In the previous blog post, we took you through our captivating experience aboard the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver, B.C., to the end of our journey: Lake Louise, Calgary. If you missed it, check it out HERE.
This week, we invite you to delve into the enchanting wonders of Banff and Lake Louise – the perfect culmination of our train expedition.
As we arrived in Banff National Park, we were greeted by the majestic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise perched gracefully against the backdrop of the pristine Lake Louise. The combination of the hotel’s refined elegance and the natural splendor of its surroundings is simply awe-inspiring.
Lake Louise is renowned for its mesmerizing turquoise waters, which seem almost surreal amidst the snow-capped peaks and lush green forests. We witnessed day-trippers and even brides posing for photoshoots by the shores of this ethereal glacial lake. And it’s no surprise why – the beauty of this place is truly breathtaking and offers countless opportunities for capturing incredible moments.
But Lake Louise has much more to offer than its picturesque scenery alone. Nature enthusiasts can immerse themselves in a myriad of outdoor activities. During the summer, one can go canoeing or kayaking on the tranquil lake, which is enchanting at sunrise. If you’re up for a challenge, try fly fishing or embark on a rewarding hike along the mountain trails surrounding the lake.
In the winter, Lake Louise transforms into a magical ice-skating rink, while nearby ski resorts offer world-class opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. If you seek relaxation, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise provides a peaceful retreat. You can indulge in spa treatments, savor a traditional afternoon tea with delicate sandwiches and freshly brewed tea, or simply sit back and soak in the mesmerizing views surrounding you.
One highly recommended adventure is hiking to the Lake Agnes Teahouse. We suggest starting early in the morning to arrive ahead of the crowds. The teahouse, established in 1901 as a sanctuary for hikers and mountaineers, retains its rustic charm despite numerous renovations over the years. As you sip on tea and indulge in delectable treats like biscuits, soup, and sandwiches, you’ll witness the fascinating sight of a helicopter transporting barrels of water to restock the teahouse (which operates without running water or electricity) and the restrooms. It happened several times while we were there and was fun to watch!
The trail is mostly uphill, so be prepared for a bit of a climb and varying temperatures. When you finally reach the teahouse, the wind whispers stories, and you may need a sweater to fully revel in the chilly experience. 😎
On our final day, we embarked on a day trip to Banff, a neighboring town celebrated for its awe-inspiring mountain landscapes. A scenic 45-minute journey by coach revealed breathtaking vistas within Banff National Park as we passed under wildlife overpasses designed to ensure the safe passage of animals and preserve their natural habitats.
Exploring the charming town of Banff, we made sure to meander through unique shops, regretting that we needed more time to experience the myriad of delightful restaurants. We trekked up to the Surprise Lookout, overlooking the Bow River. We were rewarded with an awe-inspiring view of the Fairmont Banff Springs perched amidst the grandeur. Although we missed the opportunity, I recommend riding the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, where sweeping panoramic views of the Rockies await the adventurous at heart.
And then there was Lake Moraine. People had insisted we see it for ourselves. “If you think Lake Louise is breathtaking, just wait until you see Moraine,” they urged. I couldn’t resist, but booking a bus reservation became a race against time (as personal vehicles are not allowed due to parking constraints). Secure your spot as soon as you book accommodations because these bus tickets sell out well in advance.
As we arrived at Lake Moraine, we strolled along the shore and marveled at the colorful array of canoes waiting to be taken for a spin. Behind them stood the staggering Valley of the Ten Peaks, a cluster of rugged summits forming a dramatic backdrop. To truly appreciate this awe-inspiring landscape (because the view from the bottom does not do this place justice), we made our way up a colossal rockpile, led by steep wooden steps and groomed dirt trails. The reward was nothing short of extraordinary – a view so breathtaking it felt like stepping into another realm (well worth the effort).
As our once-in-a-lifetime adventure came to a close, we bid a fond farewell to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the awe-inspiring landscapes that forever hold a special place in our hearts. As we boarded our transfer to the Calgary airport, we stole one last glance at the mighty mountains, knowing that the memories created during this incredible journey would forever transport us back to its magic.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re yearning for your own Rocky Mountaineer experience. We’ll meticulously curate every detail to ensure your trip is unforgettable!
Our bespoke itineraries are uniquely designed to completely immerse you in your destination, with delightfully unexpected surprises along the way.
We have a special passion for all things culinary—and we would love to introduce you to your destination’s distinct (and delicious!) food and wine traditions through one-of-a-kind culinary experiences. The best part? You won’t have to do a thing except relax, recharge, and create memories that last a lifetime!
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