Get ready for golden days in Lake Louise

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‘Wonderfall’ is the season to slow down and explore


Get ready to be dazzled by the golden hues of fall in the Banff and Lake Louise. 
Photo by Paul Zizka

PAULA WORTHINGTON

LAKE LOUISE – I have a confession to make. I hesitated, but I’m going to let you in on an Alberta secret. It isn’t about some far-flung destination that you’ve never ventured to, or a treasure trove of natural wonders. It’s about a place you likely know well, and you’ve likely ventured to at least once in your life.

This makes September one of the best times to look forward to a new season of exploration in Banff National Park. Seasons can feel fleeting at any time of year, but in Lake Louise, the golden moments of fall are not to be missed.

There’s often a collective sigh of relief when many of the campgrounds and parking lots have thinned out from their summer peak, leaving spaces and places for fall adventurers to explore.


It can be a lot quieter around the Banff and Lake Louise's gorgeous lakes, and peaks.
Photo by Paula Worthington

The Lake Louise Fall Festival, now dubbed “Wonderfall,” takes place this year from Sept. 5 to Oct. 12. The colours are incredible and ever-changing — green, gold, yellow, red, orange, blue. The stars of the show are the larch trees, which turn from green to chartreuse to a brilliant yellow for around two weeks every September.

Local experiences and attractions are even more amazing in fall, says Elizabeth Armstrong, manager, events and special projects at Banff Lake Louise Tourism.

“Wonderfall is a celebration of the season, when the colours and scenery is elevated, and guests can experience it firsthand through a variety of special activities, like photography workshops, hiking, horseback riding, dining, interpretive programs and more.”


Find new trails to explore and enjoy the solitude of the season. 
Photo by Paul Zizka

This year, the park will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Icefields Parkway, a stunning stretch of highway that connects Lake Louise and Jasper.

September is an incredible time for hiking in the Rockies, where the colours pop and every landscape is often decorated with a light dusting of show on the mountain tops. Larch Valley is a perennial favourite for many, but other hiking areas such as Taylor Lake, Boulder Pass, Arnica Lake and Paradise Valley offer equally amazing golden larches.

“People are sometimes concerned about fall weather, but it’s a widely held misconception,” says Armstrong. “We tend to have great weather in the fall, and if you do come across a bit of snow, that can be beautiful. too.”

With so much to do, Armstrong recommends doing your research first, to determine your preferred activity, dressing for the elements, bringing your camera, and of course taking the time to slow down and enjoy the fall landscapes.


Maybe this is the year to climb the mountain you've always wanted to. 
Photo by Paula Worthington

Here’s more advice for “wonderfall” season from Alyssa Salloway, a spokesperson at Parks Canada. “Bring your SLR camera, as you’ll be able to capture pictures of a lifetime. Be prepared, especially if you are hiking into a new area, and if you’re headed to Moraine Lake and the Larch Valley, plan to get there early in the morning or save your visit for later in the day.”

This year, both Parks Canada and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise will host photography workshops, helping you capture the most stunning images to share with friends and family. Banff Lake Louise Tourism is also offering a variety of accommodation, dining and activity packages to suit adventurers of all styles and ages.

The photography package at the Chateau includes a two-night stay and a workshop with professional nature photographer Richard Berry. The Parks program takes place on Sept. 12 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Visitors’ Centre in Lake Louise.

“Interpreters will also be out and about with programming at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake,” says Salloway. “Keep an eye out on social media, but the last two weeks of September are usually very spectacular.”


Looking for somewhere to stay while taking in all that the Canadian Rockies beauty? Check out  Banff-Lake Louise's official website.

PLAN HERE

One of the great aspects of fall travel in the Rockies is that it can change so much from one week to the next,” says Salloway.” I often plan a series of hikes and activities (camera in tow, of course) throughout the month to see how quickly nature moves from one spectacular scene to the next.

Hope your fall is golden, too.

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