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“Pampered in the backcountry” 4 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
Madison, Wisconsin
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Pampered in the backcountry”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013 via mobile

We just returned from spending 2 nights at Shadow Lake Lodge and the experience there is pretty much as others have stated. Our group consisted of my husband, myself and our 18 year old son. We stayed in a 2 bedroom cabin and were very pleased to discover that both beds were queen sized and the cabin was a very comfortable size. Other cabins have king sized beds and overall the facilities are very clean and well maintained. The hike in and out via the Red Earth Creek Trail is not strenuous but is long and not very interesting. Most of trail is an old fire road that runs along side the creek. Depending on your hiking pace, you should plan for at least 3-5 hours of time for hiking in and at least 3 hours for hiking out. The view from the cabins is quite nice as you are looking out across a marsh toward Mt. Ball. We very much enjoyed our time at the Lodge but you should be aware the the highlight of this lodge is the comfort and food, rather than viewing wildlife. During our 3 days in the area, we failed to see a single notable animal or bird. However, As others have noted, the food is fantastic!!! You are greeted by high tea and the evening meal consists of 4 courses, each of which are made of fresh, delicious ingredients. Breakfast is immense and will prepare you for your daily activities which for most people consist of day hikes to surrounding passes or lakes, or in some instances, reading on the sunny porches of the cabins. This lodge is appropriate for all ages who can manage to walk 14 km slightly uphill (or downhill on the way out). The cabins are warm and environmentally appropriate soap and shampoo are supplied in the showers. This lodge is very well run and is a great get away for viewing wildflowers, doing day hikes or simply relaxing and enjoying the companionship of the other guests.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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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
  • Any
English first
Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

We spent two nights at the lodge in July. We feel so lucky! We can't recommend this place strongly enough. I wish we could've spent three nights instead of two. I also wish we could have come and gone via different routes. We came and went via Redearth Creek Trail. We enjoyed the hike in, but would've liked to return via a different route (though it's almost entirely downhill on the way out, which is nice).

We stayed in Isabella cabin, the only cabin with a king-sized bed.

The food was amazing. The staff friendly and accomodating. The family that runs the place couldn't be nicer and they take excellent care of their guests.

We stayed mid-week, so there were only 10 or so guests. So there was no bathroom wait. The hot shower was most welcome (thank you, solar panels!!) And the two toilets for each gender were very nice and not smelly (despite being pit toilets).

The surrounding nature is stunning. What a fabulous (and glamorous) way to experience the back country.

The hike up over Gibbons Pass to Lower Twin Lake and back was exceptional (very steep up to Gibbon Pass). We also enjoyed the Lakeshore trail to the end, then up along the river to the base of Mount Ball. Leave enough time to make it all the way to the end, we hear there is a waterfall. We still had to hike out the day we did the Lakeshore trail, so we turned around after 2.5 miles. I think the waterfall is only 1/2-1 mile further.

Glamping in the backcountry!

  • Stayed July 2013, 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
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Houston, Texas
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

We spent two nights at the lodge and as the other reviewers, we loved it! We rented bikes in Banff, biked up the first 7.5 miles and hiked in the last 1.5 miles (porcupines didn't eat our tires either). The first 1/2 mile wasn't bad, but here were some fairly steep portions with lots of rocks, so at one point I was thinking I was going to be walking my bike up the entire way. Because we are from Houston, the altitude was a factor, but we finally got in the groove and made it to the bike racks in about 2 hours.

We were met by Mia, who provided excellent service the entire weekend. The food was excellent and plentiful. But, since we wore off all those calories we weren't concerned! We also enjoyed the wine, as there is nothing better than enjoying a glass with the beautiful mountain views.

Advice from previous reviewers prepared us for the massive amounts of mosquitos...definitely bring bug spray. Also, don't forget the sunscreen, as the rays can be powerful. The only issue that I wasn't fond of was hiking it to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Other than that, we had a wonderful time relaxing and exploring the trails.

  • Stayed July 2013, 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ft. Saskatchewan, Alberta
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

My wife and stayed at the lodge for three nights in July. It was everything and more than we expected. The hike in was an easy, steady grade on an old fire road. The last three kilometres are steeper with more roots and rocks. When you reach the lodge it's like an oasis of comfort in the backcountry without the air, noise and light pollution so many of us are accustomed too.

We arrived by five and the staff were kind enough to leave the afternoon tea spread out for us. It included an assortment of individual packaged teas, sweet treats, homemade guacamole, salsa, humus, crackers and chips. It's hard not over eat with a full hot and cold breakfast, self packed lunch of homemade breads, cold cuts, cheeses and all the fresh trimmings as well as desert bars, trail mix and sweets. Dinner is a highlight of the day with homemade soup, salad, fresh vegetables and a tender meat dish. The three nights we stayed we had a super tender roast, salmon and a lovely pork tenderloin dish. Again homemade desserts of cheesecake, German double layer chocolate cake, and bumble-berry crumble topped it off. There is a nice selection of wines and beer as well that is reasonably priced considering its all packed in by horse. Sitting on your own private cabin deck sipping a glass of wine while the sun sets was so stress free and relaxing.

Meeting the other guests from around the world was a lot of fun. The staff was so accommodating and friendly. Spend three nights if you can make it work. Nice to have a day to just relax, visit, eat, sip wine and then relax in the lodge around the fire.

As other travellers have mentioned the facility is super clean and comfortable. We definitely will return another time.

Thanks so much Lynn, Allison, Nadia, Sabina, Mia, Morgan, River, and our chef which I apologize I didn't get her name and any other staff that made our three days so enjoyable.

Mark and Melanie

  • Stayed July 2013, 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.
Portland, Oregon
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

This is a magical, restful, and exciting vacation spot. The hike in was easy, but didn't have the amazing views that are closer to the lodge. The lodge is in a valley with a lovely views. The real reason to pay the big bucks is for the snug and romantic cabins with backcountry hiking. I would recommend at least two nights in this relaxing spot.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
west virginia
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2013

We spent two nights at Shadow Lake Lodge. We rented bicycles in Banff and rode part way to the lodge. There is a bike rack to leave your bike (and no, porcupines did not eat our tires). I found the trail to be steeper and rougher to what I am accustomed to riding (rail trails in West Virginia) but the ride down was much faster than the nine mile walk would have taken. The trail to the lodge is unremarkable and was buggy at the bottom. The lodge is somewhat remote, but that puts you close to superb hiking. Alpine meadows, breathtaking vistas, and no other people. I recommend staying at least two nights at the lodge so you can do at least one all day hike from the lodge. The other guests were very friendly- many were repeat visitors. Upon arrival we had tea which included cheese, fruit, veggies, cookies, juice, etc. Dinner was salmon one night and beef (prime rib or filet) the other. Both were very good. Breakfasts were hearty. They put out food to pack a lunch which included lunch meat, granola, cookies, fruit. Bathrooms were "outhouses" but with tiled floors, hot and cold water and were very clean. Showers were hot. This is a unique place and I hope to return in the future.

  • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

We stayed at Shadow Lake Lodge in March 2013. We snowshoed in the 14 km while I think everyone else staying that weekend were skiiers.

We were in the Whistling cabin. It was great, nice and private and large size. Bed and bedding was very nice.

It was a bit odd not having a bathroom in our cabin but it didn't bother us. The non-flush toilets were okay- not smelly at all. The hot showers were really nice and felt like a real luxury. The wood-fired sauna was nice and HOT- really loosened up the muscles after the hike in.

Food was amazing!!! Was all good but my favorite was afternoon tea. Lots of cheeses, crackers, dips, veggies, cookies, squares, etc.

We did a hike up to Gibbon Pass. It was a clear day and we had a gorgeous view of Mount Assiniboine which was amazing.

The wine was $42 per bottle, which honestly I didn't find bad at all- since I was just glad I didn't have to carry it in.

We had a really nice time and I'm sure we'll go back sometime to see it in summer!

  • Stayed March 2013, 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
    • 4 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.

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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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