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By Allison Fitts & Lillian Robinson

There is endless natural beauty in and around Calgary. We had the pleasure of going to Banff National Park this past summer and we fell in love immediately. However, one thing we did not fall in love with was the hassle of getting to two of the park’s most iconic features: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. Let us outline for you the “how-to” for the most iconic lakes in Banff, so you can avoid headaches and only worry about enjoying everything Banff has to offer.

Tip: You can rent a campervan from Escape’s Calgary camper van rental location, which is only two hours from Banff.

Banff Lake Louise Canada Bus

Lake Louise

Getting There

The main thing to understand about both lakes is that parking is extremely limited—and rightfully so. A big parking lot for these spots would mean less wilderness area to enjoy and that would be no fun. To make your trip to Lake Louise as smooth as possible, we recommend keeping your campervan at your camping spot all day and opting for a bus ride to the lake instead of driving.

If you are staying near the town of Banff or the Village of Lake Louise, you can hop aboard the Parks Canada Shuttle throughout the day and for just about $5 you can get a round-trip ride to and from Lake Louise. It’s a smokin’ deal for a huge amount of convenience. We were surprised to find that the lakes in Banff National Park are about an hour from the town of Banff, so plan accordingly—the Canadian Rockies are massive!

The Beehive Hike Lake Louise Alberta Canada

Top Hikes at Lake Louise

Once you get to Lake Louise, the must-do hike is up to the teahouse overlooking the vast surrounding mountain ranges and the smaller mountain lake, Lake Agnes. The hike is about 4 miles round trip, with some considerable elevation gain. Those that make it to the top will be rewarded with delicious pastries, soups and of course tea, all in an adorable teahouse.

For those with the energy to venture onward, consider hiking up to the top of The Beehive, a 9,500-foot peak overlooking Lake Louise. This gorgeous hike was one of our favorite experiences in Banff, due in large part to the view you get of the lake from the top. Though only partially noticeable at ground-level, the turquoise hue of Lake Louise pops out from among the evergreen trees when viewed from the top of The Beehive. It is a one-of-a-kind view not to be missed.

Campervan at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Moraine Lake

Getting There

Now for the second of Banff’s iconic pair of lakes: Moraine Lake. Transportation up to this remote lake is even more challenging than Lake Louise. There are bus options available, but only from the town of Banff and for $10 round trip. If the bus option to Moraine Lake doesn’t work for you, you can also consider driving to the lake. In order to drive yourself though, you need to arrive by 6:00 AM, 6:30 AM at the absolute latest. After that approximate time, the tiny parking lot will be full and eventually the park will close the road to any more cars going up to the lake once capacity is reached. Rise and shine!

Moraine Lake Canada

Top Hikes at Moraine Lake

Once you wake up early and snag your parking spot, enjoy some of the many short, beginner hikes around Moraine Lake or considering packing a lunch and doing hikes that get you in the heart of the Valley of the Ten Peaks, which surrounds the lake. This quintessential Canadian view can’t be beat!

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Are You Ready to Experience the Iconic Lakes in Banff?

Planning ahead will make all the difference if you want to see the lakes in Banff. Get the work out of the way now, reserve your Escape campervan, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime starting in May 2019 and beyond!

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