How to Get From Calgary to Lake Louise in 2024

If you are an international visitor to Banff National Park, or even on a cross-country Canadian road trip, chances are you will be driving the highway from Calgary to Lake Louise.

An iconic Canadian location, Lake Louise is a must-see location when visiting the Canadian Rockies. Read on to find out how to get from Calgary to Lake Louise, with some of the best stops along the way!

The Best Way to Travel from Calgary to Lake Louise

Banff highway
Approaching Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway

So, you’ve landed at the Calgary International Airport (YYC) and need to get from Calgary to Lake Louise. There are a few transportation options varying in convenience, pricing, and flexibility.

  • Car / Rental Car: Traveling by car is the easiest and most convenient way to get from Calgary to Lake Louise. You may also appreciate the flexibility of having your own vehicle as you explore the area.
  • Shuttle: Group shuttles can be booked from YYC to Lake Louise. You might also consider taking an airport shuttle to the Canmore/Banff area, depending on where your accommodations are, and then taking an additional shuttle or use public transportation to visit Lake Louise.
  • Private Transfer: By far the most expensive option (unless you’re traveling with a large group), you can also book a private transfer between the Calgary International Airport and Lake Louise.

How Far is the Drive From Calgary to Lake Louise?

bow valley parkway
Driving the Bow Valley Parkway

The drive from Calgary to Lake Louise is 183km and will take approximately 2 hours. The drive itself is very simple; once you get on the Trans-Canada Highway heading west out of Calgary, follow the road until you see the exit for Lake Louise. You’ll pass both Canmore and Banff on your way to Lake Louise, which we recommend stopping at if you never have.

You can also take a slightly longer, more scenic route by heading towards Cochrane when you leave the city and take Highway 1A from Cochrane to Canmore.

If you are driving yourself, you have the option between these two routes. Another possibility is you could drive one route on the way to Lake Louise and another on the way back to Calgary. Either way, you will eventually end up at the beautiful Lake Louise!

Calgary to Lake Louise by Rental Car

The most flexible option is renting a car and driving to Lake Louise yourself. Having a car for the duration of your trip will ensure that you are able to visit many of the attractions within Banff National Park and the surrounding area without having to rely on public transportation options.

You can rent a car directly at the Calgary International Airport. All of the major rental car companies operate at YYC and the route to Lake Louise is easy to navigate once you leave the airport.

During the winter months, you will want to ensure that you rent a vehicle with snow tires or all-wheel drive in case of snowy and icy road conditions.

Getting a Car Rental Banff – Important Things to Know

Calgary to Lake Louise by Shuttle

Another option for traveling between Calgary and Lake Louise is to book an airport shuttle. Brewster Express offers transfers between the Calgary International Airport and Lake Louise, among other locations in the Rockies.

Brewster Express is owned by Pursuit, which also operates tours and offers tickets at many popular attractions in the Canadian Rockies. You might also use the Brewster Express service to travel between locations, such as Banff or Jasper. If you are planning to stay in Calgary before traveling to Lake Louise, the service also offers pick-up at some hotels in the downtown Calgary area.

Brewster Express Rates (YYC to Lake Louise)

Prices may slightly fluctuate with the cost of petrol

Another option is the more affordable Rider Express. The Rider Express travels everyday from Vancouver to Banff. They make one stop at Lake Louise village on their route and costs $76.

Mountain Park Transport runs daily shuttles between Banff/Lake Louise and Calgary Airport (YYC) with rates starting at $59.99

Calgary to Lake Louise by Private Transfer

If you do not want to drive or take a group shuttle, you could arrange for a private transfer between YYC and Lake Louise. As mentioned, this will likely be the most expensive option unless you are traveling with a large group. Banff Sedan offers luxury vehicles that can be booked for a private transfer.

Banff Sedan Rates (YYC to Lake Louise)

G90 Sedan
(Max 3 ppl)
Cadillac Escalade SUV
(Max 5 ppl)
Sprinter Custom
(Max 10 ppl)
Premium Coach
(Max 24 ppl)
Prices may slightly fluctuate with the cost of petrol

Using Public Transit to Get to Lake Louise

Roam Transit Bus

You may decide that you’d rather drive, take a shuttle, or book a private transfer from Calgary to Banff and then travel to Lake Louise from there. In this case, you may choose to use the Roam Transit bus (use Routes 8X) from Downtown Banff to get to Lake Louise. The Roam Transit Route 8x (Lake Louise Express) runs to Lake Louise daily from Banff.

If your accommodations are in the Banff area rather than Lake Louise, this option offers convenient access to Lake Louise and saves the hassle of parking. The price of this service will vary depending on how many days you would like to travel; for example, a 1 Day Pass can be purchased for $20, and a 3 Day Pass for $45.

Banff vs Lake Louise • Which One is Right for You

Important Things to Note

Bear Road Banff
It is important to watch out for wildlife while driving along the highway
  • Parks Canada Pass: You will need a Parks Canada Pass in order to visit Lake Louise. You can purchase one as you drive into the park, when leaving Canmore, on the Trans Canada Highway. You may notice as you drive up that some vehicles do not stop at the ticket booth – these people either already have their pass, or are not planning on stopping in Banff National Park.
  • Wildlife: It is important to be aware of the various wildlife that you may encounter on the highway. Stay alert while driving in order to keep yourself and the wildlife safe.
  • Road Conditions: If you are visiting in the winter, the roads can get snowy and icy. If you are inexperienced with winter driving, it is imperative to have a vehicle with winter tires and give yourself extra time when driving. Also, keep in mind that the road between Calgary and Lake Louise can get busy in the summer months, particularly on the weekends.

Parking at Lake Louise

lake louise parking information
Lake Louise parking lot

Can you drive to Lake Louise? The answer is yes! However, if you drive your own (or rented) vehicle to Lake Louise, you must find parking. As this is a very popular tourist destination, parking can be a significant challenge, particularly in the summer months.

As Lake Louise is such a popular tourist destination, the nearby parking lot fills up quickly in the morning and can remain full for the day. Arriving at sunrise or sunset provides the best chance of finding a parking spot. Between May and October, there is a $36.75 daily charge for parking ($8 for those with a handicapped placard).

If you have a hotel booked at Lake Louise, check with them so you know their parking situation. Most hotels at Lake Louise have hotel parking for their guests, but you still must find your way to the actual Lake Louise lakeshore (the actual lake).

Another option is to park at the Lake Louise Park & Ride lot and take the Parks Canada shuttle to the lake. You will find the Park & Ride parking lot at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. You may also decide to book the Lake Connector or Roam Super Pass, giving you access to visit both Lake Louise and the beautiful Moraine Lake in the same day!

Lake Louise Parking: Everything You NEED to Know
Access Moraine Lake using the Lake Connector shuttle pass
Access Moraine Lake using the Lake Connector shuttle pass

You must make reservations in advance in order to use the Park and Ride shuttle; these reservations can be made at the beginning of the summer season, and additional reservations are available in a rolling window at 8 a.m. two days prior to your departure day. Ticket reservations are booked for a one-hour window.

Best Stops to Make Between Calgary and Lake Louise


things to do in calgary
There is plenty to see and do in the Calgary area

Upon arriving in Calgary, you might decide that you would like to spend a few days exploring one of Canada’s largest cities. The city has many attractions including the Calgary Tower, WinSport, and a wide variety of restaurants and breweries. If you are visiting in July, be sure to take in the famous Calgary Stampede – one of the best things to do in Calgary!

Kananaskis Country

Smutwood Kananaskis Hike
Views along Smutwood hike in Kananaskis Country

If you have some extra time as you make your way to Lake Louise, why not visit Kananaskis Country? This beautiful provincial park lies just outside of Banff National Park, and is home to some amazing views and epic hiking. To access the area, follow the Trans-Canada Highway until you see the exit for Kananaskis Trail / AB 40S (exit 118).

One important thing to note is that you will need to purchase a Kananaskis Conservation Pass if you plan on spending time here. This pass can be purchased online and you need to provide your license plate number. You can purchase either a day pass ($15) or annual pass ($90); depending on how many days you plan on spending in the area, an annual pass may be worth it.

You can also visit the very popular Kananaskis Nordic Spa for some relaxation and pampering. There are a variety of services available, including massage and hydrotherapy. A perfect way to unwind after a day of traveling!


downtown canmore
Downtown Canmore

Around 80km from Lake Louise lies the lovely mountain town of Canmore. Here you will find a variety of restaurants, shops, and mountain views. There are also a number of hikes in the Canmore area if you are looking to stretch your legs. The town of Canmore is worth a stop on any Canadian Rockies tour, even if it’s just for a cup of coffee!


Cascade Mountain from Banff Avenue - Downtown Banff
Views of Cascade Mountain from Banff Avenue

No visit to the Canadian Rockies is complete without strolling the restaurants and shops of Banff Avenue. The town of Banff offers beautiful mountain views and easy access to many amazing attractions such as the Banff Gondola, Tunnel Mountain, and Vermillion Lakes. There is so much to do in the Banff area that it’s a good idea to plan to spend several days here.

Johnston Canyon

johnston canyon - banff
Views of the Lower Falls at Johnston Canyon

If you are looking for a family-friendly hike at any time of the year, Johnston Canyon along the Bow Valley Parkway is a great option when traveling from Calgary to Lake Louise. In order to access the Johnston Canyon parking lot, you will need to use the Castle Junction exit off the Trans-Canada Highway, or drive the entirety of the Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise.

The hike to reach the upper falls is around 5km, and you can expect it will take approximately 2 hours. It’s a popular hike, so you can expect crowds unless you visit early or later in the day, especially during the warmer months. It’s a worthwhile stop as you make your way from Calgary to Lake Louise!

Morant’s Curve

Morant's Curve

Located just off the Bow Valley Parkway, this famed photography spot presents awe-inspiring vistas of the encompassing mountains. While Mount Fairview dominates the background, numerous other peaks, including Mount St. Piran, Niblock, Whyte, Saddle, Sheol, and Haddo Peak, are also visible.

Photographers frequently schedule their visits at Morant’s Curve to capture the perfect moment of a westbound train passing through the region during the morning light. Though there is no train schedule, trying to time this right is all luck of the draw!

Nonetheless, the stunning scenery is not limited to photography enthusiasts and is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling between Calgary and Lake Louise.

Arriving at Lake Louise

lake louise shoreline
Iconic view of the Lake Louise shoreline

You have made it to Lake Louise! This truly spectacular destination is popular for good reason, as it is one of the most beautiful spots in Canada. There are many exciting things to do in the area during summer and winter.

Things to Do in Lake Louise

Lake Louise

While it’s likely that you will want to spend some time along the lakeshore gazing at the stunning Lake Louise, here are just a few of the outdoor activities that you can enjoy on your visit:

  • Canoeing: Rent a canoe at the Lake Louise lakeshore. It’s the closest you’ll get to the turquoise waters of the lake!
  • Hiking: There are a number of epic hiking trails around Lake Louise. Lake Agnes Teahouse is popular, or you can also try the Plain of Six Glaciers or Mount Fairview Lookout.
  • Skiing: Only 10 minutes from Lake Louise, the Lake Louise Ski Resort is a great option for those looking to hit the slopes. Get ready for some epic views with something for everyone!
  • Skating: During the winter months, bring your skates and enjoy the most gorgeous views while skating on Lake Louise. If you do not have your own skates, you can rent a pair at Chateau Ski and Snow Rentals near the lobby of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Where to Stay in Lake Louise

fairmont lake louise

Below are just a few options for accommodations in Lake Louise. Note when booking your accommodations that the village of Lake Louise is located about 4km from the lakeshore, along a steep and often busy mountain road.

  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: The most luxurious option, visitors here have the beautiful Lake Louise mere steps outside the hotel. Accommodations here come at a high price, but it is the only hotel right along the lake itself.
  • Paradise Lodge and Bungalows: Only 500 meters from Lake Louise, this accommodation provides charming and rustic lodging with convenient access to the lake. Note that this accommodation is only open in the summer months.
  • Lake Louise Inn: This hotel is located in the village of Lake Louise and is a more budget-friendly option when staying in the area.
Looking for additional accommodation options? Check out this list of 10 Awesome Lake Louise Hotels. 

I hope that this article helped you to plan your trip from Calgary to Lake Louise! Whether you’re visiting for a day or even longer, any visit to the area is well worth the trip.

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • Tours (New in 2024): The Banff Blog is partnering with one of the leading tour companies in Western Canada so readers can experience the magic of the Rockies with other travelers – without having to think about a thing. See all our 2024 tour offerings here!
  • Get to Banff or Canmore Without a Car: The Banff Airporter provides fantastic service connecting you from the Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Banff or Canmore.
  • Get Around: We suggest renting a car to get around. You can search for rental cars on Or embark on an epic campervan trip. We like to compare prices on Motorhome Republic and Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals!
  • Hop On, Hop Off: This tour is taking Banff by storm. It’s exactly what it sounds like, hop on and off a bus bound for all the best attractions at your own pace!
About Rachel Dale

Hi, I’m Rachel! I’m a travel and outdoor enthusiast, and I love exploring my home province of Alberta. My favorite activities include hiking, running, and searching for my next best cup of coffee or new favorite restaurant. You can find me spending much of my free time outdoors, and I love visiting the Canadian Rockies as often as I can. I am excited to document my travels here and hope that you can find inspiration for your next trip to beautiful Banff!

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