Glacier National Park, BC

Glacier Park Lodge 1994

On our very first Canadian holiday in 1994 we spent a couple of nights in Glacier Park Lodge at the top of Rogers Pass, BC. What fun to stay there again, we thought! Sadly, a cursory search of the internet showed that time has not been kind to the Lodge. The adjacent gas station closed in 2009 and the Lodge in 2012. A series of lawsuits has left them both derelict and unloved and, although the Parks Canada Visitor Centre in between is still open, it’s a depressing place to visit, especially as the Trans Canada to either side is undergoing massive road-works at the moment.

Glacier Park Lodge 2017

So where did we stay? Well, on the eastern edge of the park we found Heather Mountain Lodge – the best accommodation of our entire trip. A beautiful setting with fluffy neighbours:


– and fabulous food:


And yet – you might have noticed a certain haziness in some of these pictures and in the one of Glacier Park Lodge in 2017. The mountains in 1994 were much clearer. Look at these two, taken a couple of days apart this year, of roughly the same view at Heather Mountain Lodge:


This was the effect of fires further west, the smoke from which, depending on wind direction, obscured our views most days and contributed to poor air quality. Now I know that’s trivial compared to the lot of the poor people who were being evacuated from their homes, so I’m not complaining (really). It just added to the melancholy feeling of seeing the old lodge so run down. Add to that the helicopter in one of the galleries above which landed and took off several times from our hotel’s grounds. We thought it was taking water to the fires, but it turned out to be searching for a young Irish tourist who had drowned in a nearby lake.

This was also where I found that my body had developed far more aches and pains than it had in 1994, or even 2007 when we last visited the Rockies. The trails in Glacier weren’t long but some of them were very steep. My knees hurt on the way up and my ankles on the way down. Did I moan? Ask John! On second thoughts – don’t. You might be shocked if he repeats my language.

Marion Lake

A steep, forested hike to a mediocre lake and a viewpoint which would have been lovely without the smoke!


Meeting of the Waters

An easy walk past the confluence of Asulkan Brook and the Illecillewaet River. This was pretty, and took in the ruins of the first hotel in the area, Glacier House.


Rock Garden, Loop Brook Trail and Bear Creek Falls

Three short trails: Rock Garden over lots of, surprisingly, rocks; Loop Brook along the route of an old railway line; and Bear Creek Falls – the name says it all.


Asulkan Valley Trail

When I was looking for the old pictures of Glacier Park Lodge, I also found photos of the hike we did up to the Asulkan Glacier in 1994: clear blue skies and the mountains in all their glory. This was three times as long and twice as high as the Marion Lake trail we did this year, yet I’m smiling (and rocking a fabulous pair of leggings it has to be said).


So, a slightly negative post – is the moral never to go back? It can be sad to return somewhere you’ve had a really happy time only to find that it doesn’t live up to expectations. Having said that, I did enjoy our stay: just maybe not as much as some of the other places we visited.

From Glacier, we headed back into Alberta and north to Jasper.

74 thoughts on “Glacier National Park, BC

  1. Steve Schwartzman September 23, 2017 / 21:28

    Heyjude just referred me to this post because I, too, was in the Canadian Rockies at the time of the wildfires and the resulting smoky haze. We reserved three nights at a hotel in Golden because I’d planned to visit the Canadian Glacier National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park, along with the more famous parks to the east. In the end I forewent Glacier and Revelstoke in order to do more in the better-known parks.

    In any case, the smoky haze is evident in the two posts I’ve put up from our trip so far:


    • Anabel Marsh September 23, 2017 / 23:06

      That’s interesting! I really liked your photographs. We didn’t go to Moraine Lake this year because it was too much hassle (it was July and the road was shut a lot of the time because there were too many people there already) but we saw it in 2007 and I remember the mountain view being so clear. You probably made the right decision to skip Glacier.


      • Steve Schwartzman September 24, 2017 / 05:43

        Thanks for the validation on skipping the Canadian Glacier. I did spend two days in the American Glacier (likewise hazy because of fires), but the most and best glaciers I saw were along the Icefields Parkway in Banff and Jasper National Park.

        The crowds during the last week of August (the first of our three weeks in the area) were indeed horrendous. During our last week, things fortunately were calming down.


  2. cassam101 September 20, 2017 / 17:42

    What a difference in the lodge, it’s quite sad but the one you picked looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh September 20, 2017 / 17:56

      It was, probably better – but we really wanted to stay at the top of the pass again!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. rosemaylily2014 September 19, 2017 / 16:38

    It is sad to see the old lodge looking so run down – such a difference from your earlier visit. However it looks as if you found a lovely alternative in Heather Mountain Lodge. The fires sound worrying not good at all from an environmental point of view. Still looks like you had a nice stay overall.


  4. Joanne Sisco September 17, 2017 / 13:49

    The fires in BC this year have been very troubling, but I can see that it would also be very disappointing for people who have traveled a great distance to be there, only to have that gorgeous scenery shrouded in smoke.

    … and as you pointed out, our expectations can taint an experience as well. I tend to feel a bit melancholy when I revisit a place with happy memories. We change and it’s impossible to duplicate an experience.


    • Anabel Marsh September 17, 2017 / 16:58

      True, many factors come into play. Even just the mood you get up in that day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy September 16, 2017 / 16:13

    I had to drop by this morning – Paul and I got into Denver late last night. This morning, I went out for a quick morning walk, and what did I see directly across the street from our hotel? That bear statue I loved from your Denver pictures! I immediately thought of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh September 16, 2017 / 16:38

      Oh, lovely! And that means I can picture exactly where you are. Have a great time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor September 14, 2017 / 12:51

    The wildfires out west have been horrible. It seems like there is something going on everywhere these days. I do worry about going back to places I loved in case they don’t live up to expectations. Maybe it’s better to just have those wonderful memories and not risk tarnishing them.


    • Anabel Marsh September 14, 2017 / 15:58

      You’re right, it’s very worrying. I don’t understand why, even if you weren’t convinced by man-made climate change, you wouldn’t want to do something to prevent it just in case. Who can be 100% sure? Looking at you, Mr Trump….


  7. Liesbet September 13, 2017 / 17:09

    I’m sorry to read you were affected by all the smoke. This year, Mother Earth has brought dramas everywhere. Maybe we should all treat her a bit nicer? You do manage to stay in the most gorgeous lodgings, Anabel!

    As for returning to a place you loved… It’s a double-edged sword. While I think it’s better not to return (the same disappointment happened to me returning to New Zealand, with Mark this time), on the other hand, it is tempting to repeat the experience you had there before. You might think there is guaranteed success. Only, that will never happen. Every time you visit a place, whether it is the same one or not, many different factors play – health, the weather, time of year, amount of other visitors, expectations, age, moods…


    • Anabel Marsh September 13, 2017 / 18:08

      I think we were unlucky this time – you’re right, so many factors come into play. But we bounced back! Agree about Mother Earth but the message needs to get through in high places 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) September 13, 2017 / 13:55

    Sorry your first choice of lodge didn’t work out, but the place you ended up staying looks amazing, especially the waffles! And those are some great leggings! 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh September 13, 2017 / 14:51

      It was great, including the waffles! Not a lot of veggie choice though, I ended up having the same thing 2 out of 3 nights – though it was excellent. I remember loving those leggings at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Donna September 13, 2017 / 03:58

    Despite the sadness of the Old Lodge, and smoke obscuring views, I am selfishly glad for your visit (and for this post and photos). You have definitely rekindled my desire to visit the Canadian Rockies again soon. And this time to do some hikes there that I hadn’t done before. You’ve provided some excellent ideas for places to stay!


    • Anabel Marsh September 13, 2017 / 07:36

      Oh good! I promise my posts get more enthusiastic from here.


  10. Blue Sky Scotland September 13, 2017 / 01:44

    Seems to be a feature in North America in general where many things are considered old after 20 odd years and are always being replaced. I know its been very dry over there this year and wildfires are a real problem with millions of acres of forest gone. Age gets us all eventually :o)


I'd love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.