Trip to Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper/Yoho

Jul 25th, 1999, 07:14 PM
  #1  
sandy
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Trip to Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper/Yoho

There have been alot of great suggestions on this forum for this trip..I just have a couple more questions (Bob -- please feel free to comment--your opinion would be well appreciated. We are spending our 1st (yes, 1st) anniversary in Canada. Last week in Aug/1st week in Sept. The itinerary is as follows: 1 night in Calgary, 3 nights at the Banff Springs, 2 nights in Jasper Park Lodge and either 2 or 3 nights at the special "cabin" at the Emerald Lake Lodge, 1 night in Lake Louise. My question..How many nights would you spend at Emerald Lake(If I spend 2 nights there I can get 2 nights in Lake Louise..also, I can only get an all inclusive package at Lake Louise Chateau $779 CAD versus $450 CAD (not all inclusive)at the Post House...any thoughts on this, or how I can get to Lake Louise Chateau w/o the "all inclusive package"..Also, how is the Lake O'Hara lodge versus Emerald lake Lodge..this special cabin they have sounds pretty nice. FYI - we are active, in shape 30 year olds -- (i.e. we love hiking, biking, rafting, fishing, etc...)..Last quesiton, is the best rafting on Kicking Horse river (full or half day suggested ??) Thanks alot for all of your comments already--they have been a tremendous help.
 
Jul 25th, 1999, 07:49 PM
  #2  
Bob Brown
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Hi Sandy, thanks for the invitation to comment, but where you are staying is a little out of my league!! I think you will remember it a long time because those are nice places. On our first anniversary, I am not sure we had the money to pay the baby sitter AND have dinner.

I have never stayed overnight at either Lake O'Hara Lodge or Emerald Lake Lodge. Meals are included at Lake O'Hara Lodge. I looked in and viewed the interior of the cabins at O'Hara and at Emerald Lake. They look fine to me. In terms of the view, I would vote for Lake O'Hara Lodge because in my estimation the trails are better around Lake O'Hara and the views if anything are more spectacular. From Lake O'Hara, a really fun excusion is the trail up to Lake Opabin (o PAY bin), then take the scramble via the alpine route over to Lake Oesa and then back to Lake O'Hara. Another fun one is the high route out to Lake McArthur. And if you are really up to it, the alpine route from O'Hara to Lake Oesa is fun. And if you want an hour or so of an abomination, tackle the scree slope in the couloir that leads up to Abbott Pass and the hut, from where you can see Lake Louise and look down on the Victoria Glacier.

I cannot really comment on rafting on the Kicking Horse River because I am not sure where you would do it. The stream as it flows near Field is braided, hence shallow and slow. Farther down there is a waterfall, not one you would want to go over in a raft.

In general, I think your itenerary is a very good one. I cannot really answer your question on "How many nights at Emerald Lake?" You can easily drive to Lake Louise from Emerald Lake because it is less than 20 miles via the Trans Canada over Kicking Horse Pass. Lake O'Hara Lodge requires the use of the shuttle bus, or a 7 mile walk.
So you are more remote at Lake O'Hara.
I think you will enjoy the trip regardless of where you stay at the various places you mention because the scenery all around is marvellous.
We will be in Field August 16-19 staying in a small apartment in field. Then we are hiking up to Twin Falls Chalet and two nights with no electricity or running water. (It is camping without a tent, but with meals provided -- all cooked on a wood-fired stove.)Fun, if you like that sort of thing.
 
Jul 26th, 1999, 04:57 AM
  #3  
sandy
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thanks alot for the input...I'll let you know what we decide.
 
Jul 28th, 1999, 07:15 AM
  #4  
Cathy
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Sandy:

Just returned from a trip to all those places. If you want my honest opinion, here it is:

Emerald Lake Lodge was kind of a disappointment. The Lake itself is small and very, very busy with tour groups and hikers. Service at Cilantros Cafe was poor.

Lake O'Hara is very remote, peaceful and beautiful -- if the weather is good. (We had snow while we were there). You are limited in coming and going though. That is a drawback.

The Post Hotel is an excellent hotel. It was my favourite. Chateau Lake Louise was very very busy and bustling. I too was quoted the all inclusive rate for Chateau Lake Louise so I don't think you can avoid it unless you are part of a tour group. You can still enjoy the surroundings of the hotel (ie. canoe on the lake, hike to the teahouse) even if you do not stay there. (Bigger is not always better).

Your itinerary is almost identical to ours!!

Here is my last recommendation. Skip Emerald Lake Lodge. Stay an extra day in Jasper or Lake Louise.

I am sure you will have a fantastic time.
 
Jul 30th, 1999, 02:15 AM
  #5  
Irv
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Whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River has over ten operators and three types of whitewater experiences. Scenic float sections downstream from Yoho Nat Park, middle section with Class 2 and 3, and the lower Kicking Horse into Golden BC has the Class 3, and 4+. Water levels in the river determines if the lower section can be run. Call Golden Visitor Center at 1-250-344-7125 for operators such as Whitewater Voyageurs. Guided wetland float tours on the Columbia River are also a great option for wildlife viewing. Lake O'Hara is great, the snow melt was slow this year and there is still some snow on trails at higher elevations.
 
Jul 30th, 1999, 10:08 PM
  #6  
Rich
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Sandy, Here are my thoughts on your vacation in the Canadian Rockies, I've spent 10 years as a tour guide in the area. 3 nights in Banff may be too many based on what you like to do and the amount of people you will see in this very busy town. Based on your interests I would stay at the Chateau Lake Louise if only for the availability of the hiking right out the front door. The inclusive package is something you will just have to accept as the norm for this hotel. (It usually covers your meals, grats for bellman, waiters and room attendents)
The Post Hotel is in the village of Lake Louise in the valley and not close to the Lake. If you can stay longer at the Jasper Park Lodge, very quiet setting, great golf, hikes, horseback riding and fishing. Great hike is from the top to the bottom of Maligne Canyon. Closer access to the Columbia Icefields and some great hiking in the area between the Icefields and Jasper. Make sure you take the Snowcoach ride on the Athabasca Glacier or the guided walk on the glacier with Parks Canada guide. Try the hike up Parker's Ridge just south of the Icefields.
Lake O'Hara over Emerald Lake is my choice as well. In the Banff area check out Johnston Canyon for a great day hike up to the Paint Pots and the upper falls. Check to see if the Gondola at the Sunshine Ski area is running, this gets you up to the high alpine hiking trails right on the continental divide. Rafting on the Kicking Horse is very good. Depending on the water level, which is high this year do to all the snow run-off,you will get class 4+ whitewater.
If you need more info email me, be glad to help. Have a great time, this is a wonderful place to spend time.
 
Jul 30th, 1999, 10:08 PM
  #7  
Rich
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Sandy, Here are my thoughts on your vacation in the Canadian Rockies, I've spent 10 years as a tour guide in the area. 3 nights in Banff may be too many based on what you like to do and the amount of people you will see in this very busy town. Based on your interests I would stay at the Chateau Lake Louise if only for the availability of the hiking right out the front door. The inclusive package is something you will just have to accept as the norm for this hotel. (It usually covers your meals, grats for bellman, waiters and room attendents)
The Post Hotel is in the village of Lake Louise in the valley and not close to the Lake. If you can stay longer at the Jasper Park Lodge, very quiet setting, great golf, hikes, horseback riding and fishing. Great hike is from the top to the bottom of Maligne Canyon. Closer access to the Columbia Icefields and some great hiking in the area between the Icefields and Jasper. Make sure you take the Snowcoach ride on the Athabasca Glacier or the guided walk on the glacier with Parks Canada guide. Try the hike up Parker's Ridge just south of the Icefields.
Lake O'Hara over Emerald Lake is my choice as well. In the Banff area check out Johnston Canyon for a great day hike up to the Paint Pots and the upper falls. Check to see if the Gondola at the Sunshine Ski area is running, this gets you up to the high alpine hiking trails right on the continental divide. Rafting on the Kicking Horse is very good. Depending on the water level, which is high this year do to all the snow run-off,you will get class 4+ whitewater.
If you need more info email me, be glad to help. Have a great time, this is a wonderful place to spend time.
 
Jul 31st, 1999, 09:55 AM
  #8  
sandy
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Thanks Cathy, Irv and Rich for all the great information. I have been trying to get into the Lake O'Hara lodge but they are booked. I am hoping they get some cancellations -- I'll keep trying. Has anyone ever been at Moraine Lake Lodge -- heard it was great.
 
Aug 10th, 1999, 08:23 AM
  #9  
lisa
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Sandy: Regarding Lake Louise, I stayed at the Post Hotel and we LOVED it -- quieter and more secluded than the Chateau which is big and bustling. Yes you do have to drive from the Post Hotel to hike Lake Louise (whereas at the Chateau it is right at your doorstep), but it is not that far a drive and we felt it was worth it to be away from the crowds and tour buses at night. The Post Hotel also has fantastic food. We had breakfast and lunch at the Chateau one day when we were hiking Lake Louise and thought the food was good but nothing special.

Also, while we did not stay at Emerald Lake, we did a day hike there all the way around the lake and I would definitely recommend that and would not miss it. I know another poster said skip Emerald Lake -- I agree that you don't necessarily need to stay there but I would advise you to do the hike around the lake because it is fascinating to see so many different ecosystems all in one location.
 
Aug 12th, 1999, 04:15 PM
  #10  
sandy
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thanks for the info lisa..really looking forward to the trip..regards, sandy
 

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