Lake Louise Lakeshore

Banff
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Lake Louise Lakeshore

Distance: 4.0km
Elevation: 5m
Time: 1h

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Cross-country skiing on Lake Louise is the classic beginner XC ski trail in Banff National Park. This XC route goes over frozen Lake Louise, providing incredible views you can’t easily get in summer. This is also a fun trip to do with headlamps and some hot chocolate at dusk.

Getting there

Take Lake Louise Drive from the exit off the Trans-Canada highway. Drive towards the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and park in one of the lots to the left of the Chateau. Park close to the winter washrooms in the lower lot.

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About

When to do

Only when track set and Lake Louise Frozen

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Trailhead

Pets allowed

Yes - On Leash

Avalanche Risk

Simple

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Out and back

Type of XC Route

Double Track-set


Elevation


Detailed Description

The XC ski across Lake Louise is stunning, with incredible views. We like to bring the family on this ski and make a great day out. We do this ski, then we do some skating on Lake Louise and finally have a meal at Chateau Lake Louise or Deer Lodge.

This cross-country ski trail is numbered as route #4, and it runs beside a snowshoe route on Lake Louise. The trail is usually double track set, though it can be in rough condition because it is on ice. Even worse, a lot of people walk on the tracks, which is frustrating!

To get to the start of the XC Ski trail, walk towards Lake Louise from the winter washroom in the Lake Louise parking lot. Once near Lake Louise, head to the left, in the direction of the summer canoe cabin. This will be a different direction then you are probably used to, as you probably follow the trails to the right towards the Chateau.

Follow the signed trail #4, and where it branches go right and head down to the canoe rental cabin. This is where cross-country ski lessons happen, but it is also a great place for a photo.

From the canoe rental cabin, ski down to Lake Louise and take the track set xc ski trail as it heads across to the north side of Lake Louise. There are some great views while skiing across Lake Louise, including looking right at the winter Ice Castle.

Note that you can also start the trail from the Chateau Lake Louise if that’s easier or you are staying there. In this case just walk down to the right of the winter ice castle picking up the track set trail there.

The XC ski trail on Lake Louise is clear as it goes down to the end of Lake Louise. It runs on the northern shore of Lake Louise and ends near a frozen waterfall near the far end of Lake Louise. Enjoy unforgettable views of Mount Victoria and its glacier ahead of you.

This cross-country ski trail is rated as novice and is great for new XC skiers as there is no elevation gain or loss on the trail.

Be cautious to stay on the track set ski trail, as there is a large avalanche path coming off of Mount Fairview on the left-hand (south) side of Lake Louise.

At the end of Lake Louise, you have two options. We prefer to ski back along Lake Louise, as the views are incredible, and the skiing is easy. You could also join the cross-country ski trail that goes up from Lake Louise and heads into the woods on your right. This is a beautiful rolling trail through the forest that takes you back to the to the Chateau.

Insider Hints

  • Combine this XC Ski with the Fairview Loop for a great day out.

  • Bring your skates and ice skate on one of the most scenic ice rinks on earth: Lake Louise!!

  • Be careful about going off trail, the lake ice makes the snow very slushy in some places.

  • Rent your skis and grab a trail map at Wilson’s Mountain Sports in Lake Louise Village.

  • Rates to stay at Chateau Lake Louise can be quite attractive in winter. Check the rates and consider splurging and staying right on Chateau Lake Louise!

  • If you are feeling like lunch or a drink with a fairy tale view, check out the Lakeview Lounge in the Chateau Lake Louise. It’s on the first floor and has one of the finest views in Banff National Park.

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