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.
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.
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.
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:
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.