Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Alberta -

Snuggled into Banff National Park, Lake Louise is a small lake in Alberta, Canada framed by the Rocky Mountains. The lake’s 200 acres may not seem impressive on paper, but the area’s rich outdoor offerings have lured visitors to the lake for many years.

Lake Louise is a glacial lake renowned for its emerald-turquoise color. Small particles of rock from glacial erosion, known as “rock flour”, give the lake its incredible color. Humans inhabited the Lake Louise area for more than 10,000 years. Before the arrival of Europeans, Kainai, Kootenay, Siksika, Stoney, and Tsuu T’ina native peoples populated the region. The Stoney tribe called the lake Ho-run-num-nay, meaning “lake of little fishes”.

After the European-Canadian arrival in the 1800s, the natives were largely driven out and development began. The Canadian Pacific Railroad reached west to the Lake Louise area in 1883; workers named the water Emerald Lake. In 1884 the name was changed to Lake Louise to honor the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Car access to the lake was possible by 1911. As transportation options grew, Lake Louise became and ever-increasing recreation destination.

In 1917, the first Banff Winter Carnival was held, cementing the region’s place as a vacation destination. Though the region has changed considerably in the last century, Lake Louise and the surrounding lands retain much of the original beauty and wilderness that make it so beautiful. Sharp peaks, plunging mountains, dense forests and beautiful lakes dot the countryside, ready for exploration, and the area’s incredible winter offerings are what lure people into the cradle of the Albertan outback. Tranquility, beauty, and breathtaking views are what Lake Louise offers its visitors.

In the summer, explore the Lake Louise shoreline by boat, and stop to observe the local grizzly bears, beavers, deer, and otters as they splash in the lake’s waters. Take a hike along the mountains, and try and convince yourself that you haven’t fallen into an untouched paradise. Take your camera along and photograph ice-tipped mountains, soaring eagles, and wildflowers in more colors than a paint palette. The summer months at Lake Louise are filled with no more than the sounds of buzzing bees and your own footsteps.

As beautiful as the lake and Banff National Park are during summer, the region truly comes alive in winter, when snow lovers make their annual pilgrimage to the Lake Louise Mountain Ski Resort. With 9 ski lifts and more than 4200 acres, snow lovers will find themselves in seventh heaven. From beginner to advanced, there’s something for everyone, whether you are a snowboarder, downhill skier, or cross-country lover.

If you’re a daredevil, take a chance at heli-skiing, and if you prefer a quieter sport, don some snow shoes and head out for a fantastic trek. Dogsledding is a uniquely fun activity here in the winter, and many of the dogs at Lake Louise can trace their sledding lineage back over hundreds of years. Tour companies offer to introduce you to dog sledding, teaching you the basics and taking you on a heart racing journey over snowy trails and an exquisite, frozen Lake Louise.

If you’re an experienced ice climber, you’ll love Lake Louise for the towering ice formations and incredible frozen waterfalls. If you’ve never tried it before, they say that climbing a cascade that froze mid-stream is one of the most exhilarating and incredible experiences that exists. Ice climbing season typically lasts from late November through April, but if you plan on indulging in this particular sport, make sure to check the weather and climbing conditions.

Lake Louise is a small lake set amongst dense national forest and beautiful mountain formations. A trip here in winter or summer will be packed with beautiful skies, panoramic views, and an intense bond with nature. Indeed, you’ll enjoy your time so much that before you leave, you’ll already be planning your next trip.

Things to do at Lake Louise AB

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • Ice Climbing
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Dog Sledding
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • National Forest

Lake Louise AB Photo Gallery

Lake Louise AB Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 198 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 5,679 feet

Maximum Depth: 230 feet

Lake Area-Population: 500

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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