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“Exceptional Backcountry Lodge”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Shadow Lake Lodge

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Shadow Lake Lodge
Ranked #5 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Banff
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Exceptional Backcountry Lodge”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2010

As others have said, the Shadow Lakes Lodge exceeded all our expectations!

We are a family of four, with two teenage girls. I was the one that signed everyone up for this 2 day , 3 night overnighter in the backcountry, and the one that committed them all (with some trepidation) to riding bikes for 8.5 miles, and then hiking another 1.5 - and it could not have gone better. We rented mountain bikes in Banff, drove them to the trail head, and with a game but nervous crew, started up the Red Earth Trail. Others had warned us that the first few hills were steep, and not to get discouraged - that was helpful. We walked a few, road a few, and everyone had time to get used to being on mountain bikes. And while I read others had said that the trail was boring, we thought it was tremendous -- very beautiful forested trail, with room to ride, and which eventually tracks along a raging river. In the end, it only took us a bit over two hours to do the ride before the last hike in, which took another 45 - 50 minutes.

And at the end of the hike, we were blown away by the setting of the Lodge itself. It is on a lovely meadow, with spectucular vistas from every lodge porch of the surronding mountains. We had two lodges -- a king bed in one, and two doubles in the other -- side by side -- and they were both very comfortable.

In addition to the individual sleeping lodges, there is a communal lodge for meals, and a seperate communal lodge with comfortable couches, games, books and a fireplace.

The food was excellent, the staff went out of their way to be accomodating, and the owner was information and delightful. I recommend this place to anybody who wants to get a feel for the backcountry.

Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank 1-sanfrancisco
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, 2010
Thank you very much for your positive comment and visiting our lodge. We are happy that you enjoyed your stay, and hope to see you again at the lodge again in near future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Ottawa, ON
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2009

Stayed for 2 nights, 3 would have been better simply to really take advantage of the hikes in the area. Food was fantastic, especially considering I'm a Celiac and requested Gluten Free food - absolutely delicious and I did not lack for anything, if anything, I had not eaten that much before! The cabins are beautiful, setting spectacular and all and all a great getaway.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KG516
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, Shadow lake lodge staff at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, December 2, 2009
Thank you for writing the review, and looking forward to seeing you at the lodge next time!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nyc
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2009

My husband and I stayed at Shadow Lake Lodge for 3 nights in early september. We loved almost every moment of it.

Getting to the lodge:
There are several ways into the lodge. Most people take the Red Earth trail. This is a pretty easy 8 mile trail. its flat for almost the whole way until the last mile which has some up hill, but still not bad. We took an alternate route which was more challenging. It began at the vista lake trailhead. Its about 9 miles, so not much longer than Red Earth, but you're doing a LOT more climbing. Basically you're going up and down i think three times. We did this trail in the wind and rain to the lodge, so it was not entirely pleasant and it took about 5 hours with a very short lunch break. Another group had taken this route in and it took them 7 hours, though i think they encountered some snow and they were a bit less prepared than us. We were lucky enough to meet a cool couple who gave us a ride from the Red Earth creek trail head back to our car (about a 10 minute drive) so we hiked back via Red Earth on the way back.

The Location and grounds:
The lodge is made up of many buildings. There is a main dining room where breakfast and dinner are served, a lounge building which has a cozy fireplace, lots of couches, games, books, etc that is great for relaxing after dinner (which most of us did), the bathroom building (equipped with 1 shower & 2 toilets in the womens room..i assume the same for men), some staff buildings and the invidual cabins. there seemed to be about 10 or so of them (i didnt count). the lodge is set in this beautiful meadow with a backdrop of mt ball and forest. Sunrises are amazing. Each building are log cabins and are pretty well constructed, and seem well insulated...not your typical drafty cabins!

The individual cabins are pretty spacious. We stayed in ‘Pilot’ which was the closest building to the public buildings. This was great b/c it was a shorter walk to the bathroom. We had a standard which had 2 double beds, a small table with 2 chairs, a dresser, a night table, and a little alcove that had a mirror above a table. ON the table was a large bowl and pitcher for washing up (hot and cold potable water is available outside the lounge building), and a drying rack. Clean towels were also provided as well as a very toasty, reliable heater. There is a little front porch with 2 chairs in front of the cabin which gets some nice afternoon sun.

The Food & Meals
Meals are served in the main room at communal tables. We were lucky to meet a very cool couple that we sat with every night and had some great conversation. That being said, everyone we met was very friendly and obviously happy to be at such an amazing place. The food is all homemade and plentiful. Soup was served as a first course every night as well as fresh bread. I cant remember all the details, but soups for 3 nights were corn chowder, cream of broccoli, and lastly potato soup. Meals were salmon one night, marinated chicken breast another rnight, and then pork tenderloin a last night. Side dishes were things like potatoes au graten, wild rice, roasted root vegetables, big salads with strawberries…etc. And dessert was always awesome- cheese cake, lemon cake…etc. Considering that they’re in the middle of nowhere, Allison (owner and chef) really puts out some great food. Exactly what you want when you come home from a long hike. Bottles of wine and cans of beer are available for purchase. We got a bottle of wine every night. Its slightly pricy, as expected at 37 dollars a bottle, but worth EVERY penny, trust me! Breakfasts were equally generous. Always museli, fresh fruit and either oatmeal or cream of wheat to start, and then a big cooked hot breakfast of either pancakes, French toast, or eggs. Always either bacon or sausage. Was all delicious and more than you could eat. For Lunch, they put out a generous spread of cold cuts, bread & other sandwich fixings, homemade cookies and baggies of trail mix. Lunch food is put out literally as your digesting your breakfast so you can get going on your hikes. At 11am- 5pm they keep out a huge spread of cookies, cakes, cheese & crackers, tea and drinks for snacks. There is literally TONS of food around all the time, so no need to bring any!

The Bathrooms:
The bathrooms can get a little smelly, but its to be expected. They were always VERY clean, and the showers actually had pretty good water pressure. They supply shampoo and shower gel (and towels in your room).

The hikes:
There are many choices of hikes depending on how ambitious you are.
-We arrived through the vista lake, lake arnica, twin lakes, then gibbons pass. It was a challenging hike due to all the ups and downs. You are climbing and ascending a lot, so even my 34 year old knees didn’t love me at the end of that one!
-The next day we did Whistling pass via haiduk lake. It was about 13 miles round trip I think and took about 7 hours including a nice stop for lunch at the lake. The last bit at the pass is all rocks, but its not a hand over foot climb. Gorgeous hike, even great if you just stop at the lake which is a pretty easy 10 miles round trip….not much elevation gain there.
-Our second day we decided to go back to twin lakes via gibbon pass since the weather was so much better than our arrival day. You do an up and a down both ways. Pass is gorgeous, but worth it to continue on to the lakes.
-last day we hiked out via red earth. Its a fire road through a pretty forest. In nice weather, its quite pleasant, though not outstanding vistas. Only worth it if you’re coming or going to the lodge.

All in all, we absolutely loved shadow lake lodge and cant wait to return. 3 days is the perfect amount of time. 1 night is definitely not enough. 4 nights would be fine, but I think you might start to run out of day hikes.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank arkachic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shadowlakelodge, Shadow Lake Lodge Reservations at Shadow Lake Lodge, responded to this review, December 3, 2009
Thank you so much for writing detailed review, and looking forward to welcoming you at the lodge next time!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level Contributor
32 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2009

Shadow lake is a wonderful place. The hike in is an easy/moderate 8 miles when compared to the other backcountry lodges we have visited. We stayed for three nights which was just right. The cabins were clean and spacious for the two of us and the staff were excellent. There is a shower in the central shower house that was very clean (a big plus in a backcountry lodge). The food was abundant and the breakfast was excellent. After dinner many of the guests went to the main lodge to enjoy the fire and socialize. I recommend hiking to the end of shadow lake and enjoying a picnic. On our second morning we saw a moose walking across the meadow in front of the lodge. We enjoyed good weather except for our hike out as it rained and snowed which made the trail sloppy. I highly recommend Shadow Lake Lodge.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank decoydonna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2009

There's a certain degree of self-selection when it comes to deciding to go to a place like Shadow Lake Lodge, so if you're thinking about making the 9 mile trek into the lodge in the first place, you'll have as awesome a time as we (and fellow guests) did. We chose to bike the first 7 or so miles (there are bike racks at the end of the bike-able part) - the rest is a somtimes steep but short hike. Going in took about 2.5 h (but we're not great bikers - we walked our bikes a substantial portion of the leg up) and getting back took under 1.5 h, with an exhilarating return trip on our mountain bikes (we went pretty fast). I won't repeat too much of what everyone else has said, but yes, the food is unbelievably good (and plentiful), especially after an all-day hike. Cabins are rustic (no running water) but warm and comfortable.

Don't forget mozzie repellent on the hikes. We did the pharaoh creek loop (~15 miles) and on some portions of the trail we felt like the pied piper leading a trail of mosquitoes behind us. We were tired by the end of the day but saw mountains, glaciers, marmots and beautiful meadows - what more could you ask for?

Final Tip: We booked Shadow in combination with a night at their sister property in Banff (Brewster Mountain Lodge) and got a small discount at Brewster.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ActiveCouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta
Level Contributor
30 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2009

Along with a group of friends, we enjoyed spectacularly beautiful weather, amazingly few mosquitoes, and the comfort of hot showers. It's the second time we've been in to Shadow Lake Lodge, and it was even better than I remember. A few of us tackled the Pharoah Creek Loop and, if you're up for the distance, it's gorgeous. It's a lovely combination of flower meadows, high mountain passes, and a long hike along Pharoah Creek with many bridged crossings. We decided that it's worth a third visit.

  • Stayed July 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Freedom005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ann arbor
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2009

The Shadow Lake Lodge exceeded all of my expectations. I didn't quite know what to expect in a "backcountry lodge", but was pleasantly surprised by the cleanest washrooms I had seen in days and the lovely setting next to a meadow (it is a 1km hike to Shadow Lake -- go early in the morning to see the reflections). The food was delicious -- some of the best meals we had on the whole trip. I am still salivating over the beef tenderloin. And the breakfasts, wow! It is a good thing that there is plenty of hiking available to burn off the calories consumed :)

We stayed two nights (which is the minimum) but it might have been nice to stay for three, so we could have done more of the hikes around the area. We met very few other hikers along the trails -- it was fun to feel "alone" in the wilderness but then come back to a hot shower, cold beer, gourmet dinner, and comfortable bed. We enjoyed the communal meals in the lodge, swapping travel stories and hiking plans with other guests. Allison is a fabulous hostess, and I would highly recommend this lodge to anybody who can hike in and out the 9 miles.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AnnArborDawn
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

Property: Shadow Lake Lodge
Address: Box 2606, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta T1L 1C3, Canada
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Banff
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Banff
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Shadow Lake Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 12
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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