Vacation to Lake Louise

Nov 13th, 1999, 07:30 PM
Bob G
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Vacation to Lake Louise

We are planning a two week trip to Lake Louise and Banff. We want to fly into Calgary and rent a car. We will drive to Banff and then to Lake Louise. We then want to go to Lake Moraine and then to Jasper National Park. We would also like to see Yoho and Kootenay National Parks,the Ice Fields and the wine area. We plan start the trip in the first week of September. We like off the beaten path places to see and like hiking but prefer first rate hotels to stay in.

We would appreciate suggestions about a specific itinerary, how long to stay in each place,restaurants and hotels.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Bob G
Nov 14th, 1999, 06:37 AM
Bob Brown
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For a first class place to stay, I suggest checking out Chateau Lake Louise. Rooms there are in the $200 a day range, but should be acceptable.
The Post Hotel is also a good place. I never stayed there, but have heard good reports.
The best hiking trail in the area is the Plain of Six Glaciers trail that goes west from the Chateau to the mountain wall at the head of the valley. You can detour by Lake Agnes on the way back to make a long walk out of it.

In Yoho, try the Iceline Trail. It ascends about 2,000 feet from the floor of the valley to the remains of the Emerald Glacier. The trailhead is near Whiskey Jack Hostel, close to Takkakaw Falls, which itself is beautiful.

If you really have energy, continue on the Whaleback to the Celeste Lake cutoff. Drop down to the Little Yoho River, turn downstream (right) and then pick up the Whaleback Trail. This is a steep ascent, but the view from the top of eye popping. If you want to make a longer trek, stay overnight at Twins Falls Chalet -- rustic and all -- but excellent food. The Yoho Park headquarters should be able to give you the phone number if this one is not current:
Twin Falls Chalet Box 23009
Connaught Post Office Calgary, Alberta T2S 3B1
Telephone: (403) 228-7079
The owner and manager is Fran Drummond.

Nov 14th, 1999, 08:34 PM
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Another trail to check out is Sentinal Pass, from Moraine lake. One of the best hikes. For hotels, Banff Hot Springs has a reputation for being a great place to stay (although we did not stay there). In Yoho,there is a lodge at Lake O'Hare that is supposed to be great. Very secluded, the park bus or a 6 mile hike is the only way in, and there are only a few buses a day. I think a spot on the bus comes with the lodge reservation.

I agree with Bob Brown's assesment of the Ice Fields Parkway. Take the trip on the Athabaska Glacier--it seems like its overrun with tourists, but its worth it. Also, check out the Hot Springs in Jasper (miette), much less crowded that at Banff. You can find a web site and a book that has directions to lots of "hike in" hot springs.

If you do your research, you can find lots of lodges and cabins to stay between Banff and Jasper alone then Parkway.

Consider flying in to Edmonton and out of Calgary. This will avoid some double back. If you can arrange this, I suggest that order as, imho, the southern trip on Icefields is even more magnificent than going north.
Nov 15th, 1999, 05:45 AM
Bob Brown
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The Lake O'Hara Lodge is indeed in a very scenic location. And hiking trails around O'Hara are classic. There are even some marked Alpine scrambles over very rocky ground. For openers, try the ledge scramble from Opabin Lake to Lake Oesa.

Lake O'Hara Lodge has a web site somewhere, but I don't know what it is off had. (A search engine should find it for you.)

I have driven the Icefields Parkway both ways more than once. Even though flying out of Edmonton, after arriving in Calgary, would cut down some on repetitive driving, a trip south on the Icefields Parkway is also great. The view is not the same because of the change in perspective -- north to south.
Also, it is over 200 highway miles from Jasper to Edmonton and just a little bit longer back to Calgary. Why not trade the 200 miles of flat Alberta plain for the Icefields Parkway? You can stop at the places you missed the first time.
A compromise might be to drive south on the Parkway to The Crossing and then turn east to Red Deer on the David Thompson Highway, and then drive south to Calgary. The road south from Red Deer brings you in close to the airport. (The Calgary airport is located to the north and slightly east of downtown.)
Nov 15th, 1999, 06:20 AM
Bob Brown
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The website for Lake O'Hara Lodge is

Before you have sticker shock at the prices, multiply by .7. The rates are in Canadian dollars. The cheapest room is $350 per couple nightly , two night minimum, meals included. So $700 C * .7 = $490 US. The rate is slightly more in our favor right now, but .7 is a good approximation.
But the scenery is gorgeous and, because access to the Lake is controlled, crowds are not as great.

Last summer the Sentinal Pass trail was restricted because of bears. Parks Canada posted some silly rule that you could go in a group of 10 or more, formed on an impromptu basis at the trailhead. I doubt if a park warden was there to organize it or to control it. I went on a hike to the Ordaray Prospect near O'Hara in similar group that had a maximum size of 15. The constraint was to move as a group after gathering at the trailhead.
Fat chance. The more ambitious hikers soon left the stragglers half a mile to the rear. Those who took the group movement rule seriously came into conflict with those who had a very loose interpretation of how close the members of the group needed to be. (I think the two women who headed out well ahead of the reluctant "de jure" leader figured that same trail and same day equalled same group. The distance separating the hikers was immaterial. The "slow down" versus "speed up" argument turned hostile. A group hike of strangers with a "leader", who is determined on the spot, but who has no real leadership authority to enforce various procedural constraints that restrict freedom, is headed for trouble.)
Nov 15th, 1999, 08:06 AM
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When we were at sentinal pass, the restriction was at least 6 to a group. We hooked up with a family of 4 and had the best day of our vacation. There must be a study that shows the chances of certain types of bear encounters will decreas significantly when the group reaches that size. I heard the wardens were giving out tickets!!!
Nov 15th, 1999, 09:31 AM
Bob Brown
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Maybe it was 6 rather than 10. I know it was 15 at O'Hara. Perhaps I just had a bad experience. But, I would have gone ahead anyhow. I figured the leaders would either find a bear, and be eaten, or scare it off.
Sentinal is beautiful. That whole Larch Valley area has the ingredients to be lovely.

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