Places to Stay in the Canadian Rockies
Finding a hotel room in the Canadian Rockies during July and August can be very difficult, so it is imperative to book as far in advance as possible. Canadian Rockies accommodations can also be expensive—alternatives worth checking out to save a few dollars are the many private home accommodations in the town of Jasper and the lodges and guesthouses in Field, a small village in Yoho National Park.
Hostelling International is another option for travellers on a budget, although rates at the Banff and Jasper hostels are more expensive than you may be used to ($60 for a dorm bed and $200 for a double room). The organization’s rustic—and cheaper—hostels are spread throughout the Canadian Rockies, including along the Icefields Parkway.
Canadian Rockies Lodges
Each of these lodgings is accessible by road. Prices vary greatly, but each offers a memorable experience—we’ve stayed at most of them, so can personally vouch for their quality and value.
Baker Creek Mountain Resort: Along the Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise, this collection of login cabins and luxurious suites is a great base for your Banff vacation.
Becker’s Chalets: Of the many cabin complexes close to the town of Jasper, this is our favourite, with cabins to suit all budgets, a delightful riverside setting, and a top-notch restaurant as a bonus.
Cross River Wilderness Centre: Retreats and nature programs are the main draw at this cabin-style lodging along a logging road just outside Kootenay National Park. Meals are provided with most packages.
Emerald Lake Lodge: Overlooking a lake of the same name in Yoho National Park, this luxury resort has spacious, comfortable rooms, and a fine dining restaurant.
Mount Engadine Lodge: Accessible by road but with the ambience of a backcountry lodge, Mount Engadine overlooks vast meadows (moose are often sighted here in fall) and offers lodge rooms plus private cabins and “glamping tents.”
Num-Ti-Jah Lodge: An historic lakeside property north of Lake Louise along the Icefields Parkway, with 25 rustic rooms, a cozy library with fireplace, and a charm-filled restaurant.
Paintbox Lodge: Yes, it’s in downtown Canmore, but the owners of the Paintbox have done a wonderful job of providing a serene oasis in the heart of this busy tourist town.
Paradise Lodge & Bungalows: Operated by the Pedersen family for over 50 years, these immaculately maintained cabins and suites are within walking distance of Lake Louise.
Storm Mountain Lodge: Set on a ridge between Banff and Kootenay National Parks, this lodging features historic log cabins and one of the region’s most authentic dining experiences.
Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge: Less than an hour’s drive south from the town of Jasper, this family-operated resort is a favourite stopping point for Icefields Parkway travellers.
Backcountry Huts and Lodges
The following are our favourite places to stay in the Canadian Rockies backcountry. All are far from the nearest road and only accessible on foot or ski (with the exception of Fortress Lake, and Mount Assiniboine, and Talus, which can be reached by helicopter, and Lake O’Hara, which is reached by private bus service).
Alpine Club of Canada: This national mountaineering organization operates numerous backcountry huts in the Canadian Rockies ranging in size, comfort and amenities. A lottery system is in place for the most popular huts.
Diana Lake Lodge: This rustic lodge is accessed by logged road and then hiking trail from Golden, British Columbia. Guests can prepare their own meals or have the owners do so.
Fortress Lake Wilderness Retreat: This fly-in lodge is within Hamber Provincial Park, on the west side of the Continental Divide. Primarily attracting anglers, it is also the base for spectacular hiking and paddling.
Lake O’Hara Lodge: This luxurious backcountry lodge offers a perfect blend of comfort and seclusion in the heart of what many hikers regard as the finest day hiking destination in the Canadian Rockies.
Mount Assiniboine Lodge: Overlooking Lake Magog and accessible only by helicopter or a 25-kilometere hike or ski, the wilderness setting, top quality meals, and comfortable cabins make this a favourite of wilderness enthusiasts.
Naiset Huts: These huts in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park are extremely basic, but the price is right and the communal dining cabin is comfortable and well-equipped. Reserve in January to be ensured a spot for the upcoming summer.
Shadow Lake Lodge: Situated in an alpine meadow backed by the glaciated peaks of the Continental Divide, this historic lodge with comfortable cabins and top-notch meals is a world away from the hustle of nearby Banff.
Shovel Pass Lodge: Located at 2,135 m (7,000 ft) in Jasper National Park, Shovel Pass Lodge is the only lodge available on the Skyline Trail. Packages (for hikers or riders) include private cabin accommodation, 3 meals a day and freighting of duffel bags into camp.
Skoki Lodge: Reached on foot or ski from Lake Louise, this historic lodge dates to the 1930s. The main lodge and three surrounding cabins provide accommodation for 22 guests in both summer and winter. The lodge is also central to many wonderful day hikes.
Talus Lodge: Owned by Canadian skiing royalty, Thomas Grandi and Sara Renner, this remote but comfortable lodge south of Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park is only accessible by helicopter from Canmore.
Tonquin-Amethyst Lake Lodge: Located in Jasper’s Tonquin Valley, this remote lodge is only accessible on foot or horseback. Guests have all meals prepared for them and stay in rustic but comfortable cabins.
Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge: Located on at the north end of Amethyst Lakes in the Tonquin Valley, this lodge caters for guests in six rustic cabins, with meals served in the main lodge. Most guests here are on horseback trips, but hikers are also welcomed.