Camping in Banff & Jasper Natl Parks

Dec 7th, 2013, 12:44 PM
  #1  
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Camping in Banff & Jasper Natl Parks

I'm starting to plan a 2 week camping trip to the parks with a camper van rental. Looking at last 2 wks in June for fewer crowds and running waterfalls. Has anyone done a camping trip? What campground did you stay in and what did you particularly like/dislike?

Looking forward to a relaxing, unrushed trip with a mix of hiking, photography, kayaking (if I can find a company that rents/does tours), and a little town shopping/dining.

Thanks for any input you may have!
Dayle is offline  
Dec 7th, 2013, 02:20 PM
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Dayle,
I think the last half of June may still have a lot of trails muddy.

I was in Glacier (MT), and Banff & Jasper the first half of August of this year. If you go to my trip report posted in Montana you can see what I did and where I found wildlife.

I was only in Banff and Jasper for 2 1/2 days as it was just to see if there's a future trip there. So I really planned out those few days to get in as much as possible.

Didn't camp so can't help you there. We stayed a night each in Banff, Jasper and Calgary (Delta at the airport) before flying home.
Myer is online now  
Dec 7th, 2013, 06:58 PM
  #3  
 
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I'll take the muddy trails for gushing waterfalls any day. I like to see them roaring. I thought I was going at the perfect time(last week of July)for Glacier this year. I wished I had picked a couple of weeks earlier. Of course, all of this is a crapshoot.

If you are flying out of Calgary-Myer steered me to Delta Hotel at the airport and it was perfect. My parents were at Banff/Jasper/Lake Louise a few years back. I don't think you'll have a problem finding wildlife. 2 weeks would be awesome. Have a great time.

Are you renting an RV or a van?
spirobulldog is offline  
Dec 8th, 2013, 04:27 AM
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I don't think most of the waterfalls in Banff & Jasper are the result of snow melt.
I was there around the 15th of August and the waterfalls I saw were pretty full and strong.

Some were roadside like Tangle Falls and others require relatively short hikes like Johnston Canyon. They were all pretty full.

About weather. It can change pretty quickly in the mountains.
We'd be driving on the highway and see some very black clouds ahead. Then we'd enter them and think that's it for the day. Ten minutes later you exit the clouds and it's beautiful.
Myer is online now  
Dec 8th, 2013, 05:23 AM
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That is true. They, most likely, will be going nicely in August.
spirobulldog is offline  
Dec 8th, 2013, 07:38 AM
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Well there is year round water obviously but there is also spring runoff which will be affected by timing. The difference between 10 waterfalls and 100 little ones that dry up.

You should look at buying an Annual Pass online beforehand. An Annual Pass works out cheaper if you will spend more than 7 days in the parks. ($20 per day or $140 annual)
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...ntry.Fees.html

Campground fees are on top of that of course and vary by campground. There are plenty of campground reviews online just Google for them. https://www.google.ca/#q=banff+natio...ground+reviews

Canoe and kayak rentals can also be found using your friend Google. https://www.google.ca/#q=banff+natio...+kayak+rentals

I have spent time in the parks camping and backpacking quite a few times. An RV obviously limits you to where the RV can go and that means you will not escape people.

You should know that besides the most dangerous animal in the world (man), there are other potential encounters to be avoided. Bears obviously exist and campgrounds like anywhere else often get more than their fair share.

Bear spray is legal in Canada but 'pepper spray' which is basically the same thing is not legal. Basically, it's about what is on the label. Pepper spray is often sold and labelled as being for personal protection from an attack by another person. That's illegal in Canada. So for our American visitors, it is important to make sure that if you choose to bring bear spray it must be labelled as such. If it is labelled/indicates it is for use against humans, it's a problem. http://www.ehow.com/list_6942366_can...pray-laws.html

Even mis-using bear spray will get you in trouble in Canada.
http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews...06-110915.html

Nor are bears the only animal to avoid. Lots of people have discovered that that elk by the side of the road will charge if it feels threatened. Keep your distance from any animal. I have seen people out of their car and trying to feed a bear at the side of the road. There is no shortage of stupidity.

Here are some good tips to keep in mind and note the first one re snow in June. http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel...MISC-BR-1.html
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 8th, 2013, 08:51 AM
  #7  
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Thanks for the input guys! D - thanks for the links. I just hadn't gone that far in googling yet. Was kind of hoping for personal favorites and recommendations.

Lots of experience backpacking in the Sierras, Wasatch and southern Utah, so know all about bears, bear safety and other wildlife. That's why I don't want to tent camp in Alberta. I'm going to get one of those Roadtrek vans. Really nice. I prefer their layout to the Class C RVs. I hate having to climb up and down to the over cab bunk bed!

I know the parks have short good weather seasons which means hoards of people at the major sites. I would rather deal with the van than pay the ridiculous lodging prices and have to eat out all the time. I love camping and I've been doing the math this weekend. Camping will still be less even with the rental fees.

I was originally thinking of the first 2 weeks in July, but the rental place mentioned Canada Day on July 1, said it's crazy. Maybe I should go mid-July. I'll check weather and use the links you provided d.

Thanks all!
Dayle is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 05:55 AM
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Dayle, you are wise to be thinking of a van if you love camping. These days when you are in bear territory the parks require you to stash all your food and kitchen items where they will not attract bears, so if you are living in a tent you have to pack everything back into your car every time you leave the site.

You will have better luck avoiding being sandwiched between large motor homes if you choose a non electric site. Maybe you know these things already but other visitors to the forum might benefit from the tips.

Our national parks are wonderful. You will probably need to book your sites well in advance during the peak season. If you have specific question, a phone call to the park office can be quite helpful. Take advantage of the free interpretative programs if you can, and enjoy your trip.
eliztravels2 is online now  
Dec 9th, 2013, 08:08 AM
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Dayle
Where are you getting one of those at? Just curious. Thanks
spirobulldog is offline  
Dec 9th, 2013, 08:09 AM
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If you start thinking into July then you might want to consider including the Calgary Stampede in your plans. It is truly a world class event.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
Dec 10th, 2013, 06:57 AM
  #11  
 
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You may consider Wapiti Campground on Icefields parkway is a good choice to camp in off season. It is near Jasper town.

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/jas...r/camping.aspx
limalberta is offline  
Dec 15th, 2013, 11:16 PM
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The peak of the freshet (spring melt) is closer to mid-July in the Canadian Rockies, but water will definitely be running in late June. The water comes from snowmelt, as well as glacial melt.

Not all campsites are reservable - only in a few campgrounds. June is not yet peak season, but serviced campsites are not all that numerous (and only in a couple of campgrounds) so if you absolutely must have electricity or full hook-ups, you will probably want to reserve.

There are kayak rentals at Maligne Lake (www.malignelake.com). I am not aware of any kayak tours in Jasper NP though.
krp329 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 05:28 AM
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Spiro--Go West in Calgary rents Roadtreks. I would love to rent one someday.

Dayle--you see Roadtreks everywhere when you are in the Canadian Rockies. They are a very popular way for people to travel in the area.
LindainOhio is offline  
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