Banff National Park’s other main centre, LAKE LOUISE, is very different from Banff – less a town than two distinct artificial resorts. The first is a small mall of shops and hotels just off the Trans-Canada known as Lake Louise Village. The second is the lake itself, 4.5km from the village (and 200m higher) on the winding Lake Louise Drive, the self-proclaimed “gem of the Rockies” and – despite its crowds and monster hotel – a sight you must see. A third area, Moraine Lake, 13km south of the village, has almost equally staggering scenery and almost unparalleled hiking country. All three areas are packed in summer; in winter, things slow down considerably, though plenty still turn up for some of Canada’s best skiing at the nearby resort (see Winter sports in the Rockies) as well as the hundreds of kilometres of cross-country skiing trails and numerous other winter activities.

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