|Subject: Re: Trip to Calgary / Canadian Rockies|
One of the best vacations I have taken was to Banff in the summer of 1999. I have been all over the US Rockies, Sierras, Cascades and the Alps, but the scenery in the Canadian Rockies is the most vivid and memorable. The food was fine, the accomodations were comfortable and the value was fantastic because of the favorable exchange rate at the time.
Here are the specifics: Accomodations I was there with 19 other family members. It was a reunion/ vacation. We stayed at the Tunnel Mountain Resort http://www.tunnelmountain.com/ which was perfect for our group. We had 7 condos all of which included full kitchens, a bedroom with a queen bed and a loft with two double beds. It is away from the center of town which helped make it a quiet, restful place for us, sort of an oasis. In fact, every morning, we passed elk munching on the grass in front of the lodge.
Restaurants Because we had a lot of kids, we tended to eat at family oriented restaurants where everyone could find something they liked. I recall good food and drinks at Melissa's Restaurant & Bar, across from Banff Park Lodge, 218 Lynx St and at the Rose and Crown Pub, 202 Banff Ave. But the most memorable meal was the adult's evening out at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge, across the street from the Tunnel Mountain Resort. Truly gourmet - "Dinner includes maple glazed salmon, elk with potato leek gratin and lingonberry jus and caribou with sweet potatoe spaetzli and blueberry port sauce." Entrees were $25-$30 but I thought it was worth the money.
Hiking We went hiking every day. My uncle, a real mountain man, said that he had never seen such gorgeous scenery that was so accessible. He was used to hiking 3-4 days to see mountain vistas and glacier fed lakes like we saw. I can personally recommend the Plain of Six Glaciers trail to the tea house above Lake Louise; the hike to Eiffel Lake through the Valley of Ten Peaks that begins at Moraine Lake; and of course fabulous Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park.
Lake O'Hara is one of the most stunning areas I have ever seen. It would be overrun with people similar to Lake Louise except the Canadian Park Service has protected it by limiting access. If you are not staying at the lodge there, the only practical access is a bus that requires advance reservations. We made our reservations three months in advance on the first day they were offered. You can get more information at http://tinyurl.com/lmkkp
Final thoughts - We were there the last week in July, the warmest time of year. Yet, we were still visiting lakes that were partially frozen and snow covered. Shorts and t- shirts were ok many days, but polar fleece and sweaters were essential after the sun went down.
Have a great trip.
Mark Los Angeles