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6 day visit to Banff/Jasper enough?

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We are traveling by car from Texas this summer with our two labs. I have several questions I hope someone can help with. Is it worth the time to stop on the Canadian side of Glacier National Park and if so, how long would be a good time to stay there.

What is the best way to spend 6 days in the Banff area when you have 2 dogs? If we spend two days each in Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper is that enough?
Many thanks!

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    Welcome!

    There is no Canadian side to Glacier National Park. It is Waterton National Park, which is a separate, though contiguous park. It's a pretty park and often less crowded than the other parks in the Rockies, but you have to drive outside both parks to go between countries (other than for the half-day-trip boat ride). I would allow at least a day there, since it requires a drive and has some fun places to explore. (As a note, there is Glacier National Park in Canada, but that's in BC and not on the border).

    For Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, we generally recommend at least 6 nights - 2 or 3 in Banff/Lake Louise, a day to drive up the Icefields Parkway, 2 to 3 nights in Jasper and then drive back down to Banff/Lake Louise. The Icefields is well worth two full days - it is one of the most spectacular drives in North America.

    With the dogs, you will need to find dog friendly accommodation or camp. Be aware the dogs MUST be on a leash at all times in the national parks except in the designated off leash parks in Jasper and Banff townsites. Fines for having dogs off-leash and/or disturbing wildlife are not cheap. You also cannot leave them unattended in a hotel room or campsite. Also, in the US, dogs are general not allowed on any trails in national parks. In the US Glacier National Park, dogs are not allowed on any unpaved trail, so you'd be limited to campsites and the little bit of paved trail around them.
    If you camp, you will need to have the dogs inside with you at night and not leave them alone in the campsite. Bears (and other wildlife) are not infrequent visitors, so it's safer for everyone to ensure the dogs are restrained or inside at all times. Dogs that bark or chase bears or other wildlife tend to be dead dogs. Or if they survive, they end up costing their owners a pretty penny in fines and/or vet fees.

    I don't know about dog friendly places in Jasper - there you are basically limited to hotels or private home accommodations (B&Bs). The latter probably won't allow pets, some hotels might. The Jasper Park Lodge is pet friendly. Generally any place that allows pets will charge an additional fee and may only allow one pet per room.

    Other than the Chateau Lake Louise, I don't know of any other pet friendly places in Lake Louise. There are some in Banff, but you may find a wider range outside the park in Canmore. There you can rent condos, which often allow a pet(s) per unit for an additional fee. Provincial parks also require dogs to be on a leash, but there are more off leash areas in Canmore. Just be aware that there can easily still be wildlife in off leash areas, so be alert and ready to leash the dogs if you encounter deer, elk, bear etc.

    In the summer, you can't leave the dogs for any period of time in a car, so you probably will be doing mostly outside stuff. Hiking, biking and walking around.

    Honestly, I wonder if you are either better with an RV (i.e. air conditioned, secure, indoor place for the dogs when you want to go somewhere not pet friendly) or not taking them. I'm a big pet person, but long trips with pets, especially in national or provincial parks, are difficult because you have to have the dogs with you on a leash or in a safe, cool place. And it's hard to find a place where you can leave a dog unattended.

    Otherwise, I'd see if you can find a place in Jasper that will allow dogs and allow you to have them unattended in the room (you may have to bring crates). At the other end, Canmore may be your best option, as you can rent a condo. I know some condos technically only allow one pet and you can't leave them alone, but you can probably have two dogs if they're good and leave them if you have a cage or they are very well behaved.

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    We have thought about an RV trailer BUT we are continuing our trip for several more weeks and will be going to Vancouver, Whistler, and Seattle. We have been to all three before and know driving can be tough in Vancouver and Seattle with a regular car, much less an RV. Do you know if there would be any place we could park a trailer while we go into the city of Vancouver and stay at hotels there?

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    Not offhand, but I would google Vancouver and campground. There must surely be campgrounds at the outskirts where you could leave an RV. Also, I've heard that WalMart parking lots allow overnight RV parking. Some large malls may also permit RV parking - it seems to be at least tacitly allowed in certain lots at the West Edmonton Mall.

    I definitely suggest having crate(s)/cage(s). When I drove across Canada to move, I had a big crate for my cat and it was really useful. I allowed her to get used to it before the move and it was her familiar home in each hotel room. It also gave me somewhere I could put her in when I needed to out for a short time to get dinner or run errands.

    As a note, I think it was Comfort Inns (and the related hotels) I stayed in, as they were mostly pet friendly. It was $9-20 extra for the pet each night, and they usually gave me a first floor room that I could drive to the back door of to unload stuff. Not the nicest hotel, but with a pet, I didn't have a lot of choices.

    I don't mean to be negative, but traveling with pets in national and provincial parks can be restrictive. Some people are fine with the limitations, but you do have to consider what to do with your dogs every time you want to go into a store, to a museum, to the hot springs, to a restaurant etc. And unlike in a city, or even in other areas, there's always the chance of running into wildlife. So you have to be attentive at all times, even with a dog on a leash, even within the townsites. Lots of people in Banff and Canmore have dogs, but have a house/apartment to leave them in when visiting non dog friendly places.

    Also, as a note, dogs are forbidden on some trails. Those generally are not the ones you'd likely be going on and tend to be in the Jasper area where the caribou herds live. I believe these include the Tonquin Valley trails and parts of the Edith Cavell area. With dogs, it's probably a good idea to avoid or be very careful on any trails that have a warning about bears in the area.

    Also, I did forget to add that if your trip includes any of our holiday weekends you need to book ASAP. These include around June 27-July 2 and the first weekend in August. They tend to be the busiest times of the summer, and both fixed accommodations and campsites tend to book up months in advance. This is especially true if you are looking for something specific - i.e. pet friendly.

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    Thanks so much for your input. We do have crates and will use them when needed. I'm ok with the park rules for pets as they are for everyone's safety. The trail restrictions will probably give us enough exercising without tempting us to take on too much for our 50ish bodies! I did a little research both on RV and hotels and found a nice assortment of both. The RV probably won't work for us this time as the vehicle we would pull it with tends to be a gas guzzler when it is towing something. We put an RV trip on the agenda for next year.

    Thank you for the heads up about your holidays. We will be in Vancouver the first weekend in August and will get that booked right away. I did find a pet-friendly Canada website that has a lot of valuable info as do several US pet travel sites.

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    I haven't read the detail of the posts but I just want to set some things straight.

    I assume you are referring to Glacier National Park in Montana. There's also a Glacier National Park in Canada that's a little west of Banff and Yoho National Parks.

    From Glacier in MT Waterton Lakes NP is just across the border. Banff is about 1 1/2 hours from Calgary. Calgary is about 3 1/2 - 4 hours directly south of Calgary.

    So, about 5 hours from Glacier in MT to Banff.

    As written above, dogs and national parks don't really get along well.

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