Canadian Rockies

Old Aug 27th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Canadian Rockies

Planning to visit the area in September. I do not know a lot about the hotels that the AAA has picked for us.We want the nicest place for the least amount of dollars. The first is Mountaineer Lodge in Lake Louise.We also need to know if two days is enough time here and the other places we are staying. We do short hikes but not a lot of them. We like to see a lot in a short amount of time. We move fast. We like to other things beside hiking. I love beautiful scenary.
We next drive to Jasper. The hotel here is Sunwapta Falls. I am also looking at staying at the Park Place or Athabasca which are downtown. Is one of these better than the other?I love to look at unique shops but I am not sure many of those will be available.We are spending 3 nights in Jasper. Is that too much?Which of these places would be the best accommodations?
We drive next to the Residence Inns in Canmore for two nights. Is this close to Banff?
One night at the Great Bear West Lodge which looks like it has been redone. We are than staying at the Best WesternAirport in Calgary. I do not like Best Westerns but this one looks like it has been redone. We fly out of Calgary early the next morning. Do we want to see anything in Calgary?
Are we spending the right time at each city? I want to go to Banff but our hotel is in Canmore is this far?
Will we be driving a lot? On the map everything looks so close. We did not want to take a tour but we do not want to miss any area we should see.
Any advise would be helpful for places to visit and places to eat, too also on the hotel.
Thanks
gloseashore is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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I can't comment on the rest of your choices but I have stayed in the Athabasca on three separate trips. I have always found it welcoming and friendly. The rooms I have had were fairly small but sufficient to my needs and were clean and comfortable.

It has two drawbacks you should be aware of. First, parking is somewhat limited. They have a small lot in the rear but, if that is full, you are on your own to find street parking or you can park in a city lot that is two blocks away. The second is the lack of an elevator. I don't mind that except when I'm lugging my baggage up or down the stairs.

As you said, it's in the center of town. When I stayed there, I was either arriving, leaving, or both on ViaRail and it is very convenient to the station.
dwooddon is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2006, 10:51 AM
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ACCOMMODATIONS

* Mountaineer Lodge - I don't know anything about it other than the fact that it's in the village of Lake Louise, 5 km or 3 miles from the lake of Lake Louise. From a location point of view, it's fine.

* Sunwapta Falls - Reportedly a good place, but too far from Jasper townsite and the other landmarks of Jasper National Park to serve as a convenient base during a short stay.

* Park Place - Gets good reviews.

* Athabasca - dwooddon has covered it.

* Residence Inn - It gets fine reviews.

* Great Bear West Lodge - As far as I know that's in Montana's Glacier National Park. I cannot for the life of me imagine why you want to drive all the way there from Banff / Canmore for only one night. If you really do want to go to Montana, then at least deduct a night from Jasper and maybe even deduct a night from Canmore and re-allocate them to Montana.

* Best Western Airport Inn - Gets quite poor reviews. I believe you would be better off at the Greenwood Inn.

SHOPPING

Yeah, I guess you could say Banff townsite has some unique shops -- unique but expensive shops.

The cute hamlet of Bragg Creek is a fun place to shop. The work of local artists and craftspeople is available there. If you were going from Canmore to Montana, you would be able to visit Bragg Creek on the way.

Even if you were not going to Montana, and if you had a second night in Canmore, you could do a circuit through Kananaskis Country, the Highwood Pass (very pretty scenery) and Bragg Creek.

TIMING

Except for my point about Glacier National Park, your timing is fine.

CANMORE

Canmore is 15 minutes from Banff. It's fine to stay in Canmore and use it as a base for exploring the Banff area.

CALGARY

Whether or not you should spend time in Calgray is a subject of debate around here. It's a modern city, a smaller version of Denver is the easiest way to put it. If you do want to visit Calgary, my website has a suggested downtown walk:

http://tinyurl.com/hx4pl

DRIVING TIMES

Calgary Airport to Banff townsite : 2 hours

Banff townsite to Lake Louise : 45 minutes

Banff townsite to Jasper : 4 hours

Lake Louise to Jasper : 3 hours

Banff townsite to Saint Mary, Montana : between 4.5 hours and 5 hours

Saint Mary, Montana to Calgary : between 3.5 hours and 4 hours

However, estimated driving times assume non-stop driving. In reality some of the drives take a lot longer. The drive from Lake Louise to Jasper can take the better part of a day if you stop at the many scenic lookout points. Also, if you are going to Glacier National Park, be aware that there is a lovely national park, Waterton Lakes National Park, that you can visit at the southern end of Alberta, either on the way to or on the way back from Glacier National Park.

PLACES TO SEE

Lake Louise area : Moraine Lake, the lake of Lake Louise, Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake

Icefields Parkway : Peyto Lake, Columbia Icefields, Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls

Jasper : Maligne Canyon, Mount Edith Cavell, Jasper Tramway, Maligne Lake, Miette Hot Springs

Banff area : Johnston Canyon, Sulphur Mountain Gondola

RESTAURANTS

Lake Louise : The Post Hotel (very expensive), Baker Creek Bistro (great food, more informal), Bill Peyto's (reasonably priced, good value for money)

JASPER

Tekarra Lodge (expensive)

BANFF

You cannot beat Taxi Mike's restaurant list:

http://www.taximike.com/

Finally, you asked if you were spending the right amount of time in each city. I hope you were using the word "city" loosely. Calgary has a population of 1 million, and rightly can be called a city. Canmore has a population of about 10,000, Banff about 7,500, Lake Louise about 1,000 and Jasper about 4,500. In the case of the mountain resort towns, the population figures exclude tourists.

WEATHER, WHAT TO PACK, ETC.

For links to practical information, I suggest you go to the TIPS section of my website:

http://tinyurl.com/rr23g

It is important to understand how changeable the weather around here is and the kinds of layers of clothing you need in order to be prepared.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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TAW
 
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Hi, We stayed at the Mountaineer Lodge in June this year. It is fine. Not ultra fancy but definitely better than "motel 6" type places. It was clean, comfortable and in a great location for seeing things in/near Lake Louise. Since they do not have elevators we had reserved a ground floor unit. We stayed 3 nights which was just right for us. For the money I felt we got a good deal.
Try to go over to Lake Louise before sunrise one morning to get awesome photos (and avoid the crowds)as the sun is rising.
We spent 3 nights in Jasper and I could have stayed there longer. I simply loved it. We stayed at Beckers just outside of Jasper. GREAT PLACE! Woke up in the morning to several mama & baby elk right in front of our room in the grassy area! If you love great scenery you are going to the right place. The Canadian Rockies are stunning.
Enjoy your trip.
TAW is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2006, 06:21 PM
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Thank you for your suggestions.
I did use city lightly.
Are you saying we would be better to stay at a place in Waterton Lake if we can get in instead of Great Bear? We heard today that we will only be able to go into the Glacier Park for 15 miles because the road has construction. I am not sure what that means.
I want to check out Greenwood Inn and the Bragg Creek area.
Thank you. All suggestions are appreciated because I want to get on the 1st floor at Mountaineer Lodge.
gloseashore is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2006, 02:47 AM
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Just more feedback that 3 nights is definitely NOT too long for Jasper area.

Not for the town, but because there is MUCH to see, and all of it pretty widely spaced apart. So time will pass quickly as you go from one place to another.

Foodwise, there's also a nice pizza place in Jasper that is the locals' favorite & they serve very late which is nice sometimes to have. (after late sightseeing)
Daydreamer is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2006, 07:09 AM
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In my earlier post, I neglected a very important recommendation: the Bear's Claw Bakery is a must stop. They have a wide choice for breakfast and make superb sandwiches for lunch. I never miss stopping there (several times) when I'm in Jasper.
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