The spectacular Lake Louise is situated just over 500 kilometers from Edmonton, Alberta, within minutes from the British Columbia border. A five hour drive from Edmonton through a well maintained scenic highway takes you to the town of Lake Louise, surrounded by huge snow capped mountains and Alpine forests that attracts joggers, mountain climbers, geologists, botanists and other wildlife lovers from around the world. It is a paradise for nature photographers. The area, part of the Banff National Park is packed with numerous lakes and streams which inhabits several species of trouts, including Cutthroat and Bull trout (both species are protected under endangered species Act), as well as Rainbow trout which are allowed to harvest by Anglers with a valid fishing license.
Wide roads for a smooth drive: Posted speed 110 km/ph
Elk Trophies from the past: On display at the Chateau Hotel
We arrived at our Hotel -The Lake Louise Inn – after a long drive from Edmonton. Our suite consists of a bed room, a living room, kitchen with stove, fridge, microwave oven, toaster, coffee maker , pots and pans, cutlery, crockery and a dishwasher. The two queen beds and a single bed would accommodate 5 guests at a cost of $320 per day. This was our base camp from Monday through Friday.
Snow capped mountain: Lake Louise
One of the most spectacular lake is Moraine Lake, situated about 25 kms from our Hotel at the foot of the gigantic Rocky mountain chain covered in glacier and ice.
View from the Chateau Lake Louise Hotel
Seasonal flowers with vibrant color
In the summer months, the melting ice provide a steady flow of crystal clear water, that forms the emerald green lake. Almost all lakes in this area contain fresh water from the mountain, and its cold temperature is ideal for the trout.
A roadside lake with crystal clear water
The spectacular Moraine Lake
Glacier water rushing down through deep ravine
A hike to the Johnstone Canyon waterfalls is a must. A five kilometer trek through a steep narrow trail will bring out sweat even from an experienced climber. The trail was packed with tourists when we were there, as Summer months are popular for hiking, in single file. There are plenty of places to rest on the way. It is a thrilling experience to walk these trail carved through the edge of a cliff and listening to the roaring stream splashing hundreds of feet below. After a four kilometer hike, you will see the Little Falls. Here you have the opportunity to crawl through a cave and witness the spectacular falls at close range. It is so close you will have your face covered with cold spray from roaring the icy water.
Wild flowers abundant this region
I tried my hand in fishing at the Bow River which flow right behind our hotel. We were told that fishing here is based on a catch and release program. This river is famous for rainbow trout, and the surrounding area is covered with huge tall pine trees and the ground filled with wild Alpine flowers of different colors. The fragrance of these forests during the Summer is unforgettable.
Although we brought our own portable barbecue with propane gas and cooked a few meals on the patio, we ate out in various restaurants as well. Meals are not cheap here. At the Johnstone Canyon restaurant, a hamburger costs $14.95, and at the Station Restaurant, where the food is fabulous, a Salmon dinner will cost $34.95, and for $7 you can have a slice of cheese cake served with 5 different fruits.
A 45 minute drive from Lake Louise will take you to the small town of Banff, a tourist mecca, where the streets are constantly crowded with vehicles and the wide sidewalks are filled with anxious tourists from Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, Europe and USA in addition to Canadians like us. As usual, Banff too is very expensive, you pay double or triple for everything.
Here four of us dined at the Three Ravens Restaurant, and the bill came to nearly $250.
A Gondola ride to the top of the mountain ridge was most enjoyable. Here you can travel either inside a boxed carriage or on an open chair. I chose the boxed lift on the way up and open chair on the way down. It is a 14 minutes climb each way and the view from the mountain top, 7500 feet above sea level is magnificent. During the Winter months this area is crowded with skiers and these mountain slopes offer wonderful winter sports.
One of the oldest Hotels here is the Chateau Lake Louise, owned by Canadian Pacific Railway, built in 1892, to house the visitors who arrived here via newly built railway. The view from this hotel is out of this world, so beautiful and majestic.
We were fortunate to see a grizzly bear one afternoon, foraging tender leaves and berries close to the road near our base camp. Besides the bear, there are mountain goats, Big horn sheep, Elk, mule deer, white tailed deer and cougar lives here. Hunting is prohibitted and all animals are protected in this vast wilderness.
A Ground Squirrel (Gopher) venture into the patio
The four nights and 5 days we spent here was remarkable, and we left for home with sweet memories and plenty of photographs and videos.
Alpine forest, mostly tall pine trees
If you go: The nearest Airport is Calgary International, Alberta, Canada. From here go to Banff, about 140 kilometers from Calgary on a splendid wide double lane highway. From Banff, Lake Louise is only 45 minutes away through another double lane highway. The roads are well maintained regularly and you will never bump into a gutter. This enable one to drive at the allowed speed of up to 110km/hour. Accommodations can be arranged in one of the many hotels or cabins in Lake Louise. Prepare to stay at least 3 days to cover some of the spectacular sights this area has to offer