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Banff / Jasper 6 days

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I am booked to stay in Canmore for 6 nights with four teenagers the first of August. Our plan so far is: Day 1 a guided fishing tour. Day 2 the Adventure Cave Tour. Day 3 Raft tour. Need a plan for day 4, 5, and 6???? Ideas?? Should we drive to Jasper? Hike to a tea house?

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    Welcome!

    If you have 6 nights, that's five full days - assuming you would be driving to Canmore on one day and driving back to the airport (or onwards) on the last day.

    If you haven't been to the area before, my priority would be on seeing Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Johnston Canyon, Icefields Parkway etc. You can fish and raft in lots of places, but the scenery here is unique and stunning.

    If you haven't booked the tours, I would consider what you really want to do and the costs. And whether bookings are still available. Tours for five people will start adding up (fishing tour, for instance, would include the cost of the guide, boat and licenses/permits for everyone that is fishing), and finding spaces for five people on something like a cave or rafting tour may be tricky now.

    Neither the fishing, cave or raft tour would likely be a full day. The cave tour, in particular, is generally less than half day, so you'd have time for exploring Canmore & Banff on that day.

    Jasper is not a day trip from Canmore/Banff/Lake Louise, and your chances of finding accommodation there is quite low at this late a date.

    I would suggest setting aside one day for Lake Louise/Moraine Lake and another day to drive along the Icefields Parkway (to as far as either Peyto Lake or even the Columbia Icefields). At Lake Louise, you could hike up to one or both of the teahouses. Plan to arrive very early as parking is limited at Lake Louise and very limited at Moraine Lake.

    To fill out your tour days, you could do the gondola in Banff, hike at Grassi Lakes, or even do an evening trip to Johnston Canyon and/or Moraine Lake (especially if you are headed back from a raft trip over in BC). Johnston Canyon is well worth a trip, though again parking is limited, so a place to hit early or late.

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    We just returned from a similar trip. We stayed 2 nights in Canmore. Lodging was much less expensive and it was an easy drive to Banff & Lake Louise. We went to Safeway and bought a styrofoam cooler, drinks & snacks. We were glad we did as food was expensive.

    A couple of things to consider - buy your pass in advance for the highway north of Canmore that goes to Banff/Lake Louise. We were able to by-pass the big lines of people who were purchasing passes. If you want to see Moraine Lake, go early in the day. We intended to do this, but got a later than expected start and by the time we got there the parking was full (it was a Saturday). We had to park quite a way down the hill at Lake Louise, but the walk wasn't bad. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed our time there. When we left it started to rain and we were able to drive to Moraine Lake. While it was beautiful, it would have been so much better on a sunny day. We climbed to the top of the rock pile, but walking any further was out since it started raining much harder.

    On Sunday we drove up the Icefield Parkway to Jasper. What a drive. We were lucky to avoid rain most of the day. The scenery is breath-taking. We spent the night in Jasper. By the time we got there it was raining and rained most of the evening, limiting what we were able to do. It did clear off for a couple of hours and we took the Jasper tram to the top of the mountain. It was fun and I'm glad we got to do it. Jasper is expensive. We stayed at the Maligne Lodge. Our room was nicely decorated, but it was small. The cost with taxes was around $250. If you don't want to drive the parkway all the way to Jasper, I would definitely drive at least to the Columbia Icefield Center. We did not take the tour. We would like to have toured the glacier, but now they require you to purchase a combo ticket that includes the Skywalk. What a rip-off. It's a shame they force you to spend a lot more now if you want to see the glacier.

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