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“Back Country for Softies” 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 amenities
Wimborne, Dorset
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Back Country for Softies”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012

Shadow Lake lodge really is as wonderful as other reviewers say. The staff are so helpful and friendly, the food is superb (especially 'afternoon tea', which is a meal in itself). The scenery and walks are beautiful, especially in July / Aug when the flower meadows are a blaze of colour. We hiked in from Sunshine Meadows, included a detour to Rock Isle Lake, then over Healy Pass and through Pharoah Creek. Apart from Pharoah Creek which was sheltered by trees, this was a very scenic and enjoyable route, with amazing views. It took 7.5 hours with lots of photo stops etc. On the way out, we chose an even more scenic route of Whistling Pass, Healy Pass and Healy Creek. This was steeper and took 8 hours.

Room Tip: All rooms are good.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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47 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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
  • Any
English first
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

We had a great 3 days and 2 nights at the Shadow Lake Lodge. Great food, comfortable cabins. Hiked up Gibbon pass and had amazing views. Wouldn't recommend Twin Lake trail. At the end of a long day of hiking there is "afternoon tea". A delightful delicious buffet of cheese, crackers, hor deurves, cookies and cakes.
It was a great way to experience the back country of Banff.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2012

Me and my (now) fiance stayed at Shadow Lake in early July 2012. We hiked up using the Red Earth Trail as the other trails still had snow. The hike up was quite nice and not too difficult. If you have a chance to bike it, I would recommend doing that.

The lodge itself and the staff were phenomenal. They were welcoming and friendly. We were greeted by afternoon tea and snacks. And by snacks I mean a table full of gourmet cookies, finger foods, cheeses, etc. The cabins were very well taken care of, very cozy and comfortable. A big thumbs up for the warm showers! The dinner was also extremely delicious and the setup for the take-out lunch was thoughtful (and did I mention delicious!) as guests could make their own sandwiches for day hikes.

We stayed at the lodge for two nights, which was not nearly enough to enjoy all the trails. I would recommend a minimum of three nights, although that might not even be enough (unless you are looking to sprint through the trails). The atmosphere at the lodge during our stay was relaxed and casual, as dining is communal and all the guests relaxed at the "lounge" cabin. The staff were very good at making the dinners fun and enjoyable. What is the flight speed of a mosquito....hmmm?

The setting is beautiful with a view of the mountains. The hikes range from easy to demanding in different lengths so there is something for all skill levels. Everything that has been said before is spot on. I proposed to my gf during the trip and the staff recommended a wonderful spot. They also made sure our stay was truly memorable. I highly recommend the experience!

We truly had a trip we will not forget. A big thank you for Alison and the staff at the Lodge! I look forward to another visit.

  • Stayed July 2012, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2012

Ah, Shadow Lake Lodge... a great way to experience the Banff backcountry with an unusual level of comfort for such a spectacular, remote location!

We rented mountain bikes in Banff and rode the first 10k up along Redearth Creek. The ascent is steep at times and would probably be considered strenuous by an inexperienced biker. Deep forest and rushing creek scenery, with occasional peak views. Saw eight or nine sets of bear scat along the way, with a few muddy stretches, and hiked the last 2.5k up. Germaine - the concierge, chef, guide and hostess - gave us a warm welcome with an amazing spread set out for tea. The staff is eager to please and quick with information and recommendations.

The dining is impressive at the Lodge; one evening we had Alberta beef tenderloin in a cognac-peppercorn sauce, with potato-leek soup, sun-dried tomato bread, spinach/strawberry salad, roasted peppers and broccoli, smashed potatoes, and chocolate cake for dessert. A great way to power up after a long day burning energy on the trail. Bottles of wine were $42 - same as you'd pay in a regular hotel, but these were hauled up to 6,000 feet for you. Vegetarian, glucose-free and lactose-intolerant guests were there at the same time, and were graciously accommodated with delicious-looking options.

Dining is communal so you get to know the other guests, which during our visit were a lively, diverse mix from as nearby as Canmore or as far away as the Netherlands and Russia.

There are several day hikes to choose from, ranging from meadow walks to high-elevation scrambling; you can set your own pace. You make your own sandwich after breakfast and take fresh fruit, cookies and energy mix to lunch on the trail while you're out. We did about 30 clicks in three days, with an amazing hot shower at each day's end.

Forget about updating your Facebook status, checking email, sending text messages or anything like that - Shadow Lake Lodge is a place to clear your mind and untether yourself from technology.

Tips... bring two or three times more insect repellent than seems reasonable: swarms of aggressive mosquitoes were out in full force at almost every location. If you want to take a dip in the crystal clear and cold waters of Shadow Lake, bring water shoes, as the rocks are sharp. The Lodge does not offer spirits for sale, but you can pack them in and prepare mixed drinks in your own cabin. Available mixers are lemonade, water and ice tea.

How could it be better? Kayaks to take out on Shadow Lake would be great, although there may be an environmental or liability reason they can't do that. There's still plenty on land to keep you busy for at least a few days. Yoga and massage services would be a nice addition for those who're interested.

Overall: Shadow Lake Lodge is a great place to get away, exercise your body and relax your mind while enjoying the beautiful setting of the Canadian Rockies.

Room Tip: Request Pilot cabin - the closest cabin to the communal lounge area, bathroom/shower hut and dining...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2012

My cabin was super comfortable, which makes for a cozy nap in case of rainy weather. What an awesome view, and the food is very delicious. The shower is luxurious for a back country cabin. The staff was always very helpful, and looked after me, as I was solo on this trip. I am definitely going back.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 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.
Calgary, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2012

Not the most exciting walk in for views, but pretty flat until the last part and although quite a distance, comfortably achievable. Next time I would be tempted to bike the most part; but remember to hang your bike in the trees or the porcupines might eat your tires!
The staff are really lovely and the cabins and facilities are extremely clean and comfortable. The food was plentiful and excellent quality, and catered for most people's needs including vegetarian meals. The only downside? - we should have stayed longer! I now dream of the hot shower, a gorgeous dinner and chatting with friends next to the wood burning fire. We're going back to do more hikes and be spoilt again.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
St. Albert
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2012

We cross country skied into Shadow Lodge with our twin sons, age 15 and another family with teens. The ski in was not too difficult as it was a gradual uphill climb with several flat sections along the way. The last kilometre was a bit steep but the promise of tea and treats spurred us onto this heavenly destination. Amazing to find that this place had hot showers. There were many options for skiing or snowshoeing in the area. The food was delicious and there was plenty of it to feed the hungriest of skiers. I think it would be beautiful in the summer as well.

Room Tip: All rooms have beautiful views. We had our own cabin and so did our two sons.
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  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Shadow Lake Lodge

Also Known As:
Shadow Lake Hotel
Shadow Lake Hotel Banff
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 20 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 

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