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Trip Report: Banff/Jasper on a budget + "splurge" activities

Trip Report: Banff/Jasper on a budget + "splurge" activities

Aug 14th, 2004, 07:50 AM
  #1  
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Trip Report: Banff/Jasper on a budget + "splurge" activities

{Part I} Our family of 4 just got back from the Canadian Rockies and had a fabulous time! We didn't want to use up all our budget on lodging and food, so we economized where we could. As our base for Banff/Lake Louise, we stayed in a rustic but comfortable 1940s cabin with 2 double beds and a private bath at the Kootenay Park Lodge. The cabin, which rented for $99 CDN per night, had a microwave and mini-fridge, so we were able to eat breakfast in the cabin and pack a picnic lunch each day. The lodge is on Highway 93 about a 25-minute drive from Highway 1, which made for a long 45-minute drive to Banff or Lake Louise, but the cabin was a lot cheaper than the accommodations in the rest of the area. In Jasper, we stayed at Crayston's home accommodation and we can't speak highly enough about the place! For $105 CDN, we got a mini-apartment with queen bed, 2 twins placed end to end, a fold-out futon, a fully-equipped kitchen with range, microwave, toaster, dinette, etc., a private bath, and a sitting area with satellite TV. The apartment, which had private access, was immaculate and every imaginable amenity was provided. It is located on the main street, Connought Drive, only a couple of short clocks away from a grocery store and the shopping district. We would stay there again in a heartbeat!
laurafromtexas is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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{Part II} Using recommendations by others on this site, we dined at reasonably-priced restaurants and enjoyed each one. In Banff: Bruno's Cafe & Grill and Coyotes Grill. In Lake Louise: Laggans Mountain Cafe. In Jasper: Jasper Pizza Place and Bear Paw's Bakery. Our one splurge was at the River Cafe in Calgary, which we enjoyed a lot, but to be honest, not as much as Sooke Harbor House in B.C. Favorite free or inexpensive activities in Banff/Lake Louise included touring the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise, hiking Johnston Canyon, visiting Banff's Cascade Gardens, driving up Mount Norquay for the view, and seeing Moraine Lake. In Jasper, we enjoyed hiking from the 1st to 5th bridge at Maligne Canyon, hiking at Mt. Edith Cavell, soaking at Miette Hot Springs, and hiking the Old Fort Point Loop, with a gorgeous lookout over Jasper. Our "splurge" activities included a boat/equipment rental for a very successful and exciting day of pike fishing near Jasper (the fly fishing stunk both in Jasper and Banff); white-water rafting in the Athabasca River, where the Class II rapids were a little too mild for us; taking the Maligne Lake Cruise to Spirit Island (nice, but our least favorite paid activity); visiting the incredible Columbia Icefield by Snocoach (definitely a highlight); and taking a 3 1/2 hour horseback ride to Lake Agnes and the Little Beehive. We loved the incredible views over Lake Louise at Little Beehive, but were not thrilled with our 30-minute stables-imposed limit at the teahouse, which was so busy that we could not get our hot chocolate in time. Next time, we will hike there and stay for a leisurely amount of time. When we return -- and we definitely will -- we will spend the majority of our time in Jasper, which was less touristy and crowded than Banff. If you like to hike, there is easily a week's worth of activities to keep you occupied. Many thanks to Judy in Calgary and Bob Brown for all their helpful comments on this site. Thanks to you and others, we had a wonderful trip!
laurafromtexas is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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So glad to hear you had a good time, Laura. It sounds as if your extensive research paid off.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 06:35 AM
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laura, thanks for the memories of the Rockies and ideas for future trips. We didn't choose to do the boat trip to Spirit Island last summer; a lot of folks don't seem to think that it's worth the hefty fee. If you return, the Kicking horse River near Yoho offers great whitewater rafting. I've made note of your suggestions for lodging establishments.

Thanks for the excellent report.
Molly2 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 09:42 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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I thought the Kootenay Park Lodge was adorable. Very humbled by the photo of the fire behind the lodge. We stopped there after our hike to Stanley Glacier and really wanted to eat dinner as we were starving. There were 11 of us, and it got a bit complicated for her to organize, so we didn't Cute place to eat though. I'm curious as to how the food was?
hibiscushouse is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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Molly, thanks for the Kicking Horse recommendation. We'll remember that for the future. Hibiscushouse, the only time we ate at the lodge was for breakfast. It was a buffet with scrambled eggs, muffins, fruit salad, toast, etc. -- fairly basic but good. I wish I could tell you more.
laurafromtexas is offline  
Aug 17th, 2004, 06:42 AM
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Thanks for the great info. My husband and I are staying in the Banff area the first week in October and we're counting down the days!
loster is offline  

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