Banff & Jasper w/ children?

Aug 2nd, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Banff & Jasper w/ children?

I posted a similar question on the US forum and it was recommended that I post this here.

My wife and I and our two kids (ages 12 & 10) will be visiting Glacier National (USA) and Banff next summer. I am interested in making hotel reservations now. We are flying in and out of Calgary and will visit Glacier, MT for several days at the beginning of our trip and end our trip back in the Canadian Rockies. Where would you recommend that we stay (remember, we have two children) in order to get the most out of this trip. I would not object to staying in 2 different places. We will have about 5 nights total to spend. Should we stay in Canmore? In Banff? Do we have time to visit Jasper? Thank you for any suggestions!
caniac is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 11:36 AM
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Hello caniac,

To provide forum members with more context, I am going to take the liberty of copying and pasting the proposed itinerary that you posted on the US forum:

Day 1: Arrive Calgary, begin drive towards Glacier. Stay in Waterton or maybe in Babb, MT.

Day 2 & 3 Stay at Many Glacier Hotel

Day 4 & 5 Hike in and stay at Granite Park Chalet

Day 5 & 6 Stay at Lake McDonald Lodge

Day 7: Drive to Banff. Where to stay along the way?

Day 8, 9, & 10 Stay in or around Banff. Suggestions?

Day 11: Depart Calgary

More in next post ..........
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 12:09 PM
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>>>>>>Drive to Banff. Where to stay along the way?<<<<<<

Suggest you do not stay anywhere along the way. It would be feasible to do the drive in a single day. Not counting stops, itís about 6 hours from Lake McDonald to Banff.

There are 2 ways you can get from Montanaís Glacier National Park to Banff. Either you can go up the west side of the Rockies, through Cranbrook, British Columbia. When you get to Radium Hot Springs, turn north east and drive through Kootenay National Park and into Banff National Park.

Alternatively, you can drive through the foothills on the east side of the Rockies. Just after Pincher Creek, near the southwestern corner of Alberta, you go north on Hwy #22, which also is known as the Cowboy Trail. When you get to the small town of Longview, you turn west and go over the beautiful Highwood Pass and then up Hwy #40 through Kananaskis Country. When you reach the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1), you turn west and continue to Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise.

Either of these routes will add a little time, but not much time to the shortest, quickest route, which is Hwy #2 to Calgary and then Hwy #1 to Banff. However, either of these routes also would be more picturesque, interesting, and worth the little bit of extra time they would consume. Now which one of the two do I recommend? Thatís a tough call. Each has its pros and cons. If I was forced to name a favourite, I would have to say Iím partial to the Cowboy Trail and the Highwood Pass on the east side of the Rockies.

More ..........
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 12:10 PM
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>>>>>>Stay in or around Banff. Suggestions?<<<<<<

If you are into hiking, and from your post on the US forum it sounds as if you are, I believe Lake Louise would be the best base for you.

My website has a suggested itinerary that is based out of Lake Louise and that is suitable for the period of time that you intend to stay there. The same itinerary also could be adapted to a base in Banff or Canmore.

>>>>>>Do we have time to visit Jasper?<<<<<<

No. That said, however, my Lake Louise-based itinerary does recommend a day trip up the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper. At a minimum, you should be able to see Peyto Lake, the Columbia Icefields and Sunwapta Falls on that day.

It sounds as if you are familiar with mountains, so I imagine you donít need advice on weather and what to pack. However, the TIPS section has other practical information that may be of use, e.g., Canadian national park entry fees, links to other websites that have valuable information about this area, etc.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 12:22 PM
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On the US forum LindainOhio warned you about taking a Canadian rental car into the USA. As she said, you need to check with the car rental company that that is okay with them. In addition to that, you may be asked to produce written authorization at the US-Canada border. A notation to that effect on your rental agreement will be enough.

I forgot to warn you about airport logistics on your way out of Calgary.

You need to leave Banff at least 4 hours before taking off on a US-bound flight. I believe 5 hours is a better departure time from Banff, because it leaves a margin for error. If youíre heading to the airport from Lake Louise, you need to leave at least 5 hours (or, better still, 6 hours) before take off.

This page of my website explains airport stuff:
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2006, 03:36 PM
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With 5 nights in the area, I would spend 2 nights in Lake Louise or Banff--we liked Baker Creek Chalets in LL; 2nights in Jasper--we stayed at Beckers; and then return one more night in Banff. The drive to Jasper is beautiful with lots of stops--short hikes off the road, animal sightings, and a glacier you can tour on a Snocoach--haven't done that, but it has been recommended here.

Banff is busy in the summer but when my children were 10 and 12, they would have loved it. It's only about a half hour away from Lake Louise. It has some less expensive lodging and you can walk around the town in the evening. It is also a nice place to go if you have rain.
LindainOhio is offline  
Aug 5th, 2006, 07:23 AM
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Judy & L.O.,

Thank you both for the info. I have been out of town for a few days and am now catching up on my Banff planning. I have a few follow up questions, but I will wait until I look over your suggestions before posting again.

caniac is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Hi Judy!

I can't thank you enough for all of your valuable information. I just booked 4 nights at Baker Creek Chalets, so my trip next summer is almost completely planned.

The only reservations I still need to make are for the Granite Park Chalet in Glacier, but I can't make them until October. I reserved 3 days each at Many Glacier and Lake McDonald just in case I can't get in to Granite Park. I was going to ask you about staying two nights in Jasper and two at Lake Louise/Banff, but after looking over your website I think my trip will be much more enjoyable to stay 4 days at Baker Creek and eliminate the extra packing and unpacking. It looks like we will be able to drive most of the way to Jasper one day to see the sights anyway, so it will be nice to have a "base" as you suggested.

As we get closer to the trip, I'll start finalizing the hikes and tours that are available and I am sure that I will have additional questions. Thanks again for your help!

Here is our itinerary:

Day 1 & 2 (Wed & Thurs): Arrive Calgary, drive to Glacier Natl Park, MT. Stay at Many Glacier Hotel 2 nights.

Day 3 & 4 (Fri & Sat) Leave Car at Many Glacier and take shuttle to Logans Pass. Hike in to Granite Park Chalet for 2 nights via Highline Trail.

Day 5 & 6 (Sun & Mon) Hike out Swiftcurrent trail back to Many Glacier, retrieve car and drive GTTS Hwy to Lake McDonald for 2 nights.

Day 7, 8, 9, 10 (Tues, Wed, Thu, Fri): Drive to Banff/Lake Louise. Arrive Baker Creek Chalets and stay for 4 nights.

Day 11 (Sat): Depart Lake Louise for Calgary and return trip home! If we can't get a noon flight or later, then we will spend Sat night in Calgary and leave early Sunday morning.
caniac is offline  
Aug 6th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Caniac, you have reached the point at which I say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 7th, 2006, 09:33 PM
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Hi Judy!

I guess I am at the point where I say the Canadian part of our trip ain't broke, but I still can't decide how to handle the Glacier part of our trip. I just posted a follow up on the US forum regarding the number of nights to stay at each location of Glacier. If you have been to Glacier, then I would appreciate your opinion of my itinerary.

Thanks again!

Caniac (ie, NHL Carolina Hurricanes fanatic)
caniac is offline  
Aug 8th, 2006, 08:08 AM
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I know, this place is not where you're planning to visit .... Vancouver Island in BC , however a coworker is spending a week here with his kids --- Strathcona Park Lodge ---
and it looks lovely.
FilmNoir is offline  
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