Named after Queen Victoria in 1897, Victoria Glacier created the iconic Lake Louise over 10,000 years ago and continues to feed the lake with the glacial waters that gives it its famous emerald hue.
Located in the heart of the hiking capital of Canada, the 3.4-mile Six Glaciers Trail is a great way to get up close to Victoria Glacier and make your way to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House. From the Fairmont Chateau hotel, walk the shoreline trail, where the crowds will thin as you head up to the moraine trail left behind by Lower Victoria Glacier back in the 1850s and out along the high rocky banks of Louise Creek. The hike is quite challenge, taking about seven hours roundtrip, but knowing there’s a cup of hot tea and cake waiting at the tea house helps. Visitors can also take the trail even further past the end of Lake Louise along the Abbot Pass and down onto Mount Victoria itself.
You can also rent kayaks and canoes for a closer peek at Victoria Glacier, which is easily recognizable, nestled in the middle of the Mount Victoria area at the head of Lake Louise. Rock climbers can make their way up the glacier itself, though its deep crevasses and the risk of avalanche mean that it isn’t a climb for beginners.
In summer, popular activities around Lake Louise include horseback riding, rock climbing and taking a peek at the fairytale-like Fairmont Chateau hotel.
The Six Glaciers Tea House is open in July, August and sometimes in September, depending on the weather. Lake Louise is a 40-minute drive from the town of Banff, with regular buses from both Calgary and Banff. There are plenty of hotels in Lake Louise village, which is just a few minutes away from the lake itself.