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 pick up canoe rentals at the Lake Louise 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.
Canoeing on Lake Louise
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.
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.
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.
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 their evening canoe experience where they can exclusively rent canoes for one hour from 8:15 p.m. guest must book the experience the evening before. 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 Season and Rental Hours
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
|Canoe Rental For Public||$125 per hour / $115 per half hour (+tax)|
|Canoe Rental For Hotel Guests||$85 per hour / $75 per half hour (+tax)|
|Voyager Canoe Experience For Hotel Guests||$55 per person|
Why Are Canoe Rentals 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
- 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?
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 this means you’ll have to carry your canoe from the public parking lot. That is 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.
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 in the Banff National Park. For more information you can check out our post on canoe rentals in Banff.