While parking at Lake Louise is better than scoring parking at Moraine Lake, it is still no fun. During the Lake Louise summer months, parking is brutal to score, and you might have to adjust your trip to park and see Lake Louise.
Thankfully it is not like this year-round, and outside of the summer months, 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
While parking at Moraine Lake typically requires you to park between 5-6am in the summer, parking at Lake Louise is slightly better. 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.
Parking congestion has been a problem in the past. There is only one-two road leading up to Lake Louise, with a dead-end at Lake Louise itself. If there is no parking, 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 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 touch on that in this article, but first, a few popular questions.
Is it Free to Park at Lake Louise?
Lake Louise introduced paid parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. between May 13 to October 10, 2022. Paid parking dates align with the operation of the shuttle. You will also need a valid Parks Canada Pass required for all of the National Parks of Canada. Look for pay stations when you arrive at Lake Louise; the fee is $12.25 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. The Great Divide parking lot was a popular free option, but the lot is now closed to relieve pressure on the grizzly bear population. There is free parking in the Lake Louise village, but that requires a 4km uphill walk to the lakeshore, which we do not recommend.
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 utilizing the Park And Ride shuttle is best.
Is There an Entrance Fee to Lake Louise?
Lake Louise is free to enjoy. You do need a valid Parks Canada pass to recreate in any of the National Parks of Canada.
What Time Should I Get to Lake Louise?
The shuttle bus is the best option if you want to visit Lake Louise. The Lake Louise parking lot fills up during the summer months between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. 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 by joining 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 not only one of the most beautiful sights in Banff, but in the world. It is a magnificent site and incredibly popular, so it attracts a big crowd. There are some minor inconveniences around parking, but the shuttle system makes it easy. We recommend every visitor to Banff National Park 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 from mid-October to May 12th. 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.
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 for that, 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 need to 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 if they want. 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 20 to October 10, 2022. 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
In the summer, the Roam Transit Route 8x (Lake Louise Express) runs to Lake Louise from Banff. 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, 2022.
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.
New in 2022 – 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
New is the need for a reservation if you intend to ride the shuttle to Lake Louise from the Lake Louise Park and Ride. The shuttle runs daily from May 13 to October 10, 2022. This is the best way to guarantee you get to Lake Louise. On the Parks Canada website, reservations open on May 4th, 2022, at 8am MST. This option guarantees you will get to Lake Louise, while the paid parking is on a first-come/first-serve basis.
All shuttle passengers must leave their vehicle at the Park and Ride. Visitors cannot park at the 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.
Once at the Lake Louise Lakeshore, you can connect between Lake Louise and Moraine Lake on a first-come, first-serve basis via the Lake Connector shuttle (free with shuttle reservation); they run every 15 minutes.
There will also be a portion of seats released on a rolling basis for the Lake Louise shuttle 48 hours before departure day at 8:00 a.m. MST. Walk-up tickets are available at the Park and Ride, but it is highly recommended to plan ahead and reserve your shuttle ticket in advance. When space is available, Parks Canada staff at the Park and Ride will assist visitors with the reservation process on site. You’ll be able to book your seat reservation on the Parks Canada website.
Shuttle Prices (Return Fare)
- Adult (18 to 64): $8
- Senior (65+): $4
- Youth (6 to 17): $2
- Child (under 6 years) – free
- Reservation Fee: $3
The shuttle runs every 20 minutes between 8 am and 5:40 pm. The last return bus from Lake Louise Lakeshore to the Park and Ride is at 7:30 pm.
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.
The lake connector runs daily from June 1 to October 10, 2022. 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. 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.
What Are Facilities Like At Lake Louise?
Lake Louise has quite a few facilities for visitors. There is a large public restroom in the 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.
Hopefully, this Lake Louise Parking Guide helped you plan your trip.
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
- Travel Insurance: We don’t recommend traveling without travel insurance. We recommend checking out Safetywing or World Nomads offers competitive rates for all travelers.
- 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 either renting a car to get around or embarking on an epic campervan trip with companies like Outdoorsy.
↓ 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. This is also a place where you can meet one another when you need adventure buddies.