Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Paradise at Mosquito Creek

I'd heard rumours of an amazing family cabin located deep in the Rocky Mountains with two private bedrooms, shared kitchen and living space, and a road going within 500m of the doorstep.  The Mosquito Creek Hostel is run by Hostelling International and features two shared dorm rooms, a common cabin with fireside room and kitchen, along with a private two-bedroom cabin that is perfect for families or groups of friends.  It is located on the Icefields Parkway, 29km North of Lake Louise.

The Mosquito Creek Hostel
Since we don't have much snow around Calgary this winter we were getting desperate to find some white fluffy stuff to play in and decided to check out availabilities at the hostel.  We knew that Lake Louise was getting lots of snow and would look like a winter wonderland as opposed to the brown desert that Calgary is turning into.  I was worried that it would be difficult to book both rooms in the private cabin without much advanced notice and I was right.  There were two free weekends left between the beginning of January and April.  We snagged one of them and easily found another family to share the cabin with us.
Our friends and partners in adventure for the weekend
We drove to Banff in the dark Friday after work and got to Mosquito Creek in time to unpack and put the kids straight to bed.  We were very happy to find out that the cabin had doors closing off the bedrooms from the main living space so it was pretty easy to put the kids to sleep and then enjoy some adult time with our friends.

Each bedroom sleeps 5 and has two bunk beds, one of them a double on bottom.  The cabin comes stocked with sheets, pillows and mountains of blankets.  Families with small children might want to bring a playpen if there is concern about kids falling off the bunks.  Other than the sleeping area, the cabin has a kitchen with stove and fridge along with a water tap for drinking and doing dishes.  There is a small table and chairs for eating along with a sofa.  We also found a couple high-chairs in the common cabin which was a wonderful surprise for our friends with a one-year old.

The short hike from the parking lot to the hostel
A glimpse inside the common area of our cabin

On Saturday we drove to Lake Louise to do some cross-country skiing.  Our friends pulled their kids in a double chariot while we pulled our son in his pulk.  The kids didn't last long on the trail but our husbands were super generous and let us moms ski to the Great Divide and back while they skied back with the kids and kept them occupied with snacks.  After skiing, we went into the Chateau Lake Louise to have more snacks and coffee.  Back at the hostel, the kids had a blast playing in the snow and sliding down a small hill beside our cabin.  The hostel supplies sleds to help with shuttling gear into the cabins from the parking lot and we were grateful for that because we hadn't brought any with us.  We made use of the fire-side room to warm up in and I showed my son that Mommy knows how to play guitar.  The room is circular around a giant fireplace and the kids enjoyed chasing each other around.  It's a great design for a game of tag.  The kids also could have spent hours climbing on the couches circling the room.

Our family xc skiing at Lake Louise

Pulling the kids on the Great Divide Trail

Greta and I at the Great Divide
Happier kids would be harder to find

Snow angels

Noah's first snow angel - hasn't stopped talking about it since the weekend
The toboggan run we made outside our cabin

A short but exciting slide
I had lots of help strumming

Dinner prep was easy in our cozy cabin featuring all the amenities necessary for making spaghetti and meat sauce.  The kids went to bed easily after their busy day and us parents got to spend a second night of playing games and sharing a few drinks.
Trying to cook with a little help from the kids

We said goodbye to our friends Sunday morning and split ways to pursue different adventures.  They chose to snowshoe around Mosquito Creek where there is certainly plenty of snow for that sort of fun.  We drove up to the Boom Lake trail head in Banff at Vermillion Pass because it's our favorite ski trail in the Rockies and we hadn't done it yet this year.  It took us about an hour and a half to ski into the lake pulling the pulk and a quick 45 minutes to ski out, screaming weeeee much of the time.  We hadn't had the chance to take our new pulk on a back-country adventure yet this winter and I'm pleased to say that it performed well and didn't tip on the steep hills down to the parking lot.

Skiing into Boom Lake in a winter wonderland of snow

This is why we go ski touring instead of always doing track-set skiing - it's so beautiful!

All very happy to have made it to the lake

Mommy Noah love

Skiing back down the trail
The scenic bridge right before the parking lot
We had a wonderful weekend at Mosquito Creek and plan to make it an annual winter and summer trip. There are so many great hiking, skiing and snowshoeing trails nearby that I don't think we could ever get bored there even if we stayed for a week.

Winter ideas for Mosquito Creek:
Summer ideas for Mosquito Creek:
Do you have a fantastic place you like to stay with your family?


  1. That looks amazing!!! Canada, here I come! :)

  2. What an adventure! That setting is just beautiful. Loved all the photos.

  3. Thanks for connecting Tanya! Appreciate your interest. Happy to discuss further. Email me at bob.harris@shaw.ca anytime or phone me in Calgary (403) 259.8290 this Fri 10 - 11 am.

  4. Wow, I totally want to do this with my family!! I wonder if there'd be any chance to book it before the end of the season….

    1. There might be Liz. Give the hostel a call. I think they were booked until Easter but we were looking for the full private cabin to ourselves. It has two bedrooms so you could share it with another group and then maybe get in. There are also cancellations so good luck.