If you want to experience a bit of the true Canadian experience, you have come to the right place at HI - Mosquito Creek Hostel. This hostel seems to attract climbers, cyclists, cross country skiers, snowshoers, photographers, and anyone looking for a rustic wilderness experience, versus the shopping malls, crowds, and nightlife of Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. If you want nightlife or shopping, look elsewhere! Wildlife (including bears!) is plentiful in the area.
The hostel, located twenty-six kilometers north of Lake Louise, is part of the Hosteling International "Wilderness Hostels" located between Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper on the Parkfields Highway connecting the three resort towns in the Canadian Rockies. A creek runs through the hostel property.
Rooms and Bathrooms
There are two basic sleeping cabins that can accommodate twelve people each (six bunk beds in each cabin). The cabins are all coed and have comfortable mattresses. The only downside is if you are over six feet tall, you may have to curl up a bit as the bed dividers are spaced six feet apart. Linen, including towels, is provided. There are no lockers for your belongings.
There is also an additional cabin containing two private rooms (one private room on each side of a shared kitchen). Each private room sleeps four to six people. The hostel has both high season and low season rates. As a wilderness hostel, there are no showers, pit toilets (aka "poo-with-a view" or "long-drop"), and very basic amenities. If you really need that hot shower, you can drive twenty minutes and use the hot showers and bathrooms at the HI-Lake Louise for no charge.
The largest cabin contains the communal kitchen and lounge area. The kitchen has a stove, fridge, and basic kitchen utensils. You also have guest privileges at the HI-Lake Louise, so you can eat at their renowned cafe. The lounge has a nice gas fireplace, and comfortable couches. The hostel is powered by propane and solar lighting. There are no phones or electricity. But incredibly, the hostel has recently obtained high speed Wi-Fi, so your laptop will work -- and it's free! There are no individual internet terminals however. There is a large parking lot for your bike or car.
The hostel, which is open year-round, has two great features. The first is a campfire pit where you are sure to get to know your fellow travelers under a starry sky and a roaring fire. The real draw, though, is sweating in a wood-fired sauna, followed by a quick cool-off in the nearby glacier-fed creek. Clothing (or lack thereof) is by mutual consent of those present and the volume and type of beverages consumed! It's a great time and a unique place to meet people (especially if they're naked!). But wearing a towel is just fine too.
We love this hostel, as did everyone we met there. Nick, the manager, is simply the nicest guy around and will greet you by name every time and make you feel totally welcome. One caution, this hostel fills up quickly in summer, and you must reserve two days in advance -- call HI Central Reservations toll-free 1-866-762-4122 to guarantee a spot as there is no direct phone at the hostel. You can also reserve a spot from the HI-Banff, Hi-Lake Louise, or HI-Jasper hostels.