This week on Discover North America: Canada Edition is all about the Best Things to do in Lake Louise with Kids from our guest blogger Ben who lived and worked in Lake Louise, alongside his partner Orla, and they now share their love for the Canadian Rockies and countless other worldwide destinations on their couples travel blog Ticket 4 Two Please.
When is the Best time to Visit the Top Things in Lake Louise:
Lake Louise is a world-renowned family destination and one of the Best Places in Alberta to visit with Kids but depending on which time of year you visit, the jewel of the Canadian Rockies will offer a completely different experience. Perhaps the most popular time of year to visit Lake Louise is during the summer when the famous turquoise, glacier-fed water at Moraine Lake is at its most vivid and most striking.
If you’re a family that prefers adventures in the snow however, then Lake Louise is one of the best winter destinations in Canada to explore with children. Don’t worry parents you can warm up by visiting one of the hot springs while looking at the Rocky Mountains. Lake Louise is a very versatile place to discover and can easily be visited multiple times throughout the year, offering a completely different experience in each of its distinctive seasons.
Top things to do in Lake Louise with Kids in Summer
The list of best things to do in Lake Louise with kids begins with an outline of the top things to do in Lake Louise during the summer. Lake Louise is one of the best places to visit in the whole of Canada during the summer, with the famous glacier-waters attracting visitors from all around the world it is the perfect place to be!
Some of the Lake Louise activities listed below are more active than others, but each should be suitable for families looking to get the most out of the area.
Canoeing on Lake Louise
Canoeing on Lake Louise is one of the most iconic things to do in the Canadian Rockies and is a magical experience that all of the family can enjoy together. It is one of the best ways to enjoy the natural surroundings while travelling with kids and get the best views for photographs.
In order to canoe on beautiful Lake Louise, you have to rent a canoe from the Lake Louise boathouse, situated to the right-hand side of the lake as you look towards the Victoria Glacier.
Each canoe can hold up to 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 children, providing that the children weigh under 55lbs each. An hour rental costs in the region of CAD$145 so it isn’t a particularly cheap activity, but it’s certainly worth the money for the memories you are able to create as a family.
Hike to the Lake Louise Teahouse
A summer trip to Lake Louise isn’t complete without a trip to the famous tea houses. Lake Louise is actually home to two of these tea houses, with the most popular being the Lake Agnes Tea House.
The tea house can be reached via a relatively straightforward out-and-back style hiking trail that takes you through the forest in Lake Louise. The hike is a little steep to begin with, so kids may need a couple of breaks on the way up.
Stopping for a rest at Mirror Lake, roughly two-thirds of the way up to the tea house, is a great place to recharge your batteries before completing the rest of the hike up to the tea house.
A good way to motivate the kids to keep walking is the promise of delicious chocolate cakes and other freshly baked treats that await at the tea house. You’ll not find a better view to eat some cake anywhere in the Rockies!
Spot Bears on the Lake Louise Gondola
When you spend some time in the Canadian Rockies, one of the most rewarding sites you can have is an encounter (from a distance, of course) with the most famous residents of Banff National Park – the Grizzly Bears.
You will not have a better chance of spotting one of these incredible animals than at the Lake Louise Gondola which is a good reason to make sure you purchase a ticket. Found at Lake Louise Ski Resort, once the snow melts, the skiing runs transform into fresh patches of meadow, filled with plenty of delicious snacks for bears giving you a good chance of catching a glimpse of a grizzly bear.
The 14-minute Gondola ride takes you directly over the fresh meadows and being suspended 20 metres in the air above gives you and the young children the best chance of spotting one of these majestic creatures in the wild.
Another great activity to do with kids in Lake Louise involving animals is a horse-trekking adventure around the Lake itself.
The local stables, Brewster Adventures, offer 5 different summer trail rides for you and the family to enjoy. You can even visit the Lake Louise tea houses on horseback if you prefer that option to hiking independently.
It’s a great way to appreciate the beauty of Lake Louise as you can simply sit-back, enjoy the ride and soak in the dramatic scenery all around you.
Family-friendly place to stay in Lake Louise in Summer
Simply put, there is no better place in Lake Louise to stay as a family than the award-winning Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The luxury resort offers unparalleled views over the lake itself and is home to a number of excellently furnished family rooms and suites.
A unique feature of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is the kids’ club, where your child is able to enjoy a wide range of fun, supervised activities while you indulge in a hot chocolate, or something slightly stronger, at the Fairview Lounge.
Top things to do in Lake Louise with Kids in Winter
This list of the best things to do in Lake Louise with kids continues by highlighting some of the best winter activities in Lake Louise. As you can imagine, when the snow arrives and the famous lake freezes over, there is a completely different feel to visiting Lake Louise.
The thick blanket of snow that stays around for roughly 6 months of the year transforms Lake Louise into a scarcely-believable winter wonderland that is brimming with adventure opportunities for all families.
Ice-skating on Lake Louise
One of the highlights of Lake Louise during the winter is being able to ice-skate on the frozen glacial lakes. Ground staff from the nearby Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise regularly tend to the ice – smoothing and flattening it so it remains skateable and in an excellent condition.
If you don’t have your own ice skates, you are able to rent them from inside the hotel, by the front desk, at Chateau Lake Louise Rentals. They offer a wide range of different sizes so there are plenty of skating options for young and old alike.
In the evenings, once the sun goes down, lights are switched on and you are able to go for a late-night skate under the stars. It truly is one of the most magical experiences you can have in Lake Louise and is definitely one of those bucket-list activities that every family wants to experience when visiting the famous Canadian destination during the winter.
Snowshoeing on top of the Lake
During the winter in Lake Louise, it has been known for up to 1m of snow to fall in a matter of hours. This makes the conditions perfect to go on a family snowshoeing foray on top of the frozen lake.
One of the fun things to do is Snowshoeing which is a great alternative to traditional hiking as you can strap on your snowshoes and head straight for the deepest powder you can find. You don’t even have to stick to any of the well-marked snowshoe trails in the Lake Louise area either, you can simply make your own tracks through the snow.
Snowshoes are readily available to rent from either the aforementioned Chateau Lake Louise Rentals or from Wilson Mountain Sports in Lake Louise Village. Again, these can be rented in a manner of different sizes, meaning even the kids can strap on their own pair and head out for a wintery exploration in the Rockies. Snowshoeing can be quite exhausting so definetly a better experience with older kids.
Skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort
Of course, no credible Lake Louise winter itinerary would be complete without mentioning arguably the most popular activity of them all – skiing, or snowboarding, at Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Making up one third of the famous ‘Big 3’ Ski Resorts in Banff (alongside Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay), Lake Louise Ski Resort boasts an incredible 160 skiable runs and a whopping 4200 acres of skiable terrain.
The Ski Resort is also home to a fantastic ski school and bunny slope, meaning you can be safe in the knowledge that the children will be well looked after while you hit the more challenging terrain on the backside of the mountain.
Checkout the Best Places to Ski in Canada with Kids.
Dog-sledding along the Great Divide
If you’re searching for a once-in-a-lifetime winter activity in Lake Louise, something that the whole family will remember for the rest of their lives, then look no further than dog-sledding along the Great Divide.
The 16km sled ride lasts roughly 1.5 hours and takes you deep into the heart of the dramatic scenery of Banff National Park. Explore the unique nature of this UNESCO World Heritage Site from the comfort of your very own sled, pulled briskly along by a pack of beautiful and strong Alaskan Huskies.
Kingmik Dog Sled Tours offer the most well-rounded package, providing guided commentary on the surrounding area alongside the sledding experience.
Tubing at Lake Louise Ski Resort
If skiing and snowboarding doesn’t appeal to your family, then Lake Louise Ski Resort does have one more brilliant activity to entice the guests – tubing!
Perfect for both children and adults, tubing is essentially riding an inflatable rubber ring down an icy track at speed. The tube park at Lake Louise Ski Resort is open daily from 10am – 4pm and is also a great afternoon activity to try if the kids are tired after a busy day on the slopes.
Family tickets are also available for the Tube Park, meaning the entire family can enjoy the thrills and spills on tubing together while enjoying the surrounding mountains.
Family-friendly place to stay in Lake Louise in Winter
For a great place to stay in Lake Louise during the winter with children, Lake Louise Inn is the best option.
While the regular rooms are comfortable and well-furnished, what makes Lake Louise Inn a truly great accommodation option for families visiting Lake Louise are the Condos that provide adequate space for up to 8 people.
Bunk beds, a pull-out sofa bed and the main master bedroom offer plenty of sleeping options to accommodate for all families, while the condo is also home to a fully-equipped kitchenette.
Situated in Lake Louise Village, the Lake Louise Inn provides a free shuttle bus up to Lake Louise and an hourly shuttle to the Lake Louise Ski Resort all throughout the winter season which is only a short drive.
Tips for visiting Lake Louise with Kids
Visiting Lake Louise is guaranteed to be one of your family’s most incredible vacations together and is sure to be filled with incredible and cherished memories. With that being said however, there are a few tips you need to follow in order to make the most out of your Lake Louise adventure.
- Arrive early during the summer months – Lake Louise is a world-renowned destination and one of the most popular places to visit in Canada during peak season, which can make it incredibly busy during the peak summer months. If you want to park at Lake Louise, make sure you arrive early to the parking lot (around 7am) or alternatively you can make use of the shuttle buses that are provided by the local hotels and guesthouses.
- There aren’t many shops in Lake Louise – being a small mountain village, the food shopping options in Lake Louise are very limited. Instead, it is best to visit the nearby town of Banff and stock up on any supplies you need at the IGA store on the main Banff High Street.
- Hiking in Lake Louise involves altitude – Lake Louise is actually the highest permanent settlement in Canada and as a result, the altitude can have an effect when hiking with kids. The Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail is one of the easier walks to do in the area as it involves no elevation gain. Perhaps you should start with this hike to get the kids’ used to the altitude of the area.
- Don’t let the kids wander too far off the trails during the summer – Banff National Park is renowned for its population of wild bears and Lake Louise is no different. All families should exhibit general bear safety when hiking in Lake Louise during the summer months.
What is the Closest Airport to Lake Louise?
Your best bet is to fly into Calgary International Airport which is about a two hour drive on the Trans-Canada Highway to reach Lake Louise or 1 hour and 15 minutes from Downtown Banff which is home to Canada’s first national park. Calgary was recently named as one of the top five hassle free airports.
A great tip from Banff and Beyond is “If you drive on either of the scenic parkways such as the Icefields Parkway (#93N) that runs between Lake Louise to Jasper or the Bow Valley Parkway (#1A) that runs between Banff and Lake Louise you are required to have a park pass even if you are not stopping”.
There are so many things to do as a family in Lake Louise and hopefully this guide has given you a brief snapshot into the wealth of activities on offer in Lake Louise for kids and adults alike.
You may also be interested in: The Best Things to do in Banff with Kids