My wife and I had originally booked a stay at the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park (US) for the end of August. Unfortunately, a 30' snow pack and an avalanche closed most of their season - including our reserved time. Fortunately, a quick web search informed us about Skoki Lodge, in time to get one of their last rooms available for the dates we needed. With a little itinerary adjustment, we were on our way.
The visit to Skoki starts with a 9 AM check-in at the Lake Louise Ski Area lodge - You must check-in. You then get yourself to the Fish Creek parking lot for shuttle pick-up at around 10AM. The shuttle to the trailhead at Temple Day Lodge shaves 1.9 miles off your hike. Even if you REALLY like hiking, the road to Temple is a somewhat boring, dusty road.
Without going into great detail of the hike in, suffice it to say that it is 7.5 miles, over two mountain passes. You begin at an elevation of 6600', climb a total of 1550' (With some minor downhills), and then drop 1050' into the Skoki Valley. I mention this because, even if you are a regular hiker, the combination of distance, elevation gains/losses, and elevation of up to 8150' can be a workout that I would rate as moderately strenuous. However, I made it with bad knees, and my wife made it with fake knees - and the hike is worth it! The scenery is awesome, and the lodge is a great payoff at the end! Just be forewarned - If you need odging with running water, electricity and flush toilets, this might not be your choice.
We are slow hikers, taking lots of pictures along the way, so we arrived at Skoki Lodge a little after 2PM Footwear is removed outside, and we entered during afternoon "tea" - Coffee, tee, lemonade, water, soup, cheese, crackers, nachos, salsa, etc. All was delicious, and there is plenty of seating in the lodge dining and sitting areas, including banquettes and day beds with cushions and pillows for really welcome lounging. In the course of tea, we met one of the staffers, Vanessa, who explained things and showed us our room.
Rooms are small and rustic, but they are for sleeping and dressing. Nobody spends a lot of time in them. Ours was on the lodge's second floor, and was named "Deception", after the last mountain pass we hiked over. There are two twin beds - one sitting fairly high to accommodate storage underneath - stools, two tables, a wash basin/pitcher, and two battery lanterns. Warm wash water is retrieved from the first floor, and there was a drain sink at the end of the hall for grey water. The outhouses are just behind the lodge. Most people have no problem with this, even during the chilly nights (Except, apparently, for the Prince of Wales and his wife, who visited in July and got a bathroom installed for their 24-hour stay (lol)). As an aside, the floor on the second story squeak - a lot! It is oddly entertaining, and you get used to it during the night.
Lighting is subdued, even when the candles and oil lamps are lit. In the night, solar lights provide limited lighting in the upstairs hall. Heat is from downstairs woodstoves and the night heater in the "dry room", where wet articles are placed to dry. For the rest, your bed has a cozy comforter. We never felt cold indoors.
The atmosphere is relaxed and congenial. Most of us went out to see the supplies arrive by pack horse train and its ramrod, a personable but fairly businesslike Jack Russell terrier named Roughneck. We also got a better chance to meet his girlfriend Lucy, who is also friendly, though she wants what she wants and doesn't like distractions. After a game of backgammon (Using the same set used by William and Kate), we joined about ten other guests around the woodstove, talking about a variety of things, but mostly hiking - go figure. At supper around group tables, we met the very pleasant, funny and capable manager, Katie, and another staffer, Megalie. We also met a video/photo crew shooting for therealbanff.com and Banff/Lake Luise Tourism.
The buffet dinner was stuffed chicken breasts, butternut squash, fiesta corn, rice pilaf, "Skoki" salad and date cake for dessert. Wine and beer are available for purchase. Nobody left this or any other meal/tea hungry, and everything was exceptionally good.
Those of us who arose at 6AM - lit by candles and lanterns - enjoyed coffee, whispered conversation, and a light coating of fresh snow (Sep 1st). The poor tourism people were trying to get summer shots!
Breakfast starts at 8AM with the "fiber" course of oatmeal, granola, fruit, yogurt, etc. The second course featured the souffle of the day. Around 8:30, the breakfast buffet is cleared for do-it-yourself lunch fixings for coldcut sandwiches, cookies, trail mix, etc.
After a day of hiking - for which Katie prepares you with trail descriptions and maps - we returned in time for "tea", this time featuring a great chili. After more backgammon and conversation, dinner was served - Pork tenderloin, tomato and mushroom, orzo, "Skoki" salad, and Pots de Creme.
After-dinner conversation was preceded by packing for the next morning's departure.
At 6AM, I met another staffer, Mike, who was helping for the weekend, though he usually works here in the winter. Unfortunately, we didn't directly meet Katie's husband or any other staff. Breakfast of the "fiber" course, scrambled eggs and scones was excellent as before.
With a minimum of fanfare, everyone was packed and ready to take their chosen hiking route out. At this point, beware - You need to be psyched for a 1050' climb in the first 3 miles, and the rest is a sometimes knee-pounding downhill.
Very, very, very worthwhile!!!
Book early to get the best choice of room/cabin. The website gives good descriptions of all accommo...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC