Woke up in the morning to this view – a perfect weather day.
Okay, everyone comes to Alberta, Canada to see Banff and Lake Louise – EVERYONE. We happened to be here in somewhat early in the tourist season. We were somewhat surprised by the number of tourists and locals who show up on a nice day in Banff and Lake Louise.
Suck it up and do it. It is totally worth taking the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain – go early and get your tickets in advance. The lines weren’t bad at 9 AM on a Saturday, and parking was still available. We went up the Gondola, spent 2 hours and you couldn’t have a better view of the Rocky Mountain ranges surrounding the area. An observatory at the top is measuring cosmic rays – you have to love it. Then, there is the beautiful Fairmont Hotel that looks like a castle down in the valley. Wow – Fantastic! Bonus – mountain goats!
Then we drove further north to the Park and Ride to take the shuttle to Lake Louise. Road construction along the way – delayed but did not deter us!
The crowds were more than the park staff could handle. Then, they charged $4.00 per adult for the shuttle and only accepted credit cards. So the line to pay for the shuttle, the credit card process and the number of shuttles available caused us to wait in line for an hour to take a 20 minute shuttle to Lake Louise. Bonus while waiting; we learned about another hike for tomorrow and talk with Disney Vacation Club owners who live in the area.
The crowds of people at Lake Louise were similar to those viewing the Grand Canyon or the Mendenhall Glacier, in Alaska, in high season. Everyone was polite because they, like us, wanted to see what has been described as something so beautiful. It IS beautiful and if you’ve never been anywhere like this, it is also a must. Much history here too. Switzerland hiking guides came out and helped with the trails and the railroad through the mountains. Instead of hiking along the side of the lake, we took the recommendation from our hotel concierge to hike up to Lake Agnes and the Tea House.
I would like to say that we made it to Lake Agnes and the Tea House (Stacy and Rich did, pictures compliments of their hike) but we only made it to Mirror Lake. The incline (continuous up), the elevation (start at 6,000 and end at 6,893) and the amount of people hiking (numerous) were a bit overwhelming for us. We made it to Mirror Lake and declared victory before hiking down. The hike was round trip 4.3 miles. Enough for us for the day.
Love that at the Tea House everyone is taking pictures!
We went to wait in the shuttle line to get back to our car and Stacy and Rich came to meet up with us before we even made it to a shuttle.
All I can say, again, worth the trip, plan ahead.
In the evening, we walked to restaurant close by called The Table and enjoy a nice dinner. Rewarding day.