The Top 10 Lake Louise Winter Activities
While Lake Louise is an incredible destination all year round, there’s something extra special about the area when it comes to the colder months. In fact, there are a ton of unique winter activities in the Lake Louise area that are fun for the whole family. From skiing and snowboarding, to snowshoeing, ice climbing, skating or curling up by the fire at some of the unique restaurants and resorts, there’s no shortage of things to do.
To help you get started planning your next visit, below are our top 10 picks for the very best Lake Louise winter activities.
1. Ski or Snowboard
One of the most popular activities to do in the winter is to hit up the world-famous Lake Louise Ski Resort and discover some of the best power in all of Canada. Whether you’re a skier or snowboarder, a beginner or an expert, you’ll find a run for every skill level and style – not to mention breathtaking mountain views.
If it’s your first time on the slopes there are lessons available from certified instructors or you can always kick back and relax with some food or a refreshing drink at the lodge.
2. Skate on the Lake
Each year thousands of people strap on their skates and carve up the ice at Lake Louise, which is generally considered one of the world’s best ice-skating rinks thanks to its stunning blue ice and picturesque mountain views.
Located right next to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the lake is regularly cleared of snow and resurfaced for the best skating conditions. There are also often ice sculptures nearby and the occasional pick-up game of hockey. Afterwards, be sure warm up at the hotel with a hot chocolate or bite to eat.
3. Hit the Snowshoe Trails
Offering some of the most incredible snowshoeing conditions in the world, there’s no shortage of trails to choose from around Lake Louise. Beginners often enjoy simply snowshoeing across the lake itself (which is frozen solid during the winter months), while more advanced snowshoers may want to hire a local guide who can point out more challenging routes.
The most popular snowshoe route is probably along the Northern side of Lake Louise, but you can find great trails by Mirror Lake or Paradise Creek. There are also plenty of rental options available if you don’t happen to have your own snowshoes with you while visiting the area.
4. Try Ice Climbing
If you’re looking for a winter activity in Lake Louise that’s a little more adventurous, nothing beats ice climbing. Each year the area attracts thousands of ice climbers of all skill levels with a wide range of routes and mixed climbs. One of the most popular climbs is Louise Falls, with the raging water frozen into beautiful ice over the winter.
If you’re a beginner you can actually take a guided tour in Johnston Canyon, while more experienced ice climbers can sign up for advanced courses and camps throughout the winter. And of course, if the idea of climbing a frozen waterfall is a little too intense, you can always watch these icy daredevils in action, with crowds often gathering near some of the more popular spots.
5. Hire a Dog Sled
As one of the most unique winter activities in Lake Louise, there’s no doubt that dog sledding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are several popular sled tours operating in the area that can take groups of all sizes over a range of terrain, trails and views. One of our favourites is the Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours, which prides itself on the love and care it gives to its animals, while also offering a wide range of tour options.
There’s no better way to experience the great outdoors and serene beauty of Lake Louise than a guided trip with these magnificent animals.
6. Take a Sleigh Ride
There’s something truly magical about a real-life sleigh ride through the winter wonderland of Lake Louise. Usually these rides start around mid-December (right in time for the holidays), with a variety of options and packages available. From a short jaunt around the lake to longer scenic rides through the wilderness, there’s no shortage of routes to choose from. Our favourite is Brewster Adventure Sleigh Rides which has several trips available. All you need to do is bundle up, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
7. Try Cross Country Skiing
If you’re a cross country ski fan (or have always wanted to try it), you’ll quickly discover why Lake Louise is a paradise on earth when it comes to Nordic trails. In fact, Parks Canada manages a huge range of trails around the area, all of which are rated by difficulty, which means there’s something for every skill level. There are also plenty of guides available if you’re looking for lessons or a more challenging route. Two of the most popular trails are the Moraine Lake road trail and the Great Divide Trail. There are also a variety of rental companies that can hook you up with gear.
8. Visit the Ice Magic Festival
Held each year in January over several weeks, the Lake Louise Ice Magic Festival is one of the world’s most popular ice carving competitions, seeing artists from all over the globe bringing their skills and carving up masterpieces from solid ice. Visitors can either watch these creations come to life or check them out in the evening when they’re illuminated by colourful lights. If you do miss out on all the excitement of the Festival, not to worry. The ice sculptures are usually still around for viewing well into February.
9. Go for A Scenic Winter Drive
While winter driving conditions can be difficult (so make sure to check ahead before you hit the road), there’s nothing quite like a scenic winter drive around Lake Louise. It’s a unique way to see the natural beauty of the area while still staying warm inside your vehicle. A few of the most popular drives are along the Bow Valley Parkway and Vermilion Lakes Road, but there’s also some amazing drives around Lake Minnewanka and Tunnel Mountain. Bear in mind that the weather can change rapidly in the area, so always be sure to check the forecast and road conditions before you leave.
10. Grab Dinner & Drinks
While there’s no shortage of amazing outdoor winter activities at Lake Louise, nothing quite beats getting inside on a cold day and warming up by a raging fire with a hot meal and a refreshing drink. There are countless dining options nearby (including our very own Baker Creek Bistro) where you can find delicious local cuisine. A few of our favourites are the Whitehorn Bistro and the Lakeview Lounge. If you’re looking for something a little fancier, you can also try the Lake Louise High Tea Experience at the Chateau Fairmont.
Things to Know About Lake Louise in the Winter
If you’re thinking of visiting Lake Louise this winter, there are a few things you should be aware of.
Is Lake Louise Open All Winter?
Lake Louise is open 365 days a year but in some instances whether can cause temporary closures. Be sure to visit the Parks Canada website for the latest information and updates.
Where Can You Park at Lake Louise in the Winter?
In general there are plenty of public parking options available (including a large lot near the lake itself). Be sure to check ahead before you leave. There are also a number of shuttle options that may be able to get you to your destination. Again, planning your trip before you leave is the best way to ensure that you get where you need to go in the Lake Louise area without running into any issues.
Come Stay at Baker Creek
Looking for a place to stay while you take advantage of Lake Louise’s many winter activities? Check out Baker Creek Mountain Resort. We offer cozy and authentic log cabins. Contact us today to book a room.