I'd wanted to go to Banff and Jasper my entire adult life, and this summer my wife and I finally did so. This has got to be one of the most spectacularly beautiful spots on the planet, and we were there for two glorious weeks. The highlight of the trip was the five days we stayed with Kable and Sarah Kongsrud at the Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge.
I should say at the outset that I'm a big city boy and my wife a Southern Californian. But we've spent a lot of time in the wilderness -- Kathleen's entire family consisted of six constant and skilled backpackers/hikers/campers/riders and she spent much of her childhood and youth in her beloved Sierra Nevada. Over the course of a 42-year marriage I've learned to love the mountains as well and have joined Kathleen in a love of horses and wilderness. We're experienced campers, hikers, riders and wilderness people.
Kable and Sarah run a wonderful lodge. The setting is astounding -- I've posted some of the photos we took while there. And it is a backcountry place, with everything that the description involves. You're not going to get luxurious accommodations but everything is absolutely wonderful. The atmosphere is warm, inviting and welcoming -- the family-style food is outstanding and everyone gets a chance to pitch in and help or just sit around and watch. Things are relaxed, friendly and knowledgeable -- just what you want in a backcountry lodge. It rained a fair amount while we were there, but we weren't to be denied and took terrific rides every day.
I suppose one's evaluation depends on what one wants and expects. I've read a very negative review on this site and have to say that it bears no resemblance to our experience. If you're looking for a superb backcountry experience in the middle of the most astounding mountains on Earth, you can't do any better than Kable's and Sarah's place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In Jasper National Park, on the continental divide, lies the Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge. This wilderness haven lies 24 kms from the nearest road at the base of the world famous Rampart Mountains and on the shores of pristine Amethyst Lake. Accessible only by hiking or horseback riding, this accommodation is unique among the Jasper backcountry lodges, and offers pack trips in a true mountain wilderness that everyone can enjoy. With towering peaks and lush meadows, the Tonquin Valley in Alberta provides an authentic Canadian Rockies vacation. Whether you want to explore the lake in a canoe, fish for abundant brook and rainbow trout in a rowboat, read a book, write a letter or participate in the daily horseback rides, this is the ideal situation. Come and stay in one of our comfortable Canadian Rockies chalets and enjoy an unforgettable wilderness experience. Our visitors stay in individual chalets which sleep from one to six people in comfortable bunk beds with all bedding provided. Chalet furnishings include crackling wood-burning stoves which make the rustic ambience even more cozy. Tonquin Valley trips are limited to 18 people in order to maintain an uncrowded and relaxed atmosphere. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge Jasper National Park, Alberta