It’s likely you’ve seen the Lake Louise area referred to as a winter wonderland time and time again, on this site and others. It’s true, if you compare the snowfall in Lake Louise to that of the town of Banff, it’s significantly higher. Making snowshoeing at Lake Louise and excellent way to spend a winter day!
The best time getting out on the Lake Louise snowshoe trails is from late December until mid-April. During this time you can expect the Lake Louise snowshoeing trails to be covered the deep white fluffy snow that’s fun to snowshoe in.
Most of the best trails for snowshoeing in Lake Louise leave right from the Lake Louise parking lot at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel. This is ideal since you have all the facilities right there, including rentals.
You can also spend the entire day in the area, doing a skate on Lake Louise before or after snowshoeing Lake Louise trails.
What You’ll Find in This Article on Snowshoe Trails in Lake Louise
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11 Best Lake Louise Snowshoe Trails
We love snowshoeing and think it’s one of the best things to do in Banff in winter.
Here are the best Lake Louise snowshoeing trails to do this winter. Always check the current trail conditions here (under “Lake Louise Area Snowshoeing and Winter Hiking Trails”) before venturing out.
Lake Louise Lakeshore Snowshoe
Trailhead: Lake Louise Shoreline
Distance: 4 km out-and-back
The Lake Louise lakeshore trail is a short walk on the north side of Lake Louise and one of the best things to do in Lake Louise in winter. This is the main trail across the lake and is likely to be packed down by other users. There’s little chance that you’ll need snowshoes on this trail. However, once the lake is fully frozen over, you can snowshoe across Lake Louise while taking in the gorgeous views!
At the end of the lake, visitors are treated to the impressive 100 m frozen waterfall, Louise Falls. This is one of the best free things to do in Banff in winter!
A couple of cautions on this Lake Louise snowshoe trail:
- Never venture out on the lake unless you know that it’s completely frozen. This is especially important for anyone visiting Banff in December or earlier in the winter.
- Don’t venture past the end of the lake, as you enter dangerous avalanche terrain that requires appropriate training and avalanche equipment.
- View the falls from a safe distance. This frozen waterfall is popular with ice climbers and it’s dangerous to stand below given the risk of falling ice.
Mirror Lake Snowshoe Trail
Trailhead: Lake Agnes trailhead (Mirror Lake starts at the same place)
Distance: 5.5 km loop
Elevation: 355 m elevation gain
Mirror Lake is a small Banff lake, but it’s beautiful location makes up for its small size. Resting at the base of a towering rocky cliff, Mirror Lake sits at the bottom of a massive, snow-covered rounded massif known as the Big Beehive.
The Mirror Lake snowshoe trail crosses avalanche terrain, always educate yourself about venturing out in the winter and check the avalanche forecast.
To find the Mirror Lake snowshoe trail, walk northwest along the frozen shoreline past the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel. The snowshoe trail to Mirror Lake begins with a moderate incline and remains this way throughout the entirety of this Lake Louise snowshoe.
While this Lake Louise snowshoe is through the forest, you’ll get intermittent mountain views through the trees and across Lake Louise. But there’s still something special about a snowshoe through snow covered, towering trees! Don’t worry, the best is yet to come.
Once you arrive at Mirror Lake, you’ll be impressed with the towering, rocky cliffs of Big Beehive, beautifully dusted with snow in the winter. As beautiful as the Mirror Lake area is, this is the other avalanche danger zone, so try and stay back from the Big Beehive cliffs and don’t linger too long.
Fairview Lookout Snowshoe
Trailhead: Fairview Lookout Trailhead
Distance: 2 km out-and-back
Elevation: 166 m elevation gain
If you’d like to see the beauty of Lake Louise in winter from a different vantage point, it’s worth the climb up to the Fairview Lookout snowshoe trail. This short Lake Louise snowshoe trail rewards visitors with an incredible Banff viewpoint with an elevated view of many Lake Louise landmarks and attractions. Just don’t venture past the lookout as you’ll enter dangerous avalanche terrain.
From the first point that you reach the Lake Louise shoreline from the Lake Louise parking lot, you’ll find the Fairview Lookout snowshoe trailhead a few feet away in the trees on your left.
This easy Lake Louise snowshoe trail begins uphill through a forest of fluffy snow-covered evergreen trees. Rather than a straight line through the trees, the Fairview Lookout trail has gentle S-shaped curves through the trees.
Even though we consider Fairview Lookout as an easy Lake Louise snowshoe trail, it does get challenging for short spurts. The trail is not long, so stick with it – the views are worth it.
At an elevation of 1,852 m, the Fairview Lookout is approximately 110 m above the frozen lake, approximately 40% down the length of the lake. It offers some of the best views of the surrounding mountains and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise from. This is a real treat for guests of this excellent Lake Louise hotel who’d like a great picture of this iconic hotel.
Looking for the PERFECT Lake Louise Souvenir?
If you love Lake Louise as much as we do, you’ll want to bring a piece of it home with you. This Lake Louise in Winter illustration by Diana Boyle at Rooftop Illustrations is the PERFECT souvenir!
See more Banff Souvenirs by local artists here.
Highline to Paradise Creek Snowshoe
Trailhead: Fairview Lookout Trailhead (this Highline trail starts at the same place)
Distance: 9 km out-and-back
Elevation: 523 m elevation gain
For anyone looking for a longer snowshoe in Lake Louise and without the crowds, we recommend the Highline to Paradise Creek snowshoe trail. It’s rarely busy as most visitors head up Fairview Lookout or around the Lake Louise Lakeshore.
The Highline to Paradise Creek snowshoe trail crosses avalanche terrain, always educate yourself about venturing out in the winter and check the avalanche forecast.
After snowshoeing 800 m on the Highline snowshoe trail you’ll arrive in a section of forest where the trees are much smaller. These younger trees reward Lake Louise snowshoers with some views of the surrounding Canadian Rocky Mountains. As you walk a little further through the clearing, the Lake Louise ski resort becomes visible as well.
You’ll be tempted to stay for a while and enjoy the views, but these trees are young for a reason – you’re standing in the middle of a Fairview Mountain avalanche track (which you can see from this Google Map satellite shot). Parks Canada warns snowshoers not to linger in this area – and we agree.
You’ll reach the official end of the Lake Louise Highline to Paradise Creek snowshoe trail after 4.4 km of snowshoeing when you arrive at a T-intersection. You can continue on to the Paradise Creek Parking lot to the left, where you’ll meet up with the Moraine Lake Road multi-purpose trail.
The best place to end your Highline snowshoe outing is by going 100 m to the right, where you’ll find a bridge over Paradise Creek. The views are incredible, but this should be as far as you venture unless you have proper avalanche training and equipment. You can head back the same way you came.
Blue 27 Square Snowshoe Trail
Trailhead: Lake Agnes trailhead (This snowshoe starts at the same place)
Distance: 5.96 km loop
Elevation: 231 m elevation gain
A new one for us this year is this 6 km snowshoe loop through a fun, winding forest with occasional views of some of the most iconic Lake Louise mountains, we highly recommend you give this Lake Louise snowshoe trail a try!
What’s with the name Blue Square 27? This snowshoe trail is one of the trails that’s maintained by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. We have yet to see a name for this snowshoe trail, so for the purpose of this blog post we will call it the Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail (since the trail markers to follow are the blue squares with 27). It also appears on this map by Parks Canada as Loop C (number 17 on the second page), though the distance is shorter since they show it as starting from behind the Chateau Lake Louise.
This trail begins a bit of an incline then transitions to a fun, winding downhill trail. You’ll cross over a couple of cross-country ski trails and find yourself in some stunning open meadows with mountain views of Fairview Mountain, Saddle Mountain (2,433 m) and Mt. Temple (3,544 m).
While near the Great Divide cross-country ski trail you may get to see the dog sledders go by. Please be respectful and stay out of the way. Also, it’s good trail etiquette to step over the groomed cross-country ski trails.
After some views of the Lake Louise Ski Resort, a few more crosses of ski trails, open meadows, and mountain views, it’s time to put in some work as you back up towards the Chateau Lake Louise.
Laggans Loop Snowshoe Trail
Trailhead: Lake Agnes trailhead (This snowshoe starts at the same place)
Distance: 1 km loop
Elevation: 50 m elevation gain
The Laggans Loop snowshoe trail at the Chateau Lake Louise is a short 1 km loop that takes snowshoers through the beautiful snow covered forest.
You’ll do a large portion of the Laggans Loop when doing the Blue Square 27/Loop C snowshoe above.
This would also be an excellent Lake Louise snowshoe to pair up almost any of the other snowshoeing trails on this list or with a skate on Lake Louise.
This trail is often marked with a green circle 26.
Ross Lake Snowshoe Trail
Trailhead: Lake Agnes trailhead (This snowshoe starts at the same place)
Distance: 2.6 km out-and-back
Elevation: 61 m elevation gain
The Ross Lake snowshoe trail can be found either by following the green circle 28 markers from the Lake Agnes trailhead. You can also reach this trail, Laggans Loop or the Blue Square 27 from a junction along the Upper Telemark Trail (this is a cross-country ski trail, so be sure to snowshoe on the side and away from the groomed tracks).
Louise Creek Snowshoe Trail
Trailhead: Samson Mall
Distance: 5.6 km
Elevation: 195 m elevation gain
The Louise Creek Snowshoe trail can be reached from the Samson Mall, walk up Lake Louise Drive towards the lakes, crossing the Bow River bridge. On the south side you will find trail markers for this Lake Louise snowshoe trail.
The Louise Creek Trail will take you from the hamlet of Lake Louise up to Lake Louise.
Multi-Use Lake Louise Trails
Lake Louise has a few multi-use trails as well. You’ll often find people snowshoeing on the Great Divide or Moraine Lake Road, though these are predominately cross-country ski trails and far less fun for snowshoeing. If you do decide to snowshoe on either of these trails, be sure to stay on the side and don’t step on the groomed tracks.
More recently these have been advertised more for cross-country skiing and fat biking, and less so for winter hiking or snowshoeing.
The Bow River Loop is another shared trail that is also groomed and trackset for cross-country skiing. The Bow River Loop is a 7km loop.
Other Snowshoeing Near Lake Louise Area
Trailhead: Peyto Lake Parking
Distance: 1.5 km out-and-back
Elevation: 25 m elevation gain
The official trail leaved from the north end of the parking lot. While a very short snowshoe trail, the views of Peyto Lake covered in snow are well worth it!
Bow Lake Meadows
Trailhead: Bow Lake Parking
Distance: 8 km out-and-back
Elevation: 80 m elevation gain
Trailhead: Taylor Lake trailhead
Distance: 13.7 km out and back
Elevation: 907 m elevation gain
The Taylor Lake hike makes an excellent snowshoe in the winter time. We’ve done this hike in the fall and while it’s a bit of grind on the way up, the views at the lake are well worth it!
Don’t venture from the lake as the trails at O’Brien Lake and Panorama Ridge take you into dangerous avalanche terrain.
What About Other Trails Around Lake Louise?
Typically snowshoeing can be done on any hiking trail, but that isn’t the case in the mountains. Winter hiking brings a host of other things that you need to prepare for, which in addition to managing your temperature you also need to consider the avalanche risk.
There is dangerous avalanche terrain that you should not venture into without the proper equipment and avalanche training. Please respect all signs posted, it’s for your own safety.
Please read this page by Parks Canada under the dropdown “Avalanche Safety at Lake Louise” for information on trail safety in the winter season. You are responsible for your own safety!
What About Snowshoeing to Lake Agnes Teahouse?
While the snowshoe to Mirror Lake is partly on the Lake Agnes trail, many people ignore the signs and continue on to the Lake Agnes Tea house. The Lake Agnes Tea House hike is NOT a recommended Lake Louise snowshoe trail.
Parks Canada has placed several signs to explain the dangers of venturing past Mirror Lake. It’s not recommended without proper avalanche equipment and avalanche training. Even if you see other people venture past, it does not imply that it’s safe to do so.
Unfortunately we constantly see social media posts on these trails in the winter. It’s key to educated yourself on what’s safe in the winter in the Canadian Rockies.
What About Snowshoeing the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail?
Snowshoeing to the Plain of Six Glaciers is NOT RECOMMENDED in the winter. While the Plain of Six Glaciers trail is an amazing hike in the spring through fall, it ventures through dangerous avalanche terrain.
You should not go past the end of Lake Louise without avalanche training and proper avalanche equipment.
Want to learn more about how to travel safely in avalanche terrain? Visit Avalanche Canada for training programs and current avalanche reports.
Lake Louise Snowshoe Rentals
If you are staying in one of the best Lake Louise hotels, then you’ll probably want to rent snowshoes in Lake Louise. There are three places you can rent snowshoes in Lake Louise.
Lake Louise Snowshoe Tours
If you are new to snowshoeing and would prefer a tour, you can join a Lake Louise snowshoe tour at the Lake Louise Ski resort.
You can also book a snowshoe tour through the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise here.
More Lake Louise Resources
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Celine Brewer, a local Canmore resident, is the co-owner of Travel Banff Canada. She has a passion for being out in the mountains any time of year. In the summer, you'll often find her hiking or mountain biking. In the winter, she enjoys cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking the most.
As much as she loves the mountains, she also loves travel! When she's not playing outdoors at home, she's either traveling the world with her husband and two kids or working on their other two travel sites: Family Can Travel and Baby Can Travel.