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Canadian Rockies Adventure - Day Five

Chateau Lake Louise Day One - Vancouver
Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada Day Two - Kamloops
403-522-3511 Day Three - Jasper
Day Four - Jasper
Chateau Lake Louise Home Page Day Five - Lake Louise
Day Six - Banff
Day Seven - Calgary

Wednesday, June 28, 2000

We had to have our bags packed and ready by 7 a.m. It was brisk this morning, but sunny. We were headed to the glacier that day, so we were wearing jeans and fleece jackets. We headed up to the main lodge for breakfast. We very much enjoyed our two days in Jasper, and were a bit sad to be leaving (and we also enjoyed being able to spend two nights in one place). We boarded our motorcoach at 8 a.m., and were happy to see Mario was our tour guide again. We visited Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls in the morning. The highlight of our tour that day was Columbia Icefield, where we took a Snocoach ride on Athabasca Glacier.
The water running off the side of the glacier was bright blue! It was a bit chillier on the glacier, and we were glad we had our fleece jackets on. We were amazed at how much the glacier was melting, and were not surprised to see the glacier had withdrawn quite a bit over the past 100 years.
There were high poles stuck in the glacier. Our Snocoach driver told us they get so much snow in the winter (the snow would get as high as a couple stories) that they needed the poles just to locate the main trail on the glacier when the snow retreats in late spring. We went back to the main building and had some lunch.
Our next stop in the afternoon was Peyto Lake. We walked down to an overlook, and as soon as the lake came into view, our breath caught. We had noticed that the color of the water in the Rockies was much more attractive than the brown we were used to back in Pennsylvania, but this was truly startling. It was an aquamarine that was so beautiful it was actually startling. It was more beautiful than any water we had seen during visits to the Caribbean.
We stopped at Bow Lake. There was not much to see here unless one was staying at the lodge. Lori quickly adapted to the habits of those on our tour and we jokingly said she was doing the "restroom tour" of the Canadian Rockies (she eagerly sought out restrooms at every stop we made). This was one of our less pleasant stops, as the restroom was smelly and crowded. We sat by the lake and drank some spring water.
We arrived at Lake Louise at 6 p.m. We learned that there was really no town, just a few hotels, a shopping center, and housing for those who worked in the hospitality industry in the area. We were thankful we had upgraded our hotel, as we were staying at Chateau Lake Louise. Ours was the only hotel truly on the stunning lake; the rest were a taxi ride away. We checked in and found our room.

Keith was disappointed that our room did not overlook the lake, but we still had a nice view of the mountains. Since our luggage had yet to be delivered, we changed into shorts and explored the hotel. The structure was 100 years old, and had the appearance of a large Swiss chateau in the Alps. The bar on the bottom level had an outdoor cafe which overlooked the lake, and we chose to sit outside on yet another gorgeous day, with a view of the lake. It is impossible to describe the view, so we suggest you check some of our pictures. The lake is a stunning emerald color, surrounded by snow-topped mountains. The Chateau sits at one end of the lake. The view took our breath away. We felt as though we could sit for hours and gaze at the lake. In all honestly, there is really not much to do in Lake Louise except to look at the lake and to climb mountains (if you are into the more extreme sports); that is why we recommend staying at this fine hotel. The rooms here were not air-conditioned either, although there was a ceiling fan and our room, which was on about the 6th floor, was considerably cooler than our accommodations in Jasper. The staff again noted how spectacular and unusually warm the weather was for the last week of June.

We did have some complaints about the relationship Rocky Mountaineer had with hotels at Lake Louise, and we expressed our comments to our travel agent. We were dropped off at the hotel with no instructions other than what we had on our itinerary (which told us nothing but the pick-up time the following day). Our very informative tour guide surprised us by telling us another operator would be taking over our tour from here. We talked to the front desk and the other tour operator, but no one seemed to know anything about our Rocky Mountaineer group. We learned those at the other hotels on our tour had the same problem. We are hopeful that Rocky Mountainer will correct this problem for future tours.

We decided to eat dinner in a Swiss restaurant at the Chateau called Waliser Stube. Unfortunately, there were no openings until 9:30, so we killed some time in the lobby bar, and had some wine and cheese. Our dinner was very good. Lori had shrimp cocktail and gruyere cheese fondue. Keith had the Cleopatra salad and the veal fondue. He was presented with a large bowl of uncooked veal (close to a pound). The fondue was a sizzling broth over a burner for cooking the veal. There were 7 sauces to dip the veal in once it was cooked: mustard, curry, 3 peppercorn, garlic, Spanish, horseradish, and bearnaise. Keith loved it, and saved no room for the accompanying potatoes. We had another bottle of local dry Riesling. We went back to our room after dinner and again slept very soundly.

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