Best home base for Banff to Jasper trip?

Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 05:30 PM
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Best home base for Banff to Jasper trip?

Unfortunately, we only have 5 days in which to cover the highlights of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Thanks to this forum, we know what we want to see. Now we're wondering where to stay to make the most of our time. Looks like we could base ourselves around Lake Louise and see that area and Banff - or is it more practical to move from town to town? We'd appreciate any and all advice.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2004, 07:34 PM
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Driving to Jasper and back to Lake Louise is a long day trip. But it can be done. I just think you would be rushing the whole way.

If you don't want to spend the night in Jasper, I suggest driving north on the Parkway as far as the Icefields Center and then head back to your base.

When you say highlights of Banff, do you mean the townsite, or the whole park? The townsite is mostly shops, hotels/motels, restaurants, and a few houses.
brookwood is offline  
Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 06:17 AM
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It's not clear to me if your 5 days include the days on which you'll fly into and out of the area. If you have 5 days not counting flying days, you could follow an itinerary something like the one I outlined in this discussion thread:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...9&tid=34508180

With that time frame, you might consider eliminating the day that I'd suggested the other poster spend in Yoho National Park, although you still could fit in Takakkaw Falls.

If, on the other hand, your 5 days will include flying days, you could consider this itinerary:

Day 1 - Land in Edmonton or Calgary. Drive to Jasper (3.5 hours from Edmonton or 5 hours from Calgary). This may be a bit of a challenge if you've flown from the east coast of the United States, and have been up since early in the morning. If you're doing the drive in summer, however, you will be assisted by the fact that we have many hours of daylight. If you could get this long drive out of the way at the beginning of your trip, it would help you to optimize the use of your remaining time. Overnight in Jasper townsite.

Day 2 - Explore Jasper's environs (Angel Glacier hike, tramway to the top of Whistlers Mountain, walk in Maligne Canyon or maybe cruise across Malgine Lake to Spirit Island).

Day 3 - Drive the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. Stop en route to see Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, Peyto Lake. Ride a Snocoach on the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefields.

Overnight in Lake Louise, Banff townsite or Canmore. Lake Louise would be the most ideal of the three locations for your purposes.

Day 4 - Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Johnston Canyon, Banff townsite, Calgary. Be sure to go to Moraine Lake first so as to beat the tour buses to the parking lot.

Overnight in Calgary, either in "Motel Village" just off the TransCanada Highway in northwest Calgary or else at any hotel in northeast Calgary, which would place you in the same quadrant of the city as the airport. Many of the NE Calgary hotels are located in a commercial zone which, while it's safe, lacks charm. Nonetheless, it's a convenient jumping off point for an early morning flight. The clean, comfortable, friendly Greenwood Inn is one of the more popular hotels in that area. A note about the hotels in NE Calgary. Many of them have the word "Airport" in their name. This may give you the impression that they're right in the airport complex, which is not so. There is only one hotel that is right in the Calgary Airport complex, and that's the Delta.

Day 5 - Fly home.

It probably would help you to know some more driving times. Jasper to Lake Louise is 3 hours without stops (but there are many points of interest along the way, and they can turn it into a full day's drive).

Lake Louise to Banff townsite is 50 minutes.

Banff townsite to Canmore is 20 minutes.

Canmore to Calgary is 1 hour 5 minutes.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 11:04 AM
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assuming your flying into calgary, i'd stay two nights in banff, two nights in jasper then the last night in banff or lake louise.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2004, 11:54 AM
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We were there a few years ago and we stayed in Canmore, just outside of Banff(Best Western Pocatello Inn which had an indoor pool and huge waterslide). It worked well for us and cost alot less. If I have the chance to go again I'd still stay there for the Banff and Lake Louise part of the trip but then I'd move to Jasper for the rest.
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