Walking Across Lake Louise- Banff National Park {Alberta}

Brad and I ran away to Alberta, Canada for a few days and it was amazing! Now don’t get me wrong, we love to go adventuring with our daughter and share new places with her. But it has been almost 5 years since it was just the two of us for a few days away so we were overdue. And so off to our neighboring country we went for a few days to enjoy the winter wonderland of Banff National Park.

We drove along the Trans Canadian highway, marveling at the incredible mountains on either side of us. This whole area of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks is a UNESCO world heritage site. Banff National Park was the first of Canada’s national parks, established in 1885. With 6,641 square miles of natural beauty to enjoy, it is one of the most popular parks in the country.

We started our visit at Lake Louise. In the warm months, the lake is a brilliant shade of turquoise. But in the winter it transforms into an entirely different experience.

a frozen Lake Louise

We joined the crowds of people walking out onto the lake. There was an area where some people were playing hockey and another place for ice skating and yet another place for curling. No matter the season, Lake Louise is a favorite spot of the park.

anyone want to play some hockey?

Someone had created an ice castle that overlooked the lake and the mountains. The detail that was carved into the ice was really amazing from the layers of a maple leaf at the top to the vines that were winding up the towers-the castle really displayed someone’s creativity and skill at carving ice.

the ice castle of Lake Louise

There were a couple of different paths set out across the lake depending on if you would walk or cross country ski. We took the walking path that went down one side of the lake and came back through the middle of the lake. It was about 2 miles each way across the lake which gave beautiful views of the surrounding mountains in every direction.

If walking or skiing across the lake is not your thing, then you can opt for a sleigh ride through the snow. There are two sleighs that spend the day going back and forth with passengers snuggled up with blankets as they go through the snow. While sleigh rides are lovely, there seemed to be too many people in a sleigh to be inviting. Besides, how often do you get to walk across a lake.

At the far end of the lake we saw a bright blue ice formation on the mountain. It could be mistaken for a glacier or a waterfall, but it was just ice that had formed on the rocks of the hillside. I couldn’t get over that bright blue color set against the green of the trees.

We turned back and started down the other side of the lake. We had a beautiful view of the Fairmont Château of Lake Louise- one of the premiere places to stay in the park. This hotel has over 500 rooms that all look out to the beautiful mountains and has been globally recognized for their dedication to responsible tourism and environmentally progressive practices.

Lake Louise is one of the most popular areas of the park. The mountains that surround the lake are stunning. And even though we didn’t see the lake, getting to walk across it was a wonderful experience in itself.

If you want to see some other great places to visit in the winter, then check out:

Eagle River – Alaska

Bryce National Park – Utah

Fall Creek Falls State Park – Tennessee

Thank you for coming along on this winter walk across Lake Louise in Banff National Park. May your castle by the lake give you beautiful views.

30 responses to “Walking Across Lake Louise- Banff National Park {Alberta}”

  1. Glad you enjoyed Louise in the winter! I know you wanted a getaway for the two of you, but I would have loved to meet for a coffee or something. Next time you’re in the neigbourhood give me a call!! Maggie

  2. What a perfect getaway, Meg! Banff is the first of Canada’s national parks on our list, but I’ve never considered going in the winter – until now. Your trip sound so fun, and your photos turned out great. I’ve never walked across a frozen lake, but it sounds amazing.

    • Thank you! 🙂 It was really fun to be there in the winter and to walk across the lake and see that bright blue colored ice. We would love to go back and see it in another season so we could do more of the trails and see the beautiful lakes.

  3. Five years without a trip just to yourselves, wow you must have savoured every moment of this. Lake Louise looks amazing, there’s nothing quite like a frozen lake. Both that and the ice sculptures made me think of my long-ago trip to Harbin, China, where they have a stupendous Ice Sculpture Festival. Anyway, l think I’d also have chosen more frozen lake time over group sleighing. The blue ice over the rocks is absolutely stunning, I have never seen anything like that. The Fairmont Château looks epic too. I was trying to figure out how long the drive was for you guys, am I right in thinking over 30 hours?!!

    • Thanks Leighton 🙂 it was almost surreal to have that time together with no kids shows in the background and going out to eat where there there is no kid menu. Lake Louise was awesome. I loved walking across the lake and seeing the mountains covered in snow. Thankfully we flew to Canada instead of driving, but that would make for a really incredible roadtrip to drive there! I hope all is well with you.

  4. How beautiful Meg. I’ve always wanted to visit Banff NP and Lake Louise and it’s an absolute winter wonderland at this time of year. Your photos are gorgeous. Was it slippery walking across the frozen lake without skates on? How lovely that you got a few days away just on your own for once. However much you love your child, it’s so nice to have just a little adult time once now and again and I’m sure Tess had fun wherever she was.

    • Thank you Marion 🙂 You would love Banff, it is so beautiful anytime of year. The lake had a couple inches of soft powdery snow on it so it was no slick to walk on. I think they probably added some ice for the ice skating and hockey areas though because they were much more slick. It was really nice to have a few days of just us and she loved having some time with just her and grandma.

  5. Wow, that’s an amazing experience for sure! We visited Lake Lousise in summer and I wouldn’t have imagined it coukd freeze hard enough to be walked on!

  6. You two picked a stunning place for your long overdue getaway. It’s mind boggling to imagine the entire lake frozen enough to be safe to walk across. The ice sculpture is a phenomenal work of art; so much detail! Lovely post and photos!

    • Thank you! I was amazed at the detail that someone could carve out of ice! When we started our walk on the lake I kept waiting for that creaking cracking sound but it was too solid for that. 🙂

  7. I’ve only ever visited Banff in the summer, but I must say, it looks even more magical in the winter with all that snow. That is one impressive ice castle! The colour of the frozen ice on the mountain looks gorgeous.

    • Mountains in the snow always make my heart happy and Banff really was magical in the snow. I would love to go back and see it in the summer so I could see the beautiful lake and that famously green color of it 🙂

  8. I admire your willingness to go north for vacation in the winter months. That goes against all my instincts – haha. It’s been decades since I was there, and that was in summer. To be honest, the husband and I have talked about visiting one day since he’s never been, but it never dawned on me to try it in winter. Looks very pretty though. I’d love to stay in the hotel…

    • It was really pretty in the snow, but I would love to go back in the summer to actually get to see the lake and the beautiful color of it and to do more of the trails. My husband was saying that after Utah in the winter and now Banff in the winter, he’s ready for our next trip to be somewhere warm 🙂

  9. Wow, that’s an amazing experience for sure! We visited Lake Lousise in summer and I wouldn’t have imagined it coukd freeze hard enough to be walked on!

  10. Hi Meg! Nothing wrong sneaky off for adventure with just the two of you. It’s good for the marriage! Hahha. What a lovely place. I feel like you guys visited a snowy ice wonderland Palace! Just beautiful! 😻

  11. So cool! (Literally!) I love that ice castle, that’s just amazing. It’s incredible how different Lake Louise is in summer vs winter, it would be great to see it in winter but I also know how cold it gets, haha! Such an amazing area of the world.

    • After seeing so many pictures of the lake in the summer with that beautiful lake color, it was so pretty ( and a little weird) to see it all covered in ice and snow. But how often do you get to walk across a lake like that! Well worth bundling up with some extra layers 🙂

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