So firstly, I love Canada, it’s one of the most beautiful countries you can go to with some of the most vast and stunning landscapes in the world, so before I deeply offend any Canadians, hear me out. One of the most famous natural attractions and most photographed in Canada, is Lake Louise in the Rockies. You’ll often see a person in a canoe right in the middle of the Lake perfectly posed at the right angle, to create an idea of the place that just isn’t the reality.
Maybe it’s because this approach to sharing experiences has become so synonymous with travel, the fact that so many places are edited and re-created to completely alter what they’re like to actually visit. So this post, isn’t to bash Lake Louise, as it’s actually pretty beautiful and you should visit, it’s to show what the reality is like to visit there in the summer months and how there are plenty of alternatives if it’s not up your street.
From the queues to get into the large car park, to the crowds of people around the front of the Lake, it is a busy attraction. Probably because it’s one of the most popular places to visit in this part of Canada and draws people from all around. It’s also in Banff national park which is very popular because of its natural beauty. I don’t know if I’ve just been spoiled, but there’s something about having to wait to find a spot on the edge of the lake without any people in your photo, and getting that right time without people in canoes on the lake behind, that dampens the experience slightly.
It’s become VERY touristy
I’ve mentioned the people, but the whole way it’s set up. The fact that an idyllic lake with a mountain backdrop now has a massive car park with toilet facilities, and a 550 room hotel overlooking it, seems to take away from the ‘natural’ experience. Not to mention as touched on above, the parking is a NIGHTMARE, I’m not the calmest driver at the best of times, but anywhere where your stress levels hit the roof because of the in-convenience of parking your car, also ruins the experience somewhat.
So what’s the solution…
I wanted to write this post, because almost all the pictures you see of Lake Louise make it out to be a remote idyllic lake without a person in sight, and that’s not just the case. My experience visiting the lake in June was the above, very busy, stressful, and not ideal, and the weather isn’t even guarenteed as you can see… So the solution would be to try and visit the lake at a different time of the year, or as with a lot of popular destinations visit very early in the morning to avoid the crowds. I know this is the best technique to visiting the most popular places without them getting too crowded.
Canada has plenty of beautiful alternatives
The picture above is a lake just outside of Whistler, which is also a popular town with tourists, yet we were the only ones there. This lake is Joffre Lake (no filter added) which is a short walk from a nicely small and pretty empty car park, and there are other lakes and trails around this area too so you can really make a day of it. The picture below is of Hicks Lake in BC at sundown also a few hours outside of Vancouver, the next one down is a Lake we discovered on Bowen Island, I could go on with pictures of lakes I found around Canada. These are just a few examples in literally thousands, of other lake options that aren’t all the way in the rockies and are only a couple of hours or less drive from Vancouver.
Canada has an abundance of beauty that can be experienced if you just take the time to step off the beaten track slightly or ask locals their favourite hidden spots. In my opinion, natural wonders are often best when they are left exactly that, natural. When you find them by accident or have to go off the beaten track to discover them. You connect on so much more of a level with somewhere when you feel like you’ve found it yourself.
If you look at all of the pictures in this post, all of the lakes are beautiful in their own way and none of the pictures have been filtered. So my advice is, if you’re visiting Lake Louise in the summer, go very early to avoid the crowds, or find your own lake paradise that you won’t see in all the instagram posts.
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