Last weekend my husband took me away for a late birthday present; our first night was spent in Banff (more about this in a later post) and the following day we took a beautiful drive along the old Highway 1A to Lake Louise. We had no intentions of staying longer than a few hours, but when you get to this beautiful spot it is hard not to want to spent a night there. So as an extra treat we booked ourselves into this beautiful hotel (and my husband even booked me a massage at the spa!). We were lucky enough that they had a room that was available immediately and the view was just stunning. I will write more about the hotel, its history and share photos of the beautiful interior in next week’s post, today I want to concentrate on the outside, the lake and its beautiful surroundings.
Lake Louise is situated in Banff National Park, which was Canada’s first national park when it was established in 1885. Lake Louise also has a village, which is the highest community in Canada at 5,033 feet.
The lake itself is known in summer for its blue sparkling waters and during the winter months it has to be the most scenic ice rink in the world. Lake Louise attracts around 4 million visitors every year and it is easy to see why. At the end of the lake sits Victoria Glacier and that sight in itself is enough to render you almost speechless.
The hotel clears part of the lake and creates ice rinks and in the middle of the big rink you can just make out the remains of an ice castle that was built there earlier in the year by hotel staff. One other thing the hotel does every evening is a camp fire complete with free marshmallows for you to roast upon it.
If you fancy a skate, rentals are available in the hotel’s sport shop; the hotel also puts on daily activities (for an additional cost) like cross-country skiing outings, hiking treks etc. However, my favourite activity has to be the horse-drawn sleigh ride.
The rides start every day just after lunch and last around 1 hour. The ride takes you along the Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail, which goes along the northern side of the lake and then makes a turn on the lake just at the frozen waterfall (I have a sneaking suspicion that this is no more than a trickle in summer) to make the journey back on the same trail.
It was just magical, the sleigh has rows of two-seater benches and blankets are also provided. Thankfully it was a rather nice warm day, but the blankets were still a welcome item. Our sleigh was not totally occupied, so we were lucky enough to get front row seats, well behind the teamsters that is.
The views you get from the end of the lake are just stunning and aside from the noise of the horses and the sleigh it was beautifully quiet. When we got to the waterfall we spotted an ice climber who was just making his way up the waterfall. Not a sport I would be happy to take up, but boy what views these ice climbers must get from up there.
All in all, I loved our overnight stay at the hotel. Yes it is pricey, but if you are an Alberta resident you can get up to 30% off the regular room rate by either booking online or calling their reservation line. We will be going back there, perhaps closer towards summer, but avoiding the busiest months of July and August. If you are planning on a trip to Canada and you are travelling to Banff, please make the additional 40 minute trip up the road to visit this beautiful location.