Banff and Jasper National Parks

Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 06:51 AM
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Banff and Jasper National Parks

Hi. I had originally thought of visiting Glacier and Banff so I had posted a question in the Montana forum. After some great input and more research, I am leaning on a 7 night visit to just Banff and Jasper this trip and visit GNP on the next one. I would appreciate your opinion and comments on our following itinerary in case I should make some adjustments. The flights are not booked yet and I am able to cancel any of the hotel reservations I have made so far. We are in our mid to late 50's and enjoy mild hiking and beautiful scenery. We are thinking of flying in and out of Calgary. I have booked the Fairmont Chateau St. Louise in Banff NP for 3 nights and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for 3 nights. Although, someone had mentioned the Moraine Lake Lodge which I admit looks very nice. Any thoughts on this vs. the Chateau St. Louise? The Moraine Lodge looks more rustic which is what I like but everybody says the location of the Chateau is amazing. The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge seems overpriced but appears to be in a great location. Still working on a hotel for Calgary for the night before our early flight. The Fairmont was already sold out but that is ok because I'm thinking of something less expensive more in the general airport vicinity. We will land in Calgary late afternoon then drive to the Fairmont St. Louise. I'm told it is about a 90 min - an hour drive. On our 4th day we will take the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. I'm told to expect a good 5 hour drive. On our 7th day we will drive back on the Icefields Parkway all the way to Calgary. How does this sound? Am I better off 4 nights in Banff NP and 2 in Jasper or is 3 and 3 the way to go as mentioned above? Does driving to/from Jasper on the Icefields Parkway make sense? I was told that it was so beautiful that we should. Thanks again, W
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 07:18 AM
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the chateau is a beutiful location - get a lake view room. moraine lake lodge is gorgious too. very busy in the summer with all the tourists. i and not to much to do in the evenings other then appreciate the fabulous locaitons.
i would try to get my flights so that you arrive in calgary in the a.m. and don't depart until late afternoon or evening. suggest first 2 nights at one of the above hotels, next 3 nights in jasper and last 2 nights in banff. i like staying right in town so that i can walk out of my hotel to all the restaurants and shops. the banff springs is up a hill and while the walk down to town isn't back, i'd want to take the bus or a taxi to return. the rooms vary a lot in size so sometimes you may get a rather "tight" room and next time a very spacious one.
jasper park lodge is going a major renovation this year so i don't know if their rooms are a little out date. beautiful spot but you will have to eat on their premises or drive into town for a choice of restaunts.
don't forget to check the parking fees at each place.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 10:42 AM
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when are you traveling?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2015, 01:34 PM
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Hi. We are traveling in mid July.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2015, 10:43 AM
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This same query was posted on a different website forum, so has gotten answers to many of the questions. But a few things..

I very much agree about scheduling your flight to avoiding spending nights in Calgary. You don't want to rush back down the Icefields Parkway, and it's only 1.5 hrs from Banff to the airport. So easy to stay you last night in Banff.

The JPL is undergoing a major redo. I don't think anything was wrong, per se, with the rooms. They just hadn't been redone in many years and needed a freshening up. JPL can get uneven reviews, but I think it has to more with expectations than actual service/facilities. It's not like many or most of the other Fairmont properties in that it's more rustic ain style, rather than posh and elaborate. You are paying more for the incredible location (out away from town with the lakes) rather than the fanciest bed sheets or decorations. And you still get the Fairmont level service, plus excellent food.

For the Icefields Parkway, it's about 3.5 hrs from Lake Louise to Jasper with no stops or delays. However, we would suggest taking all day to do the drive as you will want to stop at the viewpoints, have lunch along the way and in mid July, will almost certainly experience slow downs to to the number of cars on/turning off/turning on the road. So relax and make it full day experience.

I would actually do one night in Banff/Lake Louise, three in Jasper, then 3 in Banff/Lake Louise. Or do three nights in Banff/Lake Louise first.

The Moraine Lake Lodge gets great reviews and has a beautiful location. It's smaller and without the amenities of the Chateau Lake Louise. But the service and quality are supposed to be very good. It is about 20-30 minutes up a windy road from Lake Louise, so you would have to drive a bit for any other dining options.
MLL is peaceful at night, but like Lake Louise, it is teeming with tourists during the day. The main hiking trail runs right past the cabins, so you can have people passing by at any time of day. If you prefer more privacy, Chateau Lake Louise is probably the better option as the guest rooms are on higher floors (the first floor or two are public spaces/dining areas).
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