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Our visit to the Lake Louise area and Banff

Our visit to the Lake Louise area and Banff

Old Jul 11th, 2007, 08:44 PM
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Our visit to the Lake Louise area and Banff

Just a few more comments to add about our trip to Lake Louise...
do not miss going to Moraine Lake at least once. We went twice, and the appearance of the lake greatly changed due to the different lighting. Both times were in the morning; however, the reflections in the lake were visible one day but not the next.

I will caution you not to make the same mistake we made about getting up to the viewing point atop the rocks on the north end of the lake...I had some printed trip reports describing the climb up the rocks, but we did not realize there is actually a trail up to the top of the rockpile. We followed a few other visitors up the side of the rockpile, over large boulders, to get to the top. Once we were up there, we noticed several people coming up the back side using a trail with stairs! Keep going around to the back of the rock pile and go up the easy way!!

We also went to Lake Louise 3 different times, and all the pictures from the visits are different. I would recommend going early as the parking lot fills up, and there are many tourists at Lake Louise the later you get there. Most people seem to hang out at the entrance to the lake/Chateau area and do not venture far from the lakeside.

We visited Banff townsite on Canada Day which was a fun day to go. They had some performers at the park and lots of family type activities. As you may know, Banff is undergoing a "refreshing", so the construction was a bit of a hassle, but not a big deal. We found plenty of parking in the lot on Bear St. Some of the other parking areas were blocked off.

We went up the Sulphur Mtn gondola in the afternoon, it was a nice, clear day. Lots of bugs to ward off at the top. The views were fantastic, I would recommend going here if you have the time. We waited about 20 minutes in line to get tickets and were able to ride up with just the two of us in one gondola. (they hold 4 people) The wait to get a gondola back down was about 15 minutes or so.

On another day in Banff we went to see the Hoodoos. This was an "ok" site to see, but I wouldn't say it is a must see if you are pressed for time.

We enjoyed Johnston Canyon, this is another place you should try to go early. We arrived at 10:00 am, and there were about 5 parking spaces left. When we left at noon, people were parked up and down the street outside the canyon parking lot. We went to the Upper Falls, which were more impressive than the Lower Falls, and worth the extra trip. Most people seemed to turn around after Lower Falls, so the rest of the hike was more peaceful also. We thought the catwalks out over the water were a great part of this hike.

If you have the time, take the Bow Vally parkway for a better chance of seeing wildlife. We saw elk, deer, and 2 bears on this highway at around 10:00-10:30 p.m. on our way back from Banff to Lake Louise. It is still dusk at this time, which is apparently a good time to see wildlife.

We ate dinner at Bumper's Beef House, and would recommend them to anyone looking for a nice steak dinner. They include a salad bar with your meal.

Lunch was at Wild Bill's in Banff, which was good. The menu was typical pub type food. The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor, and they have some tables located out on the deck which were nice (unfortunately, the current view is construction!)

From our Lake Louise base, we also visited Yoho, which is a nice day trip. The Natural Bridge was worth a stop-just park your car and walk over. No hiking necessary. Next was Takakkaw Falls, another no hike, no effort site. We ate lunch at one of the picnic tables along side the falls. Great lunch spot. We also enjoyed the ride up to the falls, this was a scenic drive with some neat switchbacks.

Next was a trip to Emerald Lake- another beautiful lake. We walked about halfway around the lake for some different viewpoints. It is an easy lakeside walk, and worth the time. Just go as far as you feel like walking.

We didn't have any issues with parking at the Yoho sites. Most of the lots were only about half full, which was very different than the sites in Lake Louise, Banff, and Jasper.

After 4 nights in Lake Louise, we headed up the Icefields Parkway for Jasper. The sites along this road were simply beautiful. I would say this road is a "must do" for anyone visiting the area. I don't think there is enough room to continue about the Parkway in this post, so I'll write more later.

If anyone has questions, I'd be happy to help. I'm jealous of those of you who are on your way - you will love the Canadian Rockies!!
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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Thanks for the info. Leaving next week. I've added your comments to my trip book.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 05:57 AM
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Thanks for posting your report. We are leaving for the Canadian Rockies this Saturday and will keep your helpful tips in mind.

I can hardly wait!
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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We will be there Aug. 6-14. Because of accommadation availability, we are in Canmore day of arrival, then 3 nights in Jasper, 2 at Lake Louise area, and 2 at Johnston Canyon before flying back the afternoon of our last day.

Thank you for all you insights, and I look forward to you posting on Jasper.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 03:00 PM
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fae, where are you staying in Jasper? We also stayed for 3 nights (at Alpine Village), and thought that amount of time was just right. We really enjoyed Jasper, it was less crowded than Banff, and very easy to get around. In addition, there were some fantastic restaurants in Jasper!
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 03:58 PM
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Tasha 440,
How did you like Alpine Village? That's where my husband and I have reservations for 3 nights starting July 21.

I would also be interested in your Jasper restaurant recommendations. Thanks.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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Alpine Village was the perfect choice for us. The other property we had considered was Becker's, which has cabins very similar to Alpine. I'm glad we chose Alpine because Becker's was located right on the main road into town. I prefer lodging in quieter locations when I have the choice. Beckers did look very nice though.

The office staff at Alpine were very friendly and seemed to know the area very well. They keep a binder with many local restaurant menus, so you can get an idea of the variety and pricing before you go out for a meal.

We had no complaints about this property, great location and nice surroundings. We didn't get a chance to sit by the river in the Adirondack chairs because of the mosquitos, but I think that would be a relaxing thing to do if you don't run into a bug problem when you are there.

Also, if you are going into town and get stuck behind a train, plan on waiting about 15 minutes for the train to pass! The first time that happened to us, I couldn't figure out why everyone was turning around, then I realized how long these trains are. We saw elk just about every time we went into town from Alpine Village.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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I had to laugh at your description of climbing the rockpile at Moraine Lake. When we got to the lake about 3:00 in the afternoon, there were so many busloads of people streaming up the trail, it would have been impossible to miss it. At least you had the place almost to yourselves.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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We are staying at Patricia Lake Bungalows. I was unable to obtain reservations at Alpine Village because I waited too late.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 02:59 PM
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I will caution you not to make the same mistake we made about getting up to the viewing point atop the rocks on the north end of [Moraine] lake...I had some printed trip reports describing the climb up the rocks, but we did not realize there is actually a trail up to the top of the rockpile. We followed a few other visitors up the side of the rockpile, over large boulders, to get to the top. Once we were up there, we noticed several people coming up the back side using a trail with stairs! Keep going around to the back of the rock pile and go up the easy way!!

OUCH!!!

I'm glad you mentioned this, as it probably is a wrinkle that deserves to be added to future directions.
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