Historic Railway Station offers unique dining in Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.
On the return drive to Calgary from hikes on the Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail and to Fairview Lookout, touring tiny Lake Louise Village in Alberta, Canada, discovers a deceivingly well-equipped community fully equipped to entertain the millions of local and international visitors annually who choose to enjoy one of the most awe-inspiring, easily accessible, wilderness spectacles on the planet.
A short drive west from Lake Louise Drive on Sentinel Road ends at the historic 1910 Train Station which was converted to a unique dining experience in 1994. The historical location has become The Station Restaurant.
A short stroll from the parking area reveals the attention to detail in the restoration of the rustic log Lake Louise Railway Station with two-story, leaded bow windows and a triple hearth stone fireplace.
The outdoor dining area and legendary gardens are buried under several feet of snow, on this early spring visit, but the consistent attention to historic detail will revive them for late spring, summer, and early fall visitors who are sufficiently fortunate to discover this historical and well-preserved iconic structure.
Several steps west from the front door of the main building, Canadian Pacific Railway dining cars which catered to the legions of early and adventurous international travelers to Western Canada are well-preserved for guests who wish to experience a nostalgic, unique, memorable, upgraded cuisine and albeit stationary version of grand tradition, romantic rail car dining ambiance.
Tables are set with fresh linen, antique china and silver table settings in anticipation of the next fortunate guests who choose to enjoy a unique dining experience surrounded by incredible mountain scenery.
A brief walk south from the entrance to the Railway Restaurant leads to trail, which crosses the Bow River on a wooden suspension bridge and arrives immediately at a T-junction.
The Bow River Loop Trail, to the west, delivers a 7.1 KM (4.4 mile) round-trip, relatively flat, hiking or mountain biking experience along the banks of the beautiful Bow River. To the west, the 4.5 KM (2⅞ mile) Tramline, with elevation gain of 195 m (640 ft), follows the well-graded original route of trams, on switchbacks, which delivered railway passengers from the Lake Louise Railway Station to the Chateau Lake Louise between 1912 and 1930 when the Canadian Pacific Railway was developing new markets for international business to access and appreciate the pristine beauty of the Rocky Mountains in Western Canada.
These were exciting times. During this brief winter visit, these trails are track set for cross-country skiing. When the Moraine Lake Road opens, usually in late May, world-class hikes at Moraine Lake such as Larch Valley, Sentinel Pass, Paradise Valley and Eiffel Lakes will be available to hikers. The anticipation is always profound after the short, cooler days of winter, when travel on trails is often limited to snowshoes or back country skis and can be compromised by changing weather and potential avalanche conditions.