Canadian Rockies Trip Report

Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:54 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 228
Canadian Rockies Trip Report

We were there on our honeymoon from September 6 to September 14. I wish we had more time, but unfortunately we didn't. I wish we could have hiked more, but we wanted to see the sights as well. There is always next time!

Day 1: Flew into Calgary, kind of a wasted day, stayed at the Residence Inn near the airport (very nice, newest RI I have ever been in) and crashed.

Day 2: Drove our rental car over to Lake Louise, driving through Canmore on the way to stop at a Tourist Info center and to find a grocery store. That's about all the time we spent in Canmore!

We continued on to Johnston Canyon, which was somewhat crowded. I can only imagine what a zoo it is during the peak summer months. The little cafe there is decently priced (surprisingly), and was a suitable enough lunch place. Of course there is a gift shop there as well!

Since it was such a gorgeous sunny day, we then went on to the Lake Louise Ski Area and rode the ski lift to the top. Amazing views of Lake Louise (the actual lake) from here, and Victoria Glacier. We then drove the Lake Louise (the actual lake) and snapped a few pictures, rented a canoe and enjoyed the day.

We then checked into our hotel, Lake Louise Inn. For the money, this place was great. Clean rooms, friendly staff - we were in building 5 which had a balcony, kitchen and fireplace.

That night we ate at the Post Hotel, which I was disappointed in. The food was excellent, but the waitstaff were rather stuffy and pretentious, at one point actually asking us if we were impressed with the wine list, which was odd. I wouldn't bother eating there again.

The next two days we grabbed sandwiched from Laggan's and brought them on the road (good call - excellent deli food).

Day 3: We drove over to Yoho National Park and went to Takkakaw Falls, Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge. Emerald Lake was stunning, and we walked around the lake. Unfortunately this day was rainy and cold! We then headed back to Lake Louise and went to Moraine Lake, which I found more stunning than Lake Louise. The climb up the rock pile is a must!! We would have spent more time here, but it started raining fairly hard!

Day 4: We drove up to Jasper via the Icefields Parkway. It rained and rained this day. We didn't see much, but the clouds briefly broke so we went on the Snocoach tour, which is a must! We had a blast and we are big geology buffs, so it was fascinating as well. We also hit Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls along the way.

We made our way to our hotel in Jasper, the Whistlers Inn. Great hotel (modest furnishings, nothing fancy, but nice), and they upgraded us for free since it was our honeymoon. Excellent!

We ate that night at Something Else, a Greek restaurant that serves everything, including Jambalaya. The prices were very reasonable and the food was quite good.

Day 5: We went for a drive down to Maligne Lake, spotting our first wildlife (Elk). We stopped at Maligne Canyon, then when driving on to the lake saw moose and big horn sheep. There are many scenic stops along the road if you take your time driving there. At the lake we just had a coffee, as I heard mixed things about the boat tour.

We then headed back into Jasper, and up Mt. Edith Cavell, which shouldn't be missed! We did the short hike (45 minutes roundtrip) to Angel Glacier. What a spectacular walk! This certainly should not be missed, as it was one of our favorite little hikes! The views are gorgeous, although the road up is a little bumpy.

During that day we ate lunch at Soft Rock Cafe in Jasper, which was great. Their soups are fantastic. They also have internet access for a reasonable price, so we checked the weather forecast while we were there.

That night we ate at Miss Italia in Jasper, which could easily be missed (on the second story next to Subway). What a great meal we had here! Wine was extremely reasonably priced and the food was quite good as well.

Day 6: We headed out of Jasper and back down the Icefields Parkway to Banff. The weather cooperated a little more this time, though not much. All of the scenery wasn't hidden this time, just some!

In Banff we stayed in town one night at Brewsters Mountain Lodge. The rooms were nice, and we wanted to stay in town one night so we could eat, have a few drinks and walk back to our room, which is what we did. The location of Brewster's is excellent, so it was a good choice for us.

We went to the Upper Hot Springs (OK, wouldn't do it again. It was nice to go since it was raining out - again!). We also drove to Vermillion Lakes.

We ate at Coyote's that night, which was fabulous!

Day 7: Still in Banff, but switching hotels. We had a rare sunny day, so we drove up Mt. Norquay, although I wish we skipped that (not that it took much time). There really isn't much up there except a ski place and one lookout area.

We then drove up Tunnel Mountain, saw the hoodoos (not as big of a deal as I thought they would be), then took the Gondola up Sulphur Mountain. We loved it up here! We packed a lunch so we didn't have to eat at the restaurant up there, which was a great picnic location. The views were breathtaking! We saw another big horn sheep on Sulphur Mountain. Had we had more time in Banff, I would of loved to have hiked up the mountain rather than catch the gondola.

We then checked into our hotel, the Buffalo Mountain Lodge. We got the room with the heated slate floors, clawfoot bath, balcony, etc... it was SO worth it. Lovely room, lovely decor. We ate at the Lodge that night and our meal was fabulous, as was our friendly waiter.

Day 8: We ate breakfast at the Lodge (excellent again!) and headed into Calgary for our last night. We had a very early flight the next day, so we figured we'd stay in downtown Calgary, check out the city during the day then leave early the next morning. We stayed at the Calgary Marriott, which was a nice hotel with bigger than usual rooms.
We walked the pedestrian mall, up to Eau Claire Market, went up the Calgary Tower...the usual stuff I suppose!

Our trip was great, and I have to thank all of you helpful Fodorites for that. We weren't disappointed with anything on our trip and we had a blast!
Mazey is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 12:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Congratulations on your nuptials, Mazey, and thank you for the trip report. What did you eat at Coyotes and Buffalo Mountain Lodge?
sludick is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 12:19 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Good trip report!
Glad to hear that you enjoyed your time in the mountains even though it was so uncharacteristically rainy!! (heard recently that this September has so far been one of the coolest in the past 100 years!!). Hope that when you come back the weather is better.
Borealis is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 01:42 PM
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sludick - at Coyotes I had a spicy bean burrito and my husband had the chicken enchiladas in a red chile sauce. Both were wonderful, and the blue cornbread they serve before dinner is also wonderful. Their margaritas aren't bad either

At Buffalo Mountain Lodge, I started off with an Heirloom Tomato starter/appetizer with goat cheese crostini, while my husband had the daily soup special - broccoli and swiss. Both were fantastic.

For dinner at the lodge I had a buffalo tenderloin with a blueberry port glaze and balsamic sweet potatoes. Yummmm... My husband had the special of the night - a grain fed organic Alberta steak with a rosemary lemon sauce. Both dishes were amazing. We were too stuffed for dessert!

I should also mention we had a few beers later on in Banff at the St. James Gate pub (owned by Guinness) and their beer selection was one of the largest I've seen anywhere. They also had live Irish music, which was fun. If you are in the mood for a pint, definitely stop by.

More food mentionings I forgot: In Banff one morning we needed a quick breakfast on our way out, and we stopped by the Cake Company, and they made a good breakfast burrito and a much needed steaming hot cappucino.

I also failed to mention our breakfast at the Whistlers Inn in Jasper. Their on-site restaurant, Caledonia Grill, made amazing banana pancakes. My husband had the banana bread french toast, which was also quite good.
Mazey is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Great trip report--loved reading it.
maj is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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We visited the same week as you. We also saw most of our wildlife in Jasper. Saw many elk all around Jasper. There were even about 15 elk that were on the road by Alpine Village both days we were there---we were pretty impressed to see so many. We also saw a white shaggy mountain goat and her baby, and groups of goats along the Parkway--no bears though. I don't know why it is such a thrill to see wildlife, but it is.
What a great place to go for your honeymoon. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. You will have to plan an anniversary trip back.
LindainOhio is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 04:40 AM
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Posts: 228
I also forgot to add that while in Banff we drove the Minnewanka Loop, which was fabulous. Incredibly scenic, a perfect drive for one of our rare sunny days.
Mazey is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2004, 08:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 22
Great trip report! We were there Sept 5 - 12th and I already posted my trip report. I really enjoyed reading yours. I'm still looking for tips for our next trip whenever that may be! It's been 11 days since we've been home and I'm still thinking about our trip. Just finished putting all our photos together in an album. It was a lot of fun reliving the trip. Take care!
bleicher is offline  

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