Beautiful Alberta: Where to Stay, What to Do

IMPORTANT NOTE: The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the availability of activities that I participated in during my visit to Lake Louise.

Prior to your stay, call, email or visit the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise website and Lake Louise Ski Resort for closures and updates.

Lake Louise, Alberta is a beautiful place. The accommodations at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise made my stay even more enjoyable.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is surrounded by a setting that is so spectacular that when I first saw photos of the hotel nestled in the heart of majestic mountains I thought, “This cannot be real.”

It wasn’t until I checked into my room and looked out of the window that I thought, “This place is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.”

I walked into the lobby and was immediately drawn to the decor. The rich, warm tones of the paneling behind each check-in desk, and the soft lighting throughout the room immediately gave me a feeling of comfort and relaxation.

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The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise lobby is warm and welcoming.

After receiving my room key, I was greeted by a hallway that was as beautiful as the lobby, and took note of the bookstore that I would have to come back and explore during my stay.

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The hallway decor has the feeling of being in a cozy lodge. 

I opened the door to our room and couldn’t believe the view. My husband saw it too, and commented that he knew I would be staring out of the window many times during our stay. He was right.

One of my favorite amenities was also available for use during our stay. A soft, comfortable robe is one of the small luxuries that I always enjoy.

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Standing outside the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise was like being inside a snow globe.

The best word to describe the landscape is “magical”.

When I visit a new hotel, I enjoy strolling through the property to find standout features. The feature that caught my eye inside the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise was the windows. The snowy exterior appeared to be framed inside each window, like a natural work of art.

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A horse-drawn sleigh ride is an activity offered on the hotel property. My husband and I climbed into our sleigh and we were covered up with a warm blanket as our guide led the horses around the lake.

Featured Image Photo Fact: The featured image at the top of this post is a photo of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise that I took when our sleigh turned around at the end of Lake Louise.

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The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park, and there are a lot of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Dog sledding and snow tubing were planned activities on my agenda.

Dog Sledding in Banff National Park

The drive from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to the area of Banff National Park where our dogsledding adventure would start was less than 10 minutes. This was my first time dogsledding, and besides what I had seen on television and in travel photos, I had no idea what to expect.

We were greeted by the friendly staff of Kingmik Dog Sled Tours and walked over to the team of sled dogs that would lead us through this amazing experience. They were eager and ready to start pulling a sled, and showed their excitement with a lot of barking.

Our musher’s name was Meghan, and she introduced us to our team of sled dogs. I sat down at the front of the sled, and my husband sat behind me. Meghan layered blankets and weatherproof covers that resembled sleeping bags over our legs and body. After that flaps made of a canvas-like material folded over at the side of the sled were zipped up over all those layers to keep us snug and warm inside the sled.

Meghan made sure we were layered against the cold and ready for dogsledding!
And we’re off!

The height of the sled off of the ground allowed me to see the winter wonderland of Banff National Park from a perspective that made it even more beautiful.

This perspective allowed me to look up and out at the snow covered trees. The dogs trotted through the snow at a comfortable pace and Meghan checked on us to make sure we were comfortable.

The trail took us through open spaces and through an area that looked like a magical forest in a fairy tale.

There was a point on the trail where Meghan asked us if we wanted to take a turn at mushing. We eagerly responded, “Yes!” I went first, and before taking off, she showed me how to hold the handle on the sled. There was enough room on the back of the sled for her to stand next to me and away we went. Standing up while the dogs pulled the sled was exhilarating!

While I was taking in the scenery, 45 minutes passed too quickly for my liking. I would have loved to be in this setting for hours! Meghan called out to her team of sled dogs and they began to slow down.

Our journey had come to an end.

Meghan exited the sled, unzipped the top cover and helped us out from under our layers that kept us warm during our adventure. She asked us if we wanted to feed the dogs, (of course we replied yes) and she took medium sized chunks of frozen ground beef out of a storage locker. We tossed one piece to each dog and said our goodbyes to Meghan and our trusty team of sled dogs.

A wonderful memory of our dogsledding experience!

Know Before You Go: Using a phone in cold weather quickly drains the battery. There are waterproof, insulated phone cases that can be purchased for your travels. I was unaware of this fact and learned that I could keep my phone in an inner pocket of my coat to help preserve the battery.

Lake Louise Ski Resort

Sunny Tube Park

The outdoor activities that I participated in were firsts for me, and this included a day of snow tubing at Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Before going outside, I ate a light lunch and experienced altitude sickness for a short period of time.

When I felt well enough to start snow tubing, I chose a tube that was available at the side of the tubing slope and rode a moving belt up to the top of the slope.

The view that greeted me at the top of the snow tubing slope was absolutely breathtaking.

Three lanes of tubing speed were available for guests to choose. The first lane allowed the tube to go at a slower speed. The middle lane was for medium speed, and the last lane was for those craving a quick journey to the bottom of the slope. Because this was my first time snow tubing, I chose the middle lane.

The speed was perfect for me, and much to my surprise, I chose to make the descent to the top of the slope 3 times. What fun!

When I finished snow tubing, there was one more activity at the ski resort that I wanted to enjoy.

Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola

The Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola can be accessed and boarded within a few feet from the bottom of Sunny Tube Park.

In the photo above, you can see the boarding area under a green canopy.

The gondola was another opportunity for me to see the winter wonderland of Lake Louise from a different vantage point. The journey to the top is much slower than snow tubing down a hill, and presented a wonderful opportunity to snap photos during our ascent.

  • Sightseeing Gondola

The activities available at Lake Louise Ski Resort filled the hours of my visit. It was incredible to see the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise nestled between the two mountains that I saw up close during my horse drawn sleigh ride. This view put everything into perspective.

When I returned home from Lake Louise and looked at my photos, I was thankful for the experience of visiting the Fairmont Chateau and for the outdoor adventures available in the area.

Have you ever visited a place that you saw in a photo or brochure and the reality of the experience or the landscape was beyond what you expected?

Share your experience with your “WOW!” moment in the comments below.

13 thoughts on “Beautiful Alberta: Where to Stay, What to Do

  1. I wasn’t able to experience dog-sledding in Alaska (partly because of the time of year I visited.) Nice to know they have it in Banff. You did a lot of fun activities while you were there! I’d love to visit sometime. Wonder what it’s like in the summer. Thanks for sharing your adventure. And thanks for the mobile phone tip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading my blog post and leaving a comment, Donna. I would love to visit Lake Louise and Banff in the summertime, too! I’ve heard that the scenery is beautiful and that there are scenic hiking trails to explore.

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  2. Dog sledding had been on my list for quite a long time, Alecia, but this post moved it up even higher. I was taking notes while reading about snow tubing… that one had escaped the list so far, but no longer. Lake Louise, Banff, and Canada in general are just mindblowingly beautiful. Will make sure to revisit your post before we book our trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It makes me happy to hear that you have a renewed spark for dogsledding. It was an amazing experience, and given the opportunity, I would do it again. I felt like a kid again while I was snow tubing! You can’t help but say, “Whee!” as the tube glides down the hill. I look forward to hearing about your experience when you visit!

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  3. Oh Alecia, this must have been the most memorable holiday. The views from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise looks like a movie. So envious of you going dog sledding too. I hope to be able to visit Lake Louise one day and maybe stay at the Fairmont.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lake Louise and Banff National Park were unlike any setting that I’ve visited. In my opinion, my stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise was an extension of my visit. It allowed me to be at the heart of the beauty offered by nature. I hope that you and your family will be able to visit soon!

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  4. I love Lake Louise! I am so envious that you actually stayed in the Fairmont too. I have only admired from the outside. The dog sledding looks amazing too and I would love to have a go – the nearest I’ve come is on a snowmobile. You certainly found some fun ways of enjoying this winter wonderland!

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    1. This was a trip of a lifetime, Jane! The interior of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a feast for the eyes. Viewing the mountains from the window in my room was such a treat. When you have the opportunity to experience the activities in the area, you will love it.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog post, Sonia. It was my pleasure to share this amazing experience with my readers. The horse drawn sleigh ride was a magical experience!

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