Banff, Glacier, Jasper ideas

Mar 31st, 2006, 04:56 AM
  #1  
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Banff, Glacier, Jasper ideas

We are planning a trip that would include Glacier National Park, Banff, and Jasper.
We will fly into Calgary.
Any suggestions on an itinerary, including hotel suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks
mikec54321 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 05:20 AM
  #2  
 
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Hello mikec54321,

Will this be a summer trip? How long are you planning to spend on it? What are your main interests? Do you like to drive, view scenery and go on a few walks? Or do you like serious hiking? Are you interested in visiting a museum or two along the way? What kind of accommodation do you want? Expensive or less expensive? Do you like big hotels, small hotels, chalets, or B&Bs?
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 11:58 AM
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Are we to assume you mean Glacier National Park in Montana rather than Glacier National Park in British Columbia?

When you say Banff and Jasper, do you have reference to the towns by those names, or the whole of two huge national parks?

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 06:49 AM
  #4  
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Hello Judy/All
Thanks for your replies.
We will be there for one week in early July. We like to drive around and stop at lookout points of interest. We do short hikes (trails), but no major (1/2 mile or more?) type hikes. Museums would be ok, although we prefer outdoor activities. We like nice, clean hotels, not B&B's and would prefer to spend around $200.00/nt, or less. (Although Buffalo Mountain Lodge sounded interesting).
We have been to Banff before (4 years ago), and drove as far north as the Columbia icefields.
We haven't been to Glacier/Waterton or Jasper area.
We would appreciate an itinerary idea as to what route to take, where to go first, etc.



mikec54321 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 07:27 AM
  #5  
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Hello Judy/All
One more point. If we need more time for Glacier/Waterton and Banff area, would it make sense to leave Jasper out of this trip?
mikec54321 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2006, 08:25 AM
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Hmmm, you have posed a somewhat challenging question, mikec54321. Normally, if a person had a week to spend, I would suggest combining Banff with Montana's Glacier National Park or Banff with Jasper. With only a week at your disposal, it would be impossible to cover Jasper, Banff and GNP. Or rather, it technically would be possible, but it would be so rushed that I can't see it being any fun at all.

So I think you need to choose between Jasper and Waterton/Glacier. Also it would help if you would say what you meant by a week. Does a week mean 7 days? Would Day 1 be the day on which you flew in and Day 7 be the day on which you flew out? It also would help to know, roughly, the time of day at which you'll land and the time of day at which you'll take off.

Sorry for all the additional questions. But it does make a difference if you have 5 sight seeing days + 2 flying days or 7 sight seeing days + 2 flying days. The times of your flights also make a difference. For example, if you landed at 11.00 p.m., you'd need to spend that night in Calgarry. On the other hand, if you landed in the afternoon, you could drive to a destination well outside of Calgary. By the same token, if you have a morning flight out of Calgary, you have to spend the previous night in Calgary. But if you have a noon flight out of Calgary, you can spend the previous night in the mountains.

So, at the risk of being a pain in the neck with all my questions, I'll wait to hear your clarification about Jasper verus Waterton/Glacier and the other points.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 09:44 AM
  #7  
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Hello Judy
I fully understand your questions. I appreciate the fact that you are going to that much trouble to help us with a good plan. So here is what you need to know.
The plan at this point is to arrive at Calgary on Saturday, July 8th at 10:37 am.
We would leave Calgary on Saturday July 15th at 11:07 am.
We will leave out Jasper, since one of the reasons for the trip is to see Glacier/Waterton.
My thought was to do Glacier first , and end up at Banff, so we would only have an hour and a half(?) drive to the Calgary airport on the 15th.
If we had bad (snow?) weather in Glacier, would we not be able to drive through the park? We read that the roads in the park are pretty narrow.
Also, having been to Banff, Lake Louise
and the road to Columbia Icefields before, can you suggest some new sites in the area that we should see as well as the above?

mikec54321 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 02:00 PM
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Thanks for the additional information, mikec54321. In light of what you’ve said, this is what I suggest:

Sat 8 – Drive to Waterton. From the airport, drive south on Deerfoot Trail (Hwy #2). At Marquis of Lorne Trail (Hwy #22X), turn west. Just before Priddis, turn south onto the Cowboy Trail (Hwy #22). When you get to the end of Hwy #22, turn east onto Hwy #3 and then at Pincher Creek turn south onto Hwy #6. That will get you to Waterton.

You could stay on Hwy #2 all the way from Calgary to Waterton. It’s a straight, comfortable, multi-lane highway. However, it crosses the prairies and is less scenic and interesting than the Cowboy Trail.

Sun 9 – Look around Waterton Lakes National Park. Check out the suggestions of Camping_Girl (Tanis) at:

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/adecc/dc729/

Mon 10 – Drive down to Glacier National Park. Consider spending that night in the Many Glacier / Swiftcurrent area.

Tue 11 – Drive the Going to the Sun Road. It’s nominally a short drive, but there are many scenic lookout points, etc. Further to a question that you posed later in your message, I believe you can feel pretty confident about being able to access Glacier National Park in July. Spend the night in West Glacier.

Wed 12 – Drive up USS Hwy #93, which becomes Provincial Hwy #93 when you cross into British Columbia. Drive up through Cranbrook and Fairmont to Radium. When you reach Radium, drive northeast through Kootenay National Park. When you reach Castle Junction, turn onto the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1), and drive to whichever place you have selected as your base for exploring Banff National Park. If you’ll be staying in Lake Louise you’ll need to turn west at Castle Junction. If you’ll be staying in Banff or Canmore, you’ll need to turn east at Castle Junction.

Thu 13 – Visit Yoho National Park just to the west of Lake Louise, and see Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake. Something else that may intererst you is the Northern Lights Wildlife Wolf Centre in Golden, BC (1 hour west of Lake Louise). You also may like to visit the Kicking Horse ski resort in Golden and lunch in Canada’s highest (but admittedly expensive) restaurant, the Eagle Eye.

Fri 14 – Visit Moraine Lake. You may have seen it before, but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen it since I moved here in the late 1970s, and I have not tired of it.

You could drive half an hour up the Icefields Parkway and re-visit Peyto Lake. That is another sight of which I have not tired. Here is a website that gives you a blow-by-blow description of the Icefields Parkway:

http://www.icefieldsparkway.ca/

If you did not see Johntson Canyon (on the Bow Valley Parkway or Hwy #1A between Lake Louise and Banff) last time, I suggest you visit it this time.

Here is a website that provides links to detailed descriptions of the four contiguous mountain national parks (Banff, Kootenay, Yoho and Jasper), to help you select something you may not have seen before:

http://www.canadianrockies.net/conve...r/parkmap.html

Or you could visit Kananaskis Country to the southeast of Banff National Park.

Sat 15 – You’ll need to leave Banff by 7.00 a.m. at the latest. It would be more ideal to leave a little earlier to allow for contingencies. It takes 1.5 hours to drive from Banff to Calgary’s western city limit. Then it takes 30 minutes to drive across the city to the airport. For a US-bound flight you need to check in 2 hours before departure. Don’t try to skimp on the check-in time. Even under normal circumstances, it sometimes takes a good 90 minutes to get from the check-in counter to your departure gate. Since this will be the second last day of the Calgary Stampede, you can expect the airport to be busy. That’s all the more reason to give yourself the full amount of time that you need for checking in.

Some observations about staying in Lake Louise versus Banff / Canmore. If you previously had not seen points to the west of Lake Louise, Lake Louise would be a more convenient base for exploring that country. The disadvantage of Lake Louise, however, is that it would not be a suitable base for your last night. I consider it to be just too far from Calgary for an 11 0’clock departure. So, if you stay in Lake Louise on the 12th and 13th, you’ll need to transfer to Banff or, better still, Canmore on the 14th.

ACCOMMODATION SUGGESTIONS

Waterton - Crandell Mountain Lodge

Lake Louise – Baker Creek Chalets, Paradise Lodge and Bungalows, or Deer Lodge (in a larger Tower Room or, better still, Heritage Room)

Banff – Hidden Ridge Reort, Douglas Fir Resort, or the Juniper (I deliberately have chosen properties on the outskirts of town, because you may recall that Banff townsite is wall to wall people in July and August.)

Canmore – Lady Macdonald Country Inn or Georgetown Inn

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2006, 05:41 PM
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Judy
Thank you very much for the great suggestions. I now have a few more questions.
How much time does it take to go from Calgary to Waterton, via the route you suggested?
Is it possible to use one place to stay near Waterton or Glacier, as a base, and not change hotels until we get to Banff?
How much time does it take to drive from Glacier to Banff via the route you suggested?
If we wanted to stay close to the town area of Banff, which hotels would be close to the main area?
Do you know anything about the Buffalo Mtn Lodge?
Thanks
mikec54321 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2006, 07:02 PM
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>>>>>>How much time does it take to go from Calgary to Waterton, via the route you suggested?<<<<<<

I would say about 4 hours. That compares with 3 hours if you take Hwy #2 across the prairies. However, I would consider the investment of the extra hour to be more than worth it. Say you take an hour to get through immigration and customs at Calgary Airport. Then say you stop somewhere for lunch. (You might consider the small town of Longview on the Cowboy Trail where you can also browse through the store owned by local country singer Ian Tyson.) Say that takes you an hour. You could comfortably make it to Waterton by 5.00 p.m.

>>>>>>Is it possible to use one place to stay near Waterton or Glacier, as a base, and not change hotels until we get to Banff?<<<<<<

I don't really think it's feasible to use a single base for Waterton and Glacier. For example, it's about 1.5 hours from Waterton, AB to Swiftcurrent, MT. What with the border crossing and all, I don't think it's worth going back and forth.

>>>>>>How much time does it take to drive from Glacier to Banff via the route you suggested?<<<<<<

About 6.5 hours, not counting stops.

>>>>>>If we wanted to stay close to the town area of Banff, which hotels would be close to the main area?<<<<<<

>>>>>>Do you know anything about the Buffalo Mtn Lodge?<<<<<<

It's very charming, but it's more pricey than the other suggestions I gave you. It's located at the edge of the town, next to Douglas Fir Resort. It's about a 20 - 25 minute walk from there to the centre of town. Hidden Ridge Resort is another couple of minutes further out, along the same road.

If you want to be in the thick of things, with the restaurants right at your doorstep, you could consider Brewster Mountain Lodge, Mount Royal Hotel or Ptarmigan Inn. You also could consider Banff Park Lodge, which is slightly off to one side, but only a couple of blocks from Banff Avenue, which is the main street.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 06:45 PM
  #11  
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Hello Judy
Thank you very much for all of the help.
They all sound like great suggestions. It always makes for a better trip when you can plan the timing of things ahead of time.
mikec54321 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 06:18 PM
  #12  
 
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We did Banff, Jasper, and Glacier last summer (with Judy's help!), and Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, too (3 weeks). I'm thinking that we did 1 night in Banff, 2 in Jasper, another in Banff, and then one in Glacier, no, make that two (actually, we stayed in a tipi in Browning that last night, which is nearby). It was glorious, and I'm glad that we did it all, though of course I would have liked more time everywhere.

Mainly what I want to tell you is that THE most beautiful place I have ever been, and I have been some beautiful places, is Lake Moraine. It was a sunny day, and as I sat at the top of the lookout, I was able to say, "This is it. This is THE most beautiful place I have ever been." Go there on a sunny day. Our second favorite was Edith Cavell--hiking back to the glacier-fed lake and going into an ice cave was a real treat. Or maybe the second favorite was the gorgeous Going to the Sun Road, full of wildflowers. Or...
CindyW is offline  
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