With familiar glittering scenes that grace Canadian brochures, the travel wonder of Lake Louise is sublime beauty on a large scale. Though tremendously popular in the warmer months overwhelming the tiny village, the three main natural sights of Lake Louise should be on any Rockies agenda.
With the grandiose Lake Louise Château perches on its shoreline, the emerald Lake Louise offers perfect reflections of the giant amphitheatre of surrounding mountains and tumbling Victoria Glacier. With a path that circumnavigates the lake, this deep brooding lake rarely reaches more than a few degrees above freezing point.
Even more scenically stunning is nearby Moraine Lake (top photo). The rich turquoise blue of the shimmering waters, caused by rock particles ground into dust over the years by glaciers and washed into the lake, reflect a grand range of ten jagged snow-capped peaks (all over 3000 metres). Trails run around the edge of the lake and through forests of pine trees but the best view is just left of the car park. Some seek the solitude of colourful canoes to help soak the immense beauty of this wonderful landscape while others just sit on the shoreline in silent admiration. Arrays of wildflowers add colour to the lush grassy fields.
The outlook has been nicknamed The Twenty Dollar View in a claim that greatly undervalues its beauty. A green and white picture that does the scene little justice graced the back of the Canadian twenty dollar bill for many years.
To get some appreciation of the entire Rockies vista around Lake Louise, a chairlift climbs Mount Whitehorn to a height of around 2000 metres. Lake Louise and its oversized hotel hide in one corner of this superb panorama enjoyable from various vantage points including the sun-soaked deck of a small café and display area. Various paths and trails crisscross this winter ski area offering views across the conifer-covered valley and to the splendid mountains, including Mt Quadra whose four peaks have the rough appearance of teeth jutting from a jaw.
Occasional bears are reported around the Lake Louise area, as are chipmunks, squirrels and boisterous birds.
If you are flying to Canada and the spectacular Rockies, include Lake Louise on your itinerary. However you choose to explore the travel wonder of Lake Louise, it is a place to take time to soak and admire the stunning panoramic alpine views and the vivid blue glacial lakes, and to walk and commune with nature on a grand scale.