Banff - Jasper

Old Apr 25th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Banff - Jasper

Four of us - all adults are flying in from Los Angeles to Calgary on August 15th arriving at about 2PM and returning on Sat. the 19th at 3:30 PM.
We are planning to stay the first night in Calgary - seeing the city. The next day - Wed. we are planning on leaving early in the AM and driving to Jasper and staying the night. We are planning on staying Thursday in Lake Louise and Friday in Banff departing on Saturday @ 11:00 am to go back to the Airport. Is this trip too ambitious? Any feedback?

Dan
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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 01:41 PM
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Way too ambitious, IMO. You could easily take a full day just driving up the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper, never mind having to drive from Calgary to Jasper. Then you will spend a good part of your time driving back down the Parkway on Thursday, giving you only the evening or next morning for Lake Louise before you head to Banff.

This itinerary definitely does not give you enough time to explore Jasper at all, and you will barely scratch the surface of Lake Louise. The Icefields Parkway is a "don't miss" in that area, but it seems the Jasper leg is keeping your time to a frenzied pace.

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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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I agree with Mazey.

With such a short time at your disposal, it may be wise to skip Jasper.

One thing I will say for sure is that you should not spend one second more in Calgary than is necessary to land and take off. If you had 10 days it would be fine to spend a bit of time in Calgary. But on a 4-day trip it would be a crime.

Fitting Jasper into this trip will be a stretch. However, it would be feasible if you did the following:

Aug 15 – Land in Calgary, drive to Jasper.

Aug 16 – Explore Jasper’s environs.

Aug 17 – Drive down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise in a leisurely fashion, stopping at scenic lookout points, etc.

Aug 18 – From your Lake Louise base, explore Lake Louise’s environs, including Moraine Lake.

Aug 19 – Leave your hotel around 8.00 a.m. Drive to Banff townsite. Spend an hour or so looking around the town. Get back in your car and drive to Calgary Airport. Have lunch at the airport’s fairly decent food court or in the rather nice restaurant in the Delta Calgary Airport Hotel, which is part of the airport complex. Check in for your flight.

You need the following amounts of time:

3 hours - drive from LL to Calgary : 3 hours
1 hour - look around Banff townsite on the way
1 hour - lunch
2 hours – check-in (no ands, ifs or buts)
0.5 hours – contingencies

7.5 hours : TOTAL

Since Lake Louise and Banff are only 50 minutes’ drive from each other, there is no need to switch accommodation between the two.

Spending 2 nights in Jasper will be useful from at least two points of view: (1) You need AT LEAST one full day in Jasper to do that national park any kind of justice, and (2) Several accommodations in Jasper have 2-night or 3-night minimum stay requirements.

Hope that helps.
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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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Thanks for your responses. Unfortunately I made a Priceline Reservation in Calgary for the 1st night so we have already paid. I do have a reservation in Jasper which I could cancell. Are you suggesting that we strike out Jasper and spend our time in the Lake Louise & Banff area only? If so, how would you schedule the time we have? Thanks,

Dan
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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 06:52 PM
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I don't disagree with your original plans. It is about five hours driving (all scenic) from Calgary to Jasper. If you do that fairly quickly on your first day you can stop at the high points as you travel back.
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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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Dan, if you are committed to Calgary on your first night, I suggest you eliminate Jasper. I recommend the following itinerary:

Aug 15 - Land, look around Calgary, overnight there.

Aug 16 - Drive from Calgary to Banff by the longer, more circuitous, but more charming route over the Highwood Pass and through Kananaskis Country. Directions are on my website. However, since my directions are for the drive from Banff to Calgary, you'll need to reverse them:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...iscountry.msnw

Take the gondola up Sulphur Mountain just outside of Banff townsite.

Visit Johnston Canyon and walk to the Lower Falls.

Overnight in Banff townsite or Lake Louise. Choose one of them for your whole stay. They are close enough that there is no need to switch accommodation.

Aug 17 - Explore Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. If you are into hiking, do one of the beautiful hikes in this area, and basically spend the whole day around there.

IF you are not into hiking, drive a circuit involving Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Yoho National Park (with stops at Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake), Golden, British Columbia, Radium Hot Springs, through Kootenay National Park, and back to your Banff or Lake Louise base.

Aug 18 - Drive up the Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93) as if you're going to Jasper. Stop at Peyto Lake. Stop again at the Columbia Icefields. Consider riding the Snocoach onto the Athabasca Glacier or else do the guided walk onto the glacier (but don't attempt to walk on the glacier by yourself). Drive on to Sunwapta Falls. That may be about as much as you can accomplish before you feel like turning around and driving back to your Banff / Lake Louise base.

Aug 19 - Drive to Calgary, and fly home.
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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 11:23 PM
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Thank you so much for your replies. I will get together with my traveling partners and suggest the changes you recommended.

Dan
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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 07:43 AM
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i love jasper but you don't have enough time. you can still take a drive down the parkway maybe 1/2 way and then turn around and return to your accommodations. i'd consider staying one night in lake louise to see the yoho end and the parkway and then spend your last two nights in banff (or vis versa, 2 in louise and 1 in banff)
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Old May 9th, 2006, 04:45 AM
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I'm in a similiar situation. I'm looking at flying into Calgary and then going up to Jasper by way of Banff & Lake Louise and then traveling to Mount Baker, Washington, where my sister lives. I'm going to have about 9 days but I want to spend 4 or 5 days with my sister. Is this too ambitious? I plan on flying out of Seattle on my way home. Thanks Jeff
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Old May 9th, 2006, 04:58 AM
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I forgot to mention that I will be traveling with my wife and two children(both boys 10 & 6)so any long hikes will be out of the question. I know my time is limited and would really like to spend at least a week in the area but for now I would just like to get a taste of its majesty and am hoping it will have all of us wanting to come back again for a longer period. Jeff
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