5 Ways to Relax Over the Holidays

With the gift-giving, the cooking, the decorations and the parties, the holidays can seem more like work than a vacation. Thankfully, we have come up with some options to help relieve your stress, so you can have yourself a merry and worry-free Christmas break this year.

For many of us, an escape to the gorgeous Canadian Rockies is just the thing needed to get far enough away to indulge in some R&R, but still, enjoy many of the activities we crave during the winter months. If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy the best of both worlds, our three lodges in Lake Louise, Banff and Emerald Lake, BC may be just what you’re searching for!

1. Christmas Dinner without the Cooking

Photo credit: Celestine Arden

If you love Christmas dinner, but could do without the messy clean-up, pull up a spot in the warm and cozy dining rooms at Emerald Lake Lodge, Deer Lodge and Buffalo Mountain Lodge to spoil yourself with mouthwatering chef-crafted courses. You will be welcomed with gorgeous decorations everywhere you look, paired with stunning views of the surrounding mountain peaks.

After dinner, there’s simply no place to go except back to a roaring fireplace in your guest room at Buffalo Mountain Lodge or Emerald Lake Lodge. You will sleep soundly knowing that a delicious boxing-day breakfast awaits the next morning, all included in the Christmas Package. Christmas dinner and breakfast on Boxing Day are included in our Christmas Packages.

2. Walk, Snowshoe or Cross-Country Ski in a Winter Wonderland

Photo credit: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson

Snowshoeing or Walking in the Rockies

After a delicious and decadent breakfast on boxing day, bundle up and spend your afternoon walking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing around on one of the many breathtaking trails surrounding the lodges. No matter what your fitness level, there is something for everyone in Lake Louise, Banff and Emerald Lake.

Our favourite hikes and snowshoe routes around Buffalo Mountain Lodge
Photo credit: Christopher Amat

Hoodoos Viewpoint
From Surprise Corner, the trail takes you through forested areas until you reach the beautiful Douglas Fir Trail. This sunny trail provides open vistas to the Hoodoos Viewpoint. Keep an eye out for wildlife and watch for icy sections. You can make a loop or return to the lodge via Tunnel Mtn. Road.

Tunnel Mountain Summit
Reach the summit of a mountain in the heart of Banff’s townsite. Take in breathtaking views of the Bow and Spray valleys. This steep trail can be extremely icy. Hiking poles and ices cleats are strongly recommended.

See this printable brochure for a full list of Banff Winter walks and hikes.

Our favourite walking and snowshoe trails around Deer Lodge in Lake Louise

Photo credit: Christopher Amat

Lake Louise Lakeshore
Starting at the lodge, make your way past the Chateau Lake Louise and take in the classic wintery views of Lake Louise. This trail takes you to the back of the lake for a different view and features a 100 m tall frozen waterfall.

Louise Creek
This is the best pedestrian option from the lodge to Lake Louise Village. Walk along Lake Louise drive and look for the trailhead that will take you winding down the mountainside. Cross the Bow River bridge and grab a bite to eat at the Samson Mall before making your way back up the frozen mountain.

Fairview Lookout
This steep trail ends at a viewpoint overlooking our historic lodge and Chateau Lake Louise. Start by facing the Lake at the World Heritage Site rock. Look left and follow the trail signs for Fairview Lookout. Warning: Return via the same path; the loop option is not safe in the winter due to avalanches.

See this printable brochure for a full list of winter walks and hikes in Lake Louise.

Our favourite snowshoe trails near Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, BC
Photo credit: Christopher Amat

Emerald Lake Loop
This trail begins by the lodge and follows the perimeter of the lake. Once a groomed trail has been established on the ice, please follow this route and avoid the avalanche path section.

Emerald River Trail
The trail starts at the left of the entrance to the Emerald Lake Parking lot, the Hamilton Falls trailhead. Turn left at the 0.4km junction and follow the trail as it travels along the Emerald River. The trail is narrow and steep at sections.

See this printable brochure for a full list of winter walks and hikes around Emerald Lake Lodge.

Cross Country Skiing in the Mountains

Photo credit: Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson

You glide silently on freshly-made tracks alongside trees laden with snow, their branches bowing under its weight. The snow is lit up by the sun, creating a sparkling path before you. Rounding a bend, the forest opens up to a breathtaking view of a frozen lake and snow-covered peaks. Cross-country skiing offers a special combination of pure, serene wilderness, and energizing outdoor discovery.

Our favourite cross-country skiing trails near Buffalo Mountain Lodge

Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court
Two seasonally closed campgrounds offer first-time skiers the perfect place to try out a new sport. Get your evening fitness fix with 2.6 km of lit trails in the Trailer Court or explore the 3.1 km quiet, forested loops of Village 1. The trailhead is within walking distance of the lodge and Roam transit.

Spray River West Trail
The entire trail is double track set with a skate skiing lane. This trail is a locals’ favourite offering rolling terrain in a picturesque river valley with views of the townsite. Bring a snack from Buffalo Mountain Café; there is a picnic spot beside the river near the bridge!

See this printable brochure for a full list of Banff cross-country ski trails.

Our favourite walking and snowshoe trails around Deer Lodge in Lake Louise

Moraine Lake Road
Climbing steadily, this trail includes both gently rolling and hilly stretches. Track setting ends at a viewpoint of Consolation Valley and the Ten Peaks. Beyond the viewpoint, the road crosses large avalanche paths – so please be aware of the risks when venturing through this area.

Lake Louise Loop
This loop features a wide-open trail across frozen Lake Louise, followed by a fun up & down trip back through the frozen woods – just 100 metres uphill from the lakeshore walking path. Use the Fairview – Lake Louise connector trail to ski directly from the parking lot onto the lake. Track setting ends at the back of the lake, as the trail up the valley crosses large avalanche paths.

Peyto
The trail starts at the upper Deer Lodge parking lot and connects skiers to the Great Divide and Lower Telemark trails.

See this printable brochure for a full list of winter walks and hikes in Lake Louise.

Our favourite cross-country trails near Emerald Lake Lodge in Field, BC

Emerald Lake Horse Trail
This trail follows the western side of the lake, connecting the parking area with the Emerald Alluvial Fan Loop. Please follow the groomed trail and directional signs.

Emerald Alluvial Fan Loop Trail

For skiers who want a longer ski, take the left fork along the Emerald Basin trail on a loop around the alluvial fan, through trees and glades back to the Emerald Lake Horse Trail.

See this printable brochure for a full list of cross-country ski trails around Emerald Lake Lodge.

3. Lounge & Game Rooms

Once you make it back to the lodge, indulge in a warm drink in front of the grand fireplaces at each lodge, and take in the stunning details and decorations that were lovingly placed by our very own in-house decorating elves!

A crackling Yuletide fire nestled in a cozy fireplace is the scene most Christmas songs are based upon, and it can be your reality this holiday season.  Spend time reading your favourite Christmas stories in one of our grand sitting rooms or gather the family together for a rousing game of pool or Snooker in the game rooms at Deer Lodge or Emerald Lake Lodge.

4. Festive Celebrations by the Fire

Photo credit: Celestine Arden

What could be better than a glass of creamy eggnog complete with a little extra Christmas cheer? Enjoying it with loved ones, surrounded by Christmas decorations and a roaring fireplace of course! As part of our festive celebrations across all three lodges, guests are welcomed to enjoy a glass of Christmas cheer on Christmas Eve to get into the holiday spirit before Jolly Ole Saint Nick stops by.

If a glass of wine is more your speed, enjoy a glass from our award-winning wine list across all three lodges, paired with a tasty share plate from the menu.

5. Take in Spectacular Winter Views from the Outdoor Hot Tubs

Photo credit: Christopher Amat

The holidays are a time when you can relax without any worries to reflect on the year and be content. Embrace in the ultimate relaxation moment as you step into our state-of-the-art steel hot tub, take-in a deep breath of the fresh mountain air and say “Ahhhh”. No matter the lodge, you can bask in the idyllic mountain views as snow quietly falls around you, creating an instant retreat into relaxation.  The hot tub is the best place to unwind after a chaotic holiday season and provides some of the best settings for your yearly reflection before ringing in 2019.

Make this holiday one to remember while saving on your costs, book our Christmas Package for the ultimate festive experience. Included is a delicious three course Christmas dinner as well as a buffet breakfast the next morning.  Looking for that perfect plan for New Year’s Eve? Ring in the New Year with style surrounded by snow-covered mountain peaks and an abundance of festive cheer with our New Year’s Eve Package! Each of our lodges features a New Years Eve dinner for two with breakfast on New Years Day.