This is a one day itinerary for Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake, Yoho Nat. Park, Canadian Rockies
Getting to Lake Louise
From Calgary to Lake Louise takes approximately 2.5 hours on a really good, clear road, similar to a motorway with several lanes.
We drove from Banff up to Lake Louise and drove up Highway 1a, a quieter side road than Highway 1, which has a much better chance of seeing wildlife. We left super early in the morning due to (a) a busy itinerary and (b) jetlag. The drive up Highway 1a took around 75 minutes and I'm glad we did this rather than the main highway as it was peaceful...........and we saw our first bear!!!
You can definitely do this following itinerary from Banff if you are prepared to have a busy day. We stayed in Lake Louise area for just one night, but it would be cheaper to stay in Banff as there are more hotels to choose from therefore cheaper prices than this area. As we were en route to Jasper, it seemed counter productive to drive back down to Banff, so we stayed for one night at Lake Louise.
One day itinerary
If you are willing to be busy like we were it was fine to do this itinerary in a day. Our aim was to see as much as possible in the short time we had available, we aren't hikers, we are sightseers.
We started early again and headed up Highway 1a for a last chance to see the promised wildlife on this road. This time, we weren't disappointed, at the side of the road, we saw a black bear eating some food. What a sight! It was amazing how close they were to you, we of course did not get out of the car and only stopped for less than a minute, but it was obviously cheesed off with us and the other car that had stopped and quickly scampered back into the bushes.
Pleased with our wildlife spot, we headed up to Lake Louise before the crowds and arrived at 8.15am - too early for the sun to be making it the beautiful colour it is so famous for - bear this in mind if you want to see the fantastic colour. We didn't mind though as we knew we would be back later, I just wanted to make sure we had some photos before it rained (it didn't rain all day in the end it was really hot but of course I didn't know that then and it had been on-off rain in Banff!).
We decided to drive to Moraine Lake which was about 25 minutes away and WOW!!!!!!!! If Lake Louise was a 7 out of 10, Moraine Lake was at least 30 out of 10. It was absolutely stunning. We were completely taken back by the stunning scenery around us and walked to the top of the rock pile to soak in the views. The walk up the rock pile was averagely strenuous, definitely not ideal for wheelchairs. The coaches with all the tourists (of course, we didn't class ourselves as tourists!) were starting to arrive by 9am, but again, I'm glad we came here early just so we could sit in awe of the amazing surrounds. We attempted to (unsuccessfully) rent a canoe, for reasons that they were only for guests of Moraine Lake Lodge at that time. I was really disappointed by this but apparently they do this sometimes if the weather has been bad.