking up super early to get a parking spot.
We recommend having at least one meal at Lake Louise Ski Resort. The food is good and there are rarely waits at the restaurants at Lake Louise. The Whitehorn Bistro (on-hill) is very good, however we like eating in the Whitehorn Lodge at the base of the ski hill. You can get great quick-serve food from the Lodge of the Ten Peaks Cafeteria (maybe the best fries in the Bow Valley) and the sushi at Kuma Yama was delicious.
The ride and breakfast package is a great deal, especially if you want to get started early. For an extra $5 (compared to just buying a gondola ticket) you get a good breakfast buffet. This is a great option for families in the area, and if you’re camping this is a no-brainer in our opinion.
Lake Louise Ski Resort has also started offering guided hikes to other popular hikes in the area. If you’re looking for a guided hike, check their website, as they have everything from 1 hour guided hikes to overnight hikes to the exquisite Skoki Lodge.
Check out our YouTube video on this great family hike.
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