Lake Louise Canoe Rental: 6 Tips You Need to Know

For many, canoeing on Lake Louise is a highlight of their trip to Banff National Park. There is likely no place more quintessential to rent a canoe in Banff than Lake Louise. It’s one of the most spectacular scenes in the world. It’s tough to find a more spectacular scene to paddle through as you look out to Mount Victoria and the hanging Victoria glacier.

No need for fancy edits on your photographs the water in Lake Louise, like Moraine Lake, is truly that radiant turquoise blue. While we don’t all bring a canoe with us to Banff, you can get a Lake Louise canoe rental at the boathouse.

If you do own a canoe, you’ll have to arrive very early in the morning to secure parking close enough to carry the canoe.

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Lake Louise Canoe Rental Information

Lake Louise is the most popular attraction in Banff National Park and draws a crowd in the summer months. The trails around Lake Louise fill up and thousands of people grab their photo in front of spectacular scenery.

It is a magnificent setting, but it can be a little difficult to escape the crowds. One of the best ways to escape the crowds is to take to the water with a canoe.

Canoeing on Lake Louise

That being said outside of early morning or late evening there will likely be a wait for a canoe rental at Lake Louise. Once you’re out canoeing on Lake Louise you won’t have the lake to yourself, but it’s easy enough to keep your distance from other canoes on the lake.

This is particularly easy if you aim to paddle the whole lake as most people tend to stick close to the dock and the middle of Lake Louise. If you want to paddle the full lake plan for one to two hours, with it most likely falling somewhere in between.

Moraine Lake Canoe Lake Shore

You are permitted to bring your own canoe or kayak to Lake Louise, but there is no public boat launch. That means the vast majority of visitors will have to rent canoes from the boat dock at Lake Louise. The dock is run by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and its open daily in-season from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Canoe rentals operate on a first-come-first-serve basis so expect to wait in a line peak summer. Each canoe rental must have at least one person 16 years old and the maximum number of passengers is 3.

Lake Louise Canoe

As the hotel operates the boat dock hotel guests are given priority treatment with a priority line and reduced rental rates. Hotel guests can also take advantage of a sunrise canoe experience where they can exclusively rent canoes for the early morning and experience Lake Louise before the crowds set in. Reservations for this are required by 10:00 PM the day prior.

As additional experience guests can book the Voyageur Canoe Experience from a 26’ cedar strip group canoe. The guided canoe trip is great for families and the guide will supply an ample amount of information about the history of the park’s early explorers and wildlife.


Lake Louise Canoe Rental Season and Rental Hours

Canoeing on Lake Louise

Every season is different as it’s entirely dependent on seasonal weather. Generally, the lake unthaws around mid-June and the canoe rentals run until the end of September when the snow begins to fall.

The daily hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weather permitting as they will close with severe inclement weather. Keep in mind the last boat is around 6 p.m. as the boat dock closes to the public at 7 p.m.


Lake Louise Canoe Rental Rates

Lake Louise
ExperiencePrice
Canoe Rental For Public$135 per hour / $125 per half hour (+tax)
Canoe Rental For Hotel Guests$95 per hour / $85 per half hour (+tax)
Voyageur Canoe Experience For Hotel Guests$65 per adult / $30 for youth
Sunrise Canoe for Guests$145 per canoe (includes $20 Guide’s Pantry voucher per person)
HOURS OF OPERATION: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM (last boat at 7:00 PM)

Why Are Canoe Rentals at Lake Louise Expensive?

I’m sure by now you realize canoe rentals in Lake Louise are pretty expensive. There are a number of reasons for the prices of canoe rentals. The first is the short season the operators have to recoup their investment it’s only a couple of months that the lakes are unfrozen.

You also have zero competition so the Fairmont can set whatever price they see fit, which happens to be the highest in the park. On top of all that the liability insurance for operating in the park and renting canoes is very expensive.


Tips For Canoeing on Lake Louise

Lake Louise Canoe Dock
  • Temperatures are very cool in the shoulder months of June and September. When you go out on the water, be sure to pack in layers so you can remain warm.
  • Weather on the lakes particularly the large bodies of water can change rapidly. Keep an eye on the horizon if it’s looking like a storm or the wind starts to pick up it may be time to get off the water.
  • Take sun protection seriously on warm days as the water reflection is very strong. We suggest making sure you have a hat, long sleeve shirt, and sunglasses.
  • Bring a water bottle in case you start heating up in the peak summer.
  • Remain calm and don’t rock the boat when out on the water. The glacial-fed Lake Louise is frigid all year round and you’re not going to be a happy camper if you end up in the water and require rescue.
  • All canoe rental operators provide life jackets so make sure to take advantage.

Can You Bring Your Own Canoe Or Kayak on Lake Louise?

Lake Louise

Yes, you can bring your own canoe or kayak to Lake Louise or any body of water within Banff National Park. As stated earlier there is no public boat launch at Lake Louise which means you’ll have to carry your canoe from the public parking lot, and then awkwardly launch your water device from the lakeshore with plenty of people around. It’s certainly doable, we’ve done it a number of times and it’s no big deal, just as long as you’re prepared to do so.

This is all of course if you can get a parking spot, as they fill up fast in the summer months. We love to go for a SUP on the lake by arriving early in the morning for a hike and then relaxing on the water in the afternoon.

New in 2021, to prevent the spread of Aquatic invasive species visitors must now fill out a Self Certification Permit with Parks Canada for any nonmotorized watercraft entering the water. This includes kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. The Self Certification Permits can be found online.


Canoes in Banff

If you’re not keen on waiting in line or paying the high prices for a canoe rental at Lake Louise there are other locations that you can head to in the Banff National Park. For more information, you can check out our post on canoe rentals in Banff.



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Where to Stay in Banff

For a small mountain town, Banff has a plethora of accommodation options. Some of our favorites are:

  • Banff Springs Hotel: Most luxurious place to stay in Banff. Definitely a splurge, but worthwhile if you are celebrating a special occasion.
  • Baker Creek Resort: Cabins in the wilderness of Banff. If you are looking for somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of downtown this is for you.
  • The Rimrock: Is a super great pet friendly option in Banff. It’s close to Sulphur Mountain and the Banff Hot Springs.
  • Canmore: You can always stay in the nearby town of Canmore! One of our favorite hotels is the Lady Macdonald Country Inn.
About Cameron

Cameron Seagle is a resident of Canmore, Alberta. After traveling the world for six years, he settled down in the beautiful Bow Valley with Natasha. He has been featured as a travel expert with numerous publications worldwide and has spoken on several occasions about the power of travel. He has a passion for all things in the Canadian Rockies and loves to spend his time snowboarding, scrambling, camping, biking, and trail running. Conservation is a deep fundamental in his life, and he aims to inspire others to care about our natural world.

You can learn more on the about us page.

6 thoughts on “Lake Louise Canoe Rental: 6 Tips You Need to Know”

  1. Recoup their costs? $115 per half hour? The canoes, paddles and life jackets would easily be “recouped” in a couple of weeks. But hey, rich foreign tourists will pay even if it’s a ripoff for locals.

    Reply
  2. Would anyone advise bringing their own kayak? We are looking into planning a trip to Banff for late June 2022 but have been looking at buying a couple kayaks this summer, and wondering if it’s worth it to pack them across the US into Banff. Not sure if it’s easy enough/worth it, to get them launched and not have to worry about the lines and possibly not getting a spot that day.

    Reply
    • We bring our own canoe and paddleboard all the time. It is worth it if you don’t mind towing them around. Then it gives you the opportunity to kayak on many Banff lakes.

      Reply
  3. Hi, Is it best to do the canoe or short hike (lake trail / Fairview Lakeview)? Unfortunately we do not get to the hotel until 5:00pm and leave early the next day (initially we were to get there at 1:00pm but was changed). Thank you.

    Reply
    • I would go for the canoe, but if you are visiting in the summer keep in mind the sun doesn’t set until 10pm or so so you would have time to do both if you wanted.

      Reply

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