The Saddleback trail takes you between Saddle Mountain and Fairview Mountain offering amazing views of Paradise Valley and Lake Louise below as well golden alpine larches in the fall. The trail starts at both the upper parking lot in Lake Louise as well from the lake shore near the boathouse, just follow the Saddleback trail and don't veer off when it forks to the Fairview Lookout.
The hike takes about 3-4 hours and is considered difficult. I've seen some sites list it as 'easy', it's not, they're lying. The trail is almost entirely uphill and very steep and uneven in a lot of spots- nothing scary but you definitely need good leg muscles.
The day we went out the weather was cold and rainy which meant a lot of fog up in the mountains that ended up blocking our view. We were able to catch a small glimpse of the hotel in the photos below, but other than that our hike was filled with a thick fog and rain that eventually turned to snow. It would have been nice to see the valley below, but the fog was so beautiful we didn't really mind.
Since the weather wasn't the greatest we saw very few people on the trail, aside from at the trailhead, but everyone turned off at the fairview lookout. It may have been because we were on bear alert and turning our heads at any crack we heard, but the woods definitely had a eerie vibe to them as we turned around foggy bends and switchbacks.
Check back next week to see the second half of the trail ft. all of the snow!