Lake Louise, also known as the Lake of the Little Fishes, is a glacial lake within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. The lake was formerly named Emerald Lake but the name was later changed to Lake Louise after Princess Louise Carolina Alberta. She was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and the Governor General of Canada.
The lake is relatively small with a surface area of 0.82 km2. It has a depth of 70 meters and a surface elevation of 1,750 meters.
Its emerald green and turquoise blue water comes from the melt water of the overlooking Victoria Glaciers. This water carries glacier silt or rock flour and deposits it into the lake. During summer, light is refracted off the silt, giving the lake its breathtaking color. The lake drains into the Bow River, famous for trout fishing via the 3 kilometers long Louise Creek.
The famous Chateau Lake Louise resort is built on its Eastern shore. It is surrounded by many amazing sights such as a soaring mountain background which offers great potential for adventures.
An estimated 15,000 tourists visit the lake in a day during summer. There are hiking trails around the lake used by tourists to get to various features around it. Some trails are open for mountain biking and horseback riding while the surrounding mountains offer rock climbing. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular in the summer.
During winter, the ski area offers alpine, cross country and heli skiing as well as snowboarding. The lake is used for ice fishing and ice skating. Its surroundings offer dog sledding, ice climbing, and snowshoeing.
Lake Louise is Canada's highest permanent settlement area, due to its small hamlet named Lake Louise Village. It is also one of the most photographed sites in the world given its surreal appearance.
The lake has small fish such as cutthroat and bull trout that survive all year round. The lake does not thaw until the first week of June and it can snow during any month of the year. This gives it a long consistent skiing season that runs from early November to late May. It has one of the world's largest ski resorts and the second largest skiing area in Canada.
The lake itself is home to many species of small fish. The lake's surroundings are home to 53 species of mammals. The most commonly seen are deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and small critters like chipmunks and Columbian ground squirrels.
On a lucky day, black and grizzly bears can be seen and very rarely the wolverine, lynx, and cougar. Most of the animals have a specific behavior and travel pattern.
The main threat faced by the lake is the challenge of striking a balance between human interactions with the wildlife and delicate ecosystem. The management team at the lake has to manage the visitor's experience while maintaining conservation and preservation efforts.
Other problems facing the lake are the near extinction of the cutthroat species of fish, for which it is world-famous for and the gradual shrinking of the Rockies’ glaciers due to global warming.