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June trip to: Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper/Via Rail to Vancouver

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Hello Fodorites. I need help in planning a trip for 2 couples (age 60) on June 15th to Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Vancouver and perhaps Whistler areas.

We will be flying into Calgary and heading straight to Banff area. Our preliminary planning includes: 2 nights in Banff, 3 nights in Lake Louise, and 1 night in Jasper at which time we will take the Via Rail train to Vancouver.

My questions are:
1. Is 1 night in Jasper enough? We would like to see Maligne Lake and Mount Edith Cavell as well as Athabasca Falls. The train from Jasper leaves on June 23rd

2. Should we stay in one centrally located place in the Banff/Lake Louise area rather than breaking it up between the two? Are there any centrally located 2 bedroom condos that we could stay in?

3. Any recommendations for car rental from Calgary leaving the car in Jasper?

4. Weather in mid June...how should we plan for dressing/packing?

5. If we wanted to go to Glacier National Park, Montana how many more days do we need?

I appreciate any help and recommendations you might be able to give us.

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    1. The road to the Edith Cavell area does not generally open until mid June and the trails may be closed longer to protect the local flora until conditions are drier. So you may or may not be able to access the area - probably need to check to Parks Canada website in late May to find out about likely opening dates.

    One night is going to be tight in Jasper, depending on when your train leaves, but you will have nice long days so doable.

    2. Probably best - it's easy to access Lake Louise area sites from Banff. Be aware that there are no condos in Lake Louise and essentially no rental condos in Banff. Rentals in the national parks are very restricted due to regulations about who can live/rent in the townsites. There are a couple of options for hotels in Lake Louise that offer kitchenettes and more options for accommodation with kitchenette/condo-style in Banff. For condo rentals, though, you are looking at Canmore which is outside the national park. All legit options for accommodation in Lake Louise and Banff can be found here: http://www.banfflakelouise.com/

    3. That will be expensive as you will have one way fees. Probably fairly similar pricing for all the major companies. If you are from the UK, Australia or South Africa you may be able to book without one way fees using Canadian Affair.

    4. Anything and everything. Could be 25c, could be 4c. It can be a rainy month, so I'd bring a good rain jacket, solid waterproof footwear and lots of layers. You may need more layers up along the Icefields Parkway and far fewer down in the townsites. It tends to be a case of staring out with cooler mornings, then shedding layers as the sun comes out.

    5. A few. Realistically you are talking about one day to drive down there, another to explore, and another to get back to Calgary. Also, check to see what roads & sites will be open in the park - some of the more popular areas are likely to still be shut at that time or year including Going to the Sun Road.

    Remember also that if you are not US or Canadian citizens, you'll have to deal with some paperwork (literal or on a computer) at the border even if you don't need a visa (i.e. visa waiver paperwork).

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    Could you fly to Edmonton instead of Calgary? Either rent the car in Edmonton or take the Canadian west to Jasper and rent it there. There are several car rental places within walking distance of the ViaRail station in Jasper. The Brewster bus tour desk is in the east half of the station
    I would spend at least 2 nights in Jasper and cut one night from one of the others.
    The last 3 times I was in Jasper, I arrived on the ViaRail Canadian.
    I haven't been in Banff in decades.

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    are you planning to do a lot of hiking? if so, then several nights in lake louise makes sense. otherwise, i would do 4 nights in banff or, if you don't mind changing hotels for 1 night, do 3 nights in banff and 1 night in lake louise. then take off early to enjoy the icefield parkway and spend 2 nights in jasper. in banff, i've read good things about the suites at the fox hotel. lake louise will be very expensive. the drop off fee could be a lot but average it out over the 6 days that you'll enjoy the car. or you could rent in banff, return the car, take brewster tours or sun dog tours to get to jasper and then rent another car.

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