Lake Louise Snowshoe Trail

Banff National Park
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Lake Louise Snowshoe Trail

Distance: 4.8km
Elevation: 15m
Time: 1-1.5h

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Snowshoeing on Lake Louise should be on your bucket-list. This is a classic snowshoe route is perfect for beginners, but don’t try this until Lake Louise freezes over. Head out across Lake Louise and explore the area at the far end of the lake, but turn around before the avalanche risk increases.

Lake Louise Snowshoe Trail Map

Getting there

Drive up the hill towards Chateau Lake Louise and park in one of the lots to the left of the Chateau. PARKING IS LIMITED and is often full by 8am. Parks Canada offers shuttles from the Lake Louise Overflow Parking Lot.

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About

When to do

December - April

Mountain Huts

No

Toilets

Trailhead

Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Avalanche Risk

Simple

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

None

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Lake Louise
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Lake Louise Snowshoe Trail

Anyone on a snowshoe trip should have Avalanche training, we recommend AST 2 for all backcountry travellers, and AST 1 is the minimum. It is important to note that when travelling through avalanche terrain it is extremely valuable to always have a companion.

This is a wonderful and easy snowshoe in Banff National Park. There is also a path for XC skiing as well as there is usually a path for walking across or beside Lake Louise. Make sure Lake Louise is safe to cross before attempting this snowshoe.

Be aware that continuing past the end of Lake Louise goes into Avalanche Terrain, and there are some big avalanche chutes there.

To snowshoe across Lake Louise, we like to start from the ice castle on Lake Louise. There are several routes that go out across Lake Louise. We like to stay well clear of the left-hand side (which is Mount Fairview) in case there is any avalanche activity.

As you snowshoe out on Lake Louise, you get an incredible view that you can usually only get in a canoe in summer. The views forward of the Victoria Glacier are spectacular.

After about 2.0km you reach the end of Lake Louise. Many people turn around here, however if you have some avalanche training you can continue for around 250m further past the end of Lake Louise. Be aware of your surroundings here and don’t get into avalanche terrain.

On your return to the Chateau, you can take any route you want across the lake, we enjoy making a bit of a circuit of it.

Once you’re back at the chateau you have a lot of options to continue your day, perhaps a hike up to Mirror Lake, skating on Lake Louise, a drink at the Ice Bar in front of the Chateau or a XC Ski along any of the many paths near here.

Insider Hints

  • Stick to existing trails across Lake Louise, or be prepared to get wet feet, as there are certain areas that get really slushy, even on cold days. The first time you step in one of these slushy areas will likely cause the heart to start beating very quick, thinking you are on open water.

  • We love snowshoeing out across Lake Louise at dusk with headlamps. You need to know your terrain and when to turn back, however this gives you the entire area to yourself and allows you to enjoy the stars and a pretty view back to Chateau Lake Louise lit up in the snow.

  • Definitely finish your snowshoe with a drink or a meal at the Lakeview Lounge. The food is great, the view is better!

  • Snowshoeing in the Banff takes you into remote terrain. Make sure you are prepared for an emergency with warm clothes, extra food, matches and ideally a satellite transceiver, like a Garmin InReach. Cell phones do not work until you get to Canmore.

  • Always check the avalanche forecast for Banff before heading out.

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