This place is certainly not "off the beaten path" in the winter, otherwise known as Sunshine Ski Resort. However, what many people don't know is that there is a whole world to discover here during the summer. This is the largest alpine meadow in the world stretching some 15 km along the Continental Divide, at 2225m.
Normally, at this altitude, there is only rock and ice, but precipitation-heavy Pacific winds blow over this region, allowing a huge amount of alpine plants to thrive here, some specific to Sunshine Meadows.
You can reach this area by driving to Sunshine Ski Resort. You can either hike up the restricted access road (6.5km up a steep, dusty, boring gravel road), or save your energy and book a seat on the shuttle bus. The gondola is not open in the summer, like at Lake Louise.
There is hiking of all levels at Sunshine Meadows from very easy (Rock Isle Lake) to more difficult like Quartz Ridge or Citadel Pass. There is also access to Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park from here. The shuttle bus is $20 for a return trip, and runs from June 20 to Sept. 30, depending on the weather. Phone ahead for shuttle times, but when we were there, the first shuttle went at 9 a.m., and last shuttle came down the mountain at 5 p.m. Also, be aware that if you are hiking at this high of an altitude, the weather changes very quickly. On our hiking trip there the weather changed from hot sun, to rain, to snow showers over the day, and this was in July.
This backcountry lodge is located not too far from Lake Louise, and you must hike in.
The hike is for only seasoned hikers, as it is 14km to the lodge, and it is fairly difficult. I would recommend staying at the lodge overn ight as 28km return trip hike can be a bit much for most people.
I haven't personally stayed at the lodge, but have friends that have, and they rave about it. You only need to pack in personal items, as everything else is provided, and they even have showers! The lodge has very comfortable accomodations.
The hike is nothing special in, but the surroundings near the lodge are spectacular.
If you visit Lake Louise in the winter or spring, you can ski or walk on the lake itself, it's usually frozen quite solid. We did so one Easter Weekend, and it was a lot of fun, and gives you a different perspective on the lake, instead of walking the lakeshore.
Make sure that the lake is frozen over and safe to walk on, though. You can usually tell with other people walking or skiing on it.
Nice area not too far from Louise, great for day hikes. Don't go too far in Winter, it get's very dark and cold very quickly.
Make sure to take the 1A (old) highway. Not Highway #1.
I may be wrapped up against the elements but i am absolutely sweating buckets here after climbing up to lake agnes.