Understanding The Lake Louise Shuttle in 2024

If you are a first-time visitor to Banff, chances are you have Lake Louise on your list. Over the years, there have been many changes in how we access some of the most popular places in the park, including paid lots and shuttle systems.

The Lake Louise shuttle system undergoes some changes every year, but we still believe it is the best way to guarantee you see beautiful Lake Louise in the summer. Let’s explore all the specifics of how to utilize the Lake Louise shuttle.


All About the Lake Louise Shuttle


Can You Park at Lake Louise?

lake louise parking information
Parking at Lake Louise

Unlike Moraine Lake, visitors are still able to park personal vehicles at Lake Louise. However, finding a parking spot at Lake Louise can be challenging from June to October, and to relieve the stress of parking at Lake Louise Lakeshore, Parks Canada has implemented a Lake Louise shuttle.

That’s because visitors usually have to arrive well before 7:00 a.m. to secure a spot during the summer. This requires quite an early rise if coming from Banff or Canmore. Parking at Lake Louise is rarely an issue during the shoulder season or winter. Parking at Lake Louise is not free, and paid parking is present from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. between May 17 and October 14, 2024.

The parking fee is $36.75 per vehicle per day and $8 if you have a handicapped placard. You will also need a valid Parks Canada Pass for all National Parks in Canada. Parking overnight at Lake Louise is not allowed.


When Does the Parking Area Fill Up?

How Do You Get to Lake Louise? Can You Drive?

During the high season, which runs from the end of May until the end of larch season (around the first week of October), you can expect the Lake Louise parking area to fill up well before 8 am, even earlier on weekends and holidays. Once the lot is full, parking attendants will step in to direct traffic and turn away vehicles to Lake Louise.

You’ll want a backup plan if you don’t get parking at Lake Louise. Some of our suggested backup plans include:


Is the Road to Lake Louise Open?

Lake Louise Drive is open year-round.


When Does Lake Louise Thaw?

Lake Louise from the Little Beehive

Lake Louise is typically frozen solid from November to late May, but every year is different in the Rockies. It typically begins to thaw in late May, and you’ll be able to see Lake Louise in all her blue glory by the first or second week of June.

When is the Best Time to Visit Lake Louise?

All About the Lake Louise Shuttle

lake-louise-shuttle
Ticket for the Lake Louise shuttle

Parking at Lake Louise has become a growing concern year after year, and finding a spot without waking up at the crack of dawn can be challenging for visitors in the summer.

For visitors who want to see Lake Louise in the summer without the hassle of parking or paying for an expensive tour, the best option is to take advantage of the Lake Louise Shuttle. The Lake Louise shuttle is an excellent option for any park visitor with Lake Louise and Moraine Lake on their Banff itinerary.

This convenient service ensures that visitors can enjoy Lake Louise and nearby Moraine Lake while avoiding the stresses of finding a parking spot. It also reduces congestion and emissions, making it an excellent environmental choice. It’s highly recommended to book your shuttle reservations in advance, as Lake Louise is easily the most popular place to visit in all of Banff.


When Do Shuttle Reservations Open for Lake Louise?

Lake Louise from Mount Saint Piran

The 2024 Reservation Launch date for Lake Louise shuttle reservations is April 18, 2024 at 08:00 a.m. MDT. Keep in mind that a shuttle reservation on the Parks Canada Lake Louise shuttle also gets you access to Moraine Lake via the Lake Connector Shuttle.

Reservations for 40% of the operating season will open during this time. The remaining 60% will be released on a rolling window at 8 am, 48 hours before departure throughout the season. The shuttle service to the lakes operates every 30 minutes from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm, and the last return bus departs from the lakes to the parking lot at 7:30 pm.

Parks Canada changes these times slightly throughout the season. We try to keep this article as updated as possible, but it's always important to check when the last bus time is.

What Are the Lake Louise Shuttle Times?

The Lake Louise Shuttle will run from May 17 to October 14, 2024, every 30 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The last return shuttle from Lake Louise to the Park and Ride Lot will be at 7:30 p.m. Keep in mind this is different than the Moraine Lake Shuttle which begins operations on June 1st. It’s not possible to access Moraine Lake via vehicle before June 1st.


Where is the Parking and Departure Point for the Shuttle?

lake-louise-park-and-ride
The Lake Louise Park & Ride Shuttle lot (at 1 Whitehorn Road)

To park for the Lake Louise shuttle, you must park at the Park & Ride Shuttle lot and catch the shuttle from there. The Lake Louise Park and Ride lot is at the Lake Louise Ski Resort/Summer Gondola (1 Whitehorn Road – GPS POINT). Parking here is ample and free.


How Do I Book My Lake Louise Shuttle Reservation?

lake louise canoe
Lake Louise in the summer

To make a reservation for the shuttle, you can use the Parks Canada Reservation Service, then select “Day Use” and “Shuttle to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.” You can also call 1-877-737-3783. To proceed with the booking, you must have an account with Parks Canada Reservation Service. It is recommended that you create your account beforehand to avoid any inconvenience during the checkout process.

Park And Ride Shuttle Fairs (Return Trip)

(prices listed in CAD)

  • Adults$8
  • Seniors (65+): $4
  • Youth (17 and under): 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 Lake Louise shuttle reservations is April 18, 2024 at 08:00 a.m. MDT.


Is it Possible to Purchase Walk-Up Tickets?

Where you will check in for your shuttle reservation

If space is available, Parks Canada staff at the Lake Louise Park and Ride can assist you in reserving the next available time slot that day if you show up to the Park and Ride lot without a reservation. However, booking in advance is highly recommended, as Lake Louise shuttles generally sell out before 9 am on the day of departure and we personally watched Parks Canada turn people away last year.


What is the Lake Connector Shuttle?

Moraine-Lake-Parking
Waiting for the Lake Connector to Moraine Lake

The Lake Connector shuttle is for Parks Canada Shuttle reservation holders only, after they have checked in at the Park and Ride (boarding pass required) or those riders who have purchased a Roam Superpass (more on that later).The Lake Connector shuttle connects Lake Louise to Moraine Lake on a first come, first serve basis and is free of charge with your reservation.

You must have a paid for reservation on either the Moraine Lake Shuttle or Lake Louise shuttle to use the Lake Connector Shuttle. To use the Lake Connector, you must check in at the Lake Louise Park and Ride Lot and take the shuttle. The only exception is for those that have the Roam Transit Super Pass.

The Lake Connector shuttle frequency is every 30 minutes starting at 7:00 am and the last shuttle runs at 7:00 pm, from both lakes. Most visitors to the park want to see Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one day – the Lake Connector Shuttle ensures that can happen.


How Do I Visit Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in the Same Day?

With the Lake Connector Shuttle one can easily visit Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in one day. When booking your Parks Canada shuttle you will be given the option to select the shuttle to Moraine Lake or Lake Louise.

It’s up to you which one you select to visit first, there truly is no difference. Once you are finished at either Lake Louise or Moraine Lake, you can hop on the first come, first serve Lake Connector shuttle to the other lake. Remember that the Lake Connector Shuttle to Moraine Lake does not start running until June 1st, when Moraine Lake Rd is set to open in 2024.


What If I Can’t Book the Lake Louise Shuttle?

banff lakes - lake louise
Lake Louise in the evening

If you cannot book the date you want on the Lake Louise shuttle for whatever reason, we recommend:

  • Keep your plans flexible and try to find a different date or time.
  • Taking the Roam Transit bus from Banff or Canmore. The Route 8X: Lake Louise Express operates daily to Lake Louise.
  • Book a Tour of Lake Louise. You can see some of our recommended tours that get you to both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one day.
  • Drive to Lake Louise by car after 7 or 8pm; typically you can find parking in the summer after these times. Though this isn’t ideal for those wanting to hike, it does allow you to see a spectacular sunset.

Roam Public Transport to Lake Louise

If you don’t have a car while visiting Banff or would prefer to leave your car back at your hotel, it’s possible to catch public transport to Lake Louise.

The Roam Transit Route 8x (Lake Louise Express) operates daily, providing transportation between Banff and Lake Louise. Known as the Roam Route 8X: Lake Louise Express, it follows the Trans-Canada Highway, with stops at Lake Louise Village. The fare is $10 per adult, and reservations are advised, though walk-up purchases at fare boxes are also available. Roam buses accept both US and Canadian currency, ranging from nickels to $20 bills. Children under 12 travel free but still require a reservation.


What If I’m Staying at a Hotel in Lake Louise?

Enjoying the lakeshore

Guests of Lake Louise hotels do not get special access to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. Unless you are staying at the Fairmont Château Lake Louise, right on Lake Louise, where you can wake up on the lake’s shore. If you can splurge on one night here, we highly recommend it.

Other Lake Louise hotels may run shuttles to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, but you must call them to find out their details. The Deer Lodge and Paradise Lodge are within walking distance of Lake Louise.

Guests staying at Deer Lodge, Paradise Bungalows, and Chateau Lake Louise are within walking distance to Lake Louise, and are welcome to get directly on the Lake Connector Shuttle rather than driving to the Park & Ride lot. These guests still need a Park & Ride shuttle reservation for that day, and they must provide proof they are staying at one of the above hotels.

If you are staying at the Lake Louise Campground, or a hotel in the Lake Louise Village, you can take the Park and Ride Connector for free to the Lake Louise Park and Ride, where you can hop on the shuttle to Moraine Lake or Lake Louise. You will still need reservations on the shuttle.


Can I Bring My Kayak/Canoe to Lake Louise?

Lake Louise
Canoeing on Lake Louise

Yes, you can bring your kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard to Lake Louise, and since you can still park at Lake Louise (unlike Moraine Lake), it is much easier to get your personal watercraft to Lake Louise. If you get parking at the Lake Louise Lakeshore, you can walk your watercraft from the parking area to Lake Louise, which is about a 5-minute walk. Though keep in mind there is no public boat launch, so you may have to awkwardly find one.

If you are utilizing the Lake Louise shuttle, you can bring inflatable kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on the shuttle as long as space is available. You may also rent a canoe from the Lake Louise boathouse.


Is the Lake Louise Shuttle Pet Friendly?

lake-louise-in-the-summer-

Certified assistance animals are allowed on board, and owners should be prepared to show the animal’s verification of training. Passengers are permitted to bring their pets on board free of charge. These pets must be placed in a secure carrier designed for animal transportation and small enough to fit on the owner’s lap.

If you have a larger dog, Wow Banff can accommodate them. Fairview Limo also can transport larger dogs at an extra cost, while smaller dogs that can fit on your lap are free!


Are Strollers Permitted on the Lake Louise Shuttle?

The Lake Louise shuttle can take strollers, climbing gear, and large backpacks.


Is the Lake Louise Shuttle Accessible?

The Lake Louise Shuttle has limited accessibility, and it’s advised that those with a blue accessibility tag visitors try and get parking at Lake Lakeshore. There are multiple handicapped spaces available for those with a disabled permit. Parking at Lake Louise costs $8 for those with a handicap placard.


Does the Lake Louise Shuttle Run in the Winter?

Lake Louise Winter - Banff in December
Lake Louise in the winter

The Lake Louise shuttle operates in the summer only, as there are rarely parking and congestion issues at Lake Louise in the winter and shoulder seasons. This is separate from the Lake Louise Ski Resort Shuttle which runs from November to May and is operated by Lake Louise Ski Resort. You can read all about their winter shuttle here.


Is There a Shuttle From Lake Louise Village to Lake Louise?

If you are staying in the Village of Lake Louise or in the Lake Louise Campground, you are encouraged to leave your vehicle at your accommodation and use the free Park and Ride Connector shuttle that will take you to the Park and Ride Lot.

Once at the Park and Ride parking lot can get on either the Lake Louise Shuttle or Moraine Lake Shuttle (you still need to pre purchase shuttle tickets).


Visiting Lake Louise FAQ

Lake Louise is so Blue

When is the Best Time to Visit Lake Louise?

If you are interested in seeing the brilliant blue Lake Louise that you have likely seen on social media and countless photos, the best time to visit Lake Louise is between mid-June and late September.

Lake Louise is buzzing, and beautiful come July and August, but these are also the busiest times in the park. Visiting in the early morning or late evening is recommended for a quieter summer experience.

What are the best hikes around Lake Louise?

There are so many fabulous hikes around Lake Louise ranging in difficulty. A few of our favorites are the Plain of Six Glaciers, the Beehive Circuit, Fairview Summit, and Mount Saint Piran. You can see all our favorite Lake Louise hikes here.

How Long Should You Spend at Lake Louise?

When we visit Lake Louise, it’s typically to go for a hike or a paddle – or both, so we usually spend most of the day there. However, if you visit Lake Louise only to enjoy the views, we recommend 1-2 hours at Lake Louise. This allows you enough time to enjoy the beautiful scenery and take a walk around the lakeshore. If you plan on hiking, you’ll need at least half a day, depending on which hike you plan.

Lake Louise Tours

If you don’t want to deal with the headache of parking or dealing with the shuttles there are a few tours that operate at Lake Louise. Many of these also include Moraine Lake, which is great if you are dying to see both lakes (which you likely are!)

Plan Your Trip to the Canadian Rockies

  • 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 Rentalcars.com. Or embark on an epic campervan trip, we like to compare camper prices on Outdoorsy.
  • Cheaper Airfare: We also use Going to watch for cheap airfare deals and like to use travel credit cards to hack our way into free flights and hotels! Our favorite cards are the Capital One Venture X and Chase Sapphire, which both work well in Canada and have no foreign transaction fees.
  • 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 Natasha

Natasha calls Canmore, Alberta home. After traveling across seven continents and 90 countries with Cameron, she settled down in the stunning Canadian Rockies. She loves to help others travel and make their planning easier. She is a winter enthusiast and loves to snowboard, ice skate, and snowshoe and enjoy all the fantastic summer opportunities in Banff like hiking, scrambling, and biking. You can find her in the mountains or enjoying a coffee by the river. Learn more on the about us page!

If you have found the content on this site helpful to your trip planning please consider supporting The Banff Blog. You can say thanks directly by buying us a coffee. All support is much appreciated!

42 thoughts on “Understanding The Lake Louise Shuttle in 2024”

  1. Hi Natasha,

    This blog is super helpful! Thanks for explaining everything in such detail. I do have a question regarding the remaining 60% tickets for the shuttle as I missed the booking window this month! Will I be able to book the tickets online 48 hours before In visit the lake? or do I have to do it over phone?

    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  2. Hi Natasha, thank you for this really great informative blog!

    I have one question regarding the lake Louise shuttle from the park and ride lot – can we use the same ticket multiple times per day, say to return to the car after a hike to collect our kayaks to spend some time on the lake itself, or is it single entry to the lake of choice such that it’s recommended that we walk with all of the items (kayak included) that we’ll need for the entire day when boarding the shuttle at the time of entry?

    Reply
    • Hi Latchmi,

      That’s a great question that I’m not 100% certain on. I would believe that from the Park and Ride it is a one time only ticket, seeing that your shuttle reservation operates on a timed slot to allow for everyone to get on the buses at their scheduled times for the day. However, it’s best to call Parks Canada to confirm.

      Reply
  3. Natasha,

    We will be at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise on August 16, 2023 at noon. We do not have a car and e will be spending the night at the Fairmont. On the 16th at 2:00 p.m. how can we get to the summer gondola and back?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • If you are staying in the village of Lake Louise or in the Lake Louise Campground, you can use the free Park and Ride Connector shuttle that will take you to the Park and Ride lot, which is at the Lake Louise Ski Resort, though the Fairmont is not in the village nor at the campground, so you’ll have to call the Fairmont and see if they can arrange a shuttle or ride for you.

      Reply
  4. Hello!

    If we are staying at the Deer Lodge which is walking distance to Lake Louise, can we use the Lake Connector right away? Or do we still need to go all the way to the Park & Ride parking to check in, only to get back to Lake Louise?

    Also, can we use the Lake Connector more than once?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Cecile,

      From our understanding guests at Deer Lodge can walk to Lake Louise and hop on the connector from there, and if asked, explain that you are guests at Deer Lodge. However, you still need a shuttle reservation. You can use the Lake Connector as many times as you want throughout the day of your reservation. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  5. Natasha, Thank you for providing this information! I have a question regarding the Reservation Confirmation letter I received when I booked the shuttle. I booked for 7 people. There is only 1 bar code on the confirmation letter. When we check in at the Park and Ride will we each receive our own pass to initially board the bus, use for the Lake Connector & return trip to the Park and Ride?
    We will be on different hiking time schedules & wanted to make sure that it will not be a problem. Thank you!

    Reply
    • HiBarbara,

      It’s best to arrive altogether and tell the Parks staff that checks you in your plans and they should be able to accommodate and give you separate passes. They are usually pretty friendly!

      Reply
  6. Your blog is super helpful for us “newbies” coming to the area. Thank you so much. I have one question. I have been reading a lot about parking filling up in the area. Does the Park and Ride shuttle lot fill up just as quickly or are you “guaranteed” a spot when you have a shuttle pass?

    Reply
  7. Hi! Great blog very informative!
    We bought our tickets online for the shuttle from Banff to Lake Louise. We have A certain time slot. We wonder if we can show up earlier at the bus stop and hop on the shuttle if they have space? Or we must have to abide to the time slot we book?
    Same for the return trip? We booked the latest shuttle as we are not sure how long we will be there but if we find we want to go back to Banff earlier, can we take shuttle bus earlier?

    Reply
  8. Hi Natasha, Thank you for the useful information! I have a question regarding the Reservation Confirmation letter I received when I booked the shuttle. I reserved a shuttle to Lake Louise for 7-8am on 7/27. Should I check in at bus station 7am? Or I can check in between 7 to 8 am? based on the reservation letter, it stayed that to check in at 7am. Is it a restricted request of 7am? Do you know?
    Thanks,
    Vincent

    Reply
  9. This is so helpful – so I’m staying at Paradise Lodge – and hope to walk to Lake Louise or shuttle to Moraine Lake, either way use the connector. So if I buy a Super Pass on Roam, I can catch the bus near lodging or walk, but either way be able to use the connector? I want to avoid having to go to the Park and Ride, since that is why we booked Paradise Lodge. Can I book two passes on the same app for the same day and I can do it now, correct? Even though I won’t use it until July 18th.

    Reply
    • Hi MJ,

      Reservations for the shuttle are not open yet nor can you purchase Roam passes. You can book two at the same time. If you have a ticket for the Parks Canada shuttle and a confirmation from Paradise Lodge you should be able to catch the connector at Lake Louise, though it’s best to call your hotel and confirm.

      Reply
  10. Natasha hi, thanks for sharing your valuable insights! Roughly how long can I expect the shuttle ride to take between Canmore and Lake Louise each way during July/August?

    Reply
    • From Canmore to Lake Louise the drive is about 1 hour, but keep in mind that the Lake Louise shuttle actually takes off the Lake Louise Ski Resort, which is a 50 minute drive from Canmore.

      Reply
  11. Hi we are staying at mountaineer lodge the 1 and 2 May, 2024 and want to see lake louise and lake moraine. We have a car. How do we see both if there arent shuttles until late May? Thanks Rhonda

    Reply
  12. Hi. We are coming in mid September. 2 middle aged adults and 3 young adults that are active. Plan to see both lakes and hike (20-30km each lake)at both and maybe canoe at one. Staying in Canmore for 4 nights. Does it make sense to have a day for each lake, so we are not rushed? And if we do a day at each lake then we need Parks Canada Shuttle pass for each of the days, correct?
    Thanks for all of the information on the Blog! It has been great!

    Reply
    • Hi Kim,

      Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but two 20-30km (so up to 60km if I’m reading that correctly) hikes plus a canoe is quite a lot in one day, I’m actually not quite sure how you will manage it all unless you are trail running and catch a sunrise shuttle. If you’re hiking 20km+ I would definitely say you need to split that into two days.

      You need a shuttle pass for each day you plan to visit the lake. Shuttle passes are only good for the day you book.

      Reply
  13. Hi Natasha,

    Thanks for the valuable information, really appreciated! We have an RV and aiming to get a public parking spot so that we can have access to the RV all day. What time do you recommend showing up? 3AM which is when it open? we will be coming from Lake Louise campground.

    Reply
    • You’re probably in a grey area. We know you’re not supposed to park there overnight, but showing up at 3-4 am? Yea, if you’re willing to sacrifice I don’t think you’ll run into any issues. However, I do know there is a very limited number of RV spots.

      Reply
  14. This was so helpful, but I am still wondering how the Park and Ride does not fill up. I was only able to get a 2-3PM time slot for the shuttle. So am I guarenteed a parking spot at the Park and Ride? If you can stay as long as you like, how can this Park and Ride lot not fill up?????

    Reply
  15. After booking a 6:30 am shuttle for Moraine Lake yesterday, I saw the option for the Alpine Shuttle which leaves from the Lake Louise Lakeshore parking lot at 4 am or 5 am. I would prefer to arrive at Moraine Lake earlier for the sunrise. Can I cancel the 6:30 am shuttle and get a refund?

    Reply
    • Hi Joycelyn,

      You can cancel your ticket and get a refund for the ticket price minus the booking fee. I would recommend booking an Alpine shuttle before you cancel the 6.30am one, so you don’t loose out.

      Reply
  16. We staying at Lake Louise Inn on the 31st of May, an wanted to get a shuttle ticket for 2 on the morning of the 1st to spend some time at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake before driving to Kamloops (Long Drive I know). Seems they sold out.

    Reply
  17. Hi Natasha,

    Thank you so much for the insightful and informative post. I wanted to check if there are restaurants and cafes at Lakefront or everything is at Lake Louise village?

    Also, what is the best way to reach lake Louise village for lakefront? The parks Canada shuttle is sold out so I am looking to get Roam transit from Banff to Lake Louise lakefront. I am also looking to get the Roam super pass to get to Moraine Lake. But I am not sure on how to reach Lake Louise village from Lakefront. Could you please advise?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hey there are some restaurants in the Chateau Lake Louise. They require reservations and are very much on the expensive side of things.

      As it states above they only allow for the reservation of 40% of tickets in advance. Parks Canada will release the remaining 60% of tickets two days in advance.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much Cameron for your reply! Would you be able to advise on the the best way to get to Lake Louise Village from Lake Louise Lakefront?

        Reply
  18. Thank you for this helpful blog! This may seem like a silly question, but where exactly is the “Lake Connector Shuttle” located? Is it located at the parking lot at the ski resort, or is it located at the actual lake?

    Reply
    • The Lake Connector Shuttles that go between Moraine Lake and Lake Louise are located at the parking lots for Lake Louise and Moraine Lake (near the Shoreline). However, the shuttle buses depart from the Ski Resort.

      Reply
  19. Great location. Beautiful lakes. Friendly shuttle drivers. Dusty place at check in counter for the shuttle. It is located on a parking area. The guys at the ticket counter could be more respectful and friendlier.

    Reply

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