The lobby at the Fairmont Chateau in Lake Louise stopped me in my tracks, well it wasn’t the lobby so much as the view through the window.
We’ve all seen that iconic image of Canada – the stunning view of Lake Louise that finds its way onto all those tourist brochures. But seeing it so beautifully framed through the window from the Chateau was magical, and yes the word escaped from my lips.
“Wow! How stunning is this?” I couldn’t help but say to my tour group as we were shown to the lifts and up to our rooms.
We’d just spent two nights in Banff, a stunning town in Alberta, Canada, surrounded by snow capped mountains and beautiful rivers. And travelled Yoho National Park with a stop at Emerald Lake along the way. Every stop was beautiful, but this view was breathtaking.
I couldn’t wait to dump my bags and get out there to explore.
Our guide had warned me on the drive to Lake Louise that there wouldn’t be a great deal to do here and was worried our group might get bored. Most of the walking tracks were still closed and the lake was partially frozen, which meant no skating but no boating either.
We’d agreed that we would take them for a walk around the lake in the morning and then walk them down to the nearby shops in the afternoon. One of the group members had a better idea, though – High tea in the afternoon.
There is a well-made path along one side of the lake that allows for an easy stroll. Looking back across the lake you get spectacular views of the Chateau reflected in the waters, and that iconic image of the lake.
The hotel itself has a range of bars, restaurants and things to do. As well as High Tea, we checked out the artwork and the shops in the Chateau. But it’s hard to pull yourself away from the Lake itself. The sunlight reflecting off the surrounding mountain range means the colours on the lake are constantly changing. And despite most of the walks being closed, there were still some short walks opened that allowed beautiful vistas of the area.
After leaving Lake Louise we drove the Icefields Parkway – said to be one of the most beautiful roads in Canada. We had various stops along the way – Athabasca Falls, Bow and Peyto Lakes and the Glacier Skywalk and Adventure tours. Each stop was more beautiful than the one before it.
It’s well worth stopping for the Glacier walk at Colombia Icefield where you head out in a snowmobile that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mad Max movie and drive to what looks like a lunar landscape. There is no vegetation here, just a huge glacier. You can walk on the glacier, but be warned, it’s slippery!
We were in both places for two nights.
Was it long enough? Many of the walks were closed when we were at Lake Louise so it was a perfect amount of time to see everything. There is a lot to see and do in and around Banff – and don’t miss all the chocolate and confectionary stores!
Highlights: Lake Louise – I am still in awe of the beauty of this place, and make sure you get up to watch the sunrise! Athabasca Falls, Emerald Lake and the glacier walk also stand out in an area well known for its absolute beauty.
Diane was a tour host on this trip with the awesome tour company Two’s a Crowd.