As the first flush of morning sun hits Victoria Glacier, and the impossibly steep northern face of Mount Victoria is reflected in the sparkling emerald-green waters of Lake Louise , you’ll understand why this lake is regarded as one of the world’s seven natural wonders. Overlooking the lake is one of the world’s most photographed hotels, Chateau Lake Louise .
Apart from simply viewing the lake, the area has plenty to keep you busy. Some of Banff National Park’s best hiking , canoeing, and horseback riding are nearby. And only a short distance away is Moraine Lake , not as famous as Lake Louise but rivaling it in beauty.
Lake Louise is 56 kilometers (35 miles) northwest of Banff  along the TransCanada Highway, or a little bit farther if you take the quieter Bow Valley Parkway . The hamlet of Lake Louise, composed of a small mall, hotels, and restaurants, is located in the Bow Valley, just west of the TransCanada Highway. The lake is 200 vertical meters (660 feet) above the valley floor, along a winding four-kilometer (2.5-mile) road.
Across the valley is Canada’s second-largest ski area, Lake Louise Mountain Resort , a world-class facility renowned for its diverse terrain, abundant snow, and breathtaking views.
Lake Louise Visitor Centre (403/522-3833, daily 8 a.m.–8 p.m. mid-June–Aug., daily 8 a.m.–6 p.m. mid-May–mid-June and Sept., daily 9 a.m.–4 p.m. the rest of the year) is beside Samson Mall on Village Road. This excellent Parks Canada facility has interpretive displays, slide and video displays, and staff on hand to answer questions, recommend hikes suited to your ability, and issue camping passes to those heading out into the backcountry. Look for the stuffed (literally) female grizzly and read her fascinating, but sad, story.
Brewster (403/762-6767 or 800/661-1152, www.brewster.ca ) and Banff Airporter (403/762-3330 or 888/449-2901, www.banffairporter.com ) each offer at least a couple of shuttles per day that continue beyond Banff  to Lake Louise from Calgary International Airport. Both charge around the same amount—$70 each way, with a slight round-trip discount. Greyhound (403/522-3870) leaves the Calgary  bus depot (877 Greyhound Way SW) five times daily for Lake Louise. From Vancouver , it’s a 13-hour ride to Lake Louise aboard the Greyhound bus.