Published: February, 2018

Canadian Rockies- Banff, Lake Louise and Emerald Lake

Make the drive to Abraham Lake, your Instagram feed will thank you!
— Christa Butler
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Adult, Mountains
  • Activity level: moderate
  • Ideal length of trip: A WEEK

to & from

Fly to Calgary on Air Canada or United direct from any major US airport. Rent a 4 Wheel Drive vehicle and head west to Banff (1.5 hours) or head straight to Lake Louise (2 hours). Pass through farmland and then be wowed by the amazing chiseled peaks.

Where to Stay

  • Fairmont Banff Springs (Banff) - Castle in the Rockies It’s a massive hotel filled with plenty of cool spots to explore and hide. Grab a pretzel and beer on the Waldhaus Patio and enjoy a skate on the quaint natural ice rink behind the main hotel. Wake up early for a swim and view of the sunrise over the ski mountains. 
  • Storm Mountain Lodge (Banff) - A romantic and rustic spot to stay without kids. No Wifi in cabins. 
  • Château Lake Louise - A must! The view is epic. Frozen lake surrounded by glacier capped peaks. Make sure you get a room with a view of the lake. Rooms are small but facilities are great. Favorite thing to do after a day of snowshoeing is a late afternoon skate, dinner and then visit to the steam room before bed. 
  • Emerald Lake Lodge - We love this place. Nothing fancy in terms of rooms or facilities. No WiFi in rooms. Super cozy lodges where you’ll probably eat all your meals. Once we get there we don’t leave! After a day of cross country skiing on the trails that cross the frozen lake and loop around the valley we have an early dinner by the fire followed by a game of snooker.

Where to Eat and Drink

  • The Bear Street Tavern - In downtown Banff. We love the Moroccan Chickpea Salad and Hawaiin pizza http://www.bearstreettavern.ca
  • Waldhaus Pub and Patio - Soft pretzel with bacon butter and a beer.
  • Walliser Stube - The fondue is a must at the Château.
  • The Georgetown Pub in Canmore - Great spot for a some classic British fare after dog sledding or ice fishing in the Spray Valley. Fish and chips, duh!

What to Do

  • Downhill Skiing at Lake Louise, Norquay or Banff Sunshine. Loads of backcountry and heliski options if your up for it. Snowshoeing around Lake Louise or Emerald Lake Cross Country Skiing at Emerald Lake
  • Invigorating winter hike at Johnston Canyon to see the ice climbers at the frozen upper falls
  • Dog sledding in the Spray Valley with Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours
  • Icefields Parkway for amazing photo ops and glaciers.
  • Ice Skating on Lake Louise - if you don’t do anything else please put on some skates here.
  • Bow River Parkway - take the slower road from Banff to Lake Louise to spot animals and possibly the elusive train at Morant’s Curve. I’ve yet to catch one.

inside scoop

  • Make the drive to Abraham Lake your Instagram feed will thank you.
  • Beer drinkers will love the local brews.
  • The portions at Alpine Social at Château Lake Louise are huge. You can definitely share.

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