Ryan and I love the cold and love finding unique places to travel. So when we were looking for honeymoon ideas, it seemed logical to search for unique, winter destinations.
For our January honeymoon, we wanted adventure and something completely different than we have ever experienced. Living in Texas, freezing temperatures are something we maybe get one or two days out of the year. So we took our search north to our Canadian neighbor which is known for its winter wonderland conditions. Mountains, skiing, ice skating, dogsledding? Yes please! So after hours of research and scouring hundreds of websites, we finally picked the majestic and surreal Lake Louise.
Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park which is Canada's first national park and the world's third. The beauty of Banff National Park is that even though it is easy to access, the wilderness is left mostly untouched and you feel truly lost among the mountains and pines.
The town of Lake Louise is small and offers a handful of restaurants and stores but the real draw is the beautiful lake. Lake Louise is situated below mountains and its a picturesque scene that beckons you to visit. Whether in summer of winter, Lake Louise is always beautiful and pristine.
Travel & accommodations
To get to Lake Louise from Dallas, we flew nonstop to Calgary which is about a 3 hour drive from the Lake Louise. When we arrived in Calgary it was bright and sunny, but after we rented our car and headed west, a horrible snow storm started. We were one of the few cars on the road and to our luck, we didn't have snow tires. Not very smart on our part but as Texans, we didn't even think of asking for them.
After several hours of trying to find Lake Louise, getting lost twice, hydroplaning and then getting stuck on a hill, we finally arrived at our hotel with the help of some local snow plows. Our honeymoon definitely started off adventurous but we were exhausted and ready for some sleep.
For our honeymoon, we opted to go big and booked a lake view room at the beautiful Fairmont Lake Louise. There is no other way to describe the hotel but gorgeous. As soon as we stepped inside we felt like we were being transported back in time. Its ornately decorated and rich in color and the staff were so welcoming and accommodating. After being in a snow storm for a few hours with nothing but granola bars we were so relieved to have finally arrived.
Since we arrived at night, we could barely make out the lake or even the mountains from our bedroom window. I was so excited to see the frozen lake so I was a bit bummed I had to wait another day to see it. But I couldn't be happier that it happened that way. As soon as we woke up, we opened up the blinds and we were welcomed by one of the most stunning landscapes I have or probably ever will see. I know its cliche, but it actually took my breath away.
Lake Louise was completely frozen over and mountains towered around the valley. The snow storm had blanketed the trees with a fresh powder and all seemed still and quiet. It was so early that no one had ventured outside and we felt that we were able to share this view with only each other. It was incredibly romantic and a moment we both will never forget.
Seeing the lake firsthand is worth the whole trip in itself and we spent a lot of our time exploring the sights surrounding Lake Louise and taking dozens of pictures. Lake Louise has a walking trail around the lake that takes you to a waterfall. In January, the waterfall is completely frozen over and you will often see people climbing on the large icicles. We took that walk several times to somewhat escape from the hotel and enjoy the outdoors. This is one of the main reasons we loved traveling to Lake Louise in the winter, there were few people visiting so we felt we had the lake all to ourselves.
The hotel also has a horse drawn sled that takes you around the trail which was romantic and a lot of fun. We were able to meet other travelers from all over the world and enjoy the view of Lake Louise from a difference angle.
The Fairmont Lake Louise has a wonderful concierge service that will book dinner reservations and activities around the hotel. We used the concierge daily. The first excursion we decided to do was dog sledding. In my opinion, what a wonderful way to experience Banff National Park then to sled through the forest like people have been doing for hundreds of years?
We used Kingmik Dog Sled Tours and we had such an incredible time! Ryan and I love dogs and the group we had were so much fun. At first we were hesitant about dog sledding because we weren't educated enough on the treatment of the huskies. But as our tour guide explained, the dogs love to pull the sled and it was evident as we waited to head out. They were hyper and yelping and couldn't stand waiting. Each dog was eager to start, and as soon as our guide began, the dogs took off at a full sprint and never looked back.
Now I will admit, it was absolutely freezing. Even though we were having a blast, my body was numb and a half smile was frozen onto my face. When the guide asked if we wanted to get out of our warm, and comfortable bag to help her mush, we both quickly said no thank you. Although it was a chance of a lifetime, I couldn't get myself to budge to get out into the cold.
The day we went dog sledding, it was 0 degrees outside with a -10 windchill. It was the coldest temperature I've ever experienced. To get my point across on how cold it was, my eyelashes literally had icicles on them. We both couldn't believe it and its a memory we always look back on and laugh.
Hitting the slopes
One of the main reasons we wanted to go on a winter honeymoon was Ryan and I love to ski and snowboard. I've been skiing since I was 5 and have gone every year since. Ryan is an avid snowboarder and we were excited to know we had several ski options during our honeymoon in Canada. Lake Louise Ski Resort has some great ski runs and had prime ski conditions. And what makes it even better is the view from the top. You are able to look over Lake Louise and the Fairmont and get another scenic view of Banff National Park.
With the help of the concierge, we learned about another ski resort not too far from Lake Louise, Kicking Horse in British Columbia. After about an hour drive early in the morning, we arrived at Kicking Horse. Its a more difficult mountain and we had to take some time to get used to the steeper hills but it still was a great day of hitting the mountain.
We hit the mountain for a few hours then headed to the top to escape the cold at the tallest restaurant in Canada, Eagle's Eye. We ordered Canada's famous Caesar bloody marry and enjoyed the spectacular views that overlooked the valley. Once again, it was beautiful. I feel that whenever I tell people about Canada I end up overusing the word beautiful. But it perfectly describes Canada's landscape. Breathtakingly beautiful.
Our winter honeymoon in Canada was romantic, adventurous and a step out of the ordinary. We love a good beach vacation but there was something that drew us to a winter escape at Lake Louise and I am so happy we chose it as our honeymoon destination. It was everything we wanted on our romantic vacation and more.
I revisit our pictures often and smile at all of the crazy and adventurous things we did for those seven days. Ryan and I bonded so much during our winter escape and it was a perfect trip to start off our journey as husband and wife. Now that our family is a trio, we have plans to return in the next few years with Milena and experience the beauty of Banff National Park in the summer time. Lake Louise is one of those destinations that is perfect no matter when you visit and offers a raw beauty unlike anywhere else in the world