Winter at Chateau Lake Louise

A Winter Travel Guide to Banff National Park

I’m sure you have heard of visiting the stunning turquoise blue lakes of Banff National Park in the summer, but have you ever considered how beautiful this park becomes in winter? I think kicking off winter in Canada is going to become my new favorite tradition! For years, I have been trying to visit these gorgeous lakes, especially Lake Louise in Banff National Park during the summer, but for one reason or another the trip always fell through. I blame weddings and poor vacation policies.

Finally this year, I booked a flight in November to Calgary, Alberta and convinced my little sister to join me for what promised to be a magical winter wonderland in the National Parks. The entire trip we kept squealing in delight while driving through the beautiful, snowy landscape and blasting Christmas carols on the radio. We just couldn’t believe our eyes!

I’ve seen snow before and been lucky enough to enjoy a spring ski season in Colorado and a post-Christmas ski in New Hampshire, and even an early fall snow shower in Switzeralnd, but never have I ever seen such a pristine and natural winter view. Instead of busy ski resorts and muddy snow banks, we saw rivers and mountains, frozen lakes lined with endless pine trees dressed in snow, and snowflakes that didn’t melt but actually stayed on our jackets in magical snowflake form (proof in my Instagram highlights)!

Outfit Details: Michael Kors Coat (old, almost identical version here and here), Aritizia Faux Leather Leggings (also here and on sale!), Abercrombie Hat, Abercrombie Boucle Scarf, Abercrombie Mittens, Sperry Duck Boots, Columbia Wool Socks, Layers: Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, Fleece Lined Tights, Under Armour Cold Gear Leggings, Under Armour Cold Gear Top, Lo and Sons Camera Bag

A Winter Guide to Banff National Park
A Winter Guide to Banff National Park
A winter wonderland at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
The cabin at Lake Louise
Red winter accessories
A Winter Guide to Banff National Park
A Winter Travel Guide to Banff National Park

One night we stayed at the beautiful lakefront Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and were thrilled to be upgraded to a lake view room. Lake Louise is a one of the top tourist attractions in Banff National Park, so staying at the Chateau is a great way to see the lake and the unbelievable mountain backdrop without all of the crowds that bus in by the hundreds year round. Plus, prices are significantly more affordable in winter. We arrived after an incredible day hiking through the snow around Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park and were eager for a hot meal.

I was not expecting great food from a hotel that looks like a Disney castle with its grand lobby, gift shops selling everything from sporting equipment to local maple fudge, and multiple restaurants, not to mention its front row view of the most popular lake in Banff. Far from the overpriced meal I was expecting, though, my sister and I were drooling over our steaming hot chicken pot pie and glühwein (like mulled wine) from the Lakeview Lounge. From our cozy table by the window, we had a view of the lake front where several trees had been wrapped in lights and a bonfire had been started for the guests to gather around to roast s’mores and sip hot chocolate.

Lake Louise in Winter
What to wear in Canada in winter
Chateau Lake Louise in Winter
Things to do in Canada in the winter
How to dress warmly for Canadian winters

The next morning we got (the best!) hot chocolate from the cafe and went for a walk around Lake Louise long before the rest of the tourists arrived. It was seriously so beautiful! As we started our walk, a young family was sledding on the snowy hills and a few guests were taking their dogs for a morning stroll. Afterwards we jumped back in the car to start our journey up to the more remote Jasper National Park.

For anyone wanting to visit Lake Louise, there is free public parking a short ten minute walk from the lake and the hotel restaurants and shops are open to all guests. I highly recommend the delicious glühwein! I had read that it was a Canadian winter specialty, and then the Chateau ended up being the the only place we could find it.

What to wear in Canada in winter
Things to do in Banff National Park
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