Lake Louise, Alberta

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Lake Louise is both an actual lake and a nearby village located in the Canadian province of Alberta in Banff National Park. The unique emerald colour of the lake comes from rock flour carried into the lake by melt-water from the glaciers that overlook the lake. Recreational activities in the area include hiking, scrambling and exceptional down-hill skiing.

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Lake Louise from the Big Beehive.

Lake Louise is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848-1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and the wife of Sir John Campbell, who was the Governor General of Canada from 1878-1883. The province of Alberta is also named for Princess Louise.

The village of Lake Louise is located beside the Trans-Canada Highway, 180 km (112 miles) west of Calgary. The background of Lake Louise is filled with views of several snowcapped mountains including Mount Temple (3543m), Mount Whyte (2983m) and Mount Niblock (2976m). The village has a small shopping centre called "Samson Mall" which includes a park visitor centre, grocery store, bakery, sporting goods store, liquor store and a couple of fast food establishments.

On the eastern shore of the lake is Chateau Lake Louise, an elegant five star hotel. It was gradually built up at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway and is thus a cousin to Château Frontenac at the other end of the country. Several hiking trails start near the chateau which take you up to Saddleback Pass, Mt. Fairview (2744m), Mirror Lake, Lake Agnes, Big Beehive, Little Beehive and for the more adventurous, Devil's Thumb, Mount Whyte and Mount Niblock.

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Lake Louise and cheeky Chipmunk

The lake can be reached by following Lake Louise Drive for a few kilometres up a fairly steep winding grade. Even with several large lots at the lake, parking is at a premium between 11am and 3pm in July and August. About two-thirds the way up Lake Louise Drive, the 15 kilometre road to Moraine Lake branches off to the southwest.


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