another Canadian rockies inquiry

Jun 29th, 2009, 02:46 PM
  #1  
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another Canadian rockies inquiry

My family of 4 (including 2 young teens) are planning to fly to (and depart from) Calgary mid August to drive to Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, etc. Want to do easy hikes, see wildlife, see the great beauty there. We have 10 days. There's been great info here on stops to make, particular hikes etc. Should we stay in 2, or 3 different locations? Any specific recommendations? Not looking for posh accommodation. Thanks
janey47 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 07:16 AM
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If you're going to confine yourself to mainly the places you've mentioned, and with 10 days, we prefer to stay in one place - usually Banff. You can make day excursions to Lake Louise, Icefields Parkway, Moraine Lake etc.

I might be tempted, though, to spend 1 night in Jasper if you want to drive the entire Parkway (which I would recommend). You could tour the Glaciers on the way up or back. We think this is such a beautiful drive that we like to take our time, make lots of stops, even a picnic, and then return a day or so later.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 08:28 AM
  #3  
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Thanks. We definitely would stay at least 2 nights in Jasper and drive the Parkway both ways and tour the Glacier. We'd love to see as much as we can, and definitely want to make frequent stops on all our outings. I don't have a good sense of time and distance if we meander around, and I don't want to rush - that's why I didn't know if we should base ourselves in several places. Accommodation suggestions welcome!
janey47 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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On a 9 day trip we stayed in Banff, Jasper and Yoho (Lake O'Hara was the highlight of our trip--it's right on the other side of the mountains as Lake Louise, but there's no tour buses/hoards of ice cream dripping tourists, etc). We stayed in the National Parks, not the towns. It worked perfectly--I wouldn't have wanted to base in 1 place and do a lot of driving. 10 days sounds perfect.

I would recommend the Patricia Lake Bungalows in Jasper.
The lodge at Lake O'Hara looks amazing but it's very expensive and you have to reserve far in advance. Our trip was mid-September and I couldn't believe how many hotels/cabins/b and bs were booked 6 months in advance. If you are going this August, I wonder how much choice you have left.
christy1 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 10:17 AM
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We've stayed at the Banff Springs Hotel and Jasper Park Lodge, both of which we thoroughly enjoyed and would highly recommend. Don't know if those suit you or not. My folks have also rented condos just outside of Banff (in Cannmore) which we really liked. Gave us more room and easy to fix breakfast and light meals.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 02:56 PM
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We did 10 days in the area. You can look at my trip report. Accommodations are expensive in the area. I find www.kayak.com helpful when looking for lodging. I changed reservations when rates dropped a couple weeks before our trip.

Patricia Lake (Jasper)has very afforadable cottages--very 50s looking but fabulous location, very clean. We loved it there.

Lake Louise is expensive--you would do better looking in Banff. Canmore is even more affordable--is outside of Banff.
LindainOhio is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 09:20 AM
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I third the suggestion of Patricia Lake Bungalows! Love the places charm and location and priced right as well. I’d stay a minimum of three nights though, quite a bit of stuff to see up that way and town itself is nice. Go to Maligne Lake, Edith Cavell, gondola, raft, Mount Robson, hot springs, depending on what you like.
We like staying in Lake Louise. True quieter and fewer dining choices than Banff, but closer to the hiking and sights we prefer. Places like Moraine Lake, Yoho Park (Emerald lake, Lake O'Hara - try and reserve bus, Takakkaw Falls, spiral tunnels, Burgess Shale), and Lake Louise Hikes (Teahouse/Plain of Six Glaciers, Mount Fairmont). While Banff puts most places to shame the scenery around Lake Louise is even more spectacular. I've not stayed, but Paradise Lodge is pretty reasonable, well located, and gets good reviews.
If Lake Louise appeals to you, but still want to tour Banff stay there the last night or two prior to going to the airport. Banff is touristy, but fun and lots of dining options. Rent bikes and hit some of the paved/gravel trails around town.
DaveS is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 01:38 PM
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Another accommodation option for Jasper is "private home accommodations" - rooms or a suite in a resident's home. You should be able to get 2 bedrooms with a living room, bathroom and kichen or kitchenette for under $200 per night, probably under $150. They are listed at www.stayinjasper.com .
krp329 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2009, 02:09 PM
  #9  
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I appreciate all the input. I think we may stay at 3 locations - I'll find out the options when I try to make arrangements this weekend.

Do you need decent hiking boots or are tennis shoes good enough for not overly challenging but beautiful hikes?
janey47 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2009, 06:53 AM
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We booked a 2-rm cabin at Baker Creek Chalets in Lake Louise for our family with 14 & 11 yrs olds. It has kitchen facilities which will save money. Since they didn't have availability for our entire stay, we also booked at Johnston Canyon Resort further south on Bow Valley Parkway (closer to Banff). It's one of the more reasonably priced cabins in the area. You may also want to try VRBO.com for rental units by owner. We've used them in other locations and have always had an excellent experience. Very reasonable prices for apartment or condo-size units.
traveladventurer is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2009, 10:58 PM
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If searching vrbo or other vacation rental sites for Banff accommodation, pay very close attention to the fine print. Vacation rentals are actually illegal in Banff - the national park regulations include a "need to reside" in residential leaseholds, so homes must be occupied by someone working in the park. Most vacation rentals in the area are in Canmore, a neighbouring town about 15 minute's drive away, just outside the national park.
krp329 is offline  
Jul 4th, 2009, 07:52 AM
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Do go to the other side of the mountains into Yoho National Park. Takakkaw Falls are a must

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takakkaw_Falls

I'm pretty sure we got there going over Kicking Horse Pass

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kicking_Horse_Pass

Have a great time!
wrenwood is offline  
Jul 5th, 2009, 05:16 PM
  #13  
mms
 
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We have stayed at Baker Creek a couple of times and love it! Once we had a two room cabin and the other time a one bedroom with a loft. Both times we were right on the river. I love the location. The restaurant is very good as well.
mms is offline  
Jul 6th, 2009, 09:02 PM
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As per DaveS's suggestion, I decided to stay in Lake Louise 4 nights, Jasper 3, and Banff the final two. However, christy1 was right - I can't get reservations at any of the places everyone's recommended! The Jasper Inn is avaiable, but some of the reviews are devastating. There are also places in Canmore, but we really wanted to be in the parks. - I didn't explore the rental option there. Airfare and car are no problem - this never happened to me before. Any ideas?
janey47 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2009, 05:19 AM
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You might keep checking since sometimes there are last minute cancellations. In the meantime, I think the idea of a condo/apt in Canmore which I and others mentioned is quite acceptable (especially if your understandable desire to stay in the parks isn't currently avaliable). It is a quick drive into Banff and we found day trips to Lake Louise and elsewhere very doable. At least I'd look into it as a backup. If you do later find something in the park, check to make sure you can cancel the condo without any major penalties.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2009, 05:21 AM
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The other suggestion I have is to do a search on here for Banff and Jasper accommodations. There have been LOTS of posts and suggestions on this topic and you may find some very nice properties in/next to the parks that may have openings.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2009, 08:51 AM
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Just went to Expedia to check some days in mid August. Lots of availability and many specials. Rimrock in Banff for $157.00 is very low for that place. High Country Inn(we stayed there last time) $145.00 including breakfast. Not fancy, but very clean and right in town. Chateau Lake Louise $271.00 for deluxe room.
In Jasper we've only stayed @ Patricia Lake. Looks like Pyramid Lake Resort just up the road has availability. Looks like a nice place right on the lake with nice views.
DaveS is offline  
Jul 7th, 2009, 09:05 AM
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Janey I've also stayed here in Jasper and liked it:
http://www.beckerschalets.com/

But for mid August you might just have to do hotels.com/expedia or another site like that and take what's left.

As for hiking, real hiking boots have a considerable break in period, so don't get new ones for the trip. I don't like tennis shoes because they don't provide good protection when you're hiking on rocky or muddy surfaces, and they just aren't very sturdy. But, if you are really doing walks (like, only a mile or two at a time) it should be okay. If you had hiking shoes, that would be best. They are sturdier and provide better protection.
christy1 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2009, 03:05 PM
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Is anyone familiar with the lodge rather than bungalows (not available my dates) at Paradise Lodge and Bungalows? I read some comments that people were disappointed - very different than the cabins. I don't know if it's worth paying about $60 more per night at the Chateau lake Louise - with tax it's about $300 U.S./night.


Prices change constantly - when I was ready to book the flight the price went up $37 a ticket mid transaction. I went back on later and got fares $24 less than the original.

Haven't dealt with Jasper or Banff yet - Banff won't be hard now that I've gotten several recommendations. I really don't want to stay in a home/condo. We're not going to be cooking - aside from buying food for daytime sandwiches etc, it's eating out all the way.
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