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msteacher Jun 16th, 2007 06:04 AM

Banff/Jasper/Calgary itinerary
I am very excited about our upcoming trip to the Canadian Rockies. Since we just decided to put this trip together in May, I had to take what I could get in terms of hotel reservations, but feel I was able to secure pretty good prices at each location. We are just looking to relax, enjoy beautiful scenery, and do a lot of hiking. Here's the itinerary... I'd appreciate any feedback (especially suggestions for good day hikes.)

7/27-- fly into Calgary late; stay at Greenwwod Inn (near airport)
7/28,29- Deer Lodge, Lake Louise
7/29,30- Buffalo Mtn Lodge, Banff
7/31- 8/2- Pine Bungalows, Jasper
8/3,4- Hyatt, Calgary
8/5- fly home

I realize that we are doubling back by going to LL then Banff, but again that was the best I could do w/ hotel vacancies. Am hoping to enjoy much of the Icefields Parkway both coming and going to Jasper. Will the drive from Jasper to Calgary be too exhausting? Thanks for any feedback oyu can provide!

bob_brown Jun 16th, 2007 08:12 AM

On the subject of day hikes, many people enjoy the Plain of Six Glaciers trail from Lake Louise to the end of the trail near the mountain wall that looms as the backdrop of the lake. I have done it a couple of times and thought that you got a good look at the glacial valley that leads to the lake itself.

Johnston Canyon is another popular walk along a stream, much of it on metal catwalks.

Other than that, Moraine Lake has a trail along the northern shore that leads along the Valley of the Ten Peaks.

The short hike to Consolation Lake from the Moraine Lake parking lot is relatively easy to do.

There are so many hikes around Banff that the list could go on and on.

Let me make two book suggestions that enhanced my knowledge and my enjoyment of several visits to the Rockies.

First, a work for which I have a huge amount of respect: Ben Gadd's Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. In his book, Ben describes the flora, fauna, geology, and climate of the Canadian Rockies.

The second book is a work I consider to be the best of its type: The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson.

In their book, Patton and Robinson give distances, elevation gains, and other trail details. You can judge from their descriptions whether or not a specific trail is of interest to you.

There are many, many items on the menu so to speak, and I think that scanning the book will reveal opportunities about which the average visitor know very little.

Of the readily accessible trails, I have one favorite: The Iceline in Yoho National Park, which starts near a hostel near Takkakaw Falls. It is steep in the early going, and then dips up an down as it crosses glacial terrain. The views of the Yoho Valley are beautiful.

On a sunny day, particularly on a weekend, there will be a surprising number of people enjoying themselves.

Near Jasper, the trail to the lake at the Angel Glacier is intresting. The hike up to the meadows for a view downward to the glacier is also interesting and scenic.

But I cannot replicate the trail guide here. It is widely available in the area. There is an excellent bookstore in Lake Louise village and I feel very confident that it will have copies of both books plus quite a bit more.

msteacher Jun 16th, 2007 02:37 PM

Thanks Bob... great suggestions! I'll look for those books.

Judy_in_Calgary Jun 16th, 2007 02:57 PM

You have drawn up a good itinerary for the amount of time that you have, msteacher.

Bob has given you great suggestions, including excellent book recommendations.

Ben Gadd's "Handbook of the Canadian Rockies" is indeed excellent. A Bob says, it tells you just about everything you could possibly want to know about the Canadian Rockies -- geology, climate, flora, fauna, history, you name it.

However, Gadd's book is not exactly cheap, and I understand it's not that easy to get hold of in the USA (if that's where you're coming from). It may or may not be worth the effort for such a short trip (unless you return to the area in future).

Another excellent guide for touring in the Rockies, which you can get from Amazon at a more reasonable price, is Brian Patton's "Parkways of the Canadian Rockies." The author, Brian Patton, is one half of the pair who wrote that other excellent book that Bob mentioned, "The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide." (The latter book often is referred to as the hiker's Bible.)

bob_brown Jun 16th, 2007 08:12 PM

Judy is unfortunately correct; Ben Gadd's book is hard to get in the USA. I looked at Amazon and the book is listed, but a long delivery time is indicated.

In the past, I have been successful in ordering from the bookstore in Lake Louise Village. The name of the store with address is:

Woodruff and Blum Booksellers in Lake Louise, Alberta - Phone/fax (403) 522-3842

I have no idea about current policies.
A new copy of the book is expensive.

A search on Google turned up some second hand copies, but in somewhat used condition.

If you decide to buy one, particularly a used copy, make very sure you are getting the 2nd edition, which was copyrighted in 1995. The 3rd printing was in 2003, which is the one I have.

LindainOhio Jun 17th, 2007 06:30 AM

We also enjoyed hiking and made last minute reservations on our last trip, so I know that can be a problem.

The only thing I would try to change in your itinerary would be to head into Jasper after your first 2 nights in Lake Louise and then go back to Banff or Lake Louise. We stayed at Beckers when we were in Jasper but I would not have minded staying in town--there are a lot of rooms available in private homes and there are some motels in town.

Then I would head back to Banff or Lake Louise. The greatest thing to happen when I was booking our last trip, was not being able to find an available room in Lake Louise. We ended up spending 2 nights at Emerald Lake Lodge. We loved this place! We had their cheapest room which is small, but updated and in a 4 unit building. It had a wood burning fireplace and small balcony. The grounds and the setting right on the lake are spectacular. The drive out to Emerald Lake is beautiful. It was about 20-30 minutes from Lake Louise. We drove out as the sun was setting on our first night in the area. Wow! This was in 2004 and last I checked, their rates had really soared--we got a special last minute rate.

When we returned to Lake Louise after visiting Jasper, we stayed at Baker Creek, which is nice but it didn't charm us like Emerald Lake. I rank Emerald Lake right up there with the Enchantment Resort in Sedona for being one of our favorite lodgings--and it rained the whole time we were there.

Bob Brown gives great hiking advice. We did the hike to Lake Agnes Teahouse and then up Beehive and over to the Plain of Six Glaciers the first day we arrived in the area. This is a long hike but what a great day.

I am the only hiker that posts here that would not recommend Johnston Canyon--we did it because it's a good rainy day hike. There are too many other great hikes in the area. For a canyon hike, we enjoyed the Maligne Canyon hike in Jasper, from the 5th(?) bridge. The drive up Mount Edith Cavell Rd and the Angel Glacier/Meadows hike were also very nice--rained on us again though.

We missed some hikes that we wanted to do because of weather and because there was a grizzly on the hikes from Moraine. Have to get back to do the Moraine hikes and Wilcox Pass--I didn't even know about the Lake O'Hara hikes then.

One fairly short hike that amazed us was the Parker Ridge Trail on the Icefields Parkway. It is a fairly short switchback trail that leads to a ridge--what a surprise when you get to the top and walk toward the left---fabulous views of the mountains and glacier. We spent about 3 hours here but most of it was just enjoying the view.

I am also sure that Calgary is a great city to visit but I would only spend one night there. The hiking and scenery is so wonderful in the LL/Banff/Jasper, you won't want to leave.

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