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Please critique our Banff/Yoho Itinerary

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Hi folks,

Here is our proposed itinerary for a 5-night visit to Banff & Yoho in mid-July 2011. This is going to be our last vacation for awhile, so we would like to make it very special. We'd love any feedback.

In particular, we're wondering whether we should change our lodging on Thursday and Friday nights in Banff to the Baker Creek Chalet in Lake Louise. We'd prefer to stay in the intimate, glowingly reviewed Buffaloberry B&B but wonder whether Lake Louise would make a better base for our explorations on those days. Any advice would be appreciated!

Wednesday, July 13th
Arrive in Calgary (from San Diego) at 1:19 pm, pick up rental car
Drive to Lake Moraine
Overnight in Moraine Lake Lodge

Thursday, July 14th
Early morning canoe on Lake Moraine
Day hike to Consolation Lake or Larch Valley
Ride Lake Louise or Banff Gondola and explore Banff
Overnight in Buffaloberry B&B (Banff)

Friday, July 15th
Drive part of Icefields Parkway, do 3- hour walk on Columbia Icefields glacier (10:40 am), Visit Peyto Lake
Overnight in Buffaloberry B&B (Banff)

Saturday, July 16th
Full-day Lake O’Hara hike with Great Divide Nature Interpretation (9:45 am - 5 pm)
Overnight in Emerald Lake Lodge

Sunday, July 17th (Our anniversary)
Go early to Lake Louise, do Plain of Six Glaciers hike
Visit Takakkaw Falls or just relax at the lodge
Overnight in Emerald Lake Lodge

Monday, July 18th
Drive to Bow Lake/Spiral Tunnels and see any last sites
Drive to Calgary Airport in time for 6:30 pm flight back to San Diego

A few specific questions:
If we do decide to stay at Baker Creek instead of in Banff, will we miss out by not seeing Banff altogether? Is the Banff gondola a must-do? (Or will we be just as happy doing the Lake Louise gondola)?

Is the town of Banff a must-see destination, or will it be so crowded in mid-July that it would be okay to miss?

One option I'm considering is keeping our B&B reservation in Banff on Thursday night but changing the reservation on Friday night to Baker Creek. What do you folks think?

Thanks for your time!

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