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Golden, BC--Good base for Yoho and Lake Louise portion of Banff?

Golden, BC--Good base for Yoho and Lake Louise portion of Banff?

Aug 24th, 2008, 06:59 PM
  #1  
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Golden, BC--Good base for Yoho and Lake Louise portion of Banff?

After a short visit to Vancouver next summer my family and I will be driving east to visit Yoho, Banff and Jasper and are trying to decide where to base ourselves to see the most in these parks. We found a beautiful private lodge in the Golden area which has gotten unbelievable reviews. I know Golden is farther west than Field (which some have recommended), but is it still an acceptable base to see Yoho and possibly the Lake Louise area? According to mapquest, Lake Louise is about an hours drive from Golden. Finding suitable accommodations for myself, my husband and two adult sons is difficult in Lake Louise. There are less options than other areas in Rockies and what is available seems pricey. If Golden is a possibility for this leg of our trip, how many days do we need to spend there to see these sights?

When we leave Golden we plan to travel east through Lake Louise and start our trek up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. Allotting a full day for this trip, how many additional days do you think we need in Jasper to see the highlights?

We are flying out of Calgary and assume our final leg of the trip will be driving down the Icefields Parkway south to Banff to spend additional days sightseeing Banff. Allowing for the long day trip from Jasper, how many additional days do you recommend for Banff?

I am really struggling with determining where we should base ourselves in each area and how long to spend there. I am grateful for any help or advice you can offer.

Thanks!

P. S. If we break the Vancouver-Rockies ride in half (rather than a very long day), where is the best place to stay for that night?
dmpalena is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 10:28 AM
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I am not sure Golden would be your best bet for a base to see Lake Louise and Yono. Some of my consideration is dependent on how long you stay there.

From Golden to Lake Louise you have to ascend the canyon to the flats of Yoho. Then you drive quite a few miles to get to Kicking Horse Pass.

Over the course of several visits, I have always opted for Field because it is much closer to Lake Louise.

There are quite a few lodgings in private homes in Field.

If you Google for Field Accomations Guide you should find the current listing. I just looked and this site http://www.field.ca/accommodations/

has the list I was thinking of.
The prices have gone up a whopping amount at some of the places, particularly at my favorite place, Spiral Tunnels.

I have stayed at Mt. Stephen Guest House. It is fine. Separate bed room and sitting area with a good kitchen and a table that seats 4 for eating.

bob_brown is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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PS I think Mt. Stephen would be cramped for 4 adults. Some of the others have two bedrooms.

There is also Kicking Horse Lodge, but that may require two separate rooms.

bob_brown is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 12:22 PM
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Bob is right. Field is much better located for visiting Yoho Park and Lake Louise than is Golden.

That said, if you have found a really attractive place to stay in or near Golden, it is certainly doable from there.

Much of the road from Golden to the Yoho boundary has been improved recently (including the Park Bridge at 10-mile hill replaced by a soaring 4-lane bridge). The first 8 km out of Golden through the Kicking Horse Canyon is still very twisting, and won't be redone (possibly with a long tunnel) for some years to come. Mapquest's estimate of 1 hour is generally correct. Even in the winter I've done it in that time.

laverendrye is offline  
Aug 25th, 2008, 09:09 PM
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That drive up and down Kicking Horse Canyon is scenic. The only problem is that I don't want to ride with a driver who is more interested in the scenery than in the road conditions.

Yes the new bridge is a big improvement in that route but the road does have a few twists in it.

Much better than it used to be, I might add.

If the driver pays attention it is no problem, however. My driver always pays attention!! She is very good at it; very few mountain roads bother her, not even a one -lane tunnel in Switzerland that curved.

Neither did the Furka Pass!!!

Anybody driven from Lauterbrunnen to Isenfluh? If so you know what I mean about that tunnel!!
bob_brown is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 06:12 AM
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No question that Field is better than Golden: but you'd find that the lodge at Emerald Lake (between Field and the Continental Divide) is better yet. In heavy summer traffic you can blow a lot of daily time "commuting", especially to Banff.

http://www.crmr.com/emerald-lake-lodge.php
Tootsall is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 06:23 AM
  #7  
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Thank you, lavernedrye and bob, for your thoughts. While researching places to stay in the Field area, I came across a private lodge, www.mount7lodges.com, which is simply beautiful and offers comfortable, modern accommodations. Checked out reviews on TripAdvisor and everyone raves about this place!!!

Also I understand that Kicking Horse River offers some of the best whitewater rafting in Canada and that was also something we wanted to do on this trip. If we decided to stay at Mount7Lodges I think they have a three night minimum so our itinerary would be as follows:

3 nights in Vancouver

3 nights in Golden
Day 1 long travel day from Vancouver
Day 2 plan to see Lake Louise, Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake areas
Day 3 white water rafting trip on Kicking Horse River

3 nights in Jasper
Day 1 - driving through Lake Louise to start Icefields Parkway trek north to Jasper

3 nights in Banff/Canmore

What do you honestly think? Am I spending too much or too little time in any of these destinations?

In the meantime I am still perusing our options near Field for our stay in that area (but I am most impressed with Mount 7 Lodges).

As far as twisting, narrow roads that require attention to detail, my husband drove the Road to Hana in Maui twice... and you want to talk about a hair raising ride! Anyway, as always, your input is much valued. Hope to hear from you soon!
dmpalena is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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I think your plan is a good one and that you should go with it, especially since you want to spend some time rafting on the Kicking Horse. It is indeed a superb rafting river and there are a number of companies offering trips. There's lots of choice with full and half-day trips and different sections of the river (the lower canyon has the most difficult rapids at 4+).

Certainly your plan to visit Yoho and Lake Louise for a day is quite doable from Golden. The Trans-Canada is not as bad as some would have you believe. As I mentioned earlier, it is only the first 8km which is twisting and in need of improvement.

I don't know the Mount 7 Lodges, but from the website it looks like a great place to stay, and is close to the Cedar House if you wish to eat out. Another top choice for dining is the Eagle's Eye at the top of the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. It's the highest restaurant in Canada and the views are stunning, especially at sunset. You reach it by a high-speed gondola.

laverendrye is offline  
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