|Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel|
What's so great about the Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel?
Location, location, location
I could respond with "what's not great about Rampart Creek?" but I suspect you want more details than that. First, what stands out for me is the scenery! We arrived Friday night in the dark so really had no idea of what was around us. Saturday morning I woke up, stepped outside my cabin, and couldn't do anything but stand there in the cold staring at the mountains with my jaw to the ground. The place is gorgeous!! In fact, I'd have to say that the Rampart Creek Hostel has the best views of any hostel I've stayed at yet in the Canadian Rockies.
|There is no better scenery in Banff than off the Icefields Parkway|
Rampart Creek is located on the remote Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper. It's a bit of a drive BUT, it's perfect for a long weekend or extended vacation. The hostel is a 3 hour drive from Calgary (272 km) and less than an hour and a half from Lake Louise. Going the other direction, it's just under 2 hours (141 km) from Rampart Creek to Jasper in the north.
|Nothing says "remote" like this photo of me actually lying down on Highway 93, The Icefields Parkway|
You can rent the whole hostel for a family getaway
The second thing I really like about this hostel is how you could easily rent the whole hostel for a private getaway. The hostel sleeps 24 people but each sleeping cabin is separated into two rooms that each sleeps 6 people. Bring three families with you, put one family in each sleeping room, and voila - private hostel for four families. Yes, you'll have to pay for all 6 beds per room (even if you are a family of four) but hostels are very affordable so that's something I'd be willing to do if it meant having a private cabin in paradise for the weekend!
|Sleeping cabin at Rampart Creek - 2 bedrooms for 2 families|
Snowshoe out the door opportunities
There's a lovely snowshoe trail right across the highway from the hostel. The trail follows a creek and goes down to the river after passing through a lovely meadow perfect for making snowmen and snow angels. We spent half a day doing this hike. Combine that with time playing outside the hostel and you can easily occupy a whole day without driving anywhere. Now that's what I look for in a family-friendly hostel!!
|Late afternoon snowshoeing in the meadows across the highway from the hostel|
|Playing in a snow quinzee we found on the hostel snowshoe trail|
|The kids loved this snow quinzee we found on our snowshoe hike|
|Hiking along the creek by the hostel|
|This snowshoe hike can be done without ever driving from the hostel|
|Snow Angels in the Meadow near the Rampart Creek Hostel|
|Making snowmen in the meadow across from the hostel|
|Scenery like this is hard to beat at a wilderness hostel|
Canyons, Icicles, and SNOW
We've been having a very dry winter here with little snow. Meanwhile at Rampart Creek there was no shortage of snow to play in. The kids had a blast breaking icicles off the cabins too. AND there was this super cool canyon behind the hostel. We couldn't hike very far due to open water but I have a dream of returning later in the season and finding it frozen over. Rampart Creek was a winter paradise for the whole family.
|Breaking icicles off the main hostel cabin|
|Icicles on the sauna|
|Hiking behind the hostel in the canyon|
|Playing in the canyon behind the Rampart Creek Hostel|
|This is right behind the hostel! Again, no driving required to go anywhere|
Day Trips from Rampart Creek
If you really want to drive somewhere for a day trip, there are options for that too. We drove to nearby Mistaya Canyon (maybe a five minute drive back towards Lake Louise on the Parkway) and did a very short little hike with the kids. It was only 1.5km return and took us a couple hours at most.
|Mistaya Canyon Winter Wonderland|
|Looking down into Mistaya Canyon|
|Hiking on the Mistaya Canyon Trail|
For more information on the Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel and to book a room, visit the Hostelling International website. Note that children under the age of 6 can't share a dorm room so if you have young kids, you'll have to book a full sleeping room which sleeps six people.
|Abraham Lake on the way home from Rampart Creek|
Thanks to the great folks at Hostelling International for partnering with us on this story and offering us a discounted stay. As always, all opinions are my own and I wasn't paid to write this story.