Canada Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

View all Canada activity »
  1. 1 Need Help!! 1 week itinerary vancouver, whistler & islands
  2. 2 Vancouver and possibly elsewhere for two weeks?
  3. 3 Itinerary feedback, please
  4. 4 Hotel near Stanley Parc
  5. 5 Trip Report Ocean Odyssey: Vancouver Island (and Vancouver)
  6. 6 Canada's 150th anniversary in the Maritimes
  7. 7 Prince Edward Island-must do things
  8. 8 RoadTrip Toronto- PEI
  9. 9 Best Way
  10. 10 Nova Scotia & New Brunswick and New Foundland
  11. 11 Montreal and Quebec City in August
  12. 12 9 hour layover in Montreal, what to do?
  13. 13 Bay of Fundy
  14. 14 Toronto 2 nights from Buffalo
  15. 15 Best way to do Vancouver to Calgary as a group
  16. 16 First trip to Vancouver
  17. 17 40th birthday party ideas in canada, May 5th 2017
  18. 18 Portland/Seattle/Victoria/Vancouver Honeymoon
  19. 19 Alberta Trip_2017
  20. 20 Vancouver with toddlers - getting around
  21. 21 Banff - Day Tours + Eateries
  22. 22 Best Way to travel from Calgary to Banff and back again
  23. 23 Calgary Stampede virgin
  24. 24 Fastest way Ottawa-Toronto
  25. 25 Niagara Falls/Toronto Itinerary Help
View next 25 » Back to the top

Alberta Trip_2017

Jump to last reply

Hello, we are travelling to Banff/Jasper/Lake Louise in July this year. it will be 4 adults and 4 kids age..16, 14, 14, 10. We are staying at the Banff Fairmont Springs from July23rd to 27th. We have booked a hotel in Canmore from the 27th July to July 31st.
We are not very good hikers but with that being said we don't mind light hiking. We will be flying into Calgary (not booked the flights yet) and then renting a car for the rest of our stay.

Sun: Lake Louise/Moraine Lake. Overnight in Banff
Mon: Banff/Yoho NP. Overnight in Banff
Tues: LL & Morraine Lakes Overnight in Banff
Thurs: check out of Fairmont

we are willing to chk out of the hotel in Canmore and overnite in Jasper as need be...but are completely clueless how to organize our days! HELP is needed:)
This is what we want to see so far....suggestions are very welcomed!
Icefields pkwy
Edith Cavell
Athabasca Glacier


  • Report Abuse


    I would most definitely get to Jasper, but you need to book that accommodation ASAP with that large a family. I'd go for three nights.

    The drive between Lake Louise and Jasper is the main attraction of the Rockies. Give yourself a day going there and day going back to enjoy all the sites.

    For Banff/Lake Louise, you'll probably want the day your arrive to settle in, explore the Banff Springs and perhaps a walk to somewhere in the area (Bow Falls etc).

    Both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake will be a challenge for parking. Those lots can easily fill before 8:30am, especially on a weekend. I'd try to visit on weekdays if possible. They will be running shuttles to Lake Louise if parking fills, but not to Moraine Lake. So try to get to Moraine Lake as early possible. Johnston Canyon is also well worth a visit. You can also do a day out in Yoho NP - Emerald Lake, Spiral Tunnels, and Takkakaw Falls.

    I would visit the Columbia Icefields either on your drive to Jasper or on the return drive. Use one day in Jasper to see Maligne Lake and Maligne Canyon. The other day head to Edith Cavell Meadows and then perhaps if the weather is google is good, do the gondola.

  • Report Abuse

    Thank you kgsneds!
    We are booked for 3 nights in Jasper and 2 nights in Canmore and 4 nights at the Fairmont.
    Here is my very rough itinerary.....
    Sunday..arrive at day at the resort
    Monday lake Louise and then Yoho NP...
    Tuesday.....maybe go back to Yoho NP....not sure yet
    Wednesday Johnston Canyon...all day
    Thursday......change Hotels and then maybe Sulphur mtn and the Gondola
    Friday......Moraine Lake....not sure if this is an all day thing...looking for some suggestions
    Saturday...leave Canmore abt 8am for Icefields pkwy..all day
    Sunday.... thinking of doing the Banff Ultimate Explorer Combo which includes...
    Banff Gondolla (already doing in)
    Banff Lake Cruise
    Glacier Adventure
    Glacier skywalk

    I kno this plan needs a lot of tweaking and that's where I need help!
    We are ok with hiking, but not very advanced hikers.
    Would love to do some more glacier adventures

    Any help we get is much appreciated.....this trip is one of our dream vacations and has been in the pipeline for about 3 yrs!

  • Report Abuse

    The Fairmont Banff Springs has a golf course, but it's not a resort per se. All the grounds are public as it's in the national park. So you can wander around - avoiding getting hit by golf balles :o) - and perhaps walk up Tunnel Mountain. Or walk or take the bus into Banff.

    I would use one day for Lake Louise - you'll want a day to explore the lake, Chateau Lake Louise and perhaps a bit of a hike. If you have time, you could always go to Johnston Canyon or Moraine Lake later in the day.

    Unless you're going to do a lot of hiking, I don't think Johnston Canyon merits a whole. A couple of hours is plenty of time to see upper and lower falls. Add a couple more hours if you want to hike to the Ink Pots. Bring a picnic lunch as there's just one option for food there, which is overpriced and tends to have long lines from bus tour crowds.

    Then use one day for Yoho NP - unless you are big hikers, plenty of time to enjoy Emerald Lake, Takkakaw Falls and the spiral tunnels.

    Then you would have a third day as a flex day - in case the weather is bad another day. If not, then you explore around Banff townsite - do the gondola etc. Or go to Moraine Lake.

    I'd do Moraine Lake from Banff as you need to be there early to get parking and coming from Canmore is farther and requires going through the park gates (even without needing paid parks passes, it still will be a pinch point for traffic). Also you want to do Moraine Lake midweek if possible - Friday is likely to be very busy compared to midweek.

    I would certainly leave Canmore no later than 8am - again, the parks gates will be a pinch point for traffic and you'll be dealing with weekend traffic coming out from Calgary plus tourist traffic.

    For Sunday, I would not buy the package. For one, the "Banff Lake Cruise" is near Banff, so not something you'd do in Jasper. Also, I wouldn't necessarily get sucked into a package - many of those activities are weather dependent, and not all the paid attractions are necessarily worth doing. You don't need to spend money to enjoy the parks - despite what the advertising might suggest. I think most would suggest that the Skywalk is not worth doing - nowhere near a glacier and actually over a creek and rubble from when they built the parkway.

    I don't the package saves you that much money, especially if you don't end up doing all four. I'd wait and see what you want to do - there are three gondolas/trams in the parks, so see when the weather is good and when you have time. If you want to do a lake cruise, the one on Maligne Lake is probably more worth the money than Minnewanka.

    For the glacier, unless they change things, you have to buy a ticket for the glacier tour and the skywalk. Expensive and time consuming. Apparently you can buy a separate glacier tour ticket in Lake Louise (at the Lake Louise tourist shop that's by the washrooms in the Samson Mall). Another option if you have the budget is to see if you can get spots on one of the IceWalks - those are 3 or 5 hour walks on the glacier led by a certified mountain/alpine guide. Much more informative and interesting than the canned IceExplorer tours. Another option is to do a day trip from Jasper with Rockaboo - they do full day excursions with packed lunch led by an alpine/mountain guide. Includes 2-3 hrs on the glacier and a stop at Tangle Falls

  • Report Abuse

    There are two ways to experience the glacier

    The standard snocoach tour is about an hour, and includes about 15 minutes where you can walk in a very small area on the glacier. Certainly no crevasses - would not be safe!

    If you want to experience more of the glacier, there are the IceWalks with certified mountain/alpine guides. These are 3 or 5 hrs long, depending on the walk, and run only some days during the week. They will provide gear, and you'll get a chance to really walk on the glacier. You would not be going into any crevasses, but certainly much closer than anything on the snocoach tour. But the tours get excellent reviews. They are more expensive and need to be booked in advance. Very far in advance if you are looking to get 8 people on the same tour -- they have strict limits as to the client to guide ratios.

    Rockaboo, a guiding company out of Jasper, also offers full day glacier experiences. Transport to/from Jasper is provided, and you get 2-3 hrs on the glacier, plus a visit to Tangle Falls and a packed lunch. Led by a certified mountain/alpine guide.

  • Report Abuse

    I've been to the area several times. In my opinion the two sights that you will remember the rest of your life are Moraine Lake and Angel Glacier.

    As mentioned above, go there relatively early as there is not enough parking space.

    When you get out of your car I wouldn't even bother going directly to the lake. Start walking "towards" the lake and veer to the left as soon as you see the Rock Pile. Don't climb it. There is a path and rock stairs that goes around the back and up to the top of the Rock Pile. There are several viewing points. This is a truly spectacular view. In fact this is the back of the old Canadian 20 dollar bill.

    Angel Glacier is at the end of Edith Cavell Road (ask for instructions). It's about 15-20 miles below the town of Jasper.

    Make sure you go there by mid-morning as the sun will be behind you and the view really isn't great when the sun is in your face.

    From the parking lot it's about a 2/3 mile walk. You will be walking on the east side of the valley. Lake Edith Cavell is at the bottom and the glacier is on the other side of the valley.

    I was there a couple of times but last a few years ago. The signs tell you not to go down to the lake (I guess it might be dangerous should a large piece of the glacier break off). However, my estimate is that about 1/3 of the people who go there walk down to the lake. I'm sure somebody will give their opinion about that.

    Close behind is the spectacular view of Peyto Lake from the Bow Summit. Km 40 north from Lake Louise along the Ice Field Parkway. It's about a 20 minute, mostly level walk.

    In my opinion Maligne Canyon near the start of Maligne Road is a big disappointment with only poor views.

    However, what I wouldn't miss is Mistaya Canyon at Km 71. It's about a 10-15 minute walk from the parking lot. Excellent views along the canyon.

    Another don't miss is Johnston Canyon. This is between Banff Townsite and Lake Louise along the old road. You can go to the first falls or the much more spectacular second falls depending upon how far you want to want. This is an engineering wonder as the trail is actually anchored to one side of the canyon.

    The area between Banff and past Jasper has a lot of roadside scenery worthy of pulling over and stopping. Be prepared to find that a relatively short drive may turn into half a day.

    About the Athabasca Glacier opposite the Ice Field
    s Center. You can drive across the highway and pull into the parking lot. Then it's a short walk to the Toe of the Galcier. As stated elsewhere, it's dangerous to walk on the actual glacier due to the crevasses.

    If you do go to the Toe, make sure you have your warmest close on.
    We went on a warm day and were warned in advance. I had on sweat pants, a sweatshirt and my rain suit with a hood for the wind. It was cold there.

  • Report Abuse

    Do NOT walk past the signs at Edith Cavell - it is illegal and can result in fines of up to $20,000.

    It has changed since Myer was there - at about that time, a huge part of the hanging glacier calved off and caused what was essentially tidal wave. Fortunately it was at night because the water flooded through to the parking area, leaving a thick layer of glacial silt behind - enough silt to cover picnic tables. Much of that sand is still there.

  • Report Abuse

    I was last there in August of 2014. I know there was a different glacier that had broken apart but didn't know of any disintegration of Angel Glacier. I hope it still looks the same because it was (and hopefully is) beautiful.

    kgsneds, did the wave go up on the opposite side of the valley as high as the official viewpoint?

    I notice the kgsneds mentions Tangle Falls. I wouldn't really want to go to Tangle Falls on a tour.

    Tangle Falls is a beautiful waterfall. It's also a roadside sight and easily seen waterfall.

    You can stop either on the way up or back from Jasper.

    Just make sure the stop is in mid afternoon because it's on the east side of the road and will be in the shadow in the morning.

    In fact, I would really put that waterfall on my list of things to see.

    It's much nicer than some of the better known waterfalls south of the town of Jasper. Those other waterfalls have the viewing areas either in bad places or the actual viewing deck or bridge blocks the view.

  • Report Abuse

    Sorry - it was the Ghost Glacier (in 2012), which is the one right above the pond at Edith Cavell. It flooded the parking area, picnic area and part of the road.

    Regardless, the signs are there for a reason and the closure is enforced. I think there is some confusion, because you can go beyond the trail in some areas - just not down to the pond.

  • Report Abuse

    Yes, that's right it was Ghost Glacier. I think it was actually left (when facing it) of Angel Glacier and further from the parking lot. It's very difficult to judge scale.

    That's about a mile from the parking lot.

    It's good to hear that Angel is in tact. It's beautiful regardless of where you are viewing it from.

    I've been to Angel Glacier twice. It's on my list of sights you'll always remember. Moraine Lake, Angel Glacier and Peyto Lake from Bow Summit among others.

11 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.