Jun 24th, 2004, 07:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 27

Hello again,
Does anyone have feedback on the following accomodations:

Banff: Eleanor's House, High Country Inn,
Rundlestone Lodge
Jasperecker's Chalet, Tekarra Lodge, Alpine Village, Tonquinn Inn, Marmot Lodge, Maligne Lodge

Also, in terms of an itinerary, after our flight into Calgary we were planning to rent a car and drive onto Banff that day and check into wherever we'll be staying for the next three nights,making Banff our base for the first part of our trip (2 full days) because we figured that after the flight, a 2 hour drive to Banff would be sufficient! While staying in Banff, we would explore Lake Louise,Ink Pots, the Plain of 6 glaciers, Agnes teahouse trail, Moraine and maybe Yoho unless we do Yoho to see Emerald Lake and Lake O'Hara with some hiking as a stop while driving the IceField Parkway from Banff toward Jasper but I thought it might require more time than that. On the Icefield Pkwy. we would do the stops, (and maybe Yoho that day if it was not feasible to do while we were staying in Banff) and once we arrive in Jasper we would stay somewhere for the next 3 nights, see Athabasca Glacier Snocoach tour, Icefields, etc. on the 3rd. morning we would drive back to Banff stopping along the way to see whatever we missed on IF Pkway. and stay our last night in Banff then drive the next day to Calgary to fly home. I have to check the flights, if they only have early available, I would probably add one night and stay the last night in Calgary.How does this all sound? Thanks again so much for you assistance with this. It is exciting but there is so much to consider!
cheryl3 is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Cheryl3, I cannot comment on the accommodations you've mentioned, but there are others around here who can.

I'm a bit confused about how much time you have in total, and how you want to distribute your time.

Your idea of driving from Calgary Airport to Banff townsite on the first day is fair enough.

If I've understood you correctly, you have 7 nights altogether. If I were you, I would spend 4 nights in Banff, 2 nights in Jasper, and 1 night in Banff or Calgary (depending on the departure time of your flight home).

Four nights in Banff would give you 3 full days there. This would give you time to explore Banff townsite's environs, Ink Pots, the hikes around Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, as well as Yoho National Park.

It would take you pretty much a full day to drive from Banff townsite to Jasper townsite if you stopped to ride the Snocoach on the Athabasca Glacier and to view the many other scenice spots on the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper townsite.

I really don't think it's possible to visit Yoho National Park and drive the Icefields Parkway on the same day. It's just too much. The only Yoho National Park sight that's feasible to fit into an Icefields Parkway drive, in my opinion, is Takakkaw Falls.

If you spent 2 nights in Jasper, you then would have a full day to explore Jasper's environs (Angel Glacier hike, tramway to the top of Whistlers Mountain, and Maligne Canyon walk or Maligne Lake cruise).

This will have used up 6 nights. Then you'll need to get back to Banff townsite or Calgary for your 7th night.

I suggest you forget about Lake O'Hara. It is a magical place to spend a couple of nights, and I used to recommend it even for a day trip. I've changed my mind about the day trip, however. You're not allowed to drive there, but have to use a bus that costs C$15 per person round trip. Bob Brown has reported a wrinkle that has been added. Whereas one used to be able to reserve a spot on the bus well in advance, one apparently can do so only 24 hours in advance now. When one considers how many other beautiful (and free) hikes there are in the Rockies, it just doesn't seem worth jumping through hoops to visit Lake O'Hara as a day tripper. And in any case, your time in the mountains will be too short to chew up a whole day visiting Lake O'Hara while you miss out on other "must see" sights. Just my opinion.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Cheryl3 -

The Columbia Icefields ( and Snocoach tour) are about halfway between Jasper and Lake Louise, and I would recommend visiting it on the day you are driving the Icefield Parkway, and not as a separate trip from Jasper.
Judy has provided some very good ideas for planning your itinerary.

As for accommodation, we have stayed at Eleanor's House B&B, Becker's Chalets, Alpine Village and Tekarra Lodge, and were happy with all of them. Eleanor's House is a B&B, so it's a bit of a diferent type of accommodation than the other three (which are for the most part cabins). While the cabins have a bedroom, bathroom, living area and kitchen, plus access to the outside immediately through the front door, the B&B has its bedrooms (with ensuite bathrooms) upstairs, and the living room and dining area are "common areas" (other guests will be using them) downstairs.
So I guess it depends on what type of accommodation suits your plans.

Our personal favourite in Jasper is Becker's Chalets - we have stayed there numerous times over the past 20 years and we have never been disappointed. We even like their dining room (which some on this forum have characterized as being "too expensive").

Happy trails!!
Borealis is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 732
Hi Cheryl,
Another thumbs up for Beckers Chalet. Wonderful in every aspect, but book soon, they fill up quickly.

As Borealis said, the dining room on site is very good, which is a bonus.
atilla is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 732
I forgot to mention that we have also stayed at Tekerra Lodge and we were not nearly as impressed as we are with Beckers. They are very close in price also, Beckers is far better for the money.
atilla is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Let me clarify the Lake O'Hara situation a little if I may.

Day visitors and campers want to visit Lake O'Hara may still book reservations up to 90 days in advance for a $12 C reservation fee per booking. Then, in addition to the fee, the bus fare is now $15 C per head.

If you do not have an advanced reservation, there is a limited number of day use seats held back until the day before. Here is what the Yoho website has to say:

A small number of day use and one-night camping spots are set aside for assignement 24 hours in advance. Important change this year: these reservations may only be made by phoning 250.343.6433 the day before you wish to visit O'Hara. The Lake O'Hara telephone line is open daily: 8 am-12 pm/1 pm-4 pm. We anticipate these places will go quickly. Be sure to have a back-up.

Something had to be done because people were camping in the parking lot and lining up at 4 am for the handful of day tickets. It was getting a little out of control.

Whether or not Lake O'Hara is worth it is a good question. My own reaction is that if you have to ask, it probably isn't. I doubt if advanced reservations for July and August are still available.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 55
We spent a week in the Banff area last June and it was fabulous! We rented a house in Canmore and did day trips from there. We found Emerald Lake to be a full day if one hikes the lake (we had a great picnic lunch on a huge rock jutting out onto the lake). We really enjoyed Bow Valley Parkway--closed at night to prevent collisions with the animals--we saw so many elk and big horn sheep that we couldn't count them all and Johnston Canyon, which is right off the Parkway! In Jasper, we stayed and ate at Pyramid Lake Lodge--it was lovely with great views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Get up EARLY in the morning, pick up breakfast at the Bear's Paw Bakery and head out to Maligne Lake--saw lots of wildlife there, too (fox, deer, elk, moose, bear). We enjoyed Maligne Canyon on the way. The highlight of the entire trip was the Columbia Icefields, followed closely by Peyto Lake right off Icefields Parkway. DON'T MISS IT! You can park close and take a short but steep walk to the overlook--it is just magical! Of course, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise are wonderful, as well! Be sure to climb to the top of the rock pile (there's a trail) to get great views of Moraine Lake. During our stay, we saw several bear, including a mama and her cubs up close and personal for about 30 minutes--best times are early and late, of course. Oh, don't forget the Sulphur Mountain Gondola--the 360 degree views are just unbelievable--we went toward sunset when there weren't too many people and I cannot describe how beautiful the view way. Banff Springs Hotel has our vote for the best Nanaimo Bar in Alberta--we sampled them everywhere! There is SO much to see and do--we'd return in a heartbeat!!
falcon is offline  
Jul 1st, 2004, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 48
Reply re. accomodations: We stayed at Becker's Chalets in Jasper last week. They were fine, except that it was very warm (high 80s) and they do not have AC or any meaningful cross-ventilation. The outside cooled down at night, but the cabin never did.
We stayed at the Delta Calgary Airport Hotel the night prior to our 7 am flight home. I highly recommend it. The room was Ok, but the food in the casual restaurant was excellent and the bellman took our bags all the way to the check-in. You can't improve on the location -- essentially right in the airport.
PVB is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3
Hello all - interested in traveling from Northeast, USA to Laka O'Hara Lodge in Lake Louise.

Looking for thoughts where to book most reasonable flight and which airport to fly into?

First time visitors - hopefully next summer. Thanks in advance for any help/feedback you all have.
momonline is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Momonline,

Calgary is the closest airport.

Although Lake O'Hara Lodge is not far from Lake Louise, it is not in Lake Louise as such. Lake Louise is in Banff National Park, which is in the province of Alberta. Lake O'Hara Lodge is in Yoho National Park, which is continguous with Banff National Park, but located in the province of British Columbia. I don't know what the significance of that is -- probably there is no significance. Still, I thought there might be some use in setting the record straight.

Lake O'Hara Lodge is a back country lodge. You are not allowed to drive your car there. You have to leave your car in a parking lot in a clearing in the forest just off the TransCanada (#1) Highway and catch the Lake O'Hara bus for the 12 km (7.5 mile) ride to the lodge.

Lake O'Hara Lodge is a quaint place. You have the choice of staying in the central lodge building (using shared bathrooms) or staying in separate cabins that include private bathrooms. All of the buildings are constructed of logs.

The food is excellent, and there is a huge roaring fire in the living room, which can be very welcoming if you encounter a cool evening while you're there, as we did.

For us the solitude of Lake O'Hara was wonderful. It really is a place for "getting away from it all." The hiking in the area is beautiful.

But, if you haven't checked out Lake O'Hara Lodge's prices yet, be warned that they are high. (Mind you, the price includes full board, i.e., three meals a day.) When we were there they didn't provide alcohol, and we brought our own dinner wine from home. I don't know if that still is the modus operandi.

Also, you do need to be aware that that charming solitude means just what it says it means (no TV set or phone in your room). Instead there is a library in case you should want to curl up in front of the fire with a book for an hour or so of R&R after a long hike.

Lake O'Hara Lodge gets booked up waaaaay in advance. If you want to go there in the summer of 2005, you'd be well advised to book soon.

If it's your first trip to the Canadian Rockies, there is much else to see. I don't know how much time you have to spend in the Rockies, but I would say 3 nights (2 full days) at Lake O'Hara Lodge probably would be enough.

The other popular bases in the Canadian Rockies, as you probably know, are Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Can someone give me an idea of the cost for two at Lake O'Hara Lodge. The website doesn't give a clue, and I hate to call them for next summer when I don't even have an idea of dates yet. Are we talking about $ 600 a night for two? More like $1000? Even more?

What about Emerald Lake Lodge? Any comparisons between the two?
Patrick is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Patrick, this page shows the summmer 2004 rates

Lodge room with shared bathroom C$420/couple/night

Lakeshore cabin with private bathroom C$575/couple/night

Guide's cabin with private bathroom, Maximum 4 people sharing, C$625/couple/night

Rate includes 3 meals a day plus afternoon tea, round-trip bus ride from and to TransCanada Highway, 8% British Columbia hotel tax, 7% Goods & Services Tax, and gratuities.

Minimum stay of 2 nights. A 5% discount is applied to a reservation of 7 or more nights.

Haven't stayed at Emerald Lake Lodge, so am not in a position to compare the two.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 04:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Thanks, Judy. I had bookmarked their site some time ago, but when I bring it up, it's only one page and I couldn't get to any other page.

That doesn't sound bad to me at all, especially compared to what we paid at two backcountry lodges in Alaska a couple years ago -- two highlights of our trip there.

Now if we can just come up with an itinerary so we can start planning dates.
Patrick is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3
Judy - Thanks so much for answering my request for first timers to Canada!

Might rethink those plans - so inspired by what I see of Canadian landscape courtesy of PBS, not sure best way to start.

Enjoy the idea of hiking, canoeing, and being in the great outdoors while having nicer accommodations, but am open to additional research to find best location.

Would also welcome an environment that encourages guests to interact and get to know one another through group meals or activities.

momonline is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Momonline,

You can request free travel information from Travel Alberta's website at

Because Yoho and Kootenay National Parks are located in British Columbia, it also would be useful to request free travel information from Tourism British Columbia at

If you come to the Canadian Rockies, and if you have enough time to split your stay between two destinations, I recommend that you base yourself somewhere in Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise for part of the time and in Jasper for part of the time.

The Travel Alberta website describes a number of scenic road trips. The one that it calls Two City - Two Park Circle Tour (or a variation of it) may appeal to you. (If you're really into nature -- and it sounds as if you are -- you may prefer to avoid the two cities, Edmonton and Calgary. Some travellers, however, enjoy a combination of wilderness and urban settings.)

Here is Travel Alberta's accommodations page:

If you're looking for properties that welcome socializing amongst guests, I'm guessing the places in which that atmosphere is most prevalent are back country lodges (some of which, including Lake O'Hara Lodge, are in British Columbia), guest ranches (like Rafter Six) and some bed and breakfast establishments.

When someone here recently asked about horseback riding in the Jasper area, I did a Google search and found Tonquin Valley Adventures. It seems that they have a lodge, and they offer guided activities such as hiking and horseback riding. I'm guessing that that would be a place that would be conducive to interactions amongst guests. But please note that I've never been there. As I said, I only became aware of them through an Internet search. Anyway, if you want to have a preliminary look at their information, their website is

I've never stayed at the hostels in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, but have heard from people who have stayed in them that they are super friendly. Hostels, however, don't sound like the accommodation about which you were enquiring.

Hope that helps you to get started.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jul 30th, 2004, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 14,067
I have stayed at Lake O'Hara Lodge and Emerald Lake Lodge. At Lake O'Hara we booked rooms in the main lodge. We balked a bit, because of the shared bathroom, but it really wasn't an issue. The rooms are spartan but comfortable. The food was superb. True, no tv but we have heard chamber music quartets, staff plays and an excellent wildlife lecture on nights there. Plus we found very interesting the other guests. I still dream about it. The hiking was excellent. A wide variety of hikes with varied challenge. We have stayed there twice and will jump at the chance to return.
Emerald Lake Lodge was private rooms in cottages ,lake view. It simply doesn't have the air of seclusion that Lake O'Hara does (while we were there several tour buses dropped by), nor is the food comparable. There are hikes on site, but not quite as wide a variety as offered at Lake O'Hara. We liked it and it was certainly cheaper than Lake O'Hara but in my opinion, Lake O'Hara is preferable.
cmcfong is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3
To Judy and cmcfong - Many thanks for your time and input in planning a spectacular Canadian vacation.

Will be doing my homework w/the sites suggested and look forward to the planning process.

Best, momonline...
momonline is offline  

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