5 nights in Canadian Rockies in August


Jun 10th, 2008, 09:16 AM
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5 nights in Canadian Rockies in August

Hello! I've already found so much helpful info by perusing other posts and responses to them and am hoping that I can get some specific advice on my own upcoming trip to the Canadian Rockies. My fiance and I are planning to spend a week there, but since we need to spend the first and last nights in Calgary due to flight times that leaves just 5 nights in the Rockies.

Current plan (and we do already have reservations, but these can be changed) is to spend the first 2 nights in Canmore and the last 3 in Field. But now Im wondering if we should plan to spend a few nights in Jasper, though, maybe instead of in Canmore? Our travel style is really to focus on a relatively small area and get to know it well, but there are so many places to see in the Rockies that in this case I think it may make more sense to stay in a couple of different places. But wed really welcome any advice along these lines.

Id actually been thinking that if Mount Engadine had availability for the whole week, wed just stay thereit looks like such a beautiful area, and we like the remoteness of it. But then it might be harder to visit places such as Yoho and Jasper, so it would really be a tradeoff. But its a moot point because we could probably stay just 2 nights there given current bookings at the time of our trip.

Thanks in advance for any ideas and insights on how best to plan our time. In case it matters, our plan is to do a lot of day hikesIve ordered the Patton book, which everyone seems to recommend!

BeckyC is offline  
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Jun 10th, 2008, 11:40 AM
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I'd do 3 nights in Lake Louise and 2 nights in Jasper. I wouldn't want to miss Jasper.

We also like to stay in one place but love driving, hiking and sightseeing on the Icefields Parkway.

We also have a short trip planned and are doing 3 nights Lake Louise, 2 nts Jasper, 1 nt Banff.

This is our third visit and if you love hiking, this is paradise.
LindainOhio is offline  
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Jun 10th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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I don't think you want to spend the whole time at Mt. Engadine Lodge.
I have been there and enjoyed my stay, but after 3 days there I was ready to go elsewhere.

You definitely want to spend at least one night Jasper, probably two.
The drive north on the Icefields Parkway could well take most of the day, if not all of it, because there several rewarding short walks you can make along the way.

If you spend a whole day in Jasper, you would have time for the Angel Glacier and Maligne Lake. You might even want to ride the cable lift to the flat topped Whistler from which you have a wonderful view.

If you stayed in Field for two or three nights you would have a chance to visit Yoho as well as Lake Louise because the drive from Field to the lakeshore is only about 15 miles of mostly highway driving.

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Jun 10th, 2008, 01:04 PM
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Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Field are all close enough together that you can visit them all from a base in one of them. Jasper, however, is about a 3 hour drive (one way) from Lake Louise, or close to four hours from Banff, so it is not realistic to visit it while based in the others.

I would suggest an early start on the day you drive up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper (www.icefieldsparkway.ca) and that will give you time not only to stop at all the scenic viewpoints, waterfalls etc along the way, but you might also have time to hike Wilcox Pass (overlooking the Icefields), which is one of the premier hikes in the area.

Other great hikes in the Jasper area are Opal Hills (at Maligne Lake), Cavell Meadows (at Mt. Edith Cavell) and the Sulphur Skyline (at Miette Hot Springs).

Hope this helps.
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Jun 10th, 2008, 08:56 PM
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Thanks for the helpful suggestions! We are now seriously considering dropping the Canmore part of our stay and replacing it with 2 nights in Jasper (if we can find a place to stay!). I just want to be sure that this isn't pushing it too much for such a short trip? I guess it will give us a good overview of the area pretty quickly!

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Jun 11th, 2008, 06:32 AM
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Becky - I think your revised plan is good. We've visited the area many times [spent part of our honeymoon in Banff a "few" years ago] and Jasper and the Icefields Parkway is really worth it. As mentioned, you'll probably want to plan on most of a day to drive the Parkway - if nothing else, just stop occasionally and take in the stunning scenery. And it's the only place in our many trips that we've seen wolves, fox, bear and the largest owl we've ever seen. Plan a picnic since there are almost no places to get something to eat.

In 5 days, you might be pushing it a little, but I think it's a good plan and you should be able to see and do a lot.
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Jun 11th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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although canmore is a nice town (which sounds like it has been growing since i was last there) with 5 nights i would split between jasper and lake louise/field.

I am going in august and am spliting jasper and lake louise, having 5 days in each. I made my decison based on my last visit. then i stayed in jasper and castle mountain.

depending on your desire to hike here are a few ideas: wilcox pass,
take the icewalk on athabasca glacier
plain of the 6 glaciers - go to one of the tea houses
opal hills

i haven't done this yet but plan on iceline in yoho
i've also reserved on the lake o'hara bus for hiking in that area (see parks canada web site)

you should make room reservations now. unsure of your budget, you might be out of luck on the less pricey places. currently in lake louise there may still be rooms avaiable at paradise lodge. (rooms between 200 -350/night
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Jun 12th, 2008, 06:03 AM
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krp329, I booked the Ice Walk at Athabasco Glacier for the day we leave Field (staying 4 nights at Fireweed Hostel). If we leave by 8 am, do you think we will have time to stop along the way. We have to be there at 10:30 at the latest. Are most of the stops before we get there or after? We're staying in Jasper 2 nights then heading back to Banff for the last 2 nights. Last question, do we return to Banff on the same highway or another route? thanks.
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Jun 12th, 2008, 10:53 AM
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It takes at least two hours to drive from Field to the Columbia Icefields - more if you get stuck behind slow-moving RVs, so you are not going to have much time for stopping en route.

The scenic stops are all along the parkway, and yes, many of them are between Lake Louise and the Icefields. However, while you are based in Field, you may want to go up the parkway as far as Bow Summmit, where you can view Peyto Lake, and that way, you will have had a chance to stop along that portion of the parkway already.

One of my favourite stops for a view along the parkway is the pull-off at the top of the hill after the big bend (as you head north), just south of the Icefields by a few miles/kilometres. If you don't have time to stop here on your way to the Icefields, you could always drive back to it after your icewalk to enjoy it - the stretch from the Icefields to the top of that hill goes over Sunwapta Pass and some truly amazing scenery. Or, you will also have the chance to stop along that portion of the highway - and any others you may have missed - on your way back to Banff after staying in Jasper.
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Jun 12th, 2008, 06:07 PM
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Thanks so much for your help. I thought the time on the way up would be short, but we'll leave earlier and maybe have time to at least stop for a peek on the way and then go back afterwards or on the way to Bamff from Jasper. We go Aug 3-12. Thanks
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Jun 12th, 2008, 09:05 PM
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We decided to switch our first two nights from Canmore to Jasper, in part based on advice given here--so, thanks! We realized that there really was no bad decision to be made--I mean, we are going to the Canadian Rockies!--but it seemed that we would want to go at least partway up the Icefields Parkway, so why not go all the way and just spend 2 nights in Jasper. I wasn't sure we could stay anywhere besides Hinton, which did seem a bit far, but we did manage to score Jasper. We are very excited, and if anyone has recommendations for additional must-sees, we'd love to hear them! (We like to hike, but maybe not the most strenuous hikes--5 miles or so is about right...)

thanks again!

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Jul 7th, 2008, 08:27 PM
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if you decide to stay in Banff, check out the Rimrock Hotel. It's gorgeous and the rooms are more spacious than the Banff Springs.

Food is excellent there too!
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