A Visit to Lake Louise, Canada

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park.

Partly on the advice of my dad, I looked forward to our visit to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in the heart of Banff National Park, Alberta Canada.  What fun it would be to have a room with a balcony overlooking beautiful Lake Louse and hike in the surrounding mountains.

We quickly learned that would not be the case.  The Fairmont Chateau is a five star resort with room rates well over $1,500 a night.  (Fairmont Chateau Room Availability and cost) That price is for a room with no balcony.  Well, at least we could have a light breakfast on the veranda as my dad suggested.  Nope.  Only paying guests are allowed inside this compound.  The parking lot is jam packed much of the day, so you need to take a bus to the lake.  There are, however, nice waking trails around Lake Louise.

The glacier fed turquoise waters of Lake Louise

Lake Louise turquoise waters

The turquoise water of the lakes in this beautiful area is due to the fine rock flour created by the glacier grinding down granite rocks.  This murky, ground rock floats near the top of the lake reflecting blue light.  Strong blue colors are best in the Spring.  We were there in the Fall.  Having got kicked out of the five star hotel, we followed a trail halfway around the lake.

Lakes Moraine and Peyto

Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake from viewing platform

Peyto Lake was visited only on the last minute advice of a fellow photographer.  It is easy to get to with an uncrowded parking lot and a very short paved hike.  The above shot is a stitched panorama.  As you may know, my photography style is to zoom in and pick out details of the area, not to take these grand landscape photographs.

glacier silt

Closeup of the glacier silt washing into Peyto Lake


Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake, 15 or so miles from Lake Louise

People next to us in the long return bus line showed me the photo they had taken of Lake Moraine.  It was much better than anything I had at the time.  So after a short debate with myself, concerned about missing the bus, off I ran off up and over a hill they told me of to capture the above stitched panorama photo.  The light was not great, but still a pretty site.

Canoes on Moraine Lake

Canoes for rent on Moraine Lake


Surrounding mountains

Surrounding mountains as viewed from the Lake Louise ski area

Calgary, Alberta

wire sculpture called Wonderland

The Wonderland Sculpture in downtown Calgary

This trip to Canada was no photography trip.  It was a quick, fun trip made with relatives.  It is difficult to get good photographs when you need to head down the road and cannot pick the best light or times for photography.  For example, this sculpture is beautiful at night.  These constraints are partly what makes one a travel photographer, by taking the best photos with the light you have for the short time you are allowed to be in that spot.  I’m also getting more lazy.  Not getting up early or staying out late hoping for good light is suiting me just fine.  As proof of my laziness, these photos are now a year old…


Wonderland sculpture close-up

The 39 foot tall wire mesh sculpture in the business district of Calgary, Alberta

No Calgary Stampede on this visit.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Roadside waterfall in Glacier National Park

My first visit to Glacier National Park years ago was a great experience.  It happened to be the first day the park’s famous Going-to-the-Sun-Road was finally cleared of snow and open for the season.  There were many mountain goat babies that were seeing humans for the first time.  They were very excited and pranced about. But for their calm parents, this was not their first rodeo.  On this trip, I guaranteed all in our car we were sure to see many mountain goats, up close and personal.  Ooops, nary a one.  I’m not even sure we saw a bird in this park.  However, this park is very beautiful.  Lots of photography tours spend days here.  Not us, we breezed through, stopping just long enough for me to take some photos of a waterfall and some dead trees.

Glacier National Park burnt trees

Burnt trees in Glacier National Park

From an artistic perspective I liked the appearance of the many dead trees, but could not find a good clean angle.  I’m not expecting an invitation from Glacier National Park for rights to my photos of the park any time soon.  So off we went.

16 thoughts on “A Visit to Lake Louise, Canada

  1. Beautiful scenery captured by a wonderful photographer.
    Thank you for sharing. I would never of heard of such a place if not for your travels.

  2. I have some of the same photographs from over the same hill to Lake Moraine along with the obligatory canoe shots. Some of my favorites are of people paddling the canoes in that setting. Mine are from years before yours. My friend in Calgary bemoans the fact that you now have to take a bus to the lake.

    • For those of us who have traveled, I find it fun to know the exact vantage point a photographer is using for their photograph. It is also a reaso for me trying to gravitate to the less crowded field of macro photography. Thank you Ken for taking the time to look at my travel blogs. Greenland will be coming up soon, I hope.

  3. Beautiful pics! Moraine and Peyto were my favorite lakes we visited. I loved the hike around part of Moraine. Banff area was so spectacular I found Glacier NP to be a bit of a disappointment. I suppose this was from all the smoke in the air from many wildfires burning in Idaho and Oregon at the time. I’m sure I would of been in awe of the park had I visited it earlier in the year with clear skies and snow on the peaks. I want to visit Banff again and venture further north now to Jasper NP.

    • I wish I were experiencing your travels in the Fall colors now. You are on a great adventure. Thanks for looking. I’m rushing through some old travels to get caught up for our recent cruise.

  4. Beautiful photographs as usual. Like the trees around Lake Moraine. You are more critical of your work than the rest of us. We both know a man who would not have paid $1,500 for a room for one night! lol

  5. Thank you for your beautiful photos and narrative. I also travel through your photos. chasing the light, early starts, late might, trying to catch that perfect angle/location is a labor of love. Your photos show that love.

    • I see your travels too when you get that well deserved break from work into Northern NM, Grand Junction. I just sent some relatives over Keebler Pass about the time you were there it seems.

  6. Last time I was up there both Louise and Peyto were frozen over. Missed getting that beautiful turquoise water but did get to walk 3/4 of the length of Louise on the ice. Great photos.

  7. Another enjoyable trip with you, Harold. Love the depth of the colors in all your photos except the one of trees but I like that one too! Did you really take this trip a year ago? Glad you finally got it written and posted!

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