Over the 5 full days we stayed in Lake Louise, we had several excellent snowshoe hiking experiences. We are not skilled back-country skiers, that ability would have extended our range quite a bit, but we found plenty to keep us busy. Let me enumerate a few:
Plain of Six Glaciers—immediately across Lake Louise from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Skiing on the lake or along the path is flat and easy. Once at the end of the lake, the path is well-marked, but steep for climbing in skis. I wish we had brought our snowshoes. We did get up to the cirque that lies at the foot of the ring of mountains, and the views were wonderful. Even with relatively limited back-country skiing ability, we were able to ski down at the end of our hike.
Palmer Ridge—This one we heard about in a random encounter with a guide at a viewpoint. It’s difficult to find a good place to hike up to that takes you beyond the tree line, and this one is just great. It is a few kilometers south of the Columbia Icefields Visitors Center, along the highway up to Jasper. It is up near a pass, and climbs quickly above the trees. There are great views in every direction at the top. It was very windy the day we were there, but thrilling for the views.
Bow Glacier—Tromp across Bow Lake (well-frozen when we were there) and across the moraine, then up to the glacier. Nice moonscape left by the (unfortunately) receding glacier, and a pretty landscape.
Yoho Pass—Yet another tromp across a lake, Emerald Lake this time. This one is well-marked on the maps. Once across the lake, there is a trail across the ski routes and on up to the pass. Beautiful views again, and very accessible.