Canadian Rockies Hotels
In summer finding Canadian Rockies hotels with vacancies is difficult. By late afternoon just about every guest room will be occupied, and basic hotel rooms start at $400. Fortunately, many alternatives are available. Rooms in private homes begin at around $120. Hostels have dormitory-style accommodations for under $80 per person per night. Bungalows or cabins can be rented, which can be cost-effective for families or small groups.
Wherever you decide to stay, it is vital to book well ahead during summer and the Christmas holidays. The Canadian Rockies off-season is from October to May, and hotels offer huge rate reductions during this period.
Hotels and Motels
Hotels and motels throughout the Canadian Rockies range from substandard road motels to sublime resorts such as the famous Fairmont Banff Springs. Bookings throughout the mountains, but especially in Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper, should be made as far in advance as possible. Finding inexpensive lodging in the mountain national parks is difficult in summer. By late afternoon, the only rooms left will be in the more expensive categories, and by nightfall, all of these will go.
Hotel rooms in Banff begin at $400 in peak season; those in Jasper and Waterton Lakes are similar. Accommodation prices are slashed by as much as 50 percent outside summer. Always ask for the best rate available and check local tourist literature for discount coupons. All rates quoted in this handbook are for the cheapest category of rooms during the most expensive time period (summer).
Park-at-your-door, single-story road motels are mostly a thing of the past in the mountains, although Radium Hot Springs, just outside Kootenay National Park, still has many of these motels (one of which proudly boasts “Electric Heat”). In most cases rooms are fine but check before paying, just to make sure. Most have a few rooms with kitchenettes, but these fill fast. Expect to pay around $120 for a double room.
For details on hotels in specific regions, click through the links below:
Banff National Park
Jasper National Park
Yoho National Park
Kootenay National Park
Waterton Lakes National Park
We also provide details for hotels in these destinations:
Canadian Rockies Accommodation Taxes
Except for campgrounds and bed-and-breakfasts with fewer than four guest rooms, accommodations collect tax on behalf of various levels of government. In British Columbia, an 8 percent provincial hotel room tax is administered, while in Alberta, a 4 percent Tourism Levy is added. Most resort towns also have a 2 percent tourism tax. These taxes are in addition to the Canada-wide 5 percent goods and services tax. As a general rule, quoted rates don’t include any of these taxes.
Other Canadian Rockies Lodging Options
Canadian Rockies Bed and Breakfasts
Canadian Rockies bed and breakfasts are a good option if you don’t mind sacrificing some privacy to meet locals and to mingle with like-minded travelers. Bed-and-breakfasts are usually private residences, with up to four guest rooms, although bylaws are different throughout the region. Amenities can vary greatly—the “bed-and-breakfast” may be a single spare room in an otherwise regular family home or a full-time business in a beautifully restored heritage home. If having a bathroom to yourself is important to you, clarify with the bed-and-breakfast operator when reserving. Also, as bed-and-breakfasts also function as private residences, book in advance—don’t just turn up. Rates fluctuate greatly, with the least expensive rooms costing $100 s, $100 d and the most expensive upwards of $400. Bed-and-breakfasts are located in Banff, Canmore, Bragg Creek, and Jasper. In Jasper National Park, many home-based accommodations don’t offer breakfast and are known as private-home accommodations.
ACCREDITED BC ACCOMMODATIONS represents bed-and-breakfasts across the region. The association maintains an informative website with simple descriptions and photos of each property, but it doesn’t take bookings. JASPER HOME ACCOMMODATION ASSOCIATION offers the same kind of service, as well as and an online availability calendar.
Canadian Rockies Vacation Rentals
The two main vacation rental websites, VRBO and AIRBNB, have many listings for properties throughout the region. The main difference between these two companies is that VRBO only rents out entire units, while Airbnb also represents owners looking to rent a room or just part of their property.
Vacation Rentals in Canadian Rockies National Parks
To help ease a lack of affordable housing, bylaws are in place that outlaw vacation rentals in Canadian Rockies national parks, meaning that you will not find true vacation rentals in Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, or Waterton Lakes. You will see properties advertised on the two main vacation rental sites, but they are usually hotels selling off their suites or bed and breakfasts.
As roads through the mountains were improved in the 1920s, the number of tourists arriving by automobile increased greatly. To cater to this new breed of traveler, many bungalow camps were constructed along the highways. Some remain today (mostly in Jasper National Park), offering a high standard of accommodation away from the hustle and bustle of the towns. Generally, they consist of freestanding, self-contained units and are open for the summer only.
Canadian Rockies Backcountry Huts and Lodges
Canadian Rockies backcountry huts and lodges are operated privately and by the ALPINE CLUB OF CANADA. Throughout the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies is an extensive system of 18 rustic huts managed by the Alpine Club. Due to their locations around favorite climbing areas, they are most often used by mountaineers as an overnight stop before assaulting some of the park’s highest peaks, but they are available to anyone who wishes to take advantage of their remote location. Their accessibility ranges from the Elizabeth Parker Hut (Yoho National Park), which can be reached by bus, to the Neil Colgan Hut, Canada’s highest habitable structure, 2,960 metres (9,700 feet) above sea level on a windswept ledge above Moraine Lake. Often of historical significance, each of the huts has a stove, lantern, kitchen utensils, and foam mattresses.