Day One - Lake Louise and the Icefield Parkway
As you drive into the Canadian Rockies in Alberta and the foothills turn to mountains the excitement for your weekend grows. Past the Banff National Park gates and the exits for Banff, you take the exit for the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A), the perfect spot for wildlife sightings at dusk and dawn. The light comes up over the mountains and if luck is on your side you may see a deer, an elk, or even a fox.
Arriving in Lake Louise is the perfect start to your spring getaway. After checking in to your hotel you should go out and pick up your rental skates from Chateau Mountain Sports or Wilson Mountain Sports and head down to the iconic lake itself. The frozen lake is dotted with skaters out to enjoy the tranquillity of the ice. You strap up your rental skates and head out yourself.
After you pack up your skates, head out along the lake-side path towards the famous ice climbing area and a lesser-known view of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Heading back towards the Chateau, the idea of a warm cup of hot chocolate quickens your step. Trailhead Cafe or Laggan’s Mountain Bakery and Deli in town provide the truly Canadian beverage and a hot lunch. You exit back onto the Trans-Canada (Highway 1) and follow signs for the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), the anticipation continues to grow for your next stops.
Taking in the views that only one of the most scenic drives in the world can offer, you are astounded by the snow-covered peaks. Your first stop of the afternoon is at Bow Lake, the glacier-fed lake that feeds into the Bow Valley river system, and it reminds you of your own scale. You can imagine the colour of the blue that you’ve seen in photographs below the now frozen surface.
Just five minutes up the road, there is the beautiful Peyto Lake. The lake is known for being shaped like a wolf head. Your quick hike up to the viewpoint delivers you to a canvas of fresh snow over the lake, exaggerating its wolf-like shape.
Day Two - Spring Skiing
No chance for sleeping in on this spring vacation. It's time to get up and hop over to the world-famous Lake Louise Ski Resort. You can pick up your rental skis from the hill and try out one of the amazing spring-skiing slopes that run until the middle of May (or the snow melts, which can be much later some years). If skiing isn't your thing, you can take in the mountain vistas before sliding down the hill on your own snow tube.
Before heading to Banff in the afternoon, you have to make a stop for one more adventure that includes time spent with a few cute fluffy teammates. You sit back and snuggle with your love while a team of huskies pull you through some of the most magical snow-covered scenery in Lake Louise with Kingmik Dog Sled Tours. You look into each other's eyes and feel truly grateful for having this experience together.
Once you get to Banff, check into your hotel and then try out one of the fabulous intimate restaurants - like the Block Kitchen + Bar, or The Grizzly House, where you and your partner share the excitement for a long-awaited date night.
Next, you make your way to the Lux Cinema to take continue your relaxing day and take in a movie. Not quite sure how tomorrow could possibly top today, but you look forward to the possibilities.
Day 3 - Long Brunches and Retail Therapy
Blissfully exhausted from the previous day, you both relish a guilt-free sleep-in. Wrapped in warm blankets, it takes some convincing to get a freshly brewed cup of coffee. A long, lazy brunch is just what you had in mind and the chef doesn’t disappoint.
You head to the Cave & Basin National Historic Site, Banff National Park's birthplace, to explore take in the beginnings of Banff National Park. Afterwards, it's time for a little retail therapy and shopping for unique Canadian-crafted gifts and souvenirs. Wandering the shops of Banff is only complete with a mid-afternoon snack, luckily Beavertails has the perfect warm treat or Cows for those who love spring ice cream.
Full of treats and delight you prepare for your trip back home. Luckily the feeling of the mountains doesn’t fade quickly. You’ll be left revelling in your adventures for weeks to come and surely be planning a trip back to relive your favourite moments and discover new ones too.
An afternoon wander around the downtown streets lined with local handmade shops and iconic views of Mt. Rundle and Cascade Mountain, maybe enough to fill your 3-day getaway. But, maybe not, and a jaunt up Tunnel Mountain for one last stretch of the legs before you go is in order.
Returning to the city feeling like you’ve given each other the attention you both deserve feels rewarding. You remind each other of your favourite parts of your time away and make plans to do it again. This time, a little sooner.