Nestled in the heart of Banff National Park, Lake Louise is known for its outstanding natural beauty. It’s also a great destination for adventure travellers, regardless of the time of year! Kayaking and hiking are abundant in the summer, while ice skating and skiing draw tourists from all around the globe during the winter.

Lake Louise is actually quite a small town, and while it’s lovely, there are other options.  If you want to save money, it might be worthwhile considering staying elsewhere. Lake Louise can also feel quite isolated, so you might also think about staying somewhere that’s better connected.

The stunning Lake Louise and nearby Lake Moraine are sure to get your nature juices going… But how can you know where to stay when there are so many great alternative options nearby? I am here to help!

Thankfully, I’ve written up this short guide to help you make up your mind. I’ve combined my own experiences with hints and tips from locals, to bring you this guide on where to stay in Lake Louise. Whether you want stunning scenery, convenient connections or somewhere a little off the beaten path, we have you covered.

So let’s jump right in!

Lake Louise
Lake Louise, Banff

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

Where is the Best Place to Stay in Lake Louise?

Only got a hot minute to pick your perfect Lake Louise hotel or place to stay? Here’s my ultimate top three.

Fairmont Château Lake Louise | Luxurious Hotel in Lake Louise

Luxurious big beds in a room in Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

If you’re here for skiing, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is the place to stay! You’ll have immediate access to the ski resort and stunning mountain and lakeside views from the comfort of your hotel room.

Rooms are decorated traditionally, at the Fairmont Chateau, giving you a sense of the heritage of the hotel. I also love the decadent restaurant on-site, featuring regional cuisine and locally sourced ingredients.

Downtown Views | Best Apartment in Lake Louise

Downtown Views lounge with lovely couches and views out to the forests and mountains.

This luxurious penthouse is only a few minutes from downtown Banff and comes with a wide window, giving you panoramic views of the mountains. It’s only a short drive from both Lake Louise and Lake Field – perfect if you’re bringing the car. You’ll also have access to a luxurious hot tub – a great way to unwind after a long day of exploring the mountains.

HI Alpine Center | Best Hostel in Lake Louise

HI Alpine Center Lake Louise Canada

HI in Lake Louise Village is in an epic location, this hostel has a variety of room options. You can live the hostel dream in one of their dorms or enjoy a bit more privacy in a private or family room. HI has a log cabin vibe which extends into the on-site restaurant, there is also a communal kitchen if you’re keen to cook for yourself.

Enjoy the abundance of trails up mountains, along rivers, and down to lakes, or head over to the Lake Louise Mountain Resort, minutes away. HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre is part of HI Canada, a not-for-profit organization. They’re on a mission to build a community of conscious travelers who share a greater understanding of people, places, and cultures.

Lake Louise Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Lake Louise

FIRST TIME IN LAKE LOUISE
Lake Louise Canada
FIRST TIME IN LAKE LOUISE

Lake Louise

There’s a small town at the base of Lake Louise that has grown in popularity with tourists over the past few years. For first time visitors, this is a great way to get up close and personal with the gorgeous scenery of the park.

ON A BUDGET
Field canada
ON A BUDGET

Field

Just across the border in British Columbia, Field is a great alternative to Lake Louise for those on a budget. It’s only about an hour from the lake by car but doesn’t have the same tourism levels.

FOR FAMILIES
Banff River Canada
FOR FAMILIES

Banff

If you’re looking into visiting Banff National Park, you probably already know about the eponymous town. Nestled in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Banff is a common gateway to the region for visitors.

Lake Louise Three Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Banff National Park is one of the most visited attractions when backpacking in Canada, so getting around the area is quite easy. While the public transport links are reasonably good, we recommend bringing your own car for ultimate freedom. When it comes to visiting some of the smaller villages in the region, this is the easiest option.

Lake Louise has a small village nearby that is mostly holiday accommodation, though you will also find some unique townships on the way. It’s a hugely popular area, so you’ll have everything you need within a couple of minutes of the lake. For this reason, I recommend first-time visitors stick as close to here as possible.

Even those hoping to explore further afield will find some great tour providers in the area. Of course, Lake Louise can get very expensive – so what if you’re on a budget? You’ll have to brace yourself because Banff National Park is pricey across the board.

Field is a great alternative if you’re really looking to watch the pennies. It’s a little bit off the beaten path, so you’ll find accommodation and restaurants are cheaper in the area. All that being said, Lake Louise and Field can both feel quite secluded.

two girls smiling holding snowboards on a snowy mountain
Remember to bring chains if you’re driving in the snow!
Photo: @amandaadraper

Banff is the most popular town in the region and has the best direct connections to Calgary. This makes it a great choice for those who want to stay a bit closer to civilization. There are loads of great places to stay in Banff, families in particular will benefit from the added convenience of staying in the bigger town.

Still not quite sure? No worries; I’ve written some more information about each of these places below. Alongside a short guide to each area, I’ve also included my favorite accommodation and activity picks in each.

1. Lake Louise – Where to Stay in Lake Louise for Your First Time

There’s a small town at the base of Lake Louise that has grown in popularity with tourists over the past few years. For first-time visitors, this is a great way to get up close and personal with the gorgeous scenery of the park. There are mesmerizing views everywhere you turn in Lake Louise, so you’ll never need to leave.

Lake Louise Canada
You won’t get bored of the views at Lake Louise

Scenery aside, Lake Louise is also a haven for adventure travelers. Hiking is available year-round, with some stunning viewpoints in the surrounding mountains. It’s one of the best places to ski in Canada, and the lake itself sometimes acts as a safe ice rink (though always check this with locals and the tourism board before putting your skates on).

Fairmont Château Lake Louise | Best Hotel in Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

If you’re looking for the height of luxury, look no further than the Fairmont Château. With panoramic views of the lake, this scenic retreat is the perfect getaway in Banff National Park this winter.

You’ll have immediate access to the ski resort, with top-of-the-line facilities within the hotel to help you relax afterward. Your worries will simply melt away at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise!

HI Alpine Center | Best Hostel in Lake Louise

HI Alpine Center Lake Louise Canada

HI in Lake Louise Village is in an epic location, this hostel has a variety of room options. You can live the hostel dream in one of their dorms or enjoy a bit more privacy in a private or family room. HI has a log cabin vibe which extends into the on-site restaurant, there is also a communal kitchen if you’re keen to cook for yourself.

Enjoy the abundance of trails up mountains, along rivers, and down to lakes, or head over to the Lake Louise Mountain Resort, minutes away. HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre is part of HI Canada, a not-for-profit organization. They’re on a mission to build a community of conscious travelers who share a greater understanding of people, places, and cultures.

Cedar Chalet | Best Airbnb in Lake Louise

Cedar Chalet, Lake Louise

If you want to stay a little bit closer to Lake Louise, this log cabin is the one for you! It comes with a log burner, helping you build a cozy atmosphere in the winter.

There are a number of popular viewing points within walking distance, and the ski resort is only five minutes away by car. It is well-priced and has enough room to fit four people – perfect for families.

Mountain Pine Chalet | Another Great Airbnb in Lake Louise

Mountain Pine Chalet

Perched on Castle Mountain, this cute little log cabin comes with truly awe-inspiring views across Banff National Park. It’s a little bit outside Lake Louise – ten minutes by car – which makes it an excellent choice for those looking for something secluded.

It has a studio layout, making it a popular option with couples, solo travelers, and those on a budget.

Things to See and Do in Lake Louise

cabin lake louise canada
Lake Louise is one of Canada’s best skiing destinations.
  1. Hop aboard an open-top double-decker to discover Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. This tour starts as Lake Louise Mountain Resort.
  2. Lake Louise Mountain Resort is the place to go for skiing enthusiasts. The chairlift is a handy way to check out the scenery in the summer if you don’t want to hike.
  3. Enjoy free time to sit & relax, walk the lakeside, hike up to a stunning lookout, rent a canoe, or indulge yourself at the Fairmont Chateau on this private tour. Epic if you’re not driving.
  4. There are a few great dining options in the center of the town – I recommend the Post Hotel, which offers an extensive menu with locally sourced ingredients.
  5. Learn how to cross-country ski at Lake Louise.
Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

2. Field – Best Place to Stay in Lake Louise on a Budget

Just across the border in British Columbia, Field is a great alternative to Lake Louise for those on a budget. It’s only about an hour from the lake by car but without the same tourism levels. Many of the hotels and restaurants in Field have great deals year-round and you get to experience the local culture more intimately.

Field canada
Share the wonders of nature with the ones you love

Although it’s only on the other side of the mountains from Lake Louise, Field isn’t officially in Banff National Park. It is located in Yoho National Park, which has a more understated beauty, and a great location for easy-going walks. It’s also the perfect destination for photographers, especially during the fall when the foliage changes color.

Just be mindful of the weather as the seasons change. Canada is a safe travel destination but is prone to some nasty weather, so it’s better to be prepared to avoid any bad surprises.

Canadian Rockies Inn | Best Hotel in Field

Canadian Rockies Inn Lake Louise Canada

The mountain location of this Inn makes for stunning views and is near the highway making it a good location to travel to places outside of Field. Enjoy the ambiance of a fireplace in your room when you book the King Suite.

You can eat out in Field, with restaurants across the street, or drive 10 minutes to Lake Louise. The rooms also have some cooking amenities if you do want to self-cater, just note there aren’t any supermarkets in Field.

Emerald Lake Lodge | Best Lodge in Field

Emerald Lake Lodge Lake Louise Canada

Just a 15-minute drive from Field, Emerald Lodge is on the shores of Emerald Lake in the Yoho National Park surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. This stunning accommodation offers three on-site restaurants so being remote won’t be such a hassle.

The rooms have a wood-burning fireplace to set the mood for your mountain escape. There’s a hot tub too, to get warmed up after a big day of hitting the slopes.

Mount VanHorne | Best Airbnb in Field

Mount VanHorne

This guest suite is a great way to save money on a trip to Banff National Park. Although it only has one bedroom, there is a sofa bed in the living room, meaning it can sleep up to four people. With cozy interiors and a great location, it comes with fantastic reviews.

The Canadian Pacific Railway Station – an important local attraction in Field – is only a short walk away.

Things to See and Do in Field

Field Lake Louise Canada
  1. Field Railway Station is an important attraction in the town where you can catch the Canadian Pacific Railway going past.
  2. Reaching Takakkaw Falls will take you 45 minutes, but is totally worth the journey – it is the third-largest waterfall in Canada!
  3. Head to the Velvet Antler Pottery Shop, a quirky local boutique offering stoneware and pottery – a unique souvenir to take home with you.

3. Banff – Best Neighborhood in Lake Louise for Families to Stay In

If you’re looking into visiting Banff National Park, you probably already know about the eponymous town. Nestled in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Banff is one of the best places to stay in Canada. It is easy to get to Calgary from Banff- there are even direct links from the international airport!

Banff also makes a great alternative depending on your budget and is home to some of the best hostels in Canada.

Banff River Canada
Yep – the water really is that blue.

So why do I recommend it for families? Lake Louise can feel quite secluded, and besides adventure activities, it can be hard to keep kids entertained but not at Banff. Plus, it’s only an hour away by car, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to visit the lake.

Moose Hotel and Suites | Best Hotel in Banff

Moose Hotel and Suites Lake Louise Canada

Only a short walk from central Banff, this charming hotel has a rustic atmosphere that you will never want to leave! The on-site spa is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of hiking, skiing, or canoeing nearby. There are two hot pools on the roof, giving you stunning views of Banff National Park throughout the year.

Downtown Views | Best Apartment in Banff

Downtown Views Lake Louise Canada

Only a few minutes from Downtown Banff, this luxurious penthouse is a great choice for those willing to splurge. It comes with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and an indulgent hot tub where you can relax with a glass of wine or two. There’s a small barbecue to use in summer and a ski storage area if you’re visiting in the winter to hit the slopes.

Black Bear Chalet | Best Airbnb in Banff

Black Bear Chalet Lake Louise Canada

This stylish two-story chalet is right in the heart of Banff. Inside, you will find modern technology and entertainment facilities to keep you happy even on those bad weather days. There’s also a spacious balcony with mountain views.

The Bow River trail is a stone’s throw away from the front door, with many other walks and hikes only a short drive away.

Things to See and Do in Banff

Banff Canada
Banff is the perfect destination for adventure lovers.
  1. See the most stunning Rockies landscapes, from Lake Louise to Moraine Lake, and try Snowshoeing on this day tour!
  2. Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies is an attraction designed to keep the whole family entertained, with plenty of interactive exhibits for the little ‘uns.
  3. Embark on the best hiking trail at Johnston Canyon and discover the area’s picturesque waterfalls
  4. Hiking isn’t always possible – especially with young children – so hop on board the Banff Gondola for easy access to the stunning views on offer.
  5. Take an OG yellow school bus trip to see all the sights of Banff at your own pace on this hop on hop off tour
Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Lake Louise

Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Lake Louise and where to stay.

What To Pack For Lake Louise

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Is Lake Louise Worth Visiting?

Yeeeeeeah! Do you think I would’ve written you this epic guide, helping you with the hottest places to stay, to save you time if it wasn’t? I highly recommend coming to Lake Louise and finding out for yourself.

Where is the Best Restaurant in Lake Louise?

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise has an amazing restaurant that I love, or the Post Hotel is epic too. If you’re staying in Banff, check out Emerald Lodge.

Where to Stay in Lake Louise for Self-Catering Accommodation?

Mountain Pine Chalet would be my pick. This log cabin is a 10 minute drive from the village of Lake Louise which makes it nice and private. The studio set up is perfect for cooking for yourself in peace.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Lake Louise

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Lake Louise

Words won’t do any justice to how beautiful Lake Louise is! You simply have to see it for yourself. If you live in Canada, this is a must-see destination that would make a great staycation this year.

Otherwise, you should spend some time in Lake Louise as part of your next Canada travel experience. The area immediately surrounding Lake Louise is, of course, my favorite destination in the area. It comes with some of the best views, and there are plenty of activities available throughout the year.

Stay at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise if it’s your first time and you’re looking to treat yourself. It’s a little expensive, but totally worth it if you’re willing to splurge.

If you’re traveling on a budget (I feel ya!) Stay at HI Alpine Center, this accommodation really does offer everything. The awesome nature is literally on your doorstep and you’ll be spoilt for choice of activities.

Wherever is best for you depends on what you want to get out of your trip – I hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options!

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

garibaldi lake sunrise in british columbia
Sunrise over Lake Garibaldi could be the next stop for you eh?
Photo: Roaming Ralph
Looking for more info on travelling to Lake Louise and Canada?

Made it this far?
You get 15% OFF to book a place to stay!
Offer valid exclusively for Broke Backpackers 😉