9 Things to Do in Lake Louise This Winter

by - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lake Louise is a winter lover's paradise with snowcapped peaks, marshmallow trees, and spectacularly scenic trails. Pack your skates, skis, and snowshoes, because you're gonna want to do it all in this winter wonderland! Here are nine of our favorite winter activities in Lake Louise. 


  1. Skate at Lake Louise! It's easy to see why Lake Louise was named "Best Skating Rink in the World" in 2014 by The Huffington Post! With Mount Fairview to your left, the Victoria Glacier straight ahead, Beehive to your right, and magnificent Chateau Lake Louise at your 6, beauty is all around! You can usually skate from mid-December until April, but the most magical time to go is when the Ice Castle is up for the Ice Magic Festival (January 19-29, 2017)! 
    Skating at Lake Louise
  2. Walk, snowshoe, ski, or ride to ice falls! You can go across Lake Louise during the winter, or take the lakeshore trail. 4 km return. Even if you don't make it to the falls, the views are breathtaking! For more information regarding sleigh rides ($), visit Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
    Brewster Sleigh Ride, Lake Louise
    Ice Falls at the end of Lake Louise
    Look for the ice climber in the red jacket for scale.
  3. Cross country ski! With incredibly scenic trails and amazing snow, Lake Louise is a dream ski destination. Beginners will love the Bow River Loop and Tramline, while intermediate skiers will enjoy the challenge of Pipestone's rolling trails. For more information, please visit:
  4. Snowshoe to Fairview Lookout. Fairview Lookout is a fun, short trail that ends at a beautiful viewpoint overlooking Lake Louise. Only 2 km return & 100 m elevation gain. 
    Snowshoeing to Fairview Lookout, Banff
  5. Hike to Johnston Canyon. This popular hike is less busy in the winter months, but no less beautiful. In fact, you may find it even more stunning; I know I do! 2.2 km round trip to Lower Falls; 5.4 km round trip to Upper Falls. Bring ice cleats or microspikes as the trail gets slippery and icy! 
    Cave next to Lower Falls, Banff

    Lower Falls, Johnston Canyon

    Upper Falls, Johnston Canyon
  6. Go Skiing or Tubing at Lake Louise Ski Resort! Lake Louise is the largest ski resort in the Rockies with great snow, epic views, a tube park, and sightseeing lift. For more information on season's passes, see: Family Season's Passes at Nakiska & The Big 3. Did you know you can upgrade your Learning Area Ticket or Sunny Tube Park Ticket to include the Sightseeing Gondola for $10? 
    Lake Louise Ski Resort
    Image Credit: Chris Moseley, Lake Louise Ski Resort
  7. Embrace Winter at the Ice Magic Festival. The Ice Magic Festival is truly magical. We look forward to it every year for the incredible ice sculptures and ice castle on Lake Louise (an international ice carving competition is a major part of the festival). You may view the ice sculptures for free on weekdays and evenings, but tickets are required to view them on festival weekends from 10 am - 5:30 pm. We usually go at least one day during the festival, then spend time at Lake Louise after the festival ends and the crowds disperse. Festival dates: January 19-29, 2017.
    Ice throne at the Ice Magic Festival, Lake Louise
    Ice Castle at Lake Louise
    Ice sculpture at Lake Louise

    Ice Castle at the Ice Magic Festival, Lake Louise
  8. Explore the Icefields Parkway! Easily one of the most scenic drives in the world, you would be missing out if you didn't check it out. The closest stops to Lake Louise are Bow Lake, Peyto Lake Viewpoint (1.5 km return), and Mistaya Canyon (800 m return, bring snowshoes). If you don't mind driving further, the Columbia Icefields are a must see. For more information, please see Touring the Icefields Parkway With Kids. Note that the Glacier Adventure and Skywalk tours do not run in the winter.
    Mistaya Canyon
  9. Toe of the Glacier Hike, Athabasca Glacier
  10. Lake Louise Ski Resort Special Events. There are several events all season long that are fun for the whole family whether you ski or not (but seriously, who doesn't ski??). For a complete event listing, visit Lake Louise Ski Resort. A few family-friendly dates follow:
    • Santa Family Photo Days - Get your photo with Santa in the Lodge of the Ten Peaks! Santa's helpers will email you an e-card with your photo! December 23 & 24, 2016; 10 am - 1 pm.
    • Celebrate FIS World Snow Day with FREE Skiing for Kids 12 & under (with the purchase of 1 adult lift ticket), $10 Family Tubing (with the purchase of 1 adult lift ticket), and more savings! See Lake Louise Ski Resort for details. January 14 & 15, 2017.
    • Ice Carving Demo: This fun and free event is part of the Ice Magic Festival. See what artists can do with a block of ice in only one hour! January 22, 10 am - 11 am in front of the Lodge of Ten Peaks.
    • Avalanche Awareness Days are a great opportunity to learn more about snow and brush up on beacon skills. When you complete your Avalanche Training Passport, you can enter to win prizes from Fresh Calgary Ski Shop! January 21-22, 2017; 10 am - 4 pm. 

Where to Eat

  • For coffee and a treat, we always stop at Laggan's Bakery. They make the most amazing gingersnaps (soft, chewy ones!), apple turnovers, and peanut butter cookies!
  • The best pizza around is at Timberwolf in Lake Louise Inn.
  • For fine dining, Deer Lodge is our favorite (we actually got engaged there!). 
  • Fondue lovers will enjoy Walliser Stube at Chateau Lake Louise. 
  • For an amazing brunch, visit Chateau Lake Louise! We've gone for Easter and Mother's Day and loved everything!
Enjoying an apple turnover at Laggan's

Where to Stay

Deer Lodge, Lake Louise


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