The Best Banff to Lake Louise Pit Stops
Road trips are all about the stops along the way. So to make sure you go from Banff to Lake Louise and back without missing must-see and must-do moments, here is how the ideal road trip should pan out…
1.Before you leave Banff and head out on the road you need to grab breakfast. So head to Coyote’s for the huevos rancheros or to Touloulou’s where the breakfast menu is so expansive, even the craziest of cravings is somewhere in the selections.
2. Take a detour to drive the Vermillion Lakes Road before you leave town– from there take in the iconic views of Mount Rundle. Aim for sunrise, around 8:00am, for best pics.
3. Get onto the Trans-Canada Highway towards Lake Louise. Take note of the wildlife overpasses along the way. Built for our wildlife to cross the highway safely – this initiative, paired with fencing that runs the length of the road, effectively funnels wildlife to the overpasses and has drastically decreased wildlife-car collisions.
4. About halfway there, just before castle junction, you will see a pull out. Stop there to get a pic of Castle Mountain. There are very few pullouts so you will recognize the one…
5. Continue to the village of Lake Louise for lunch. Laggan’s Mountain Bakery is a quick, grab ‘n go place with great coffee and the baked mac ‘n cheese is perfect on a cold winter day. They also carry the best desert made in the Bow Valley: the hazelnut bar – imagine Nutella had a baby with a macaroon but ditched the coconut. Get a few for the drive.
6. Head up to Lake Louise. Take a pic in front of the lake. Walk to the back of the lake and take another pic. Post on Instagram and make everyone you know jealous. Replace walk with cross-country ski if you are feeling ambitious or strap on some skates and enjoy possibly the prettiest ‘pond’ setting imaginable.
7. Head into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for a Hot Chocolate or Irish coffee to warm up. Sit as close to the picture window as physically possible– that’s the view you are here for!
8. Now start to head back to Banff but jump onto the Bow Valley Parkway instead of the Trans-Canada Highway. At Castle Junction, make a pit stop to check out the overpass, there is an osprey nest perched on top.
9. Stop at Johnston Canyon for a short stretch of the legs and take some epic icefalls pics.
10. Cruise back to Banff, ditch the ride and start the après! Grab a local brew at the Banff Brew Pub. Try a Caesar (think Bloody Mary meets clamato juice!) at the Park Distillery. Head to Hoodoo Lounge and Night Club or the Dancing Sasquatch, if you want to make it a big night out.