Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Canada
Reload this Page >

Trip Report - Brahmama's Budget Trip /Canadian Rockies 9/06

Trip Report - Brahmama's Budget Trip /Canadian Rockies 9/06

Sep 23rd, 2006, 11:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,336
Trip Report - Brahmama's Budget Trip /Canadian Rockies 9/06

Brahmamaís Budget Trip to the Canadian Rockies September 2006

This will be short but hopefully helpful to someone.

Flight - DFW to Calgary, non-stop
Rental Car - Enterprise - (No line at airport! & great to do business with)

Accommodations/Dining/Recommended Activities

Lodging - "Spirit Creek Lodge" (Approx 125 CND) Great Room with fireplace and good bed. Astounding breakfast.
Dinner - "Infusion" (Approx 80 CND) This was our splurge & fantastic.
Activities - Great little shops to browse.

Lodging - "Aurum (Meaning Gold) Lodge" (Approx 200 CND with dinner) - On Hwy 11, the David Thompson Highway
2nd floor corner room - fantastic view- excellent bed & bathtub
Nice breakfast. Dinner available with advance notice.

Activities - Great hikes close to Lodge and only 30 min from Icefields Pkwy.
"Athabasca Glacier" at Columbia Icefields is close to highway.
"Peyto Lake" is beautiful but so crowded with tour bus passengers it was difficult to see & enjoy.
"Bow Lake" was beautiful with a lovely picnic area. One of our favorite lakes and we saw a black bear swimming across it.
"Mistaya Canyon" was just gorgeous and maybe our favorite Canyon. Few people and a nice hike.

One day we ate at the PUB at the Crossing (behind the big building) and had a good affordable hamburger, chili and beer.

(More to follow)
Brahmama is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 11:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,336
On the way to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway:

"The Bridal Falls" are pretty and walk a little to the left in the parking area and you will discover more Falls which you can enjoy all by yourself.

"The Bubbling Springs" were unusual with nice photo ops and had a nice picnic area.

We stopped at "Sunwapta Falls", which were very pretty and worth the stop.

Also "Goat Lick", but no goats in sight!

Had our picnic at "Athabasca Falls" - so-so picnic area, but great Falls, and lots of places to walk to and take spectacular pics - even with lots of people it was good.


Lodging - "Alpenglow Lodge" - a Jasper Home Accommodation (Approx 100 CND)

Living room and kitchenette with microwave, refrigerator, coffee pot, toaster
Excellent bed and bathtub.

Dining - Found a great bargain at the "Ded Dog" - Jasper Townsite. On Sunday night they had a Steak Sandwich Special for $6.50. A nice thick 6 oz.sirloin on a piece of toast, with fries and a good salad with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. What a deal!

"Jasper Pizza" - had their daily drink special (Caesar - like a US Bloody Mary but better) and tried out Poutine. We split a small order and enjoyed every fattening bite! We went upstairs - very loud music downstairs.

"Papa Georgeís" - good breakfast special for $6.50 each - excellent coffee $2.50.

"Something Else" - again it was their special (notice a trend here?!) I had lasagna & soup for $9.99 and Will had Gyros (which they call Donnair) with a Caesar Salad for $10.99

"Smittyís" September Lunch Special - Fish & Chips was good. Nice roast beef and tomato sandwich served with a cup of soup. About $20 total

Activities - (WOW! Our favorites)

"Pyramid and Patricia Lake" - very close to town. Go in the morning for best pictures.

"Jasper Tramway". We had a clear day - and good views. It was cold up there - bundle up like for the Icefields walk. After we got numb, we went in the restaurant for Capuchino. Prices very reasonable up here and a lovely view.

"Moligne and Medicine Lakes". Quite a drive from Jasper because of low speed limits. I thought Medicine Lake was interesting because itís know as the disappearing lake - and it was in the process of disappearing as it does each fall. The Indians thought it was magic and avoided it. Moligne was a pretty lake but not our favorite - the sun was in and out and maybe itís beauty wasnít as evident.

We did see moose, elk, mule deer and sheep. The sheep were so gentle they would try to stick their head in your vehicle! Boy, have we got a close-up!

"Edith Cavell". This was a 5 star destination and our favorite glacier and lake with floating icebergs you could walk up to! Gorgeous mile or so hike - worth every minute - had to ford some muddy spots coming back. Wear appropriate footwear.

"Miette Canyon" - another gorgeous drive and some very nice Hot Springs that we enjoyed with a light sprinkling of snow overhead. What fun.

(More to follow)
Brahmama is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 11:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,336
On the way to Lake Louise
"Valley of the 5 Lakes". This was a very nice hike and worth the time.

Had to stop at "Bow Lake" again. It had snowed in the night and the trees were covered with snow. It was like a Postcard. What a beautiful sight.

Also the "Columbia Icefields" which looked totally different today with a dusting of snow and a different sky.

Lodging - "Deer Lodge" (Approx 149 Cnd for lowest category room)
We loved this old lodge (thanks, Judy). Our room was on the 2nd floor and was away from the staircase (which was creaky) and had a mountain view from our cozy little room - which had a nice bath with bathtub and a nice down duvet on the bed. We asked for a coffee service from Jillian who checked us in at the front desk. The coffeepot was promptly delivered and Jake at the front desk whisked our luggage upstairs. (We could have managed, but that was nice. We carried it down ourselves!) Very nice and friendly service at the front desk. We took our books to the sitting room which was the central room with a big fireplace. We didnít get to read much because of all the interesting conversation with people we met. This is a great place to stay in my opinion.

Deer Lodge is just a couple of blocks from the "Chateau (Fairmont Hotel)" so we walked up there to admire Lake Louise and also to walk through the lovely old Chateau. What a lot of people and rooms! We decided that even if we *could* afford to stay there, we would prefer to stay at the Deer Lodge as it is so much smaller, cozier and with a friendly attitude.
"Lake Louise" was lovely, but not much sun - we hung around for a while and got lucky with a few pictures.

"Lake Moraine" a lovely lake with a great place for walks. It was cold when we were here and had to forego our canoe ride, so that means we have to go back!

"Emerald Lake" this one is another of our favorites. We stopped on the way at the Natural Bridge and also the Spiral Crossings. When we got to Emerald Lake and walked around for a while we decided it was time for a late lunch, so we walked up to the Lodge. Caprinoís was already closed for the season.

We had an excellent lunch here at the "Emerald Lake Lodge" which is a sister property to the Deer Lodge. Will had a smoked elk club sandwich with a salad and I had a fritata with smoked salmon, spinach, asparagus and a cup of soup. We had a nice Canadian Pinot Noir with it. Lunch was about $40 Cnd.

Banff - we visited Banff from Lake Louise. When we woke up it had snowed in the night. So there was snow on the ground and on the tall pines, but none on the streets. So we took the Bow Parkway and stopped at :

"Johnsonís Canyon" for a nice mile or so hike. Even in the snow - maybe especially in the snow - it was a great time. We were glad for our hiking shoes and we did bundle up. But it was Saturday and even on a snowy day, expect crowds. it was still worth it, but try to not go on a weekend!

At Banff, we took pictures of the huge hotel and walked through it. Then we started looking for a Fondue Restaurant which we found right on the main street! We ate at the Grizzly Hut and had fondue, salad and beer for about $50 CND. What a great lunch! We were so thrilled that we had some snow - as that doesnít happen where we live very often.

12TH - 13TH Nights CANMORE

On the way to Canmore:
We took the "Bow Parkway" as far as we could - and made many stops. We hated to leave this beautiful drive.

We got to Canmore at noon and were brilliantly lucky to be able to check right in - the room had been vacant the night before. The Georgetown was fully booked while we were there and we thought it a nice place to stay. There is a train track close by, and I heard the train go by around midnight one night. I was still awake, but I donít think it would have woken me.

Lodging - Georgetown Inn - Approx $140 CND
What a nice place to end our Canadian adventure. We had a large room with a large comfortable queen-sized bed and a sitting area surrounding a gas fireplace. Again, we had a large bathroom with a tub.

Canmore is gorgeous with huge mountains as her backyard. The Three Sisters were visible from our Innís pub. We walked around Canmore and had a bite to eat at another Grizzly - this time the
"Grizzly PAW" which is a brewpub serving food. We had a bowl of soup with 1 roll $5.99 and a small Thai salad (very small salad) for $9.99. (I asked for a roll which she cheerfully provided) We also had a beer flight for $8.00 which was the best value of lunch. We were still hungry when we left, but were eating at:

"Minerís Lamp Pub" at the Georgetown that evening. This was a delightful place to eat with delicious food. Will had a salad and fish and chips and I had a chicken mushroom pie with soup, with a red wine to drink. About 35 Canadian.

The next day we met our Internet friends from Calgary for a GTG at the:
"Nakoda Lodge." This was a few miles east of Canmore on Hwy 1A, which was a beautiful drive also. We had a delicious brunch at this Indian Lodge, but our friend paid the bill in advance so I donít know the price. (They have a website). I had roasted salmon, whitefish, asparagus, zucchini, salads, and desserts and ended up with hot tea. What a nice meal and right on the lake. This is open on Sundays and will take reservations for 10 or more. I recommend this place.

"Hwy 40" south of Hwy 1 - This was another gorgeous ride - with lakes, snow covered mountain, and is the Kananaskis area which is deservedly well-known. We found a moose family - Papa, Mama and baby who were ďtalkingĒ to each other as we took pictures. Wonderful places to stop and look and take pictures.

If you're wondering if that is all we ate (!), no, but the other meals were picnics or small meals in our room. Be prepared for expensive dining out in the Rockies.

Thatís it, Folks (with appropriate Disney Music)

I hope itís helpful. We enjoyed this trip immensely and want to return next year.

Brahmama is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 01:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,220
Moose! Bear swimming in Bow Lake!! Whoa! Very cool! Glad you enjoyed your trip as much as we did, Brahmama. And how great that you're already planning to return next year.
I'm curious to know when you were there. You had abt the same number of nights as we did in September, but it seems that your weather was very different from ours. Must have been fun to see the snow-- especially as it didn't hamper activities. And you seem not to have had any haze/smoke in the air; we had plenty. Our temperatures were magnificent, though-- and so was just about every sight/site we saw. I think it really does matter, though, whether things are very crowded when you see them-- perhaps even more than what the skies are doing.
poss is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 03:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,336
Hi Poss,
Thanks for reading and replying! Yes, we had to be there about the same time, didn't we? But our schedule must have been different.

9/5 at Bragg Creek
9/6 - 9/9 at Aurum on David Thompson Hwy
It was not as clear here, until the 2nd night when it rained a bit and opened up the sky. And was quite warmish. Except in early am
9/10 - 9/12 Jasper
It was perfect here - there were some clouds in the sky when we arrived, but no "smoke" and the sun was out a lot. Everyone was preparing for snow and rain and the weather promised 100% rain on Friday - but it didn't happen. On Friday we left about 10 and it was still nice, cool but sun. On the Highway (by Bow Lake) there was worlds of snow on the trees on the way to Lake Louise.
9/13 - 9/15
Lake Louise
It was cold here, and cloudy (smoky?) one day but sun was in and out on two days so we were ok (but bundled up)
9/16 - 9/17
This was glorious weather in the AM. By noon in Canmore it was cloudy and cold. The next day was wonderful with puffy white clouds and bright blue sky and sun.
cloudy on the way to the airport

I guess it's because we went up to Jasper first and then came down. Anyway, I agree with you about the people. The amount of people pushing around had a great affect on the amount we enjoyed it! I loved the times we were alone and made little "discoveries".

I want to go back - but have no plans yet. Too early, but wasn't it grand!! I enjoyed reading your trip reports - it was like we were there again! We probably saw each other and spoke!

Brahmama is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 06:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 14
Thanks so much for a great trip report. We're hoping for a trip out that way in May....but I'm saving your report to refer to. It's always great when someone will share so much detail. Thanks for taking the time and effort to do so!!!
vanclan is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2006, 07:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 57
Brahmama, even though we were in the area at the same time, our itineraries were different enough for us to have different weather in the various areas. We definitely missed each other in Canmore - my response to you was very late right before you left.
It sounds like you had a terrific time, had good food, and good places to stay.
This was our second trip to the area, and both times after we've come back, we have begun talking about when we could go again, and what we would do the next time. It's just such an incredible area, with so much to see and experience.
I hope to get a trip report completed in the next few days or week - I think we had some differences from you and Poss. So glad you had such a good time.
newretiree is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 01:51 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,238
Great trip report! Does sound like you ate well. My husband always says when you travel you must eat!!
One place you missed but must check out next time is Lake Ohara. It is amazing and truly a special gem.
irecommend is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 07:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,477
Really nice report! I have always been interested in Aurum Lodge, so I am glad to read that you enjoyed it.

We also liked Deer Lodge. We stayed at Emerald Lake but stopped there when we walked off with our Emerald Lake room key--has the rustic ski lodge look that we like. Emerald Lake Lodge is still one of our all time favorite places to stay--we had the cheapest room but loved it.

We also would like to return to see and hike around Lake O'Hara.
LindainOhio is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,523
Great trip report! It brought back so many wonderful memories of our trip there a couple of years ago.
I'm glad you had such a good time.
kodi is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello Carol,

Thank you for your trip report.

I have not stayed at Aurum Lodge, but it has been on my wish list since Borealis reported on it some time ago. It sounds as if you were satisfied with it, so that reinforces its place on my wish list.

Glad you warned folks that you felt cold up on Whistlers Mountain. It is so important to take a day pack with spare layers when you undertake any activity in the Canadian Rockies.

Did you by any chance have lunch at Pasu Farms on your second day and, if so, how was it?
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Sep 28th, 2006, 09:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,336
About Aurum Lodge:
It was a lovely place to stay. Quiet and peaceful. Do be aware that it's quite a ways to drive for Icefields hikes, lunch, etc. For a 2 or 3 night stay, it's a perfect place for a very quiet Get-A-Way. We stayed at the same time as a family from LA and enjoyed them so much that it greatly enhanced our stay.

Judy, yes we did stop at Pasu for lunch! We left Bragg Creek and took 22 up to Cochrane and walked around the town and stopped at some historical markers and checked out the ice-cream on the way there.

Pasu was a very interesting place. There were only 2 other tables eating while we were there so do be sure to call ahead to see if they are open if it's not Prime Season. Will had lamb ribs and a salad. I had the wild mushroom soup and their "Pie of the day" which was Steak and Mushroom. I also had a glass of Chardonay. It was all delicious.

The girl who waited on us was friendly and answered questions about the lambing operation which interested my husband (who walked around the pens etc) The owner came into the dining room and visited with a couple behind us that seemed to be regulars. He didn't stop by our table; we would have enjoyed talking with him.

They had an interesting item on the menu:
It was something like:

Our lamb ribs have a layer of fat which keeps the meat moist and tender. If you prefer lean ribs you would probably be happier with New Zealand Lamb which we do not serve.

We do prefer lean cuts, but Will ordered it anyway; that was why we went there - for the lamb!

(More Trip Report stuff that I forgot)
We drove over to Kootenay National Park as far as the Paint Pots trail which we walked. But it wasn't a great hike due to the fire, floods, wind according to the signs onsite. We didn't go any further so I'm sure we would have seen some lovely sites had we gone on.

We did have a Buffet Breakfast at Deer Lodge. It was reasonably priced at $15 per person. It was a cold buffet except for hot cereal and some breads, but with a lot of choice including meats and hard-boiled eggs. There was a good choice of fruits, etc. The buffet was better than the service! After we were seated at a nice window-side table, we told the server we were going to have the buffet and headed that way. When we returned, there were two other men sitting at our table! I approached and told them the situation, but they argued that they had been seated there. And they had! By the other server. Of course, the men moved, and the breakfast continued. But the servers were not communicating well at all. One spoke limited English and was very flustered. We didn't eat there again although we intended to so I can't speak as to the situation in the evening.

Thanks for the heads up about Lake OHara! Of course we couldn't see everything, but that sounds like a beautiful opportunity that we missed. That means we have to go back, right?
Brahmama is offline  
Sep 28th, 2006, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Thanks for the additional feedback, Carol.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Sep 28th, 2006, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
>>>>>>We're hoping for a trip out that way in May....but I'm saving your report to refer to.<<<<<<

Vanclan, be aware that most of the mountain lakes still are frozen well into May. Moraine Lake, which in my estimation is the prettiest lake that you can see without effort (without hiking, reserving a bus, etc.), only starts looking its turquoise best after the first week of June.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Sep 28th, 2006, 07:23 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,523
Carol, did you see the bug spray post lately?
Email me if you have time... [email protected]

kodi is offline  
Sep 30th, 2006, 08:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,336
Oops, Kodi, missed it. I'll go take a look. We're planning for another trip (this is the YEAR for the trips - then we will slow down!)
Brahmama is offline  
Oct 5th, 2007, 06:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,336
Topping for TA Friend bound for Canada
Brahmama is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:45 PM.