Louise and I haven’t been to Lake Louise for a while, but this week we decided it was time to pay her namesake a visit and check it out in Winter. We also had some friends in town and it was an opportunity to shoot their engagement photos in front one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
Before we drove over to Lake Louise, we couldn’t resist an early start at Banff’s most popular sunrise spot, Vermillion Lakes. If you’ve been there before, you’ll know that it’s always a bit hit and miss for sunrise; just a little too much cloud cover and you can say goodbye to those gorgeous colours and light rays.
On this particular morning however, the heavens finally decided to answer our prayers and gave us one of the best light shows I’ve ever seen there. Light beams, colours and reflections; not much more that you can ask for to be honest!
After an early start like that, we were absolutely famished; there’s nothing gets you hungry quite like an early morning sunrise mission.
After very little debate, the group piled into the car and decided it was a good idea to head to our favourite breakfast spot; Tooloulou’s.
Tooloulou’s is without doubt the best breakfast in Banff. Waffles with a mountain of cream, eggs bennies and about a hundred different varieties of hot sauces.
For what it’s worth, I don’t recommend slathering your eggs bennies in “Satan’s Ghost” – a fiery ghost pepper hot sauce you can find lurking ominously on their shelves. I can’t help you with the other 99 (give or take) sauces I’m afraid.
Ok, sunrise, check, breakfast, check. Time to head to Lake Louise.
As expected, it was a Saturday during Christmas week and parking was a bit of a gong show. Lake Louise was just as busy as expected, and we were greeted by hundreds of winter tourists as we emerged at the lake. Now that the lakes are frozen and the skating rinks are in full swing, most of the crowds seem to be concentrated around that area.
I suppose the crowds are the reason we normally don’t spend too much time here, but with such perfect weather it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement. We hadn’t brought our skates along, but that didn’t stop us piling onto the ice and sliding around in our boots.
It’s around this time of year also that the Lake Louise Ice Castle goes up, so it was a nice little photo stop as we showed our friends around (trying to avoid the dozens of tiny, out of control kids barreling along at high speeds).
As the lake was frozen solid, we realised that we only really had to walk about 50 metres to get away from the crowds. Few were interested in going past the skating rinks, so within seconds we’d found ourselves the perfect crowd-free mountain backdrop for our shoot.
Here are some of the shots we came up with! (Oh and there are some silly ones of us thrown in there too – sorry not sorry)
Particularly in Winter, it’s quite unusual to get such good weather, so we were really happy with the conditions this time around! The only downside was that the temperature was around -15C, meaning we could only stand a few minutes of photos before our hands started turning blue…
(by the way, I seriously recommend the new Royal Canadian Aldershot Boots I’ve been wearing recently; they’ve been keeping my toes really nice and toasty).
It was at this point that everyone started to ask me if I was ok because apparently my hands and face were literally changing colour…
After some quick investigating, it turned out that it wasn’t the cold.. just some new jeans that I hadn’t washed properly yet! But it was a good enough reason to head inside and grab a hot drink.
If there’s one thing I recommend at the Fairmont at Lake Louise, it’s getting a hot chocolate and warming up before you venture out again. They have a decent selection of drinks and desserts at their coffee shop and at Christmas they bolster it with a condiment bar full of sprinkles, marshmallows and shaved chocolate.
Overall, if you can stomach the crowds, Lake Louise is a magical place to visit in winter and it’s the perfect place to bring the family for a fun day out.
After our little trip we decided to hit the hot tub next, but if you’re still looking for adventure you could also head onwards to Emerald Lake, Natural Bridge or even Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park!
If you’re thinking about this spot for a photoshoot and want some help, feel free to reach out! Otherwise, read more about 10 more of our favourite romantic photoshoot locations in Banff National Park