7 Day Canmore/ Banff Itinerary

Mar 22nd, 2018, 06:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 17
7 Day Canmore/ Banff Itinerary

Hi everyone!

Heading to Canmore/ Banff area from June 2-9th. We arrive at noon in Calgary, and planning on picking up our rental care, driving to our rental apartment in Canmore, and then starting our adventure right away.

I have seen some suggestions for Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise, and a couple other things. I was just wondering if anyone had an itinerary that worked well for them? That way I have something to base my trip off of! We will have half the day Saturday- Friday, because we are flying out of Calgary early Saturday morning. We are used to keeping busy and are ready to go, go, go!!

We are all in our early 20's, but don't want to go to bars and drink, we are not drinkers or foodies. We just want to go on some good hikes and enjoy our time together! Any recommendations/ itineraries would be awesome!

Thanks in advance!!
chloeforrant is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2018, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 582
Are you staying the whole time in Canmore?

If you any flexibility, I'd strongly suggest staying at least two nights in Jasper. The drive on the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper is one of the most scenic in the world. And has some fabulous hiking. The full drive, and even a partial drive with time for hiking, would not at all be possible as a day trip from Canmore. Nor would you be able to see the major attractions in Jasper like Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon etc.

From Canmore, the best you could do would be a very long day, perhaps about half way down the parkway. Even going to the Athabasca Glacier (and the great hikes in that area) would be a very, very long day.

With your flight plans, the best way to do it would be to do Canmore first, then nights in Jasper and then Calgary for your last night. Otherwise, I'd look at something like this, since you essentially have 6 whole days

Day you arrive - Canmore area. Depending on time & energy, perhaps Grassi Lakes and/or Grotto Canyon.
Second day - Canmore area hikes (avoid the weekend rush at the big attractions) like Ha Ling or EEOR etc.
Allow one day for Lake Louise, arriving early and perhaps Johnston Canyon
Another day get to Moraine Lake really early. Hiking will probably be limited that early in the year, so you could spend the rest of the day in Yoho NP (Emerald Lake, Wapta Falls)
One full day on the parkway to go as far as makes sense given conditions (early season) and weather
On your last day, you could do more in the Canmore area, quick jaunt up to Johnston Canyon or around Banff townsite. No need to head back to Calgary until quite late - avoid rush hour traffic and make the most of your mountain time.
kgsneds is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2018, 12:09 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 17
Thank you so much! This was super helpful. Yes, we booked in advance at a condo rental in Canmore, so we will be based out of there the whole time
chloeforrant is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2018, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 582
That's a unfortunate as it will definitely limit what you can see and do. If there's no flexibility at all, I would plan on one very long day to get as far along the parkway as possible. Make sure you buy your Parks pass in advance (it can be mailed to anywhere for no additional cost) so you don't waste time at the Banff NP gates. And I'd consider spending some time in K-Country as it will cut down your driving.

Is your condo rental of of the commercial/hotel condos or a private rental? If the latter, I would definitely confirm that the rental is legal. Unfortunately there are a fair number of rentals on VRBO/AirBnB/etc/ that are not legal, either because of zoning and/or condo rules. There is a major housing shortage in the area so the town/municipality has been very actively cracking down on illegal rentals. If the rental isn't legit, then you have a very real risk of losing your booking (and any deposit) should the municipality shut it down. A major red flag is rental listing that does not have images of the property/front of the condo - i.e. images that would show the location. If you're not sure, ask for proof of valid business license/permit.
kgsneds is offline  
Mar 25th, 2018, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 126
It is somewhat unfortunate that your base is Canmore the whole time. While we enjoyed the town, it does make for significant distance to a lot of the better sights in the area. As others have said, make one day a long one and go north for as far as you are comfortable. The further north, the wilder it gets. Especially past the Icefields Parkway Visitor Centre. In the Canmore area, here are some things/links you might find of interest:
Kananaskis Wildlife Drive | Tourism Canmore Kananaskis
http://www.tourismcanmore.com/profil...i-lakes-trail(very nice!)
Johnston Canyon
Canmore eats-Hogshead, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co., Santa Lucia(italian), Le Fornil Bakery, Valbella Meat Co.(smoked meats and sausages!!)
To see as you head north:
Takakaw Falls
Bow Glacier Falls
Peyto Lake
If you get as far as Saskatchewan River Crossing, the drive to see Crescent Falls is worth your time.
Looking for picnic/lunch in Lake Louise Village-Laggan's Bakery
Unless you plan to take a bus onto the glacier, the Icefields Parkway Visitors Centre is only worth a brief stop for a pic, IMO. I't usually very crowded and difficult to navigate. If it's sunny, the glaciers (what's left of them) makes a nice photo.
Have a great trip and do report back!

Last edited by melproffit; Mar 25th, 2018 at 10:33 AM.
melproffit is offline  
Mar 26th, 2018, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 582
The road to Takkakaw Falls will not be open in early June, so that's not an option.

Crescent Falls is nice, but I don't think it's interesting enough to be worth that long detour. Especially since the OP is staying in Canmore the whole time, so it will be a long day for them just to see part of the parkway.

For the Athabasca Glacier, by far the best way to see the glacier is on the guided IceWalks - half or full day trips led by a certified mountain/ski/alpine guide. However, they don't tend to start until early or mid June, conditions depending and most timing would not be possible from a Canmore start/finish. Other than the sno-coach tour, the best way to see the glacier is to do the short trail to the toe of the glacier.
kgsneds is offline  
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