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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.
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