Accommodations and Food
Four lodges and four hostels lie along the Icefields Parkway. A number of other accommodations and Jasper’s main campgrounds are also along the parkway, but within close proximity to the town of Jasper.
Note that the main dining options are restaurants and cafés operated by the following resorts and hotels.
Facilities at the four hostels along the Icefields Parkway are limited, and beds should be reserved (403/670-7580 or 866/762-4122, www.hihostels.ca) as far in advance as possible. Southernmost is HI–Mosquito Creek (June–Mar., members $23, nonmembers $27), 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Lake Louise, which offers accommodations for 32 in four- and six-bed cabins. Facilities include a kitchen, wood-heated sauna, and a large common room with fireplace. Although the hostel has no showers, guests are permitted to use those at the nearby Lake Louise Alpine Centre.
HI–Rampart Creek (May–Mar., members $23, nonmembers $27), another 64 kilometers (40 miles) along the parkway, is nestled below the snowcapped peak of Mount Wilson, with views across the North Saskatchewan River to even higher peaks along the Continental Divide. Like Mosquito Creek, it’s near good hiking and has a kitchen and sauna. Its four cabins have a total of 24 bunk beds.
HI–Beauty Creek (May–Sept., members $23, nonmembers $27), 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) north of Columbia Icefield and 144 kilometers (90 miles) north from Lake Louise, is nestled in a small stand of Douglas fir between the Icefields Parkway and the Sunwapta River. Each of its separate 12-bed male and female cabins has a woodstove and propane lighting. A third building holds a kitchen and dining area. There are no flush toilets or showers.
Farther north is the equally rustic HI–Athabasca Falls (closed Tues. Oct.–April and all of Nov., members $23, nonmembers $27), 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of the town Jasper and 198 kilometers (123 miles) north from Lake Louise. It is larger than the one at Beauty Creek and has electricity. Athabasca Falls is only a few minutes’ walk away.
The Crossing (403/761-7000, www.thecrossingresort.com, mid-Mar.–mid-Oct., $159–209 s or d) is a large complex 87 kilometers (54 miles) north of Lake Louise and 45 kilometers (28 miles) south of Columbia Icefield. The motel rooms offer a decent combination of size and value,and most have views west to the Continental Divide. In addition to overnight rooms, The Crossing has the only gas between Lake Louise and Jasper, a self-serve cafeteria, a restaurant, a pub with a cook-your-own-steak grill, and a supersized gift shop.
Historic Sunwapta Falls Resort (780/852-4852 or 888/828-5777, www.sunwapta.com, May–mid-Oct., $199–395 s or d) is 55 kilometers (34 miles) south of the town of Jasper and within walking distance of the picturesque waterfall for which it is named. It features 52 motel-like units, with either two queen beds or one queen bed and a fireplace; some have balconies. In the main lodge is a lunchtime self-serve restaurant popular with passing travelers. In the evening this same room is transformed into a restaurant featuring simply prepared Canadian game and seafood in the $21–29 range and a delectable wild berry crumble for $7.50.
The Glacier View Inn (780/852-6550 or 877/423-7433, www.brewster.ca, May–Sept., $250–265 s or d), the top story of Columbia Icefield Centre, lies in a stunning location overlooking the Columbia Icefield, 132 kilometers (82 miles) north of Lake Louise and 105 kilometers (65 miles) south of the town of Jasper. It features 29 standard rooms, 17 of which have glacier views, and three larger, more luxurious corner rooms. All units have satellite TV and phones. Because of the remote location, dining options are limited to the in-house café and restaurant. The Glacier Dining Room opens daily at 7 a.m. for a breakfast buffet, reopening 6–9:30 p.m. for dinner. On the same level is a cafeteria-style café and a snack bar.
Pioneer guide and outfitter Jimmy Simpson built Simpson’s Num-Ti-Jah Lodge (403/522-2167, www.num-ti-jah.com, from $320 s or d), on the north shore of Bow Lake, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Lake Louise, as a base for his outfitting operation in 1920. In those days, the route north from Lake Louise was nothing more than a horse trail. With a rustic mountain ambience that has changed little since Simpson’s passing, an overnight stay at Num-Ti-Jah is a memorable experience. Just don’t expect the conveniences of a regular motel.
Under the distinctively red, steep-pitched roof of the main lodge are 25 rooms, some of which share bathrooms, and there’s not a TV or phone in sight. Downstairs, guests soak up the warmth of a roaring log fire while mingling in a comfortable library filled with historic mountain literature. A dining room lined with historic memorabilia is open for breakfast and dinner.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition