Changes are coming to two of Banff National Park‘s biggest attractions this summer — the biggest of which being a new way for visitors to take in two of the most popular glacier lakes.
Shuttles to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake will be by reservation only this summer, and parking will now come at a cost at the Lake Louise lakeshore.
“Local and regional visitation to the area is strong, and this year Parks Canada is making changes to help visitors make the most of their time in the Lake Louise and Moraine Lake area,” Parks Canada said in an email.
“Limited parking and traffic congestion in the Lake Louise area requires active management to ensure the safety of visitors, staff, and residents.”
People can reserve their shuttle for a one-hour slot, and once they have their reservation, they can arrive at the “Park and Ride” lot at any time within that hour.
Parks Canada said this new change will “allow for greater flexibility in allowing buses to depart while adapting the number of riders to meet COVID-19 guidelines and increase ability to physically distance.”
Shuttle reservations will give visitors access to both lakes, and they can go between the two via the lake connector shuttle, which will run every 15 minutes on a first-come first-served basis.
“Line ups should be expected for the lake connector and the return bus to the Park and Ride,” Parks Canada said.
The Lake Louise shuttle starts on May 14 and will run until Oct. 11. The rides will run from 8 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. each day, every 20 minutes.
The Moraine Lake shuttle will start a week later, on May 21, and will run every 20 minutes from 8:10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day.
Starting June 11, Parks Canada will add a third, early bird shuttle, to Moraine Lake, which will run every 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Both Moraine Lake shuttles will be in service until Oct. 11.
Return buses will run from each lake until 7:50 p.m. each day, Parks Canada said.
The shuttle is free for children under six, and costs for other visitors are as follows:
- Adults (18-64) — $8
- Seniors (65+) — $4
- Youth (6-17) — $2
A free-of-charge shuttle will run every 30 minutes from the Lake Louise Campground to the village and Park and Ride lot from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day starting on May 21, which doesn’t require a reservation.
Banff’s ROAM Transit service will also run from the Banff townsite to the Parks Canada shuttle Park and Ride lot during the summer of 2021.
Reservations for the lake shuttles will open online on April 28, but visitors can also check for additional seats 48 hours prior to departure.
Paid parking at Lake Louise
Parking in public parking stalls at the Lake Louise lakeshore will come at a cost of $11.70 per vehicle, per day, from mid-May to mid-October, for the next two years as part of a pilot project.
“Parking is limited at the Lake Louise Lakeshore, and visitors should plan ahead and come prepared with a back up plan if no parking is available,” Parks Canada said.
“Vehicles will be turned around when the parking lot is full.”