HI-Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel – 7.5/10
|Length of Stay||1 night|
|Room Type||16-bed dorm|
We stayed at this hostel as part of a tour with Moose Travel Network. Accommodation at HI Athabasca Fall Wilderness Hostel was included in the package we purchased.
A true wilderness experience for those that love the outdoors – a chance to fully unplug from the world and enjoy nature at its finest!
There were many rules to follow when staying at this hostel, which ensured the cleanliness of everything we came in contact with. This was overseen personally by one of the managers, James. There was a sink dedicated to washing dishes and other utensils, and another one for brushing your teeth and washing your face. The risk of cross contamination was minimal, and James would check to make sure you were using hot water to kill the bacteria. Boots had to be removed at the entrance, to ensure mud from outside was not brought into the communal cabin and dorms.
One of the downsides to the true outdoor adventure experience is the lack of facilities. The was no running water, which meant no showers, and toilets were a hole in the ground. There were only a few outlets in our 16 person dorm, so some people were unable to charge cameras etc for the next day. There was no wifi (although we didn’t mind this). All of the appliances you’d need were in the communal cabins (below), but the manager, James, was so strict on usage rules, that most people avoided touching anything.
For a true wilderness experience, it was close to perfection for location. Literally a few hundred metres from Athabasca Falls, and just a short drive from the town of Jasper. The only downside was how close we were to the main road, so you would occasionally hear a truck go past. I only noticed it when we were down by the campfire, but back at the cabins, you couldn’t hear any traffic.
The room we stayed in was a large cabin with bunk beds along the walls. We fitted the sheets ourselves and stripped them off in the morning. The beds were pretty comfy, but there wasn’t much room to store our bags, so we all ended up piling them up in the centre of the room. There were two doors, but only one was accessible, as the other was alarmed as a fire-exit. In addition, there was only one light for the whole room (this was not convenient in the night when someone needed a bathroom break).
Our cabin had no lockers to store valuables. In addition to this, there were no keys for the cabin so anyone at the hostel could have had access to our belongings. There were lockers in the social cabin, but we did not use these during our stay.
We met two members of staff during our stay:
James – Worked the daytime, talked us through the hostel rules (which were quite lengthy) and provided us with bed sheets etc. Not overly friendly, but very informative.
Jeff: Worked the nighttime. We got back late from dinner, so just hung out with Jeff around the campfire when we returned. He was a really friendly guy – happy to just chill with us and give his interesting opinions on certain topics.
If you are after the true wilderness experience, and you’re in Jasper National Park, this is the place to stay. Just don’t expect too much freedom, as they have a lot of rules in place (albeit to keep the place clean and tidy).