The Banff Gondola to the top of Sulfur Mountain is a five-minute walk from here; downtown Banff is a five minute drive away. Opt for the gondola and you will be taken to the top of the mountain Sky Bistro, which serves spectacular views alongside Canadian-inspired dishes. The spicy elk bolognese is a signature. Downstairs, Banff’s new restaurant, Lupois named after Wolf Street, its scenic location, with a menu of northern Italian dishes like roast pumpkin burrata, squash risotto and classic Margherita pizza.
Banff, of course, is home to an almost endless multitude of outdoor activities. Explore the terrain on horseback, mountain bike, bicycle or on foot; cruise or fish the lakes; climb, abseil or zipline through woods and canyons. local travel agency Adventures in Banff is your best bet for the widest range of activities with experienced guides.
If you decide to stay in Lake Louise instead of commuting from Banff – hard to resist once you get a glimpse of the surroundings – drop your bags at the Post Hotel & Spa, the only Relais & Châteaux property in the Canadian Rockies. Its serene Temple Mountain Spa and superb Outpost restaurant are destinations in themselves.
Ready for a hike? Lake Louise Insiders Recommend the Nine Mile Plain of Six Glaciers Trail, heading southwest from the shore of the lake. It ends at the edge of the cliff Plain of Six Glaciers Tea Room, with homemade snacks and soulful teas. Alternatively, hike 2.2 miles of beautiful wooded trails to the family business Sainte Agnès tea house, which serves over 100 teas and sandwiches on homemade oatmeal bread. Paddling Lake Louise is also a must; Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise rent canoes both guests and day visitors. For an adrenaline rush, several operators offer white water rafting tours from the Kicking Horse River, about 45 minutes southwest.
End the day at The Station Restaurantwhere you’ll sample unpretentious dishes like buffalo burgers and local salmon gravlax in a restored train station dating back to around 1915.
Continue your Canadian Rockies adventure in Jasper, a 144-mile drive from Banff-Lake Louise along the Icefields Walk, the iconic dual carriageway that runs along the Continental Divide. (In 2021, 2.1 million visitors came to Jasper National Park – down from previous years due to pandemic – and traffic expected to increase this summer.) Plan to spend at least half a day on the road; you’ll see glaciers, mountains, wildlife, lakes, waterfalls, and valleys, passing through Mistaya Canyon, Bow Lake, and the Athabasca Glacier. Don’t forget to fill up before you hit the road.
Pampering and adventure awaits you here once you arrive. Book a room at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, which celebrates its centennial this year. With a Canadian understatement, the property describes itself as “a charming village,” which is like saying the Rockies are beautiful hills. On the menu: luxuriously appointed cabins and suites, a world-class spa and golf course, cross-country skiing facilities and five restaurants – try the smoked Alberta beef brisket at The smoking area. Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Phillip stayed here in 2005 on a visit to mark Alberta’s centennial.