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I'm in the beginning stages of planning a 2-3 week driving tour that covers Glacier, Waterton, Banff, and Jasper National Parks as well as some smaller places of note. This will probably start mid to late August, which is still high season for most accommodations. So I'm looking for recommendations for reasonably priced places to stay, perhaps some that will offer a press rate. Also, if there's a particular lake, hike, or site not to miss, I'm all ears. Thanks so much.
I've been in New Zealand; sorry it's taken me so long to reply to this. On Lake Louise itself, I like the Deer Lodge, which is just south of the famous Chateau Fairmont. Friendly staff and much more affordable rates. That said, the Fairmont really is a swell pile, so have tea or a drink or something there. In short, get in. Hiking trails: They're all over the lake, all over the park. Certainly, you'll want to follow the one that takes you to the falls at the southwest side of the lake. Last I looked, the media rep for the area was Lori Bayne <email@example.com>. I found her to be informative, smart, and helpful, as was her colleague, Annik@banfflakelouise.com. If you stay in the town of Banff itself you can get all levels of accommodations. If you're a horseback rider check out the Brewster operation: The Brewsters are the real deal; the family has been ranchers here for generations. For a change of pace, there's a nice little museum in town.
P.S. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, which is kinda sorta walkable from town (there's a bus, too), is another swell pile from the great railroad era that's worth a visit, even if you're not staying there. I stayed one night at the Buffalo Inn, just outside of town, as well. Lovely, romantic place with wonderful food, but my romance was back in NYC, so it was wasted on me.
Thanks for your suggestions, Ed. I'd also like to know more about New Zealand as that's on tap for 2013!
I had no desire to visit New Zealand; it was never on my bucket list, but I had to go because of the SATW convention (I'm on the board of directors). New Zealand surprised me, though: I loved the friendly people, the food, the landscapes, the athleticism of the culture. Rather than bend your ear with it right now, two thoughts: (1) Auckland is the larger, more worldly city, but Wellington, the capital, is more beautiful and accessible to nature. (2) I hiked (they say "tramped") the Queen Charlotte Track at the north end of the South Island, and I'd hike it again in a heartbeat.
I've always heard how beautiful New Zealand is, so I'm anxious to see for myself. Thanks for the quick tips.
At Lake Louise, we hiked the trail to the Teahouse of the Six (7?) Glaciers. It was a 2-3 hour hike one way, that ended at this charming Teahouse high in the mountains. Perfect spot to recharge your inner batteries with tea and home-made fare that tasted sublime in the clear cool air. It's not an easy hike, but anyone in moderately good condition could make it.
We stayed at the Lake Louise hostel just a mile or so away from the lake and it was marvelous. Great accommodations, a fun bar in the basement and super reasonable rates.
The tram to the top of the mountain in Jasper is worth the fare, especially if you time it slightly before sunset. There's a restaurant at the top, but we didn't have time to try it.
The whole area is gorgeous, you'll enjoy what ever you do. Wish I was going again.
Thanks, Doug. I'd like to know more about the hostel--usually shy away from those accommodations, but I think the term has expanded to include places that offer much more these days. Also, I've heard there are two hikes to tea houses in the Lake Louise area, so I assume you recommend the one you took. We're planning a two-week trip, but even so, there will be much we're not able to see and do.