Banff and Jasper one week trip

Old Aug 9th, 2014, 08:37 AM
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Banff and Jasper one week trip

On the spur of the moment we decided to go to Banff and Jasper. We will be flying into Calgary and renting a car. We are not hikers. However we both have cameras and take a lot of pictures. Is two days at Banff, one day traveling the Icefields Parkway and two days in Jasper a workable itinerary? Or should more time be spent at either Banff or Jasper?
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 04:21 PM
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IMO - if you don't hike, and if the 2 days in Banff does not include your arrival at Calgary, you can get some good pictures in that time. You would also need to add another day from Jasper back to Banff (so a day each way)

For example -

- Arrive in Calgary on Saturday; drive to Banff.
- Stay Saturday, Sunday, Monday nights in Banff (also visit Lake Louise during this time)
- Tuesday morning drive Icefields Parkway
- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday nights in Jasper (gives you 2 days in Jasper).
- Friday morning drive back down Icefields Parkway
- Friday night in Banff, Canmore, or Calgary
- Saturday or Sunday fly out

Is that the sort of timeline you have in mind?
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 10:08 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Yes that is what I was looking at. I should have said three nights at Banff and three nights at Jasper. I am somewhat familiar with the Banff area. However I am not sure about the Jasper area. Without hiking is there enough to keep us occupied for two full days?
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 08:45 AM
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I found two days enough in Jasper. Unless you hike or golf, there is not too much to do in Jasper. The drive along the Icefields Parkway is spectacular. There seems to be a lot more to do in Banff as far as sights are concerned.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 11:09 AM
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you should definitely stay 3 nights in jasper (2 full days). it's a lovely, walkable town. have you looked at maligne lake cruise or a walk through the canyon. you don't say when you are going, there are some rafting trips. gondola's in both banff & jasper national parks. i'd recommend buying a cheap cooler and going to a grocery store - use the ice from your hotel. there are so many beautiful outdoor spots in banff/lake louise/ice field parkway/ jasper...i prefer to just eat breakfast stuff while getting ready in the mornings, picnic lunch and then eat at at night. this way you aren't wasting too much time sitting in restaurants.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 05:36 PM
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In addition to ltt's suggestions about Jasper -

You can take a drive up to Mt. Robson Provincial Park. Don't think it's more than an hour or so from Jasper. At any rate, the scenes are breathtaking; even without any hiking (which we did not do here either), this is where you will get some spectacular photos.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio..._Columbia.html

http://www.hellobc.com/mount-robson.aspx

In Jasper, you can easily consume a couple of days by wandering through the small townsite, making a trip to Maligne Lake (do take the boat tour), Maligne Canyon (not really a hike, but you do have stairs). There is a lovely picnic spot nearby that I wish we had anticipated. Also - going out in the morning and afternoon, you will have the opportunity to see a lot of big horn sheep and other wildlife. Be sure to head toward Patricia Lake (just a few minutes outside downtown) for some wonderful photo ops.

http://travelalberta.com/Places%20to...al%20Park.aspx

Jasper is just far enough away from the larger tourist draw of Banff to make it a destination on its own, and close enough that you can add it on to your Banff vacation. Far enough away that it is relatively unspoiled (compared to Banff, which is wonderful in its own right), but still offers some nice conveniences (ok, I really like the local pizza joint).

We have vacationed in Banff a number of times and only went to Jasper once, for 2 nights. To our sorrow. I urge you to make that 3 nights and not to skip it.
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Old Aug 11th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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We arte considering this trip next July or August (2015) If we have 2 weeks (in and out of Calgary) would you suggest dipping down to Glacier National Park, Montana? Or, is that too much driving? Can you take a Canada rental car into the USA?
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Old Aug 11th, 2014, 03:54 PM
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nannibray, we did that exact trip one year. There was not an issue with taking the Canadian rental car into the US (and we are US citizens, can't speak for others). However you do need to check with the rental company first and then inform them when you pick up the car for any paperwork required.

We drove down on the west side of Glacier traveled to the east, then on our return drove across into Waterton (the two parks share the border) and stayed there a night or two.
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Old Aug 11th, 2014, 05:13 PM
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Thank you, Sludick. (I did not mean to hi-jack this thread but hope this info will help others).
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 07:17 AM
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I'm not sure what not being a hiker means. Are you mobile? Will you walk a 1/2 mile? By having cameras does that mean photography is a hobby?

I just came back yesterday from 5 days in Banff & Jasper. Last year I spent 6 days in Glacier NP in Montana and 2 1/2 days in Banff & Jasper scoping out a possible future trip.

First my opinion of Glacier NP (MT). While Going to the Sun Road gets a lot of publicity, I don't really think it's the most scenic of roads. Everything is far away and the sun is in your eyes half of the day.

Having said that the Park can be among the most spectacularly scenic parks. But you have to be prepared to do some hikes. The Many Glacier area is scenery & wildlife central. Iceberg Lake hike for scenery and Fishercap Lake for wildlife.

On GTTS Rd you can do the beginning or whole Hidden Lake hike for spectacular scenery.

Banff & Jasper
I found there was less wildlife around than last year. Maybe because of the wildfire they had recently.

Banff
For photography I found sunrise at Cascade Pond at the very start of the Lake Minnewanka Rd to be fantastic. Aside from a few selective spots I didn't find Banff to be more than a tourist town full of souvenir shops.

Lake Louise (Banff)
Moraine Lake in the morning is spectacular. You don't even have to bother going to the actual lake. From the parking lot go left and climb up the trail (path and stairs) to the top of the Rock Pile. There are several viewpoints. Try them all. This is the view on the back of the old Canadian 20 dollar bill.

Actual Lake Louise of nice but not as spectacular as Moraine Lake.

On the drive from Lake Louise to Jasper (Icefields Parkway), I have never seen so much spectacular roadside scenery. You can stop at many viewpoints or even pull over to the side of the road. Be careful about walking onto the road.

Jasper
I didn't find Jasper any more than a small tourist town. Cute? Yes.

Maligne Lake is a 5 minute drive east of the town. Go to the First Bridge (you pass Sixth Bridge first then fifth (closed for rebuilding) and then the main entrance. Walk along the Canyon as far as you want. Remember that your are going down so you'll have to walk back up.

The most spectacular views are of Angel Glacier. Do this in the morning so the sun is facing the glacier side of the canyon. Just after you go back into Jasper Park going south on the Icefields Parkway turn onto Rt 93A and look for the Edith Cavell Rd. Drive about 10 miles to the end, try to find a spot in the parking lot. The walk/hike is about .6 mile and pretty level. At the viewpoint you will be facing the glacier. The best view of a glacier with an amazing shape I've seen.

The sign says the path to the runoff lake is closed. About 20% of the people going down to the lake for great photos.

Icefields Parkway
Great scenic stops along the way. Most are morning best as the sun will be on the west side of the road.

Take the short hike to the Peyto Lake overlook that starts at Bow Summit. Then another great stop is the short walk to Mistaya Canyon.

I find that some of the waterfalls are disappointing as the viewpoints are built directly above and blocking the waterfalls.

Still, spectacular scenery along the road.

Yoho National Park
This park is in British Columbia but 20 minutes from lake Louise. Takakkaw Falls alone is worth the drive. Excellent views of a spectacular waterfall. This was done correctly for views.

More but not off the top of my head.
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