My favorite destination in the Inland Northwest has been Banff-Lake Louise, Alberta - first for the magnificent beauty of this area and second because it’s a terrific bargain.
Last May, my family and I took five days to visit the area. We chose this time so that we could take advantage of a 50 percent discount on a room at Chateau Lake Louise that was offered in a coupon book.
We were able to get a room with a fantastic view of the Canadian Rockies at this splendid resort for $80; during peak season, it would go for about $300!
Although the weather was still a little cool (the lake was still mostly frozen), the lower prices and the lack of crowds far outweighed the temperatures.
Although we could have spent the entire trip right at the chateau, we took in some of the magnificent scenery available in Banff National Park.
The Canadian Rockies truly are awe-inspiring! On our way from Lake Louise to Banff, we stopped at Johnston Canyon (about 35 minutes east of Lake Louise on Highway 1A). This has an easy hike along clear trails and catwalks that gives you a closeup look at a magnificent canyon with spectacular waterfalls along the way.
A memorable close to our vacation came as we were leaving Banff National Park and entering Kootenai National Park.
Driving along the highway, I caught sight of a black bear and her two cubs off the side of the road. We pulled over, brought out the cameras and watched for several minutes as the bears foraged for food.
Finally, the mama looked over at us and stood on her hind legs as her two cubs scampered up a tree. Our hearts beat a little faster (as the warnings of the park rangers came back to us) and we were all glad we were encountering our first wild bear in a car with the motor running!
MEMO: For more information: Banff/Lake Louise Tourism Bureau, (403) 762-3777