We had friends visiting us at Lake Louise / Banff National Park in Alberta Canada, so we spent many days going to all the different well-known sites like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, The Icefields Parkway (road between Banff and Jasper), and more. These photos are a compilation of many days, not just one. Lake Louise is, in deed, amazing, but it is also somewhat "Disneyland like." The photos I've seen are not indicative of the reality of the mobs of people all
jockeying to get the same classic photo. I liked Lake Moraine better, personally, as it seemed less commercialized and more peaceful. We did hikes at both lakes; the one at Lake Louise was to the Tea House. It's a steep hike with a great payoff at the end -- another beautiful lake and a place to get cookies and snacks. Sadly, the Tea House was closed when we got there (it closes at 5pm most days), but the hike was well worth it anyway.
We also rode the gondola at Lake Louise which is a MUST DO. I was blown away by the spectacular views both on the ride itself as well as at the top. The gondola ride offers both an enclosed and a ski-lift style ride; we went with the ski lift version which I'd recommend. The people running the gondola said the enclosed one is very hot (sauna-like, I think he said), plus I think you can take in the views better on the ski lift version.
We spent some time in the town of Banff, as well, which is a very pretty and upscale town with nice storefronts and restaurants. There is a hot spring "resort" there that we went to, too, but it was a bit of a disappointment. It was jam packed with people, the floors of the dressing rooms were soaked, the people were not very friendly, there were crowds everywhere.
Another thing we did with our friends while in this area was explore Emerald Lake by canoes. It was Avery's first time in a canoe, and it was therefore more rocky than it should have been (she kept trying to drink water from the lake while sitting in the canoe).