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Stay in Banff or Lake Louise

New Jersey
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75 posts
18 reviews
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Stay in Banff or Lake Louise

We will be in the area for 4 nights. Planning to tour the Icefield Parkway (at least as far as the Columbia Icefield). Also will do some hiking around Lake Louise and Banff.

Our original plan was to make Banff our home base. Question: Is it worth staying in Lake Louse for 2 nights to shorten some of our drive time? Someone had told us that the hotels and area in Lake Louise were older and a little more run down than Banff.

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Stay in Banff or Lake Louise

Lake Louise is a tiny place - not a true village or town (no church, no school) , just a visitor services centre, with a few hotels, a small strip mall with a few shops and restaurants, the park information centre etc. The village itself is 4 km downhill from the lake, so if you choose to stay there, lake vs. village will be one choice to make. However, with a high demand and very limited supply of accommodations, staying in LL is expensive.

I wouldn't say that the accommodations in LL are run down... some of them are luxury accommodations with a price tag to match (Fairmont Chateau LL, Post Hotel); some of them are "average" hotels, but with resort pricing (LL Inn, Mountaineer Lodge). Deer Lodge is the other hotel up near the lake (the Chateau LL is on the shore of the lake) - Deer Lodge is an old, historic property, and while it has been renovated, it is still old and is an "old style" with small rooms, no elevator, and no TV, or Wifi in rooms. (DL is close to my heart, since I worked there for several summers when I first came to the Rockies... back when it was still family-owned and before the reno/moderization.) There is a really good hostel there, with a few private rooms - these run about $110 per night; this is the "budget" option in LL (dorms and camping are cheaper). These are also several cabin resorts in the LL area - Paradise Bungalows (about 1 km from the lake), Baker Creek Bungalows ... again, since the "cabin in the Rockies" has a big appeal, but there are not very many of these available, rates reflect that.

Staying in LL would shave off 1.5 hours of driving in total (45 minutes each way), compared to staying in Banff, if you are planning to go partway up the Icefields Parkway on one of your days, however, if you are going to bother with a change of accommodation, I think I would just suggest coming all the way to Jasper, and then you can see the whole of the Icefields Parkway. If you are hikers, staying in Lake Louise also puts you in place to get onto the trails earlier in the day, or you can visit the lake early or late in the day, when it is less crowded.

This article may have further information that might be helpful for you:

tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g154910-c14815/Banff-N…

Edited: 3:20 pm, January 26, 2013
2. Re: Stay in Banff or Lake Louise

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