You’ll see some of the best scenery the Canadian Rockies offer; towering mountains, glaciers, surreal coloured lakes and breathtaking waterfalls.
Starting in Banff, Lake Louise or the small town of Field in Yoho, we focus on the Lake Louise area of Banff National Park and the aptly named (in Cree language) Yoho National Park, meaning “awe”.
The highlights include the breathtaking Lake Louise beautifully backdropped by the Victoria Glacier, and the dazzling Moraine Lake surrounded by 10 peaks.
From 2020, mandatory Parks Canada shuttles for the connector service between Lake Louise and Moraine Lake must be booked in advance. Walk-up seat sales are not permitted.
Immediately to the west of Lake Louise is Yoho National Park and the thundering Takakkaw Falls – Canada’s second highest with a spectacular sheer drop. We continue onto Emerald Lake for more amazingly coloured lakes and view the corkscrew Spiral Tunnels, a nation-building section of railway engineering.
An optional extra for those driving toward Lake Louise from Banff is to drive along the Bow Valley Parkway, where wildlife can be spotted, or you can hike the trail to Johnston Canyon.
Banff, Lake Louise or Field BC
Allow a full day for this suggested itinerary with stops
Full tour route, both directions – 230km (140 miles)
Lake Louise is the crown jewel of Banff National Park, and one of the most photographed locations in Canada with up to 15,000 visitors each day in peak summer season. This iconic glacier-fed lake is surrounded by mountain peaks and beautifully backdropped by the Victoria Glacier.
Immediately to the west of Lake Louise is Yoho National Park and the thundering Takakkaw Falls – Canada’s second highest with a spectacular sheer drop. Yoho is also home to Emerald Lake, an amazingly coloured lake, and the corkscrew Spiral Tunnels, a nation-building section of railway engineering.
Lake Louise refers to both the village and lake of the same name, in Banff National Park. Located near Lake Louise is Moraine Lake, an iconic glacier-fed lake that’s high on many visitors’ bucket lists.
While the road to Lake Louise is open year round, the access road to Moraine Lake is typically open from June to early October. The road is closed in winter due to avalanche risk, and opening dates can depend on snow conditions.
While these two iconic lakes in Banff National Park are located a short drive from each other, parking can be challenging. The access road to Moraine Lake is closed in winter, but in summer the small parking lot famously fills up by sunrise. Typically space opens up in the evening if you want to drive, or you can catch the Parks Canada shuttles and visit both lakes in one day.
The Moraine Lake Road is closed to personal vehicles year round and parking at Lake Louise is extremely limited. To guarantee access, visit the Parks Canada website for shuttle reservations and further details.
The Bow Valley Parkway restricts traffic in spring and fall. Vehicles can still access the western section of the parkway, Johnston Canyon, and the campground, from Castle Junction. Visit the Parks Canada website for further details.