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LOK Jul 11th, 2008 01:50 PM

Rockies Accommodation during September
We (a couple in our early 30's) are travelling from Calgary to Vancouver, from 12th - 22nd September 2008. We have reserved accommodation in Vancouver and Calgary. We will be picking up a rental car in Calgary and hope to visit Banff, Jasper and Glacier National Parks on our way to Vancouver.

In September, does anyone know if it will be practical to get motel accommodation as we travel. We would like to decide how much time we spend in each place as we travel. We did a similar trip around California some years ago and booked into Motels as we arrived into towns. Are there similar options available around the Canadian Rockies? We hope to generally stay in Motel-type accommodation but happy to stay in cheaper hotels either. Is there anywhere in particular that accommodation is scarce?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

krp329 Jul 11th, 2008 04:28 PM

September is still a busy time in the Canadian Rockies - while the children are back in school and families are no longer travelling, there are lots of older and younger couples. However, in most towns, it will be fine to pick up accommodation at the last minute - most of the time.

Jasper may be one of the places that is the tightest for accommodation, although most nights you would be would find something, although whether it's in the price range you are looking for is another question. Weekends tend to be busier with visitors from nearby cities; however, last September, there were also some random midweek nights through the month when accommodation did sell out. Seeing as how the next nearest town in any direction is at least an hour's drive away, you might want to book a day or two ahead, just to be safe.

Inexpensive accommodation in the national parks in the Rockies tends to be in short supply, and books up in advance. Hotels/motels in Jasper start around $200 per night (plus tax) in high season. Some of the cabin resorts are a bit less. I'm not sure if September is less than this or not - if the demand is still there, rates won't go down. Hotel listings are at Jasper Tourism's website at There is also a hotel vacancy list at this site that shows four days.

Private home accommodation is a more economical option. A room or suite with private bathroom would be anywhere from $80 to $175 (lots available at low/mid range, although the nicer ones in the mid-to-upper end of that range do book up well in advance); a room with shared facilities would be less ($60-$80). Many home accommodations designate June to mid-October for their high season rates, so that gives you some idea of demand.

There is a daily vacancy list posted for these at the Visitor Centre each morning; courtesy (free) phones are provided, so you can easily phone to find accommodation when you arrive in town. Home accommodations are also listed online (and there is a last minute availability report at the site) at .

If you are travelling with a computer, one option might be to check Jasper's online vacancy lists a few days before you come - the hotel one gives you info up to 4 days ahead, and the home accommodation one 7 days, so you can see if things are really booked or not - and plan accordingly.

Hope this helps!

LOK Jul 12th, 2008 12:16 AM

Thank you for the great response. It's very helpful. The websites containing vacancy information will be particularly useful.

Thanks again...

tovarich Jul 13th, 2008 03:15 AM

For Jasper we stayed at Becker chalets great place.In Banff we had a motel on the main road we had the Spruce grove motel.You should book now !!!Paul

irishswampyankee Jul 27th, 2008 12:43 PM

My DH and I were in Banff/Jasper last Sept. We thought about winging it but did wind up making reservations and were very glad we did. Even some of the places we tried to reserve were full and I believe I reserved in Apr for Sept. My advice is to do it ASAP.

BAK Jul 27th, 2008 01:44 PM

What's your route?

The other night I watched a TV special on lodges of the Rockies, and it made me regret I've never stayed at Jasper Park Lodge.

I gather you've decided to skip the fancy resorts, and stick with motels.

My suggestion is book the first night, for sure, in Calgary, Banff, or Canmore, just outside the gates to Banff National Park.

Within the parks, there are few, if any, chain motels, so that makes it impossible to just look things up in a chain directory and book for the next night as you check in for tonight.

Once you get out of the parks, you can probably move from chain motel to chain motel (or a notch or two up from coventional motels) by booking one night in advance. Best Western and the Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, Journey's End, and others)group come to mind.

Distances in the Rockies may turn out to be farther than you might think.

There are several routes from Calgary to Vancouver, including or skipping Jasper and including or skipping Glacier Park, so you'll need to do some planning in advance to figure out what towns and small cities you'll be going through.

If it was me -- (I used to live in Calgary and in Edmonton, plus I've travelled in this are on business many times) -- if it was me, I'd skip Jasper unless staying at the lodge.

Arrive Calgary, head to a reserved room in Canmore, Banff or Lake Louise. FRom there, go north to the Columbia Ice Fields, then turn around agian, back to your base in Canmore, Banff, or Lake Louise.

Of these three places, Banff is the great tourist town, with excellent accomodation and the mountains right where you are.
Canmore is more of a motel-twon, and Lake Louise is pretty much nothing, outside of Chateaur Lake Louise and a couple of other hotels.

Banff is the place to go for a walk before and after dinner, visit the museum, compare the junky souvenirs with the really great jewelery and carvings and art work.

All three are close enough that you can stay in one and visit the others.

Perhaps a day before you leave, once you get a feel for the mountains, you can book ahead in REvelstoke (probably too close) Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna, etc., .

I like the raod from Kamloops to CAche Creek, but if you like more towns, you'd plan your route through Kelowna and Penticton.

As for your first night in Vancouver -- I suggest booking ahead at least from the evening before you think you'll arrive.

It's a lot more pleasant to arrive in Vancouver knowing you have a place to stay, rather than trying to find an empty room in this giant city.

There's a lot to be said for staying in a downtown hotel in Vancouver, rather than a motel in the suburbs. Lots to do, and then it's nice to be close to (temporary) home. Beware of bargain motels downtown -- they will be dumps.

It's a great part of the country. Enjoy your visit.

About "scarce" -- hard to predict, but if there's a convention in town...


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