There’s a song by Joe Walsh called Rocky Mountain Way. The first line of the song, ‘spent the last year Rocky Mountain way, couldn’t get much higher’, aptly describes my feelings towards this perfect part of the world.
I still remember the first time my parents took us into the mountains. Growing up with the pacific ocean just minutes from my front doorstep, I’d never experienced anything close to the majestic nature of the mountains before. And the Rocky Mountains, they’re like any other on earth.
I’d never seen anything so beautiful in my life. I remember sitting in the car getting lost in the views outside the window. Anywhere you turn. Everywhere you turn. Seeing snow in June. Seeing elk walking down the sidewalk as though they’re humans. Those four days will forever stand out in my mind as my favourite holiday ever taken with my family.
I have stood/sat at this lake shore in every season under every type of weather imaginable and it is always the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. That being said, Lake Louise definitely has a certain je ne sais quoi about it during the winter months.
Being able to walk out on the frozen lake and look back at the shore is an experience everyone should try in their lifetime. It’s something so small, but it means so much when you’re doing it. And, if you happen to catch Lake Louise in late January you can see some incredible ice sculptures built on the lake each year as a part of the Ice Magic Festival. Info here: https://www.banfflakelouise.com/ice-magic-festival
Things to do in Lake Louise:
- Lake Louise. That’s it. Just go see it. You have to. Sit at the shore. Walk around the lake. Take the horse-drawn carriage. However you do it, just go.
If you carry on down the highway to Banff you will find the tourist mecca that is (quite possibly) the most known of Canadian town in the country of Australia. Banff caters to tourists. Amidst the big chain stores (that normally are only found in larger city centers) there are tiny little one-of-a-kind cafes and shops where you can truly find the spirit of the mountains.
Highlights of Banff:
- The Rose and Crown – incredible food and has some really fantastic staff.
- Banff Ave – This is the most photographed piece of Banff. Main street is worth the wander, just to see what kind of treasures you can find.
- Mount Norquay – Head up Mount Norquay to see some incredible views of the town from above, and, of the landscapes surrounding Banff in the national park. Info here: https://banffnorquay.com/
Now, Canmore. Let’s talk about Canmore. Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents would read you storybooks about perfect tiny little towns where everyone knows everyone and everything is good? Those books were written about Canmore. Well, maybe not. But, if ever there were a town that could have served as motivation for those books, it would be Canmore, a tiny little town of dreams in the mountains.
When you wander into Starbucks you see the barista wearing a nametag that says “Songbird” and you’re quickly reminded of the slower pace of life that comes in small towns.
Don’t get me wrong. Canmore is a resort town. There are some incredibly breathtaking places to stay in Canmore. The thing that I love about Canmore so much more than Banff, though, is that it’s less touristy. It’s more home-y… if that makes sense. Everything seems to be within walking distance from you, and even if it isn’t, you want to walk anyways because the views are so breathtaking.
I love Canmore. I’ve been 15,000 times in the past six years. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but truly, if I could have been 15,000 times, I probably would have. Take a hike, take a bike, see the galleries, eat the food, be at peace in this tiny little town in the Rockies.
Must see in Canmore:
- The Drake Pub – Trust me, you won’t regret it.
- Dogsledding – Do it. Epitomize what it means to be in winter. Info here: https://howlingdogtours.com/our-tours
- Golfing – Stewart Creek Golf & Country Club is one of the most incredible courses I’ve ever had the privilege of golfing. If you’re a golfer and you visit in summer, check it out. Info here: http://www.stewartcreekgolf.com/