Honeymoon trip to the canadian rockies

Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:59 AM
  #1  
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Posts: 2
Honeymoon trip to the canadian rockies

I am getting married on July 21st, and then for a suprise honeymoon am planning to take my wife on a 2 week trip to the canadian rockies. I have never done this before and wanted adivse on how to make this the best trip possible. I am trying to save money but want to make it very nice and romantic. I plan to fly in to Calgary from Chicago. I would like to spend a night at a Bed and breakfast and 2 nights camping to lower the cost. Then spend a week at Mica mountain lodge. Then a couple more nights camping out and finish with a bed and breakfast somewhere, possibly Canmore. Places are booking fast so I need to make a final decision soon. I am not one for crowds. I like the quiet away from everything. Any suggestions would be appreciated. My fiance and I both love hiking and the outdoors, nothing to strenuous though because we want to relax. We love being in God's creation. From what I've heard the rockies are incredible!


WarriorforJCx is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:34 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Congratulations on your forthcoming marriage.

I don't know if you'll be bringing your camping gear with you from Chicago. If you will be renting camping gear in the Canadian Rockies, it would be more cost effective to consolidate your camping time rather than splitting it up. The reason I say that is that, if you split it up, you would be paying for the rental of the camping gear while it was lying idle.

I think there are places in Canmore and/or Banff from which you can rent camping gear, but I am not familiar with them.

As far as I know, there is no place in Jasper that rents out camping gear (but I could be wrong about that).

A place that carries decent products and has very fair prices is the University of Calgary's Outdoor Centre.

If you need to buy something for the outdoors in this area, Mountain Equipment Coop in Calgary has good quality at decent prices. That said, there also are stores that sell outdoorsy stuff in the mountain resort towns.

To be honest, most B&Bs in Banff and Canmore are not that much cheaper than hotels in the area. But if you stay in a B&B, you get a break from the point of view that the revenue that the average B&B generates is low enough to exempt it from the 6% GST and 4% Alberta Tourism Levy that hotels have to charge. (And remember that from April 1, 2007, individual foreign visitors will not be able to claim refunds of the GST.) Another advantage that you can gain from staying in a B&B is that the breakfast you receive may be sumptuous enough to carry you through a good part of the day, and the cost of that is included in the room rate.

A great place to camp and hike would be Lake O'Hara. You're not allowed to drive there. You have to catch the bus and that, in turn, requires planning (including phoning at least 3 months ahead to book spots on the bus). However, all of those procedures has the beneficial effect of acting as a turkey filter (a device that thins the crowds). Read all about it at:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/activ15a_E.asp

For your last couple of nights you might enjoy Mount Engandine Lodge. It's in Kananaskis Country, in the mountains to the south of Canmore. The rates are not unreasonable if you consider that they include 3 meals a day.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 03:41 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 14,096
Judy is the expert here, but I just wanted to ditto her suggestion of Mt. Engadine Lodge. It really is a special spot. Congratulations on your wedding and bravo for surprising your wife with a great trip. Sounds like the right way to start a good marriage.
cmcfong is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 04:49 PM
  #4  
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Thank you both for your suggestions. They are much appreciated. I have never used this sight before and was suprised with the quick response. Very helpful information since I have never been to the canadian rockies.

A few questions came up.

1.I was wondering if there is a website for the lodge you mentioned, Mount Engadine Lodge, or a way to contact them.

2. I am planning to bring camping gear, but do you think it would be a better use of time do 4 straight nights of camping instead of 2 nights 2 different times with staying at a cabin inbetween? I thought it might help to split it up and stay in a cabin between times so that we wouldn't get too tired of camping.

3. Have you heard of Mica Mountain Lodge and if so would you recommend it? It is about an 1 hour from Jasper.

4. Is it a good idea to buy insurance for the flight/car/trip?

5. I like the idea of Emarald lake. Is it nice enough to spend two nights there?

6. Any other must knows before I book the flight?

Josh
WarriorforJCx is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:00 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 51
the canadian rockies are fantastic .we took the train ride breathing seanery .dont miss banff or lake louise.try not to eat at any restaurants the food is extremly high
blackwell is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 09:19 PM
  #6  
 
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Posts: 3,501
>>>>>>1.I was wondering if there is a website for the lodge you mentioned, Mount Engadine Lodge, or a way to contact them.<<<<<<

You could always do a Google search, but I'll save you the trouble. Here's their website:

http://www.mountengadine.com/

>>>>>>2. I am planning to bring camping gear, but do you think it would be a better use of time do 4 straight nights of camping instead of 2 nights 2 different times with staying at a cabin inbetween? I thought it might help to split it up and stay in a cabin between times so that we wouldn't get too tired of camping.<<<<<<

The main reason I recommended camping for 4 straight nights was the cost of renting equipment, if you were in fact going to be renting. However, the fact that you'll be bringing your own gear changes things a bit.

That said, getting ready to go camping takes some time and effort. Once you've gone to that effort, you may as well reap the reward for 4 straight nights rather than taking a break and then having to get organized all over again.

Another reason for hiking for 4 nights in a row is that, if you do camp in the Lake O'Hara area, the gorgeous hiking in the area easily could occupy you for all of your time there and more.

But really it's up to you.

>>>>>>3. Have you heard of Mica Mountain Lodge and if so would you recommend it? It is about an 1 hour from Jasper.<<<<<<

I am not familiar with the lodge. I did a Google search for it, and saw that it was in the Valemount area.

I did a Google search for a TripAdvisor review of the property, and did not find one. The scary thing was that my Google search brought up one of my own posts on the TripAdvisor forum, in which I had recommended that a poster consider staying at Mica Mountain Lodge. I had forgotten that I had ever said that. The reason I had suggested that was that, for that particular poster's travel schedule, an overnight stop in or near Valemount made the most sense. I did them a favour, did a Google search for accommodation in or near Valemount, and found that Mica Mountain Lodge seemed to meet their requirements (price, room configuration, etc.).

I love Jasper, but Valemount is a good choice from the point of view that it's a little more off the beaten path, and you did say you were not one for crowds.

>>>>>>4. Is it a good idea to buy insurance for the flight/car/trip?<<<<<<

If your air tickets are not full fare and if you don't have privileges to change your flights up to the last minute, you should buy insurance to cover your air tickets.

You should buy collision damage waiver insurance for your rental car. But if you own a car, find out if your automobile insurance policy covers rental cars as well.

If you do not have a medical insurance policy that covers you outside of the United States, you MUST, absolutely MUST, buy medical insurance for your trip.

>>>>>>5. I like the idea of Emarald lake. Is it nice enough to spend two nights there?<<<<<<

No, not in my opinion. Don't get me wrong. It's a charming property in a delightful spot.

However, it is fairly expensive. Once you've done the 2-hour lakeshore walk, the other hiking in the immediate vicinity is not that great. You have to drive off to other parts of Yoho National Park for the good hiking. They would not be long drives, but still, to my mind that defeats the purpose.

Emerald Lake is better suited to people who just want to soak in a hot tub and stuff like that.

I guess you would not be averse to soaking in a hot tub. You did say you wanted to relax.

But you also sent out several signals indicating you were on a budget. I'm a great believer in sticking to one's budget. For me at least, it's stressful to break my budget.

>>>>>>6. Any other must knows before I book the flight?<<<<<<

Hmmm ...... It's impossible for me to know what you know and what you don't know, so it's hard to judge how much to say.

Here are two potential deal breakers, though, so I'd better mention them now.

(1) You and your wife will need passports to fly into Canada. If you don't already have them, there is time to apply for them.

(2) You sound like a nice guy, and I'm sure you don't have a criminal record. But, I'll mention -- JUST IN CASE you or you wife ever has been convicted of a criminal offence, even a DUI -- that you will not be allowed into Canada. It would be a shame to pay your air fares and make all of those preparations for your trip, only to be put on the next plane back to the States when you reach Canada. See this recent thread:

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...9&tid=34965914

Honest to goodness, I don't believe it applies to you, but I have taken to providing this warning more frequently, since I've discovered how many people apparently don't know about it.

Also, even if the information does not help you, it may help someone else who happens to read this post.

(3) This is not a make or break issue when it comes to booking your flights (at least I don't think it is), but you should be aware of the range of weather conditions you could experience in the mountains. Day time highs in July - August average 70 deg F. Night time lows average 45 deg F. BUT day time highs can get up around 90 deg F. Night time lows can get down to around the freezing mark. You can encounter rain. You also can encounter snow, even in summer. I hope your camping gear includes Ensolite mats and sleeping bags that are rated down to about 20 or 25 deg F.

(4) Not a make or break point either, but somewhere along the line make the time to see Moraine Lake (9 miles from Lake Louise) and Peyto Lake (half an hour north of Lake Louise, along the Icefields Parkway, which is the road that leads to Jasper).

Hmmm ...... other than that, my website may be of some assistance.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2007, 10:02 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 67
I suggest Lake Louise. I lived there last summer and it is very small. I think there is 10 little stores in total. ha ha. It has 2 beautiful lakes that have fantastic hiking trails all around them. It's better than banff since it hasn't gotten so touristy and overcrowded. Also canmore is a great spot as well. It can get costly in the summer, so I suggest to shop around. Even the one rooms in the hostel there is the same as a hotel.

Good Luck

Theresa

www.nomadwannabe.com
pippy4tao is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2007, 04:14 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 560
I've tent camped all over the US and Canada, including the Canadian Rockies. I'd agree to your idea of 2 night camping, then a night or 2 in a cabin, then back to camping. I found the campgrounds in Canada to be particularly pleasant because the sites are spread out so you have your own space and if the landscape allows, they can be quite private with native bushes and trees between sites. In some areas the trees have no low limbs and there isn't any native bushes around so the campgrounds are rather open. I also found the people at the campgrounds to be more pleasant than in the US. They seem to be very friendly if you want to visit, but unintrusive by not playing loud music or talking loudly.

I've been through Valemount and it is a bit off the beaten path. I wouldn't recommend staying there unless you had a particular reason. It's a bit too far off the beaten path to be a great area to stay. I've been to Jasper in June and August and didn't see the need to get farther off the beaten path. Jasper is far enough from Calgary and Edmonton to not feel overrun with people and the area is huge.

Camping. Bring an extra sleeping bag to pull over the ones you are sleeping in when the night gets colder than you can stand in the one bag. I've done it and it works great. The parks open more campgrounds as it gets busier. Try to get a campsite early in the day if you can as the sites left at the end of the day will likely not be the best ones. :^)
rm_mn is offline  
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