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Would love assistance with Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff itinerary, hotels, dining for family with teens

Would love assistance with Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff itinerary, hotels, dining for family with teens

Sep 6th, 2008, 08:37 AM
  #1  
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Would love assistance with Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff itinerary, hotels, dining for family with teens

Hi Everyone,

Well, it looks like our family of four (husband and I with 15 and 18 year old boys) will be headed to the Canadian Rockies next August. I am still waiting for our FF miles on the return leg, but all looks like a go. I have been reading through some posts, but will need to spend more time checking out the threads.

We love hiking, rafting,good food and wine, and enjoy scenery, wildlife and culture. We will have 8 nights.

I would love some help detailing our itinerary. We plan to fly into Edmonton, rent a car, and drive to Jasper the first day. Was thinking we would stay 3 nights at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Next, I am not sure. Would it be worth 1-2 nights in Lake Louise before heading to Banff for the final 3-4 nights OR better to just go to Banff for the final 5 nights in one location?

If we decide to stopover in Lake Louise, do you recommend the Chateau or the Post Hotel? We'd like access to hiking and dining.

In Banff, we will stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs. How far is the walk into Banff town?

Any and all suggestions welcome - rafting outfitters, dinner options, great day hikes (we are fit; varying lengths 1-8 miles or so would be great), other activities such as zipline (is that only at Whistler?), etc....


We have traveled a ton, but none of us has ever been to Western Canada so are all excited.
Thanks!
fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2008, 09:07 AM
  #2  
 
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I just got back from a trip to the Rockies, and I would highly recommend spending a few nights at Emerald Lake Lodge, if it fits within your budget. Emerald Lake is a beautiful little jewel and although there are some crowds during the day down near the Tea House, it is much, much less crowded and touristy than Lake Louise (or Banff for that matter).
frogoutofwater is offline  
Sep 6th, 2008, 09:36 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the quick reply. I will check it out. Do you think it is too quiet with older teens? We don't want ultra-touristy, but the kids do like stuff going on, and we'd like good accessibility for dinners and such.
fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2008, 10:15 AM
  #4  
 
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We are leaving on Tues for a trip to Lake Louise and Jasper. We are flying in and out of Calgary. I will post our trip report when we return.

Have you checked back (about a year)to any of Judy of Calgary's posts? She has a website with very good travel information for the area.

I think you will love the Rockies--you will be so awed by the beauty of the lakes, mountains, canyons.

It is also a hikers paradise. This is our third visit. We skiied the first visit. I have been trying to get back for a visit ever since. We always pick a new destination when we travel but I could return here every year.

I would suggest that you spend 3 nts. in Lake Louise and then if you want, move to Banff. I prefer to stay in Lake Louise in the summer--it is closer to the hikes we want to do--and then stay in Banff when we visit in winter. Banff is very busy in the summer. I'm sure your boys would love it though. Lots more dining options too.

There have been several hikers who have recommended a day trip to hike the Lake O'Hara area. You need to call 250-343-6433, 3 months ahead to reserve this. We are hiking there this Friday--and I am praying for clear skies.


Frog out of water---I would love to hear about your visit. We too loved Emerald Lake Lodge. On our last trip, we were able to get FF tickets a month before our departure. There was no lodging availability in Lake Louise. How lucky for us--we loved Emerald Lake. We only paid $150US in 2004--rates are much higher now.
LindainOhio is offline  
Sep 6th, 2008, 10:22 AM
  #5  
mms
 
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Have you looked at Baker Creek Chalets in Lake Louise? They are located out of the village, on the Bow Valley Parkway. We have stayed there a couple times and love it. They have a fantasic bistro onsite as well.

We have also stayed at the Banff Springs, and while it is not in the heart of downtown Banff, it is an easy walk, IMO.

Emerald Lake Lodge, as mentioned, is beautiful as well, but is more remote than the other places mentioned.
mms is offline  
Sep 6th, 2008, 11:35 AM
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The best rafting is on the Kicking Horse River just west of Yoho Park near Golden BC. There are several companies running trips and most will pick up in Lake Louise and Banff.
laverendrye is offline  
Sep 7th, 2008, 01:02 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for all the help so far.

From the suggestions, it seems you all would recommend at least a couple of nights in the Lake Louise/Yoho area before moving down to Banff (vs. staying in Banff the final 5 nights total)? Is that correct?

Both Emerald Lake Lodge and Baker Creek Chalets look lovely and worth considering.


Linda - yes, I've seen a few of her posts in passing and will be sure to check in more detail for Judy in Calgary's threads.
I am sure we will love the scenery and hiking - we spent a few days hiking in the Swiss Alps a couple of years ago, and it was that experience that had us all wish for another mountain trip. I also loved a trip I took to the Olympic Peninsula with a friend a while back.

mms- did you like the Banff Springs? It seems to get mixed reviews, but I've always pictured staying at one or more of those grand old properties.

Maybe it would work to spend 3 nights in Jasper, then 2-3 near Lake Louise at Emerald Lake, Baker Creek, or the Post, then stay a couple of nights at the Banff Springs?

laverendrye- thanks. It seems the Kicking Horse is the place to go. Any particular recs? There seem to be a number of options, but if you have personal experience that would be great.
fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2008, 03:46 PM
  #8  
mms
 
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Yes, we loved Banff Springs. We had a tiny room, but it was beautiful and we had no complaints.

One hike that we really enjoyed was the loop of the Lake Agnes Tea House/Big Beehive/Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House on back to the Chateau. Full day hike, but beautiful!

Also, at Johnston Canyon keep going and head to the inkpots.
mms is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 09:14 AM
  #9  
ltt
 
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i hear great things about baker creek and would look into staying there or the post hotel for your lake louise section. lake louise is a great location for hikes and visiting yoho park. but, there is no night life there and few restaurants to choose from. 2 nights would be my preference.
considering that banff is at the end of your trip, and from my experience with kids the ages of yours...they might be ready to have some "space". i think i'd consider a hotel in the town where they can do their own thing without the long walk from the banff springs everytime they wanted to do something on their own. there are some nice places on tunnel mountain road (http://www.douglasfir.com/ - older property but they have some nice suites for family and a couple of pool areas, http://www.tunnelmountainbanff.com/; buffalo mountain lodge) and there is a public bus that goes by there to town, or, pick something right in town.
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Sep 8th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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We've stayed at both Banff Springs and Jasper Park Lodge and both are very nice. Beautiful rooms and restaurants. Very classy places. Very easy walk into Banff from the hotel.

I'm tempted to suggest spending the last 5 nights in Banff and do day trips to Lake Louise, etc. We don't like to move around a lot and found this worked well for us. We haven't stayed at some of the other places mentioned so can't give you personal opinions.

For years our folks rented a condo in Canmore (just outside Banff) for the month of July. We thought it an ideal place to do the day trips, and yes Banff itself can be crowded in summer. But it's close enough to enjoy activities, restaurants, etc in Banff.

Enjoy the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper. One of the most beautiful drives anywhere, and where we've seen a far amount of wildlife.

dfr4848 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:55 PM
  #11  
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Awesome stuff, everyone. Thanks for the help as I get started! Love the hiking suggestions (mms - I think you helped me with my Washington trip, too).

So, I guess I need to decide whether to spend:

3 nights Jasper/5 nights Banff

OR

3 nights Jasper/3 nights Lake Louise area(leaning towards Baker's Creek Chalets)/2 nights Banff Springs

We don't mind moving (don't love it, but no big deal), and it seems many of the hikes/rafting we might want to do would be more easily accessible from LL area. Plus, it would give us a different type of feel.

All suggestions welcome. I will keep you posted as the trip develops.

fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2008, 08:06 AM
  #12  
mms
 
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I would do the 3/3/2 option. We really liked the difference between Baker Creek and Banff Springs and enjoyed being based out of both locations. Plus, at Baker Creek, that parkway has so much wildlife that you don't see in the heart of Banff.
mms is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 07:04 AM
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<<laverendrye- thanks. It seems the Kicking Horse is the place to go. Any particular recs? There seem to be a number of options, but if you have personal experience that would be great.>>

You're right--there are a number of companies running raft trips on the Kicking Horse and they're quite similar in their offerings. All will have certified guides.

The 23 km of the Kicking Horse rapids is usually divided into 3 sections, with the most gentle in the upper and the highest rated (Cl IV) in the lower. Lower section trips are often dependent on water levels. Most companies offer combinations of these with either full day trips including lunch, or half day trips on part.

It's really a case of picking the length and kind of trip you want. As to companies, I'm familiar with Hydra and Wet n'Wild and can recommend them, but I'm sure the others are just as good.

As an aside, as you are interested in adventure, you might want to consider mountain biking at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, just outside Golden--or take the gondola to the summit and dine at the Eagle's Eye. The views are spectacular.
laverendrye is offline  
Sep 10th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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Another vote for Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park.
You don't mention how you plan to get from Jasper to Banff (or Yoho); there are many excellent and beautiful hikes off the Icefields Parkway; the Beauty Creek trail, with its seven waterfalls, was a particular favorite.
gjkayak is offline  
Sep 11th, 2008, 01:11 PM
  #15  
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Thanks so much!
fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2008, 11:19 AM
  #16  
 
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We did a similar trip last summer with our two boys then 15 & 17 years old and posted a report.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...9&tid=35043022

Emerald Lake Lodge is lovely, but if you can swing it Iíd stay at the Chateau. The Gold level room was big enough for all four of us and updated to a very high level. View to die for. Nice places to eat at the Chateau, Deer Lodge next door, or Post down the road. Banff is touristy, but fun. Better hiking close by to be had if you stay in Lake Louise. Laverendrye above mentions the rafting and mountain biking that we did. Both were great fun, we used Alpine Rafting and I would recommend them.
We didnít stay, but Jasper Park Lodge is in a real nice setting. Weíve stayed at Patricia Lake from when the kids were young; cabin was a bit tight this time with three 200 pound guys though. May have to bump up to one of their new cabins next time. The walk from the Banff Springs Hotel isnít very long and there is a nice path along the Bow river into town. We too have travelled quite a bit, but keep coming back to this area.

DaveS is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 07:54 AM
  #17  
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DaveS,
Wow - thanks for sharing the link to your report. It is well-done and extremely helpful.

One question: As a daytrip to raft on the Kicking Horse.... how far from Lake Louise area as we will not be staying in Golden area? We will either drive over or arrange for a pick-up from the outfitter.

Happy travels!
fun4all4 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2008, 08:42 AM
  #18  
 
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It's about an hour's drive from Lake Louise to Golden, and maybe 40 minutes to where the rafts put in. With some companies, you check in at their office in Golden and they take you to the put-in, if you haven't opted for their shuttle.
laverendrye is offline  
Sep 19th, 2008, 06:36 AM
  #19  
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Hi Everyone,

OK, making good progress. Have our FF flights booked. We will arrive into Edmonton on Aug. 1 (Sat) and depart Calgary on Aug 9 (Sun). We will rent a car.

So far, we have the first 3 nights booked at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and the next 3 nights at Baker Creek Chalets (thanks for the rec).

I think we are going to book our last 2 nights at the Fairmont Banff Springs - but, not only is it expensive, there are so many room categories, my head is spinning.

Is it better to stay in the main building or the Stanley Thompson wing which just completed renovations so the room has just been redone? Thoughts? Any other requests I should make? We were going to stay on the Gold Floor, but the only room that accommodates us is 306 sq. ft vs. 500 or 650 for the other configurations we are considering.... would you give up space for the gold floor?

Thanks again for all your help.

fun4all4 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2008, 08:27 AM
  #20  
 
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Hi, just returned from a week in Banff and Jasper.

Spent two nights in Banff. 1 night at Emerald Lake Lodge and two nights in Jasper.

Like most I agree that Emerald Lake Lodge is a wonderful place to stay, even if it is for one night.

I would like to recommend The Bison Mountain Bistro in Banff for dinner. Excellent food, service and good wine list. The food is mostly organic and they purchase produce from local farmers. We had a great dinner there.

I think your boys would enjoy a trip on The Columbia Ice Field tour, the snowcoach takes you out on the glacier, it was really neat.

In Jasper I tried to get into The Alpine Village but it was sold out, but when I drove by it it looked so wonderful I was very sad that we didnt get in there.

I found The Fairmounts in both Banff and Jasper to be no big deal and IMO not worth the $$$. In addition it seems like a long walk from Fairmount Banff into town.

Lake Louise was nice but not worth spending a night or more there, its very close to Banff.

Have a great time, its a beautiful part of the world!

Laura
LauraStenicky is offline  

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