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Banff Alternatives

Hi all,

I started a thread earlier about the Canadian Rockies vs. Vancouver/Vancouver Island for my honeymoon. We decided to go with the Canadian Rockies. Obviously, Banff is a hit. What are some good alternatives (but still easily accessible to international airports) to Banff to avoid the crowds since we'll be there in early June? Also, any accommodation recommendations would be wonderful!

Posted by
115 posts

We love Baker Creek Mountain Resort about 10 minutes from Lake Louise. You are not right in Banff, but can go if you'd like.

Posted by
248 posts

Canadian Rockies are a good choice!
In addition to Banff, consider these:
Lake Louise
Yoho Nat'l Park
Icefields Parkway
Jasper Town & Jasper Nat'l Park

Posted by
300 posts

I live in Vancouver and so have gone to Banff quite a bit in my life. Once I went with my husband to a conference in Canmore, Alberta. It was beautiful--right in the mountains, lots of more affordable restaurants, etc. A lot of the Canadian Olympic team members call this home. However, if it's your honeymoon, if you can manage it, stay at the Banff Springs Hotel. I was able to stay there once and it was spectacular.

Posted by
272 posts

I lived in Calgary for a number of years and often would choose Lake Louise over Banff to stay when I was taking family. It was less busy than Banff but there are less restaurants and hotels. If you swing it stay at the Chateau Lake Louise. The views are amazing. We would treat ourselves to brunch and stay elsewhere. (I stayed at the hostel so can’t recommend any hotels from personal experience) While I only went once an alternative is Jasper. It is farther north and less busy.

Enjoy the Rockies. It is in my one of the most beautiful parts of the country

Posted by
799 posts

If you go to Jasper, about 3 hours or so from Calgary, i recommend the Tekarra Lodge, The cabins are simple but very comfortable surrounded by stunning scenery. The associated restaurant is excellent.

At Lake Louise we stayed at the Post Hotel,, which is absolutely luxurious but in a more understated fashion than the Chateau Lake Louise. It’s less expensive without giving up any of the attentention to detail of a high-end hotel. However, it is not on the lake and you will have to drive to get there.

Since you will be there in early June you may want to consider renting or buying crampons for hiking in higher elevations. It can be fairly icey in spots.

Posted by
248 posts

Re Tom's post (immediately above): Farther south would include Waterton Lakes National Park, which is just north of Glacier National Park (US).
I didn't realize you wanted to hike with crampons in the high country in early June. However, if you don't want to do that, then the earlier posts indicate where you want to go.

Posted by
794 posts

Lake Louise!

Do some research and you should be able to get a free pass for the Canadian National Parks.

Posted by
799 posts

Whoops. The hiking part is my bad. I don’t believe Andrew mentioned anything in particular about hiking. I just assumed that anyone heading to the Rockies would want to hike. By the way, if hiking is your thing, Jasper is actually at a lower elevation than Lake Louise and Banff and the snow on the most popular trails is almost gone by early June in Jasper.

Posted by
313 posts

A couple of possible itineraries. Are you flying in and out of Calgary? If so, then rent a car and I would head straight to Banff. If you really want less crowds you could consider a night in Kananaskis. The Lodge at Kananaskis is very nice. Do you have a budget for your accommodations? It would be a lot easier to give you suggestions with that.

Banff is busiest on weekends in June. Lake Louise in particular has become extraordinarily crowded in the last few years. I'd try to see it not on a weekend if you can.

The Jasper Parkway is a lovely drive and Jasper is a much less busy spot than Banff.

You could fly out of Edmonton, if you wanted to see both cities, but I"m not sure I'd bother. It is a 4 hour drive from Jasper to the Airport. Personally I'd rather drive the Parkway twice. You can stop off at Athabasca falls and Sunwapta falls on the drive.

We also think the town of Field is a cool spot. A very small railway town. The Truffle Pig lodge has accommodations, and wonderful food.
June can be lovely, but is also when we can get the most rain ( which may be snow in the mountains) It will be definitely be cold in the evenings. You will want a warm jacket and something waterproof.