While parking at Lake Louise is still possible, unlike Moraine Lake, it is no fun between June and mid-September. Scoring a parking spot at Lake Louise in the summer can be near impossible. Fortunately, Parks Canada operates a shuttle in the summer months, making access to the lake more manageable.
Millions visit the park yearly, and most have Lake Louise at the top of their list. This creates a massive demand for a little parking lot. Due to this, we recommend most visitors take advantage of the Park & Ride shuttle system.
Thankfully, it is not like this year-round, and outside of the summer, parking at Lake Louise is not so stressful. We know you have questions about parking at Lake Louise, so let’s dig in!
Lake Louise Parking Info
Between mid-June to October, parking at Lake Louise is a struggle. You’ll want to arrive before 8:00 a.m. to secure a parking spot at Lake Louise, which means an early rise unless you stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
We’ve never had a problem parking at Lake Louise during the shoulder season or winter. Granted, the wintertime does involve winter driving conditions, and there is often ice or snow in the parking lot. The holidays around Christmas and the New Year can be a busy period, but it’s nothing like the summer months.
Lake Louise parking congestion has been a big problem in the past. There is only one two lane road leading up to Lake Louise, with a dead-end at Lake Louise itself. If there is no parking available, parking attendants will turn you around. There is nowhere to sit and wait for a spot to become available. By the end of this ordeal, you just wasted 30 minutes if you didn’t secure a parking spot.
Thankfully, Parks Canada has introduced a helpful shuttle to assist visitors in getting to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Shuttles can be boarded at the Lake Louise Park and Ride, located at the Lake Louise Ski Hill. We’ll discuss that in this article, but first, a few popular questions.
Is it Free to Park at Lake Louise?
Lake Louise has paid parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. between May 19 to October 9, 2023 (2024 dates tbd). Paid parking dates align with the operation of the shuttle. You will also need a valid Parks Canada Pass for all National Parks in Canada. Look for pay stations when you arrive at Lake Louise; the fee is $21 per vehicle per day. You’ll need to input your license plate number into the pay kiosk. You cannot park overnight at Lake Louise lakeshore.
Is There Free Parking in Lake Louise?
There is no free parking at Lake Louise Lakeshore in the summer months. The Great Divide parking lot was a popular free option, but the lot is now closed to relieve pressure on the grizzly bear population.
Can I Park Overnight in Lake Louise?
You cannot park overnight at Lake Louise.
Are there Places to Park an Oversized Vehicle at Lake Louise
There are designated spots for RVs and campervans to park at Lake Louise. However, parking spots are limited, so the Park & Ride shuttle is best.
Is There an Entrance Fee to Lake Louise?
Lake Louise is free to enjoy. You need a valid Parks Canada pass to recreate in any National Parks of Canada.
What Time Should I Get to Lake Louise?
The shuttle bus is the best option for visiting Lake Louise. The Lake Louise parking lot fills up during the summer by 8:00 am – sometimes earlier. I would recommend getting there before 8:00 a.m. to ensure a parking spot. We often visit Lake Louise in the evening (after 7pm) when many have left for the day. During this time, you can usually get a spot quickly.
In the winter, parking at Lake Louise is much easier, and you should not have an issue parking anywhere at the Lake Louise Lakeshore outside of the holiday season.
How Do I Get from Banff to Lake Louise Without a Car?
Your best option is to take the Roam Transit bus. Roam Route 8S is the Lake Louise Scenic (Other stops include Johnston Canyon and Protection Mountain Campground.) Route 8x is the Lake Louise Express and runs between Banff and Lake Louise. Or join an organized tour like this Moraine Lake/Lake Louise combined tour or the Hop On Hop Off Bus.
Is Lake Louise Worth Visiting?
Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful sights in Banff and the world. It is a magnificent site and incredibly popular, so it attracts a big crowd. There are minor inconveniences around Lake Louise parking, but the shuttle system makes it easy. We recommend every visitor to Banff National Park to spend some time at Lake Louise.
Should I Stay in Lake Louise?
There are a few hotel options around Lake Louise. They are often even higher priced than the hotels in Banff because you are paying for a location at Lake Louise. Staying at Lake Louise means you’ll have better access to Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and the Icefields Parkway.
However, this is at the expense of some Banff town amenities like great restaurants and more things to do. If you are considering staying at Banff or Lake Louise, we compare the pros and cons of each here.
Is Lake Louise Parking Free in Winter?
Parking at Lake Louise is free in the winter, from mid-October until around May 19th 2024. Paid parking dates align with the operation of the shuttle.
Tips For Visiting Or Parking At Lake Louise
Visit Lake Louise at Sunrise or Sunset
Sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit Lake Louise for beauty and crowd management. It’s during these times you’ll find the fewest people. You have plenty of time to complete a Lake Louise hike if you arrive around sunrise. Though this sunrise secret is nothing new, plenty of other people in the park are willing to get up early to score a parking spot at Lake Louise for sunrise.
Visit Lake Louise in the “Off Season”
The busiest months to visit Lake Louise are June -through the end of September. The rest of the year is relatively quiet for Lake Louise.
Stay in a Lake Louise Hotel
Those staying at Fairmont Château Lake Louise, Paradise Bungalow, and Deer Lodge will not need to fight for parking at Lake Louise as the hotels are close enough to Lake Louise that guests can walk. The Fairmont charges guests an additional $30 per day fee for parking, and they get direct access to Lake Louise at all times of the day.
There is a difference between Lake Louise Village and Lake Louise Lakeshore. The village lies about 4km away from the lakeshore. Visitors staying at those hotels must either arrange a private shuttle, take the shuttle, or walk. Several Lake Louise village hotels offer free shuttles to Lake Louise and possibly Moraine Lake, but it’s best to call and verify the hotel.
Guests staying in the Lake Louise village or campground can take advantage of the Parks Canada Park and Ride Connector for free. This loops between the Lake Louise Campground, the village of Lake Louise (Samson Mall), and the Lake Louise Park and Ride. This service runs from May 10 to October 10, 2023. This route does not require reservations and is free of charge.
Note that guests staying at a Lake Louise hotel still have to make arrangements to get to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. They do not get special access to the Parks Canada Park and Ride or the Lake Connector Shuttle.
Book an Organized Tour
A surefire way to get to Lake Louise is to book an organized tour.
Bike to Lake Louise
Those looking for a fantastic uphill bike ride can park their car at the Lake Louse Village or Lake Louise Ski Resort and bike up to Lake Louise.
The bike ride is roughly 4.5 km from Samson Mall, but it has a 200+ meter gain, which is relatively steep in such a short period. Cyclists are advised to travel along the shoulder of Lake Louise Drive or take the Tramline Trail, which is gravel.
Roam Transit to Lake Louise
The Roam Transit Route 8x (Lake Louise Express) runs to Lake Louise from Banff in the summer. The Roam Transit Route 8S: Lake Louise Scenic also runs to Lake Louise. (stops include Johnston Canyon and Protection Mountain Campground). These routes run from May 20 to September 18, 2023.
The cost is $10 per adult. Reservations are recommended; however, you can walk- up to the fare boxes. Roam buses accept U.S. and Canadian currency as small as a nickel and up to $20. Children 12 and under are free but still require a reservation.
**Roam Transit routes and dates are subject to change, we aim to keep this page as updated as possible, but it’s always best to check the Roam website.
The Roam Transit Super Pass. Roam has a One Day Super Pass, which allows travel on any/all Roam routes – From Canmore to Banff to Lake Louise for just $25. The Super Pass is sold only on the bus, at the Roam office in Banff, or through the Token Transit App.
The Super Pass offers free access to the Parks Canada Lake Connector shuttle. With the new Roam Transit Super Pass purchase, visitors will receive free access to the Parks Canada Lake Connector shuttle from the Lake Louise Lakeshore or Moraine Lake. Show a valid Roam Super Pass to Parks Canada staff at Lake Louise or Moraine Lake to receive your Parks Canada boarding pass.
The Parks Canada Park and Ride
The parking concerns at Lake Louise have worsened each year. The best option for most visitors to see the lake is the Park & Ride shuttle. This guarantees seeing Lake Louise and nearby Moraine Lake. This new system reduces the harmful impacts of crowds and ensures visitors do not have to deal with the stresses around parking at the lake. It cuts back on congestion and emissions too!
All shuttle passengers must leave their vehicle at the Park and Ride. Visitors cannot park at Lake Louise Lakeshore or Moraine Lake and board the shuttle service. Parking at the Park and Ride is free, and there is ample parking for visitors.
The Park and Ride parking lot is located at Lake Louise Ski Resort with direct buses to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. It is recommended that you make a shuttle reservation in advance.
Shuttle reservations will be made available in the spring of 2024. Parks Canada will release 40% of the operating season. The remaining 60% will be released on a rolling window at 8 am, 48 hours before departure day, throughout the entire season.
The Park and Ride shuttle to the lakes begin at 6:30 am, and the last return bus from the lakes to the parking lot is 7:30 pm.
Shuttle reservations are for one specific bus route. Once at Moraine Lake or Lake Louise, you can connect between the lakes on a first-come-first-serve basis via the Lake Connector shuttle.
The Lake Connector bus is free of charge for those with a shuttle ticket, making it easy to see both lakes in one day. The shuttle is for reservation holders only. You can not park at Lake Louise and hop on the Lake Connector.
Certified service animals are allowed on the shuttle buses. All other pets must be crated and kept on their owner’s lap while riding the shuttle. No large pets are permitted on the shuttles.
Park And Ride Shuttle Fairs (Return Trip)
(prices listed in CAD)
- Adults: $8
- Seniors (65+): $4
- Youth Under 18: Free
- *There is a $3 non-refundable transaction fee per reservation when purchasing shuttle tickets on the Parks Canada Reservation System.
It’s important to note that these fees are in addition to your National Parks entry fee.
The 2024 reservation launch date for shuttle reservations is April 18, 2024 at 08:00 a.m. MDT.
Lake Connector Shuttle Frequency
- Lake Louise to Moraine Lake: Every 15 minutes between 9 am and 6 pm.
- Moraine Lake to Lake Louise: Every 15 minutes between 9:10 am and 6 pm.
Check out the map to better understand the layout and where to park. If you’d like more info, such as schedule and up-to-date fairs, check out the Parks Canada Website.
Where Is The Parks Canada Park and Ride?
Please study the map above. The Park and Ride shuttle has moved locations and is now at the Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola. This is where you will park to catch the shuttles to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Parking here is free, and there is plenty of it.
How Do I Book My Lake Louise Shuttle Reservation?
To make a reservation for the Lake Louise shuttle, you can use the Parks Canada Reservation Service or call 1-877-737-3783.
An account with Parks Canada Reservation Service is necessary to proceed with the booking. To avoid any inconvenience during the checkout process, it is recommended to create your account beforehand.
What Are Facilities Like At Lake Louise?
Lake Louise has quite a few facilities for visitors. There is a large public restroom in the Lake Louise parking lot with flush toilets. The only facility at actually Lake Louise itself is the Fairmont, which is open to non-guests to walk into. There are a few Lake Louise restaurants inside the Chateau (reservations recommended) and a deli, coffee shop, gift shop, and restrooms.
If you would like to rent a canoe at Lake Louise, you can do so at the Lake Louise canoe house operated by the Fairmont.
Where to Stay Near Lake Louise?
The only place to stay at Lake Louise herself is Chateau Lake Louise. It’s an iconic place to stay in the Rockies and rates easily top $1000 a night in the summer. You are paying a high premium for the Fairmont name and the location.
There are a few other options in the hamlet of Lake Louise. Paradise Lodge & Bungalows offers cute cabins for guests and is walkable to Lake Louise. Deer Lodge is also walkable to Lake Louise but is run down with abysmal reviews.
Things to do at Lake Louise
There are so many things to do at Lake Louise we have a separate article! Our favorite activities include hiking to the Fairview Lookout, Lake Agnes Teahouse, Little Beehive, or Big Beehive. As well as enjoy a paddle on the beautiful blue lake.
Our Favorite Tours and Excursions in Banff
- Banff Gondola: Get up on top on Sulphur Mountain!
- Banff Hop on Hop Off: Explore the park at your own pace.
- Lake Minnewanka Cruise: Enjoy a guided tour on the largest lake in Banff.
- Guided Glacier Hike on The Athabasca with IceWalks: Because when else can you walk on a glacier?
- From Banff: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Sightseeing Tour
- Radventures Earlybird Explorer: Sunrise at Moraine Lake with treats!
- Moraine Lake Bus Company: An alternative option to the Parks Canada shuttle, this tour provides early access to Moraine Lake with shuttles starting as early as 4am.
- Mt Norquay Via Ferrata: Conquer your fear of heights
Hopefully, this Lake Louise Parking Guide helped you plan your trip. If you are curious about how to get to Moraine Lake, see here.
If you have any other questions, leave a comment or see our Canadian Rockies travel guide for more articles about photography spots, lakes, hikes, etc.
Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies
- Hiking in the Rockies: Purchase an AllTrails subscription to have a mobile map on you as you hike.
- 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!
- Hotels in the Rockies: There are many places to stay, from luxury hotels to wilderness cabins. See all our favorites here.
- Pack for the Rockies: See our complete Alberta packing list here.
- Get Around: We suggest renting a car to get around. You can search for rental cars on Rentalcars.com. Or embark on an epic campervan trip. We like to compare prices on Motorhome Republic and Outdoorsy.
- Fly For Free: Turn your spending into airline miles and points with travel credit cards (that’s what we do!). See our favorite travel credit cards. 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!
- Travel Insurance: We don’t recommend traveling without travel insurance. We recommend checking out HeyMondo, which offers competitive rates for all travelers.
↓ Join the community ↓
The Banff Blog Facebook Group is your headquarters for the Canadian Rockies’ travel advice and information. Including hike info and off-season travel information. You can also meet new adventure buddies.