Are you looking for a hike similar to the trails in Grand Tetons National Park but without the crowds? Lake Louise is a glacial lake tucked away in the Wind River mountain range. At 8,600 feet in elevation, getting to Lake Louise takes a bit of effort, but the payoff is worth it. The trailhead is 9-miles back off a well-maintained dirt and gravel road that winds through the gorgeous countryside, lakeshores, and private farmlands. You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a grizzly bear, bighorn sheep, or a Canadian lynx during your drive; which are just a few of the animals that frequent the area.
Lake Louise trail is an out-and-back, dog-friendly hike on the eastern edge of Dubois. The views along the trail are quite spectacular and range from wide-open vistas to paths winding in between canyon walls and pine forests. The waterfalls along the trail are some of the most powerful we have ever seen and are worthy of taking the time to stand in awe of their power. Flora and fauna are abundant, with yellow wildflowers, plenty of greenery and delicate wild roses dotting the countryside. We even encountered a couple of cacti along the way. Rated as a moderate hike at 5.1 miles roundtrip, but the altitude is something to consider. We quickly discovered that we were not acclimated to the high altitudes and found ourselves gulping for air quite a few times. With a 1,100 feet elevation gain from the trailhead to the lake, you can quickly see how our mid-western lungs weren't prepared for the altitude and elevation gain. The hike took us approximately 4.5 hours, stopping several times to enjoy the stunning waterfalls (gasp for air), take plenty of pictures (gasp for air), and allow our pups to cool off in the creek that the trail follows (you get the idea).
If you are heading to Grand Teton or Yellowstone National park and have time, it's worth an overnight stay in Dubois to hike this hidden gem. We stayed at the KOA Dubois/Wind River; however, there are several camping options in the area to choose from.
To find the trailhead take US Highway 287/26 Southeast out of Dubois to Fish Hatchery Road. Turn right on Fish Hatchery Road, and immediately the road will come to a Y, veer left, which is Trail Lake Road. Follow Trail Lake Road for approximately 9-miles, and it will dead-end into the trailhead. If you use the ALLTrails app, search for Lake Louise Trail and select "directions," it will take you directly to the trailhead.