Blue Square 27 – Lake Louise Snowshoe Trail

Author: Celine Brewer

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The Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail at Lake Louise is a wonderful easy snowshoe trail that’s part of the network of Lake Louise winter trails. It’s a 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.

Why Blue Square 27? The snowshoe trails around Lake Louise are signed with green circles, blue squares or black diamonds (a popular way to denote the difficulty of the trail with green being easy, blue is more difficult and black is most difficult). This particular trail is signed with blue squares and the number 27.

boy snowshoeing in Banff along easy Lake Louise snowshoe trail

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Blue Square 27 Snowshoe – Quick Details

Trailhead: Lake Agnes trailhead (This snowshoe starts at the same place)

Distance:  5.96 km loop

Elevation:  231 m elevation gain

Blue Square 27 Snowshoe Trail Highlights

The Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail begins beyond the Chateau Lake Louise. At the first trail junction, take the slightly uphill trail on the right (as the trail to the left is the Lake Louise lakeshore trail). Before you go too far, look up through the trees for an excellent view of the Big Beehive and the Little Beehive.

trail markers on Lake Louise winter trails

You’ll pass a multi-use trail with a Blue Square 5 sign (which is a cross-country ski trail) on your way to a large Parks Canada trail sign. Shortly after, turn right following the blue 27 trail marker.

This Lake Louise snowshoe trail begins uphill with views of the Chateau next to a frozen Lake Louise through the trees on the right.

After 200 m of snowshoeing, veer left at the Green Circle 26 sign to get on the Laggan’s Loop snowshoe trail. This winter trail continues up and curves to right as you walk under bent trees heavy from the snow.

Another 200 m later you’ll enter a break in the trees, where the sky opens up in front of you. The fluffy snow seems especially deep along the trail in this surprise meadow. Take a look to the left to get a view of Fairview Mountain (2,744 m).

At the 500 m mark you’ll arrive at another trail junction. A left takes you to the Mirror Lake snowshoe trail (Blue Square 18 trail markers). Continue straight for our Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail.

The Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail starts to trend downhill from this point, traveling through a beautiful open forest with towering, pointy snow covered evergreen trees.

snow falling on girl in pink jacket while snowshoeing on Lake Louise easy snowshoe trail

You’ll arrive at another junction at the 900 m mark. To the right is the final 1 km of Laggan’s Loop snowshoe trail, following the Green Circle 26 sign. To continue the Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail, turn left following the Blue Square 27 sign. The Parks Canada hiking trail sign shows this trail is for the Ross Lake trail and the Lake O’Hara Road.

The fluffy snow mounds lining this snowshoe trail are so beautiful. Watch for animal tracks in the snow, a good reminder we are not alone in the forest, even in winter.

The last of the many junctions on this Lake Louise winter trail happens at the 1.1 km mark, where you can turn left on Green Circle 28 (for the Ross Lake Trail) or go right to continue along the Blue Square 27 trail (again, following our Blue Square 27 trail marker).

kids snowshoeing past trail markers - best Lake Louise snowshoe trails (blue square 27)

You’ll pass through another open meadow with marshmallowy snow piles before the trail starts to go downhill again. This section of this Lake Louise snowshoe trail is very windy and is a ton of fun.

This Lake Louise forest is especially beautiful in wintertime. There are some very tall, conical shaped evergreen trees which collect large snow clusters on their branches, while down below, young (and less strong) trees bend under the weight of the heavy Canadian Rockies snowfall.

boy snowshoeing under snow covered trees in Lake Louise - Banff National Park

The bent over evergreen trees had a lot of character and we had lots of fun guessing what the snow shapes looked like. You’ll come up with your own ideas, but we thought they looked like manatees, fiddleheads, a T-Rex, a praying mantis, a candy cane and much more.

snow covered trees on Lake Louise snowshoe trail blue 27

The fun, winding trail continues downhill at the 1.3 km mark. The forest is not very dense, but it’s an extremely nice forest in winter. Perhaps it’s because the magic of Lake Louise at Christmas was in the air, but this could quite possibly be one of the nicest winter forests we’ve seen in Banff or Kananaskis.

girl snowshoeing towards snow covered trees - Lake Louise snowshoe trail

The downhill winding trail is so fun at this stage, that you’ll probably be having too much fun, but if you can remember, take a moment to look up through the trees at the 1.6 km mark of the Blue Square 27 trail as you’ll be able to see the ski runs at the Lake Louise Ski Resort.

The Blue Square 27 snowshoe trails crosses the Peyto cross-country ski trail 300 m later. Please be courteous to our cross-country ski friends and make every effort not to step on their tracks. Just across the Peyto trail, you’ll get a nice view of Mt. St. Piran (2,649 m) and the Little Beehive through the trees on the left.

You’ll arrive at a beautiful, open meadow at the 2.1 km mark of this snowshoe trail, with excellent views of Fairview Mountain, Saddle Mountain (2,433 m) and Mt. Temple (3,544 m) on the right. After snowshoeing on a largely packed trail to this point, this is a great spot to step off the trail and have fun snowshoeing in the deep snow.

sun peaking behind mountain with meadow in front on Lake Louise snowshoe trail

This meadow is a good spot to stop for a hot chocolate break. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see some of the Lake Louise dog sleds rushing past on the Great Divide trail, which is immediately adjacent to the meadow.

After leaving the meadow, take care to avoid stepping on the xc-ski tracks on the Great Divide cross country ski trail (one of Banff’s easy cross country ski trails). You’ll re-enter the forest onto a slightly uphill, winding trail. 400 m later, you’ll cross the Telemark cross-country ski trail.

Before long, you’ll arrive at the most northern spot on the Blue Square 27 Lake Louise snowshoe trail. There’s another huge open meadow here, but this time you can see all the way across the Bow Valley to Whitehorn Mountain (2,637 m) and the front face of the Lake Louise Ski Resort.

view of Lake Louise Ski Resort from snowshoe trail

The trail takes a hard right turn after the meadow to begin a snowshoe through a beautiful, flat & wide track through the snowy evergreen trees. This is another good opportunity to get off the packed trail to snowshoe in the deep snow off the trail.

Once the trees start to narrow, you’ll have reached the point where our snowshoe trail starts to parallel the Great Divide cross-country ski trail. They are far enough apart, that you don’t really notice each other, but if you look carefully you can see the trail and the occasional cross-country skier.

At the 3.8 km mark of this snowshoe trail, you’ll arrive at an open meadow with lots of snow-capped trees. There will likely be several trails through this meadow, but the official trail is to the right, marked by a Blue Square 27 sign.

snow covered trees - snowshoeing in Lake Louise

After the meadow of small trees, the snowshoe trail immediately crosses the Great Divide ski trail a final time. After all the highly-enjoyable winding downhill trail to this point, it’s time to pay the piper as you start climbing back uphill towards the Chateau Lake Louise.

At the 4.6 km mark, you’ll cross the Upper Telemark cross-country ski trail, before entering another open meadow, adjacent to some Lake Louise housing. There’s another great view of Mt. St. Piran through the trees ahead, but if you turn and look left, you’ll get the best view of Fairview Mountain, Saddle Mountain and Mt. Temple that you’ll see on the entire snowshoe trail.

Mountain views on easy snowshoe trail - Lake Louise

At the end of this leg, you’ll get your first glimpse of the Chateau Lake Louise through the trees, with a waving Canadian flag on top. Very shortly, you’ll reach the Telemark Trail (identified by a Blue Square 5 sign).

Although most of the Telemark trail is a dedicated xc-ski trail, the section of trail back towards Lake Louise is a mixed use trail. Note the sign, which asks non-cross-country skiers to stay off to the side.

As you finish up on the Telemark trail, take one last glimpse of the incredible snow-capped Lake Louise mountains all around you.

Blue Square 27 Snowshoe Trailhead

The Lake Louise parking lot is 46 minutes from Banff and just over 2 hours from Calgary. Take the TransCanada Highway 1 west, then exit toward Lake Louise. Turn left towards the village of Lake Louise then continue on Lake Louise Drive until you reach the parking lot.

The Lake Louise parking lot will fill up fast on weekends and during the Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival. If you’d rather not contend with parking, there are many alternate ways to get to Lake Louise.

As you walk from the Lake Louise parking lot, past the popular lakefront photo ops with Lake Louise in the background, you’ll find the Lake Agnes trailhead (which is the same for the Mirror Lake snowshoe and this Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail) just past the Chateau Lake Louise hotel – one of the best hotels in Lake Louise. (Find out why in our full review of the Chateau Lake Louise).

As the main walking trail forks, the Lake Louise Lakeshore is to the left, while this Blue Square 27 trail is to the right.

trail markers on Lake Louise winter trails

You’ll pass a multi-use trail with a Blue Square 5 sign (which is a cross-country ski trail) on your way to a large Parks Canada trail sign. Shortly after, turn right following the blue 27 trail marker.

You’ll be following the blue 27 square trail marker for the entirety of this Lake Louise snowshoe trail.

Blue Square 27 Snowshoe Stats

How Long is the Blue Square 27 Snowshoe?

The round-trip distance of the Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail is 5.96 km from the Lake Agnes trailhead along the Lake Louise lakeshore.

Snowshoeing in Lake Louise with kids

How Hard is this Blue Square 27 Snowshoe Trail?

Due to the length and incline, we rate the Blue Square 27 trail as “easy”.

At only 5.96 km and 231 meters of elevation gain, this is an easy Lake Louise snowshoeing trail that most anyone can do.

The climb back up to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise can feel difficult at the end of the snowshoe, but just go slow and take breaks along the way.

ice crystals on log

How Long Does the Blue Square 27 Snowshoe Take?

It should take a typical adult 1.5-2 hours to snowshoe the Blue Square 27 loop snowshoe.

We snowshoed this trail with our two kids and it took us 3.5 hours including time to stop for lunch and stopping for pictures. We find snowshoeing with kids is typically pretty slow compared to our usual pace.

boy snowshoeing in Banff along easy Lake Louise snowshoe trail

Blue Square 27 Snowshoe Trail Map

The Blue Square 27 snowshoe trail is easy to follow and is well marked. Snowshoeing has the added benefit of making a very clear trail! If you are feeling uncertain, you can use the Alltrails app while snowshoeing this trail. The Fairmont also has this map to help you navigate.

There isn’t an established trail on AllTrails for this snowshoe, this recommendation is ONLY AN APPROXIMATION.

It’s best to follow the blue 27 square trail markers, but for an approximation look at the “Snowshoe Loop: Lake Louise and Mirror Lake”. You wouldn’t follow the map to Mirror Lake, but turn right when you see the blue 27 squares. Then at the final section, you wouldn’t follow the Great Divide trail back to the parking lot, but cross the trail and follow the blue 27 squares back to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Be sure to download your hiking maps prior to leaving.

Enjoy map downloads and many more premium features with a 7-day free trial of AllTrails+!

Snowshoe trail in Banff - Lake Louise

Blue Square 27 Snowshoeing at Lake Louise with Kids

Our kids (aged 8 & 6) are strong little hikers and snowshoers. We took them along for this Lake Louise snowshoe.

Our experience snowshoeing with kids is that they tend to get bored faster vs. summer hiking. This is likely because they can’t run wild and most of the things they find interesting on a hike (finding treasures etc.) are now buried under the snow.

kids playing in snow - Lake Louise Snowshoe Trail

However, the beginning downhill trail plus the snow covered trees kept them pretty interested on this trail. They enjoyed knocking snow off trees and looking for shapes in the trees. Our 6 year old started to lose energy as we started the incline back up to the Chateau Lake Louise, but this was perfectly doable! We probably should have stopped for a second snack break!

kids on a easy Lake Louise snowshoe trail

We also got to see the dog sleds go by as we neared the cross-country ski trails which the kids both really enjoyed.

This was definitely a fun day of snowshoeing in Banff with kids.

boy laying in snow wearing snowshoes on Lake Louise Snowshoe trail

If you are considering a visit to Banff with kids or pets, check out our recommendations for family-friendly-hotels in Banff and pet-friendly hotels in Banff.

Where to Stop for Lunch or a Break

Back down at Lake Louise is the best place for lunch or a snack! You can even reward yourself with a hot chocolate or coffee in the Chateau Lake Louise and warm up for a bit before continuing your day of adventuring in the snow!

kids having lunch sitting on snow while snowshoeing in Lake Louise

We packed a few of these foam mats and had lunch in the meadow with excellent views of Fairview Mountain, Saddle Mountain (2,433 m) and Mt. Temple (3,544 m).

Lake Louise Snowshoe Trail Safety

In the dead of winter, the bears around Banff should be hibernating (be careful in early winter or early spring though!) But that’s not a reason to let your guard down as wolves, cougars, elk, etc. still provide a safety risk to Banff visitors.

Although the most vicious animal we saw on this Banff snowshoe trail was a squirrel, it only takes a few minutes to learn about wildlife safety in Banff National Park.

We are not avalanche experts, so please educate yourself and make smart decisions while enjoying the beauty of Banff in winter.

We highly recommend consulting the Banff Avalanche Bulletin published by Parks Canada before venture out snowshoeing in Banff.

Blue Square 27 Snowshoe Trail Logistics

  • There are toilets located in the Lake Louise parking area.

  • You can fill water bottles in the restrooms in the main Lake Louise parking lot. Drinks are available for purchase inside the Chateau Lake Louise.

  • Dogs are allowed on-leash.

  • This snowshoe trail is not a Lake Louise fat bike trail. Fat biking is not allowed.
Kids snowshoeing in Banff - Lake Louise snowshoe Trails

What to Bring for Snowshoeing in Banff

When snowshoeing in Banff, it’s essential to dress properly in layers. A proper base layer needs to effectively wick that moisture away from your skin. If the sweat remains on your skin, the cold wind will evaporate it, cooling you quickly which could be dangerous.

You’ll probably start by keeping your layers on the beginning of this trail. When you start the incline back on the loop, you may be tempted to remove some layers. Keep them nearby as you’ll want them back on as you arrive back at Lake Louise.

Family snowshoeing Lake Louise

In addition, the sun will be behind Fairview most of the day, keeping you in the shade.

We recommend learning about dressing in layers before you enjoy any snowshoe trails in Banff. Make sure you have a good daybag to store your unused layers in.

Foot Traction Recommendations

This snowshoe trail won’t be nearly as busy as the Mirror Lake snowshoe or some of the other popular snowshoe trails around Lake Louise.

Because of the deep snow you are likely to encounter, we recommend snowshoes for this trail. If there hasn’t been a recent snow fall and the trail is hard packed, you may be able to get by with boots and micro-spikes.

Boy snowshoeing Lake Louise - Banff

We almost always pack both our snowshoes and microspikes, which allows us to choose what will work best when we get to the trail. If you don’t have this luxury, snowshoes will always work even if the trail is packed down! Plus you can have some fun playing in the deep snow next to the trail.

Shop for snowshoes

We own and highly recommend Kahtoola MICROspikes. Look at the steel spikes on the bottom of the Kahtoola MICROspikes and you’ll see why we love these winter traction devices so much. They are a scaled-down recreational version of the crampons you’ll see on mountain expeditions.

No matter which traction device you use for your feet, you should consider using trekking poles to help your balance. We’ve tried trekking poles and to be honest, we don’t like them nor use them, but we seem to be in the minority. Trekking poles are widely used around Banff and Kananaskis in winter.

It makes sense… winter hiking on snow or ice in the mountains is often very slippery and trekking poles add two more points of contact with the ground, thus greatly reducing your odds of slipping.

Shop for trekking poles

This Lake Louise snowshoe trail is an easy snowshoe trail through beautiful snow-covered trees. End the day with skating on Lake Louise!

skating on Lake Louise

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Don't miss this easy Lake Louise Snowshoe Trail. You'll feel like you've entered a winter wonderland walking amongst the snow covered trees! With some impressive views along the way, this is one snowshoe trail worth doing - and it leaves right from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise!
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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.