Banff without a rental car

Oct 8th, 2007, 12:19 PM
  #1  
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Banff without a rental car

We are thinking about a trip to this area next September. Tentative plan is to fly to Calgary and take an airport shuttle to Banff. How easy (or difficult) is it to get around Banff if we don't have a car?
vinolover is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 04:10 PM
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The town of Banff is very compact and easily walk-able. However, most people don't come all this way only to see only the town, but want to see various sights in Banff National Park - such as Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, the Bow Valley Parkway, Johnston Canyon etc. These are a little more problematic without a car, because they are rather spread out and there is no public transit system to speak of. The village of Lake Louise, for instance, is 45 minutes' highway driving from the town of Banff, and the lake itself is uphill another few miles from there, and the northern border of Banff NP (adjoining Jasper NP) is about 2.5 hours' driving from the town of Banff. There are tours that you can book that will take you around, of course, you have to be willing to go on their schedule. If you are coming to hike, trail heads are spread out all over the park.

Here is the official website for Banff National Park - there are maps available on the site, as well as an electronic version of "The Mountain Guide", which is a really good publication to give you an overview of the parks.

<http://www.pc.gc.ca/pnnp/ab/banff/index_e.asp>
krp329 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 05:15 PM
  #3  
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Thanks SO much for all the detailed info. Hubby (who usually likes to take a vacation from driving) says he would want to rent a car. Yes, we do plan on hiking, I wasn't thinking about how we'd get to the trail heads.
vinolover is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 08:33 PM
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Without a car you are STUCK and, in a phrase, I think you would be wasting the trip.
bob_brown is offline  
Oct 8th, 2007, 11:59 PM
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Thank you Bob for responding. I was hesitant to reply that this plan was a big mistake.

This sort of plan reminds me of a former life where my Welsh father in law expected me to pick him up at the Montreal airport.
icithecat is offline  
Oct 9th, 2007, 11:09 AM
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I am sometimes amazed at how little many people know about Canada, particularly its geographic size. (Like between Newfoundland and Vancouver Island there are 6 time zones. )

It has been a few weeks, but questions like this sometimes appear: I'm going to Canada. What should I see?

Or I once told a friend we were flying to Calgary via Toronto. I explained that we had plans to stay for two nights near Toronto so we could visit Niagara Falls and other places in the area. Then we were flying on to Calgary so we could visit the Canadian Rockies.

My friend wanted to know if we were going to drive from Toronto to the Rockies.

I suppose we could have done so, but the travel time round trip would be at least 8 days because I am not one to drive all night and all day for 40 hours.


bob_brown is offline  
Oct 9th, 2007, 12:03 PM
  #7  
ltt
 
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another option to consider if your husband wants a few days off from driving. you could take the shuttle from the aiport to banff. don't rent a car for one day and just spend day day walking around the town, bow falls, up to the banff springs hotel (there is limited public transport in town too). you could also consider a tour on brewsters bus company. then rent a car for a couple of days to get to the more obsure places and good hikes.
ltt is offline  
Oct 9th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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Cousin from England and myself did not rent a car in Banff but we didn't plan to hike. Took 3 or four bus tours to various sights and saw all the major sights.

We got to Banff via the bus from Calgary airport.

Walked all over town.

So it is possible.

SallyCanuck is offline  
Oct 9th, 2007, 04:28 PM
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All the major sights? Interesting.
So by definition what they did not see is a non major sight!!

I am glad Waterfall Valley is a non major sight because I must admit that enjoying almost total solitude was a rare treat.
The only intrusions were two deer and a jet airplane.

I guess I make a distinction between "viewing" and "seeing."

bob_brown is offline  
Oct 10th, 2007, 06:59 AM
  #10  
 
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Thank you bob for your snippy comments - missed dinner last night did you? Fight with the boss?

The OP asked if it was possible "to get around Banff" without a car and I answered that I had done it (and done it on my own on previous trips) with a relative from the UK who loved every second of her time in Alberta and seen a whole lot of the area on bus tours including everything mentioned by krp329 plus a tour at night to see wildlife (which included clouds of mosquitoes, unfortunately).

I suspect we weren't the only tourists in the entire town of Banff without a car or there wouldn't be tours offered (which have been ongoing for years) nor a bus service from the Calgary airport. And possibly some people with cars were more comfortable being guided around.

At no time did we feel rushed and everyone on them seemed to be enjoying themselves; all the driver guides were pleasant and knowledgeable.

vinlover, it's even a joy in the morning just to sit outside a coffee shop on the main drag of Banff and enjoy the wonderful view.

vinolover said they were going to fly to Calgary and take the airport shuttle to Banff so your rant about the size of Canada was about .....hummm what WAS it all about?
SallyCanuck is offline  
Oct 10th, 2007, 03:55 PM
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Maybe he meant that hanging around in Banff isn't really seeing the Rockies.
April is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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April, we didn't hang around in Banff -the bus tours take you to Lake Louise, Peyto Lake, Icefields Parkway, etc. etc.
SallyCanuck is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Yeah, I didn't mean you did.

With apologies to vinolover for butting in on the thread, here's a question which I hope isn't too silly. Where is/are the "best" place(s) to get the classic view of Mt. Rundle?
April is offline  
Oct 11th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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Thanks. Bookmarking that dandy site.
April is offline  
Oct 12th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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You're welcome.
SallyCanuck is offline  

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