Great Divide Nature Interpretation
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Top 9 1/2 Lake Louise Trails
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Snack with a view, Paget Lookout
Paget Lookout

Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse trail

Plain of Six Glaciers


Helen Lake trail, featuring Canadian Rockies wildflowers
Helen Lake Trail

The valley of Ten Peaks
Valley of Ten Peaks

Sherbrooke Lake
Sherbrooke Lake
Tall white bog orchid - common on Sherbrooke Lake trail
White orchids at Sherbrooke

Saddleback Pass Guides Rock
Guide's Rock, Saddleback Pass

Hikers at Bow Glacier Falls
Bow Glacier Falls

The Iceline Summit area

Iceline Trail - near summit

Fireweed on the Stanley Glacier trail
Fireweed on the
Stanley Glacier trail.

Stanley Glacier, Canadian Rockies
Stanley Glacier

Consolation Lake, Moraine Lake area
Consolation Lake

Big Beehive seen from the Little Beehive, Lake Louise

Big Beehive from
Little Beehive Trail

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake

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The Top 9 1/2 or Top 10 Lake Louise Trails


"So many trails, so little time..."

- everyone who hikes in Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a hub for the best hikes in the Canadian Rockies because of its central location and its proximity to the Great Divide – the tallest glacier-clad peaks.

Trails in the area start at high elevation, so you quickly arrive at open views and rewarding scenery!

To get the stories behind the scenery, book a walk or hike with Great Divide Nature Interpretation.  Our many fabulous TripAdvisor reviews say it all.

Note that these "Top 9 1/2 Trails" are just a few of the ones we guide on (and are not in any particular order).  There are others that might be perfect for you!

1. Paget Lookout

Located right on the Great Divide, the old Paget fire lookout boasts impressive views of the surrounding peaks, including one of the biggest drops in the Canadian Rockies - the north face of Mt. Stephen. 

The trail winds its way up through a varied subalpine forest and across avalanche paths, ending high above the valley. This is a quiet, beautiful trail perfect for those seeking solitude.

 Moderate full day guided hike
 7 km (4.5 mi) return trip
 518 m (1700 ft) elevation gain
 Fondue with a View available
We offer a special co-evolution theme hike to Paget Lookout.

2. The Plain of Six Glaciers

The "Plain of Six" is probably the most famous Lake Louise hike, and for good reason. This trail gives you a lot of satisfaction for a moderate effort. 

Starting at the Chateau Lake Louise, the path follows the lakeshore and continues to the back of the valley where the views just get better and better. Glaciers, vaulting peaks, avalanche paths, high mountain wildlife and a possible teahouse visit are all on the menu.

 Moderate full day guided hike
 11 km (7 mi) return trip
 365 m (1200 ft) elevation gain
 Note: this trail is busy and shares parts of the trail with horseback riding trips.
We offer a special geology theme hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers.

 3. Helen Lake

The Helen Lake trail, off the Icefields Parkway, takes you into some of the most extensive alpine meadows in Banff. Wildflowers cover the ground from mid-July to mid-August. There are wonderful views of the Crowfoot Glacier and Dolomite Peak, and a good chance you'll see marmots. 

 Moderate full day guided hike
 12 km (7.5 mi) return trip
 455 m (1500 ft) elevation gain
We offer a special grizzly bear theme hike to Helen Lake (July 25 to August 15).

4. The Valley of Ten Peaks

The famous Valley of Ten Peaks surrounding Moraine Lake is seen to its best advantage on this trail. All ten summits, each over 10,000 feet high, loom over the Wenkchemna glacier below. The trail crosses meadows filled with wildflowers during the mid-summer season. This trail is also referred to as the Eiffel Lake trail, but the spectacular mountain views are what really count.

 Moderate full day guided hike
 9-11 km (6-7 mi) return trip
 365 m (1200 ft) elevation gain
July 15 - Thanksgiving:  Park regulations may require a group size of 4 or more people on this trail due to grizzly bear activity.

4 1/2. Sherbrooke Lake

Despite its short length, Sherbrooke Lake is a quiet trail with a wilderness feel. The lake's aquamarine waters are fed by the Wapta Icefield and the forest has many stories to tell - of past fires, powerful winds and grizzly bear life.

Because of the wide variety of habitats along the way, the trail boasts an amazing diversity of wildflowers in mid-summer. A must-do trail for flower lovers.

 Easy half day guided hike
 6 km (4 mi) return trip
 190 m (630 ft) elevation gain

5. Saddleback Pass

All the classic features of the high country can be found on this relatively quiet Lake Louise trail: talus slopes, pikas, marmots, old-growth forest and larch trees. Great mountain views, including the best overlook of impressive Mt. Temple.

Moderate+ full day guided hike
8 km (5 mi) return trip
625 m (2050 ft) elevation gain

6. Bow Glacier Falls

If you love water, this is the trail for you!  A slot canyon, old moraines, blue glaciers, braided streams, beautiful Bow Lake and spectacular Bow Glacier Falls all combine to create a lot of scenic beauty. 

With little effort you can make it to the viewpoint in front of the falls, or you can take on the "adventure" of crossing a rocky landscape to reach the waterfall itself.  A good family trail.

 Easy full day guided hike
9 km (5.5 mi) return trip
160 m (530 ft) elevation gain
We offer a special Wonder of Water theme hike at Bow Glacier Falls.

7. The Iceline

With incredible views of the Yoho Valley, Takkakaw Falls and the Wapta Icefield, this trail has you walking on bare rock and moraine rubble in the forefront of the Emerald Glacier.  There is no other trail quite like it! Best from July on.

Difficult to very difficult full day guided hike
You can choose how big you want to go, from the Iceline Lite to the Iceline Max.  Locals usually don't make a loop because you end up doing a long trek through the forest.  We like to stay up high and in the open!

Iceline Lite - to the Takkakaw Falls viewpoint
8-9 km (5-5.5 mi) return trip
670 m (2200 ft) elevation gain

Iceline to Trail Summit & Back
14 km (8.75 mi) return trip
720 m (2360 ft) elevation gain

8. Stanley Glacier

As of 2003, the Stanley Glacier trail has become one of the most interesting day hikes in the Rockies. A wildfire set the ecological clock back in time. The result is surprisingly beautiful! 

Flowers bloom prolifically in the newly fertilized soil, their brilliant colours standing out against a black background. Unusual plants like liverworts thrive and each trip yields new surprises. The trail leads from fire to ice, ending in a dramatic setting with the Stanley Glacier hanging above.

Moderate full day guided hike
 8.4 km (5.5 mi) return trip
 365 m (1200 ft) elevation gain
A shorter version can be done as a moderate half day guided hike.

9. The Lake O'Hara Area

This is a lovely hiking destination in Yoho National Park, but extra effort and luck is required to get there. 

It is only available by making bus reservations, which are in high demand.

We offer private full day guided hikes with the possibility of going to Lake O'Hara.  For more information, click here.

9 1/2. Consolation Lake

This pretty and short trail seems to capture young kid's imaginations. It begins at one exquisite mountain lake — Moraine — and ends at another — Consolation.  The forest in between is filled with a magical miniature world of lichens, mushrooms, moss-covered logs, grouseberry and maybe even... grouse!

 Easy half day guided hike
 6 km (4 mi) return trip
65 m (215 ft) elevation gain
 Current park regulations may require a group size of 4 or more people on this trail due to grizzly bear activity.

And... we just can't stop there!

10. The Beehives

The trail towards Lake Agnes and the Beehives is wide and well-graded.  Old-growth forest gives way to expansive views of the mountains above Lake Louise. In fall, larch trees turn vivid gold, lighting up your trip to the Big or Little Beehive — or both! 

These trails can also be connected to the Plain of Six Glaciers for an even bigger day that does the Lake Louise Valley in full.

 Little Beehive: moderate full day guided hike, 9 km (5.5 mi) round trip, 510 m (1675 ft) elevation gain
 Big Beehive: moderate full day guided hike, 10 km (6 mi) round trip, 540 m (1770 ft) elevation gain
 Big and Little Beehives: difficult full day guided hike, 12 km (7.5 mi) round trip, 690 m (2260 ft) elevation gain.  Private trips only.
 Note: The trail to Lake Agnes can be busy.  Sections share the trail with horses.  The Big Beehive trip can avoid most of the horse use.
 We don't often stop at the Lake Agnes teahouse unless the weather is poor.  The Beehives provide more dramatic lunch spots.

10 1/2. Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake is another jewel of the Canadian Rockies. Thanks to its position on the west side of the Great Divide in Yoho National Park, Emerald yields up four very different environments: a huge avalanche path, the normal forest, a dry and dramatic alluvial fan and the towering trees of the coastal rainforest.  Combine a hike here with a visit to Takkakaw Falls, the other beauty spot in Yoho.

 Easy half day guided walk
4.5 km (2.75 mi) return trip
No elevation gain

Note that we don't go around the entire lake, but use the well maintained and well-built trail on the west and north sides.  We return the same way.

A Canadian Rockies pika stashing grass for the winter

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