The Superlatives of Banff

Andrea Gross | Aug 1, 2011, 10:35 a.m.

— Three years later Van Horne built a one-story log cabin a few miles away near Lake Louise. The small chalet served as another stop for railroad passengers and as an adventurous getaway for people staying at the much grander Banff Springs. The cabin morphed into a small chalet and eventually grew to become a grand chateau. Today photos of Chateau Lake Louise poised near the gem-toned lake are an iconic image of the Canadian Rockies.

Although the two historic hotels are impressive, our hearts are captured by Moraine Lake Lodge, nine miles outside the village and on the shore of a lake that is, if possible, even more beautiful than Lake Louise. My only problem: I can’t decide if I’d prefer to stay in my room, admiring the scenery while enjoying the wood-burning fireplace and deep soaker tub, or if I’d rather be outside where I can stroll around the lake, hike in the woods and relish the brisk mountain air.

While the Canadian Rockies rise gradually from the plains on the west, they end abruptly on the east, flattening into a Kansas-like plain. We don’t want to leave, and our mood darkens as we head towards Calgary, 85 miles away. But at the airport we find that eight airlines have direct flights from Calgary to the United States. No problem. We can come back soon, and we vow that we will!

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