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9 Things to Do in Lake Louise This Winter

by Karen Ung

Lake Louise is a winter lover’s paradise with snowcapped peaks, marshmallow trees, and spectacular scenery. 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 six, 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 15-26, 2020)!
      Skating at Lake Louise
    2. Walk, snowshoe, ski, or ride to 100-metre tall 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 Louise Falls, the views are breathtaking! For more information regarding sleigh rides ($), visit Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
      Brewster Sleigh Ride, Lake Louise
      Louise Falls at the end of Lake Louise
      Look for the ice climber in the red jacket for scale.
    3. Cross country ski! With stunning 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 (update: Pipestone is closed for the 2019/2020 season). For more information, please visit: The Best Beginner Cross Country Ski Trails in Lake LouiseAmazing Cross Country Skiing at Pipestone, Lake Louise, or Parks Canada – Winter Trails in the Lake Louise Area.
      Bow River Loop, Lake Louise
      Mud Lake, Pipestone Trail Network, Lake Louise
      Tramline Trail, Lake Louise
    4. Snowshoe to Fairview Lookout. Fairview Lookout is a fun, short trail that ends at a beautiful viewpoint overlooking Lake Louise. Only two kilometres return with 100 metres of 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 packed down 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 Lake Louise Season Pass holders tube for FREE and Lake Louise Plus Card holders pay only $5? For more information, visit Lake Louise Ski Resort.
      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. Every year, we look forward to skating around the ice castle and checking out the ice sculptures (created during the international ice carving competition). 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. Festival dates: January 15-26, 2020.
      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
Toe of the Glacier Hike, Athabasca Glacier

9. 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): World Ski Day, Photos with Santa, Avalanche Awareness Days, Ice Carving demos to name a few. For a complete event listing, visit Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Where to Eat

  • For coffee and a treat, we always stop at Laggan’s Mountain Bakery and Deli. 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.
  • 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!

Where to Stay

Deer Lodge, Lake Louise
  • Affordable options include the Lake Louise Hostel, Mountaineer Lodge, and Lake Louise Inn. Deer Lodge, Post Hotel, and Chateau Lake Louise are suitable for special occasions.
  • Mosquito Creek Wilderness Hostel offers rustic accommodations in a pristine setting, only 29 km from Lake Louise on the Icefields Parkway. For more information see: Get Closer to Nature at Mosquito Creek Wilderness Hostel.

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