Calgary to Jasper - Where to stay

Aug 6th, 2005, 08:34 PM
  #1  
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Calgary to Jasper - Where to stay

Family of four (with 2 teenage boys) arrive in Calgary on Thursday 8/25 and depart Calgary on Sunday 9/4. Renting a SUV and want to drive to Jasper, etc and then return to Calgary on the 4th. We need recommendations on what hotels/lodges are best to stay, and what sites to see from each place we stay. Would greatly appreciate what to do day by day and how long to stay at each location. Thank you.
bPresley is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 08:33 AM
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Hello bPresley,

Thu 8/25 – Overnight in Drumheller.

Fri 8/26 – Visit Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. The dinosaur skeletons are eminently worthwhile. I cannot recommend this museum highly enough. However, the museum unfortunately is bursting with human beings on a summer Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Hence my recommendation that you overnight in Drumheller, so you can get to the museum right when it opens, when it is not yet so busy.

For other posters reading this, an alternative time when it is less busy is between 6 pm and 9 pm.

Drive to Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise. You can bypass Calgary’s traffic if you drive Drumheller – Beiseker – Airdrie – Cochrane (with a stop at Mackay’s for its legendary ice cream) – Canmore – Banff.

Sat 8/27 – From your Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise base, visit Moraine Lake and Lake Louise (i.e., the lake rather than the village of the same name). Consider one of the half-day hikes in the area, e.g., Plain of Six Glaciers.

Sun 8/28 – From your Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise base, visit Johnston Canyon, Sulphur Mountain gondola, Banff townsite, Lake Minnewanka.

Mon 8/29 – From your Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise base, do a circular drive through Golden, Radium and back again. That will take you through Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. At a minimum, include stops at Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake in Yoho NP. If you’re into hiking, don’t drive the whole circuit. Do a shorter drive that will permit time for a good hike.

Tue 8/30 – From your Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise base, do a circular drive through Kananaskis Country to the southeast of Banff National Park. Again, you can combine driving and hiking, e.g., at Upper Kananaskis Lake.

Wed 8/31 – Drive to Jasper. Along the Icefields Parkway stop at sights such as Peyto Lake, Columbia Icefields, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls.

Thu 9/1 – Explore Jasper’s environs (Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake). The walk in Maligne Lake can take as little as a few minutes or as much as a whole day, depending on your preference. If you like, you can take a cruise across Maligne Lake to Spirit Island. Not everyone considers it to be worthwhile. I’ve done it several times, and I have not tired of it yet.

Fri 9/2 – Explore more of Jasper’s environs. I recommend a visit to Mount Edith Cavell and the associated Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows hike. It takes half a day if you do the full circuit.

Sat 9/3 – Drive to Calgary. Break up the drive by doing one of the hikes that’s available on the Icefields Parkway, e.g., Parker Ridge. Don’t consider it to be a waste to retrace your steps down the Icefields Parkway. The scenery looks different when you view it from the opposite direction. The best place to stay, if you have a morning flight out of Calgary, is the northeast quadrant of the city in which the airport is located.

Sun 9/4 – Fly out.

More in next post.......
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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This kind of question is Judy's ("in Calgary") forte. Just wait until she comes online and you will get a full complete and detailed itinerary .

My recommendations? - briefly - drive Calgary - Lake Louise - Jasper and back. Stay in Lake Louise and Jasper. Your options for hotels/lodges depend on your personal preferences & price. In Lake Louise try Post Hotel, Paradise Bungalows or Baker Creek Chalets. In Jasper stay at Jasper Park Lodge or Becker's Chalets. All of these places have their own website - just Google to find. Or go to www.explorealberta.com for a general accommodation search.

From Lake Louise you can visit Banff town and area, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Yoho National park and its atractions.
Take an entire day to drive the Icefield Parkway to Jasper. Visit the Columbia icefields en route.
Spend one or two nights at Jasper. Visit Mount Edith Cavell, Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake, Athabasca Falls etc.

There are excellent Parks Information Centres in both Banff and Jasper. Pay them a visit at the start of your stay in each area and come away with loads of information for things to do and see.

Happy trails!!

Borealis is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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Oh Judy I see that you beat me to the "send" button!! Excellent advice as always!!
Borealis is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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VEHICLE

You don’t need an SUV. I imagine it would be more expensive to rent than another kind of vehicle, and it would consume more gas. If you want a spacious vehicle, I would recommend a front wheel-drive minivan. Just about any road you could possibly want to drive in the Canadian Rockies is paved. The only gravel road I can think of is the Smith-Dorrien Trail that connects Spray Lakes, which is just south of Canmore, and Hwy #40 near Kananaskis Lakes.

ACCOMMODATION

Drumheller – I’ve never stayed there overnight, so I’m not familiar with accommodation. From the outside the Best Western Jurassic Inn looks fine. The Heartwood Inn seems to have a good reputation. I’ve also seen good reports about a place called Riverside B&B or Riverbend B&B or something like that.

Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise – Douglas Fir Resort on the outskirts of Banff townsite is not a fancy place, but it is family-friendly, it does have two- and three-bedroom self-catering units, and its kitchens are well equipped.

In the Lake Louise area, Baker Creek Chalets and Paradise Lodge & Bungalows are good choices.

Banff appeals to folks who like a busy town with lots of restaurants, shops and people. Lake Louise appeals to visitors who like a quieter atmosphere where you feel closer to nature.

Please note, you do not have to move from Banff to Lake Louise. Being about 50 minutes’ drive from each other, they are close enough that you can use one as a base for visiting the other.

I personally believe that Lake Louise is more centrally located with respect to prime scenery and hiking.

Jasper – There are several self-catering properties : Becker’s Chalets, Pine Bungalows, Alpine Village, Jasper House Bungalows, Patricia Lake Bungalows, Pyramid Lake Resort.

Jasper also has a number of “home accommodations,” for example, 105 Patricia Street and Crayston’s. Home accommodations are like B&Bs, but they don’t serve breakfast. However, several of them come with kitchens or kitchenettes.

Calgary – The Greenwood Inn is a good place to stay if you’re looking for something that’s conveniently located with respect to the airport.

WARNING. Lake Louise and Jasper get very booked up in the summer. It would be wise to work on your reservations just as soon as you’ve settled on your itinerary. In the case of Lake Louise, you can default to Canmore / Banff in a pinch. In the case of Jasper, there is no other town that is a suitable alternative.

In Lake Louise and Jasper look out for two-night minimum stay requirements and very stringent cancellation policies.


Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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Hello Borealis!

Once again I didn't see you, and I guess you didn't see me.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
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