Icefields Parkway Hotels
The following Icefields Parkway hotels are listed south to north. Each one offers a different experience, but all are closed between October and April.
THE CROSSING RESORT (403/761-7000, mid-Apr.-mid-Oct.) is a large complex 87 kilometres (54 miles) north of Lake Louise and 45 kilometres (28 miles) south of the Columbia Icefield. It’s also at the junction of Highway 11, which spurs east along Abraham Lake to Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer. The rooms offer a good combination of size and value. In addition to 66 guest rooms, The Crossing has the only gas between Lake Louise and Jasper, a self-serve cafeteria, a restaurant, a pub, and a supersized gift shop.
Pioneer guide and outfitter Jimmy Simpson built the LODGE AT BOW LAKE (403/522-2167, late May-mid-Oct.) on the north shore of Bow Lake, 40 kilometres (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. The desire to build a large structure when only short timbers were available led to the unusual octagonal shape of the main lodge. Simpson remained at Bow Lake, a living legend, until his death in 1972 at the age of 95. With a rustic mountain ambience that has changed little since Simpson’s passing, Lodge at Bow Lake provides a memorable overnight stay. 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 that 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 historical mountain literature. A dining room lined with memorabilia is open for breakfast and dinner daily.
Family-owned and operated SUNWAPTA FALLS ROCKY MOUNTAIN LODGE (780/852-4852 or 888/922-9222, May-mid-Oct.) is 55 kilometres (34 miles) south of the town of Jasper and within walking distance of the picturesque waterfall for which it is named. It features 52 comfortable 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 travellers. In the evening this same room is transformed into a restaurant featuring simply prepared Canadian game and seafood.
GLACIER VIEW LODGE (888/770-6914, early May to early Oct.), comprising the top story of the Icefield Centre, lies in a stunning location high above the tree line and overlooking the Columbia Icefield, 105 kilometres (65 miles) south of the town of Jasper and 132 kilometres (82 miles) north of Lake Louise. It features 29 standard rooms, 17 of which have glacier views, and 3 larger, more luxurious corner rooms. All units have satellite TV and phones. Because of the remote location, dining options are limited to a Starbucks-branded café, Chalet Cafe, with snacks and hot drinks served cafeteria style and with lots of seating indoors ands out, and Altitude Restaurant, with a surprisingly well-priced breakfast buffet and creative dinner menu (closed for lunch).