Lake Louise is known for the incredible mountain scenery and turquoise blue lake. Visiting Lake Louise should be on everyone’s list who’s visiting Banff National Park for the first time, or even if it’s your tenth time.
While there are many ways to get to Lake Louise, the challenge is that Lake Louise parking can be difficult to get if you are visiting during the peak seasons. You can ensure you don’t miss your chance of visiting Lake Louise in the summer, with Parks Canada Lake Louise shuttle reservations.
Lake Louise does have a larger public parking lot than Moraine Lake, which has a daily fee of $21 per vehicle. This parking lot at Lake Louise will fill up quickly in the summer (June through September).
Paid parking is in effect at Lake Louise from May long weekend to Thanksgiving Monday from 7 am to 7 pm (May 17 to October 14 in 2024). Pay stations are located in both the Lake Louise upper and lower parking lots.
In the past, we’ve been turned away before even entering the village of Lake Louise due to the congestion of vehicles visiting the lakes.
In all honesty, rather than wasting time circling the lake parking lots and stressing about finding parking, it’s just easier to book a Lake Louise shuttle. You can even go from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake by shuttle, allowing visitors to visit both lakes in the same day.
Unless you are staying within walking distance to Lake Louise, then the best way to guarantee you see Lake Louise is to get a ticket for the shuttle to Lake Louise.
What You’ll Find in This Article on Lake Louise Shuttle:
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Lake Louise Shuttles
As locals, we know that the summer months and late September (when everyone is looking to hike the best larch hikes around), it’s difficult to visit Lake Louise.
We have the luxury of visiting Lake Louise mid-week, but arriving any later than 9 am last September meant we wouldn’t getting parking. Even with the newly implemented Lake Louise parking fee.
As a visitor to the area, we highly recommend booking a shuttle to Lake Louise instead of hoping that you’ll get lucky with parking. We think this is one of the best ways to get to Lake Louise, if you can’t get there early to get parking.
If you’ve missed advanced booking, more tickets are released for each departure day. Read below for the details!
Need Help Planning Your Trip?
Our Banff Travel Guide has everything you need to get the MOST out of your trip to Banff!
Parks Canada Lake Louise Shuttle
Parks Canada operates direct shuttles to Lake Louise from the Lake Louise Park and Ride. This allows visitors to park their vehicle in the designated lot and get on a bus that will take them straight to the famous lakes (depending on the shuttle ticket purchased).
It takes around 15 minutes to get to Lake Louise from the Park and Ride, as there are no other stops along the way.
The Parks Canada shuttle operates from mid-May to mid-October for Lake Louise (May 17 to October 14 for 2024) and June 1 to mid-October (October 14 for 2024) for Moraine Lake. Similarly, the Lake Connector shuttle only operates from June 1 to mid-October (again October 14 is the last day for 2024).
Purchasing Lake Louise Shuttle Tickets
You can walk up and purchase shuttle tickets at the Park and Ride, but it’s highly recommended to purchase advance reservation tickets to avoid disappointment.
Lake Louise shuttle reservations can be made Thursday, April 18th, 2024 at 8 am MT. The shuttles to Lake Louise will begin mid-May to mid-October (May 17 to Oct 14 for 2024). You can select a one hour time block for when you want to take the shuttle to Lake Louise.
The shuttles to Moraine Lake will begin June 1 until mid-October (October 14 in 2024).
You can book a Parks Canada shuttle for either Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. Included in your reservation is a Lake Connector shuttle, allowing visitors to easily visit both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in one day.
If you don’t book your shuttle tickets in advance, a portion of the shuttle reservations are released 48 hours prior to the departure day (for each day in the season). These additional shuttle tickets are released at 8am MST.
While it’s important to plan ahead, purchasing shuttle tickets can be done up until 30 minutes before a departure window, but only if space is available. Make sure to do this where you have a good signal (i.e. your hotel or apartment). You likely won’t have cell service good enough to book a shuttle reservation from the Park and Ride.
Tip: Always take a screenshot or print off of your reservation. The cell service varies from not-great to non-existent in this area!
Visit the Parks Canada reservation system to book your shuttle ticket.
Lake Louise Shuttle Cost
Booking Lake Louise shuttle tickets will cost $8 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for youth and under 6 years old is free. This is the total cost of the return trip and includes the Lake Connector shuttle from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake.
You’ll also have to pay a $3 transaction fee per Lake Louise shuttle reservation (not per ticket but for the entire reservation). Your national park entrance fee is NOT included with your shuttle ticket. See more on getting your Banff Park Pass here.
Lake Louise Shuttle Times
The Lake Louise shuttle runs every 20 minutes from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm. The last return bus on the Lake Louise shuttle schedule is at 7:30 pm. (Always double check the times as they are subject to change.)
You arrive at the Park and Ride during your one hour window on your shuttle reservation.
The Lake Connector shuttle frequency is every 15 minutes starting at 8:00 am. The last Lake Connector shuttle runs at 6 pm, regardless of the direction.
The Lake Connector shuttle between Lake Louise and Moraine Lake is on a first come first serve basis and is part of your shuttle reservation.
Lake Louise Park and Ride
In the past, the Lake Louise / Moraine Lake park and ride location was in a parking lot off the Trans-Canada Highway just 6 km east of the village of Lake Louise. It was easy to spot given the signs and lowered speed limit.
The NEW Park and Ride location for Parks Canada shuttles to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise will be the Lake Louise Ski Resort located off Whitehorn Rd under 5 km away from the Lake Louise village. This will make it safer for visitors, as the buses don’t need to pull out into traffic on the TransCanada highway and it will increase the parking spots from 800 to 2000.
Parking at the Park and Ride is FREE.
Don’t miss the Lake Louise Sightseeing Summer Gondola while you are there!
Lake Louise Park and Ride Connector
If you are staying in the village of Lake Louise or at the Lake Louise Campground, you can take the FREE Park and Ride Connector shuttle. This shuttle will take you to the Park and Ride where you can get on your shuttle to Lake Louise.
The Village Connector operates from May 17 to October 14 in 2024 and no reservation is required. It operates every 30 minutes between 7 am and 7:30 pm.
Lake Louise Shuttle from Moraine Lake
If you’ve booked a Moraine Lake shuttle, you can use the Lake Connector shuttle to get from Moraine Lake to Lake Louise. The Lake Connector shuttle is part of your shuttle reservation and you can not use it unless you’ve booked a shuttle ticket to Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. One exception to this is if you’ve purchases a Roam Transit Super Pass!
Bus from Banff to Lake Louise
There are two Roam Transit bus routes from Banff to Lake Louise in the summer. You can make reservations on these routes to ensure you don’t miss out on some of the best hikes in Banff by bus!
The Roam Route 8X – Lake Louise Express operates daily year round and takes visitors from the Banff townsite, along the Trans-Canada highway, to the Lake Louise lakeshore. It will also make a stop in the village of Lake Louise.
In the summer in Banff, Roam transit operates a second route to Lake Louise. Roam Route 8S – Lake Louise Scenic route takes visitors from Banff townsite, along the Bow Valley Parkway to the Lake Louise Lakeshore. This route includes stops at Johnston Canyon, Castle Mountain Campground and Protection Mountain Campground.
If you purchase a Roam Super Pass, you also get FREE access to the Lake Connector shuttle between Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
See Roam Transit for specific details for the summer of 2024.
Other Options to see Lake Louise
Here are the best alternative ways to get to Lake Louise:
Moraine Lake Bus Company
The Moraine Lake Bus Company offer shuttle service throughout the day to Moraine Lake with select time slots stopping at Lake Louise.
The Radventures Early Bird Explorer tour offers a multi-hour sunrise tour of Moraine Lake that includes an early morning visit to Lake Louise.
The WowBanff open-top double decker shuttle has an option to visit Lake Louise and Moraine Lake from the Lake Louise Ski Resort.
Hop On Banff Bus
The Hop On Banff bus offers a hop-on hop-off service in Banff. It makes stops at Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise Gondola, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. You don’t need to specify the time you want to leave, you just need a ticket for a specific day.
Discover Banff Tours
Discover Banff Tours offers a Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Tour. As part of the tour, you will drive the Bow Valley Parkway to get from Banff to the stunning lakes. There are two departure times a day (8am & 1pm) for this 4.5 hour tour.
It’s quite easy to get to Banff National Park without a car, and once you are there, it’s easy to get around Banff without a car. If you are traveling without a car, the best ways to get from Banff to Lake Louise are Roam Transit, the Hop on Banff Bus or the Discover Banff Tours – Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Tour mentioned above.
Though the beauty of booking a reservation for the shuttle to Lake Louise is that once you are at Lake Louise, you can stay as long as you want. It gives you ample time to complete one of the incredible Lake Louise hikes!
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 Summer illustration by Diana Boyle at Rooftop Illustrations is the PERFECT souvenir!
See more Banff Souvenirs by local artists here.
Where to Stay in Lake Louise
The only option at Lake Louise is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The best thing about staying here is that you have zero parking hassles! You are right on the lakeshore of the stunning Lake Louise. Get all the details in our Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise review.
If you want to stay closer but the Chateau Lake Louise isn’t an option, here are the best Lake Louise hotels that we recommend.
P.S. You can join our private Facebook group to get answers to any additional questions you have about the shuttle or anything Banff related.
Lake Louise Shuttle FAQs
Do you have to take a shuttle to Lake Louise?
No, you do not have to take a shuttle to Lake Louise. Taking a shuttle ensures you can visit Lake Louise without the stress of finding parking.
How much is the shuttle to Lake Louise?
The Parks Canada Lake Louise Summer Shuttle is $8 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for youth and under 6 years old is free for a return trip.
Where can I get a shuttle to Lake Louise?
Visit Parks Canada shuttle reservations to book your shuttle to Lake Louise. Once you have made a shuttle reservation for Lake Louise, you can get on the shuttle at the Lake Louise park and ride at the Lake Louise Ski Resort.
How do you get to Lake Louise without a car?
If you are visiting Banff without a car, you can get to Lake Louise by taking a bus from Banff or by having a Lake Louise shuttle ticket.
How do I get to Lake Louise?
There are several ways to get to Lake Louise which include driving a private vehicle, joining a tour, reserving a ticket for a Parks Canada shuttle or taking a bus from the town of Banff.
Is there a shuttle from Lake Louise Village to Lake Louise?
The free Lake Louise Village Connector will take visitors to the Lake Louise Park and Ride. From there, you will require a Parks Canada Lake Louise shuttle reservation to go the Lake Louise Lakeshore.
What is the best time to go to Lake Louise?
The best time to visit Moraine Lake is anytime between June 1 when the road opens back up and before it closes (typically after Canadian Thanksgiving – Oct 14 in 2024). The third week in September is an incredible time to visit Moraine Lake, as it’s peak season for the golden larch trees which can be see along the Larch Valley hike that leaves from the shores of Moraine Lake.
What time does Lake Louise parking lot fill up?
In summer months and peak larch hiking season, the Lake Louise parking lot will fill up early in the morning. There are days where it can fill up by sunrise in the peak summer months, and likely between 8 am and 9 am in late August and September.
Lake Louise Hikes
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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.