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“It really is as great as everyone else says!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Shadow Lake Lodge

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Shadow Lake Lodge
Box 2606, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1C3, Canada   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Complimentary bottle of wine
Ranked #1 of 19 Specialty lodging in Banff
Tallahassee, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“It really is as great as everyone else says!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2011

I won't repeat what everyone else has said in their reviews. I will only say that everything that everyone else has said is absolutely true. The people, the views, the food, everything was first class. The only downside that we were spoiled and disappointed with two other backcountry lodges we stayed at after Shadow Lake. We look forward to our return.

Room Tip: There is one room with a king bed, which we had.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, all staff @ Shadow at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, September 13, 2011
Thank you very much for your review, and glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay at Shadow Lake Lodge! All of us staff will be looking forward to having you back at the lodge soon! Please contact our office if you plan to use different trailheads for in and out, so that we can help you arrange transportation.
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50 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
San Diego
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2011

We could only afford to stay here for two nights but this place was the highlight of our trip. Far better accommodation than the average and overpriced places in Banff and Jasper.

We were lucky with weather but did notice ice on the picnic tables in the morning!

You actually get a lot for the money - spacious private cabin, a hot shower in the middle of nowhere, three hearty (and delicious) meals a day and afternoon tea. Most importantly, we were able to hike quickly with hardly any gear or supplies.

Room Tip: They all seemed good.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, all staff @ Shadow at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, September 13, 2011
Thank you for your review, and HAPPY to hear that you enjoyed your stay at Shadow Lake Lodge! All of us staff will be looking forward to having you back at the lodge sometime in the future!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Near the Adirondacks in NY
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2011

We recently stayed three nights at the Shadow Lake Lodge and we loved the experience. As most of the reviews state, the food is absolutely delicious. You will never go hungry and could possibly gain weight if you eat all that is provided! The staff was so friendly and accomodating, especially for taking the time to explain the hikes that are available from the lodge. We hiked to Gibbons Pass, Copper and the Upper and Lower Lakes one day and then the next day we did the Egypt Lake Loop. The day of departure we left our packs at the lodge and hiked to the double waterfalls at Shadow Lake for one last "AHHH moment" and then returned to our packs and sat on the deck for a quick bite and hiked out to our car. We were fortunate that we were able to hike every day even though the weather was not ideal. I am not sure what I would have done all day at the lodge if we could not have hiked. Possibly stayed in the main lodge with the fireplace and played cards, etc.
The lodge and cabins are very clean, but I was really cold at night in the cabin. We did adjust the heater after the second night and that solved the problem. There is a common washroom for each sex, but accessing them never seemed to be a problem. It was cold at night while we were there and I did dread leaving my cabin at night to use the facilities, but I guess that is part of the backcountry charm!
Having the ability to get hot water in a pitcher for the basin in your room is a plus. I do love the fact the they are so environmentally responsible. They recycle, use solar panels, and biodegradable soaps, etc.
We met some wonderful people while we were there and saw some fantastic scenery. I smile every time I think of our wonderful Shadow Lake Lodge experience. Thank you to everyone that helped make our stay so memorable and I will cherish the trail bar recipe!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, all staff @ Shadow at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, September 13, 2011
Thank you very much for your review, and glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay at Shadow Lake Lodge! All of us staff will be looking forward to having you back at the lodge sometime in the future!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nelson, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2011

After attending a week-long wilderness first aid course in nearby Canmore, I decided to treat myself and my girlfriend to an (alas, too short) stay at Shadow Lake Lodge this spring. I had stayed at the lodge several times before, as a hiking guide guiding groups of German-speaking visitors to Canada. The German hikers had always loved the remote lodge, its rugged surroundings, hearty gourmet food and friendly staff.
Now, three years after my last visit, I was finally hiking in again to this unique lodge that is neither road-accessible nor is it a “heli-lodge”. In fact, helicopter use is “verboten”; the sole exception being an annual removal of outhouse waste containers to a proper sewage treatment facility. Everything that is required to feed and house guests and staff is carried in by pack horses, just as it was over 80 years ago when the Canadian Pacific Railway built the first cabin on the site.
We chose to hike in the shortest (13km) route along Red Earth Creek. The parking lot is just off the Trans Canada highway about 20 kms west of Banff. We began with the usual gear prep in the parking lot, as we bundled snow shoes, ski jackets, shorts and T-shirts into our packs. With a late and deeper than usual snowpack this year, we wanted to be prepared for all possibilities.
As other reviews have noted, the hike up Red Earth isn’t spectacular, but once you are out of earshot of the highway (about 5 minutes’ hike uphill), the quiet stillness of the forest surrounds you and begins to soothe away any stresses. In late June we were treated to delicate Calypso orchids and Glacier lilies in bloom beside the trail. Lost Horse Creek Campground, reached after about 90 minutes of steady hiking, makes a welcome rest stop.
Continuing on the trail, you will come upon a bicycle rack, usually with a couple of mountain bikes locked to it. The bikes generally belong to Shadow Lake Lodge staff (although riding a bike to this point is a great way for guests to shorten the hike in to the lodge!). The rack is where you leave the old mine road along Red Earth Creek and turn right, up a steeper and narrower forest trail that will bring you to the lodge. In total, it took us just under 3.5 hours from stuffing gear into backpacks in the parking lot to sipping tea and munching cheese and freshly-baked cookies in the lodge’s rustic yet comfortable dining cabin.
After we had had our first cup of tea we were shown to our cabin and given a brief run down on the facilities.
The individual guest cabins all have 2 beds in them (one has one king size), table and chairs, propane heater, old-fashioned laundry drying rack, dresser, and a wash table with jug and basin. No running water in the cabins, but you can take your jug and get hot water from a tap outside one of the main cabins. Or, have the best back country shower I’ve ever experienced in the shower building. This simple cabin offers one bathroom for men and one for women. Inside is an odour-free (really!) “pit” toilet (actually a barrel that gets flown out as already mentioned), two sinks and an on-demand propane heated shower. Maybe it’s the luxury of a shower in the wilderness, but this shower impresses me every time with its even, hot temperature. Most campground showers running on municipal water and power aren’t half as enjoyable as this one!
Dinner was served at 6:30. It’s a “one choice” menu – if you have food allergies or preferences, you should let the Lodge know in advance. But if you’re an omnivore, you won’t be disappointed. Before dinner, the staff, who always seem to be from all over the world, introduce themselves and present the dinner menu. This year we met Perrine from France, Amy from Australia, Janna from Czech Republic and our chef Barbara from Calgary (originally from Switzerland).
The food was excellent – day one we had beef tenderloin with all trimmings; next day succulent chicken breast.
Evenings are perfect for a short walk to the namesake lake in which Mt. Ball is reflected on wind still days. If y you’re not up for more walking or if the weather is inclement, the original cabin is the place to relax by the warmth of a wood stove...
After a wonderful sleep under fluffy duvets, we were woken by a knock and a cheerful “Good Morning” from one of the staff. We had ample time to get ready and make it to the dining cabin just as the smell of bacon was drifting in from the kitchen. Somewhat to my chagrin, the group of elderly Japanese hikers who were sharing the lodge with us on the first night had already been up for several hours as they had to see the sunrise on Mt. Ball. (Next day we made the effort too and it was worth it!) Breakfast was hearty and delicious and afterwards we could pack our own lunch from the selection of fresh lunch fixin’s the kitchen had laid out.
From the lodge, you can go in three main directions: up to Gibbon Pass, up to Ball Pass, or continue past the Ball Pass turnoff to Whistling Pass. We chose Ball Pass – the middle distance hike that also offers a far-off view of Shadow Lake and the lodge buildings when you reach the pass (bring binoculars if you have them as you’re waaay up there and the lodge is barely visible). Snowshoes came in handy on a few snow-covered scree slopes but most of the pass was snowfree and we could boulder-hop and just lay in the sun enjoying our sandwiches.
We made it back just in time for afternoon tea (ends at 5:00pm). Restraint must be exercised as dinner comes too soon to work up another appetite!
Two nights is generally the minimum stay required by the Lodge, but you wouldn’t want to spend any less time anyway, even for a first visit, there’s just too much to see and do. Plus, it takes a while to realize that you aren’t going to hear a phone ring, a car or motorcycle engine roar, or even Banff’s omnipresent trains go by. There are no TVs and while you can be assured that emergency communications are in place (with back up as well), the absence of “the modern media landscape” is part of the wilderness experience.
What more can I say? We are saving up for the next visit hopefully less than three years from now...

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, Front Office Manager at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, July 12, 2011
Thank you very much for your BIG REVIEW on Shadow Lake Lodge, and very happy that you enjoyed your stay....and looking forward to your next visit!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Kingston, Rhode Island
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2010

If you can manage the reasonably easy walk in (3.5-4.5 hrs with one steep bit), you should put this on your list. The location is spectacular and the lodge makes a great base camp for numerous outstanding hikes. Some hikes are not on the official map, so ask the staff.
We stayed 3 nights and I would spend that much time again. We had 2 full days of hiking. The location is also idea for spending a day just hanging out, either in the historic cabin with a roaring fireplace, lots of historic books and photos, games and other travellers. Or you can stay in the privacy of your own cabin, which has inside and outside seating areas. They provide delicious food all day long, incl. a snack bar that is very satisfying to plunder after a day of hiking.
The food is outstanding, certainly a lot more 'gourmet' than I expected. The staff are friendly and helpful. The price is justified by the remote location and the generally exorbitant prices in the area. We spent $20 on two coffees and two bagels in Camore ...
The cabins are new, true log cabins with beautiful interior. You are in the middle of the National Park and the proprietors are conscientious about their footprint, so there is no in-room bathroom. The communal bathroom with showers is clean but you do have to leave your cabin to use the facilities. If that is something you can muster, I highly recommend coming out here. It is the closest you will get to a true back-country experience.
PS> they don;t have a fitness center, unless you count the mountain passes all around

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, Front Office Manager at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, September 20, 2010
Thank you very much for staying at Shadow Lake Lodge and writing a nice review......very happy to hear that you enjoyed the stay.
We will be looking forward to welcome you at the lodge again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Larchmont, New York
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2010

My husband & I spent a few nights at Shadow Lake Lodge in July. The hike in was direct and accessible for any level hiker. Strong hikers have an alternative hike out, which is a plus for me. At the end of your hike, you reach the lodge. The staff is fantastic, the food is divine, the scenery is breath-taking and the cabins are very comfortable. We met great people from all over. Something that I particularly like is that the owners have invested a lot of effort in making the lodge very environmentally responsible. By using solar panels they have also created a great shower facility. Nothing beats a warm shower after one of the many hikes available to the guests, except the dinner that is waiting! We have hiked in the Canadian Rockies many times so we know what is available. Put this destination on your short list!

Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, Front Office Manager at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, September 7, 2010
Thank you very much for visiting the lodge and writing a nice review..... happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay.
Looking forward to welcome you at the lodge again!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
arlington
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2010

our first back country lodge (we later went to skoki) and we loved everything about it...setting was beautiful overlooking a huge meadow with large mountains beyond...great food (especially the baked goods at breakfast and beef tenderloin)...wonderful hikes to gibbon pass (amazing mountain meadows where we saw 8 mountain goats dashing through the trees and scrambling up the mountain) and haiduk lake and whistling pass (crossing many mountain streams)...loved having a hot shower and cold beer at the end of the day...what luxuries 9 miles in from the highway. cabins very quiet and comfortable.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, Front Office Manager at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, August 30, 2010
Thank you very much for visiting Shadow Lake Lodge, and writing a nice review....glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay at Shadow Lake Lodge . We will be looking forward to welcome you at the lodge again sometime soon.......
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Shadow Lake Lodge

Address: Box 2606, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1C3, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Banff
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 19 Specialty lodging in Banff
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated in the high alpine meadows of Banff National Park, Brewster's Shadow Lake Lodge is a remote back country lodge with private cabins, accessible only by hiking, cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Included in the rate are three mountain gourmet meals as well as afternoon tea served to you daily in our dining lodge. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Shadow Lake Hotel Banff

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