How crowded is August in the Rockies?

Jul 28th, 2005, 03:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 100
How crowded is August in the Rockies?

Good morning. The only time we are able to visit due to work schedules is late August (we're looking at going next year). We would be planning to visit Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Will it be unbearably crowded in late August? Does anyone have any tips for avoiding the crowds (other than to go at another time!)? I've heard it might be a good idea to stay in Canmore instead of Banff. Thanks!!
Kendra is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 03:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Kendra, it will be very busy in the Rockies in August. That should not deter you. Simply plan ahead and reserve places a bit off the beaten track. Both Bob Brown and Judy in Calgary who post regularly on this site can offer some great tips and choices. My personal favorites are Lake O'Hara Lodge about twelve miles from Lake Louise and Mt. Engadine Lodge near Canmore. Both are in remote, quiet settings. Spend as little time as possible in towns and as much time as possible on trails and you will have a wonderful trip.
cmcfong is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 03:58 AM
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Yes there are crowds.

But the crowds are limited to some places (ie. spirt island, Chateau Lake Louise, icefield center).

The crowds will disappear, after you have started a short hike into the backcountry.
tom22 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 06:33 AM
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I fear that Lake O'Hara Lodge is booked.
And my guess is that the waiting list is a mile long. I could not get a room there for August when I called in December.

Mt. Engadine Lodge is also popular, but had rooms when I called to make my reservation. I don't know the current situation.

The village of Field has several private homes that rent out apartments on a short term basis, usually with a 2 or 3 night minimum. My favorite place was booked for the whole month back in May, so I am not sure what you will find.

The establishments listed in this particular guide are not all of them, either. Unfortunately I do not know where a comprehensive list exits.

The visitor center of Yoho National Park might be able to help, but that is a surmise.

Banff is crowded, but it also has a large number of accommodations. The same is true of Canmore. I stopped in Canmore last year and the streets were full of people, but not like Banff.

Given that you have only a month or so before you go, I hope you are not in a situation of taking what you can get.

Just be prepared for sticker shock when you read the price quotes. They are high even after we discount the Canadian dollar about 15% for the exchange rate differential.

Field used to be an economic haven, but about 3 years ago, the homeowners woke up to the fact that they were charging well under the going rate for a simple motel room 15 miles away in Lake Louise village and upped the prices as much as 30% in one season.

There are a few places along, and just off of, the Trans Canada Highway between Banff and Lake Louise Village.

I suggest you prepare to spend an hour or so and consult the Travel Albert site:
You can do a good search on accommodations. Just remember to use the scroll bar at the bottom to move from side to side on the wide screen.

There are quite a few areas out there.
And some of them are not bunched up with other facilities.

My recent lodgings have been at either Field or a backcountry lodge. The others I have only driven past.
brookwood is offline  
Jul 28th, 2005, 06:58 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Hello Kendra,

There are a few crowded spots in the Canadian Rockies. To escape those crowds, you have only to do the same thing as you need to do to escape the crowds at the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful in Yellowstone, etc. The remedy is to walk 100 yards away from the "gawkers."

Heck, in some cases you can walk 20 yards and lose them. I've previously mentioned the picnic lunch we had at Moraine Lake on Friday, July 15, 2005. It was ridiculous but, since it worked in our favour, I'm not complaining. The parking lot was packed, as it usually is in July. But there was not a single picnic table in use -- not one! The picnic tables at Moraine Lake are particularly well sited. They are scattered amongst the trees in such a way that, even if each table were occupied, each group of people would have privacy. But we had even more than the usual amount of privacy. Since we had our pick of the tables, we chose our favourite one, next to the stream that runs out the end of Moraine Lake. We sat there munching our lunch and sipping a glass of wine in the most peaceful, relaxed environment you can imagine, oblivious to our fellow tourists who might have been arriving in and departing from the parking lot.

Although I enjoy solitude in the mountains, I do enjoy meeting other visitors as well. When we later walked to the popular lookout points, I engaged a family from Taiwan in conversation. I was interested to hear which places they were visiting on this trip. I asked them to teach me how to say Hello and Goodbye in Mandarin. I offered to take their picture with their camera so all of them could be in the photo. I usually make a point of chatting with at least one family when we go to the crowded places.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 150
We just returned from a mid July trip to Banff and Jasper. The town of Banff was always crowded. Lake Louise was also very crowded. Jasper was busy, but didn't seem as crowded. We stayed 4 nights and wished we could stay 4 more. We stayed at Alpine Village and never found it to seem crowded.
CLynnWeg is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,079
Last year we abandoned plans to take the Johnston Canyon walk because we could not find a parking place. People were circling the lot looking for a place. When another vehicle backed out of a parking place, the others had a race to see who could get there first.

I said to heck with it and drove over Vermillion Pass to Kootenay NP and took the walk up to the Stanley Glacier basin. It was fun and not nearly so crowded. So yes, get on the right trail and you can leave crowds behind.

brookwood is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 01:51 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 16
Good to hear about July trips and Alpine Village, too. I leave in a week and will be taking some of these useful "posts" with me. Sure sounds like terrific country up there -- was smiling at Dan's Vancouver comments (tho we have some nice spots in the USA, too).

Tho it's still nice in the rain, pray for little of it next week!

Thanx all!


Artzfan is offline  

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