Banff-Lake Louise Destination Guide
Banff-Lake Louise Holidays
Found resting between the peaks of a Canadian Rockies, the charming town of Banff is the gateway to the vast unspoilt wilderness of Banff National Park. While the region is home to countless breathtaking mountain resorts, few places are more beautiful than Lake Louise. Located in the middle of Banff National Park, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Lake Louise is famed for its turquoise glacial lake, world-class ski resort and small-town vibe. Yonder downstream in Banff, travellers use the town as a base to explore the region. With 1,600 kilometres of trails, three ski areas, intriguing heritage, world-class festivals, and an exciting dining scene, a stay in well-preserved Banff offers an equally breathtaking dose of mountain culture and alpine excitement.
When Banff thaws out, the town celebrates the Banff Summer Arts Festival, showcasing the regions dance, music, art and literary efforts. The great outdoors beckon: hike, white water raft, take a horse ride through the Alberta Rockies or explore the scenic trails on two wheels with a mountain bike. In winter, however, it’s all about skiing and snowboarding. Less crowded than Banff, Lake Louise is a perfectly idyllic location to take a holiday. In winter its world-class ski resort is a popular destination, while come summer the main attraction is Lake Louise itself, where you can swim and canoe on the lake, or ice skate or take a horse drawn sleigh ride when the mercury drops.
Eat and Drink
Banff dishes up a high quality selection of international foods from sushi to pizza, Thai, Mexican and Chinese. Alternatively, perhaps you’d prefer some Swiss-inspired fondue or the local Canadian Rocky Mountain cuisine, digging into some Albert raised beef or bison? Cheese and wine make perfect accompaniments to mountain views.
In Lake Louise, one of the best places to sample some fine Albertan fare is the Post Hotel Dining Room or the Fairview Dining Room at Chateau Lake Louise. For something out of the ordinary, put on your walking boots and head to Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse. Located a five-kilometre hike from Lake Louise, there are few better settings for a refuelling cup of tea or coffee after a picturesque walk.
The Banff Farmers Market is a ideal place to not only sample local produce, but also to pick up a locally made souvenir – the market is home to local fashion designers, photographers, jewellers and artists selling their wares. At the Banff Indian Trading Post you can find one-of-a-kind Native American crafts or moccasins. For something quirky, at Bang-on T-shirts Banff you can create your own t-shirt for a totally unique souvenir.
In Lake Louise, shopping is less of a drawcard. While many appreciate the retail reprieve, rest assured you can still stock up on sporting equipment at Wilson Mountain Sports and or find a few souvenirs at the stores within The Chateau Lake Louise.
Where to Stay
Banff has range of accommodation options. Whether you’re comfortable pitching a tent or prefer the comforts of a mountain lodge or cosy B&B, there’s a campground or chalet option to suit every budget. If you want to get even closer to nature, consider staying a few nights at a backcountry lodge, where you hike or ski-in and ski-out.
As for Lake Louise, the most iconic lodging is at The Chateau Lake Louise. Though pricey, a stay at the 550-room Chateau Lake Louise is the quintessential Lake Louise experience. Deer Lodge is another option for easy lake access, while across the valley in Lake Louise Village you’ll find some other smaller but just as luxurious hotels and cabins including Post Hotel and the Lake Louise Inn.
Banff-Lake Louise Like a Local
Ways of experiencing the local way of life are easy to come by in Banff and Lake Louise. Away from the slopes you can take part in all manner of activities including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and winter walking. One experience you won’t forget is a dog sled tour. If you really want to get adventurous, take a hike on foot from Banff to Lake Louise via the Saddleback Trail. A popular route for locals and tourists alike, the scenic four-to-five day trek is possible only from July until October.