canadian rockies/banf/jasper/lake louise

Apr 24th, 2011, 02:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 62
canadian rockies/banf/jasper/lake louise

Hi all,

We are planning a trip to the canadian rockies from june 14th to the 22nd including 2 days of travel between florida and albert?/calgary?

I dont even know where to start. Would like to try to stay in one place for 2/3 days and then change base. From the bases, i would like to do day trips. We generally like to rent an apt preferably so that we can cook for our sons' special food needs. But not averse to looking for hotels.

Any ideas of where to start from?
1.) Looked into the train journeys( wanted to duplicate our swiss experience) but they turn out to be very expensive.
2.) we like nature, lakes, mountains, fresh anything that falls in this welcome.
3) any family activities are a plus ( but if they involve close contact with water...wife and kid cannot swim)

borivlikar1 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2011, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,238
First off, the Rockies are beautiful and well worth a trip. But Florida to Calgary alone would be over 4000 km so would be more than a 2 day trip.

Im not sure this would work unless you flew and rented a car.
irecommend is offline  
Apr 24th, 2011, 06:52 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,104
Coming from Florida, fly to Spokane, WA and take the 1:30AM Amtrak train (Empire Builder) to Whitefish, Montana. (7:30AM) Rent a car at the Amtrak station or at Kalispeell airport.
You can drive the rental car from Whitefish to Banff in 6 hours by the direct route or about 8 by way of the Going-to-the-Sun highway through Glacier National Park. Jasper is only 4 hours from Banff but you will want to stop several places.
There are HI Hostels near Banff and Jasper if you want to cook and have cheap lodging. I used to travel by train in Canada but it is now just too expensive.
If you get the yearning to travel on Amtrak, they have the USA Railpass for 15, 30 or 45 days. With a limited time and a faraway destination, flying the first leg is your best option.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,477
Since you are looking for nature lakes mountains etc., you have chosen a great destination. Another option to the suggestion above would be to abandon the train travel and fly into Calgary.

Rent a car and drive to Banff or Lake Louise. Spend 3 nts. You will have better luck finding affordable accommodations with a kitchen in Banff. Lodging is expensive in this area.

Drive the Icefields Parkway to Jasper Spend 2 nts.

Back to Banff/Lake Louise for a nt and then home.

Stop in the grocery store in Banff and Jasper. You can pick up a cooler there for your lunch items and any special foods you might need. There are some smaller delis, bakeries etc. in Lake Louise.

I use to check out available lodging.
LindainOhio is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 593
Vacation home rentals are not legal in the Canadian national parks, however, Banff does have some "condo-style" hotels, which have units with a kitchen. Accommodation listings can be found at for Banff & Lake Louise, and for Jasper. A few of the Jasper hotels have units with kitchens too (the Best Western Jasper Inn being one of them). Another option for Jasper is "private home accommodation", which is a room or a suite within a residents' home - some of them offer an apartment with full kitchen; quite a few of them have kitchenette facilities (usually a mini-fridge, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker etc.) These are listed at .

I would suggest splitting your time between Banff and Jasper, and planning on spending a whole day enjoying the drive between Lake Louise and Jasper on the Icefields Parkway - a scenic drive that National Geographic has rated as one of "Twenty Drives of a Lifetime". Pack a picnic lunch and beverages, as facilities are very limited (and expensive) along the way.
krp329 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 593
Note - coming from Florida, you will find the climate in mid-June to be quite cool - pack some warm clothing. Layering is the way to go because there is a wide variation in the day's temperature from the cool mornings and evenings, to the high temperature in the late afternoon. Higher elevations are cooler too.

It's too early in the season for swimming in any of the lakes - in the few that are not glacially-fed and do warm up, the swimming season is from late July to about mid-August.
krp329 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 01:26 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 8
You'll want to split your time between Banff and Jasper. From Banff, you can visit Banff National Park, Lake Louise, Yoho National Park and Kootenay National Park.

If you wanted a great place close to downtown that has a kitchen, the Rundle Manor could be a great option. It is an affordable apartment style hotel.

Further from town, but also great options include the Douglas Fir Chalets or the Tunnel Mountain Resort.

Also, try Cottage Bed and Breakfast or Bighorn Bed and Breakfast in Banff. You can find both online and they both offer affordable options with a kitchen.

If flying is an option, you'll want to fly to Calgary and rent a car to tour the National Parks. The National Parks are best explored by car - so whatever you decide a car is recommended.

Both Banff and Jasper are towns located in National Parks so typically - all of the activities and attractions are the of the "outdoor" variety. Hiking is probably the best way to explore the park, but you have a wide choice of attractions and activities. Don't miss the Banff Gondola, a day enjoying Lake Louise (take a walk, rent a canoe, visit Moraine Lake) and a trip on the Icefields Explorer. As far as activities you can try canoeing, bicycling, white water rafting, fishing, or a guided nature walk or float trip.
banfflakelouise is offline  
Apr 25th, 2011, 05:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 62
thanks to all of you...i have some ideas in mind.

I should have mentioned that we are flying into calgary. My thought process was that we could fly into calgary and fly out of another airport....kind of start from the east end...and fly out of the west end( dont know my canadian geography maybe a bad analogy). if anyone can give me ideas on that end would be great.

we plan to rent a car and drive....typically what are the activities that you would recommend...hikes are out unless they are shorter than 1/2 to 3/4th mile with my some point i just have to carry him or he chooses to sit in the middle of the path;-) Some of you have mentioned specific activites....but was asking from a standpoint of filling up a whole day.

@lindainohio....your plan sounds doable with my kid. just gotta find the limitations of driving through icefields parkway especially with his limited span of attention and small bladder.

@krp and banff.....your suggestion as far as websites go are really good. probably saved me a lot of googling. but if you know of a particular bnb or other lodging that you highly recommend within the ones you folks mentioned...please do let me know. will check up on tripadvisor also.

how is driving in canada....this would be our first time. any ideas of how to use my att iphone 4 in canada. can i rent before i land in calgary or just rent there. just knowing the topography...any suggestions what kind of a car we should drive or minivan?

even though its is continuos landmass with us...canada for some reasons seems a world away( and certainly in a good sense).

how does the emdical system work? my son has food allergies and just want to be prepared.
borivlikar1 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 09:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 593
One very popular route is Calgary to Vancouver, via the Rockies - however, this is quite a distance (Calgary to Jasper is about five hours of driving, and Jasper to Vancouver is about ten - best done over two days so that you have time to stop off along the way to sightsee). Also, there may be "drop charges" (one way fees) on a rental car to contend with. With only a week though, I think this would be too much, especially with a child along.

I would suggest flying to Calgary (YYC), visiting Banff, Jasper, and then flying back out of Calgary. You could fly out of Edmonton (YEG), which is a four hour drive from Jasper (rather than five back to Calgary), except you would probably pay a drop fee on a car, and the drive to Edmonton is boring whereas to Calgary it is beautiful - and definitely worth doing more than once!

Regarding your question about medical care... Jasper and Banff both have medical clinics and small hospitals (mainly emergency services) but if you are not Canadian, you will have to pay for services. If you are American and have private insurance, check to see if it will cover you out-of-country, if not, you should probably buy emergency medical coverage, however, you will need to check carefully on coverage for pre-existing conditions. Medical fees in Canada are not as much as in the U.S., but a trip to emergency or a stay in a hospital will cost at least several hundred dollars. Also, if, god forbid, anything serious happened and your kid had to be transferred to a city hospital, that gets VERY expensive. I can tell you, from personal experience, that in 1998, an ambulance transfer from Jasper to Edmonton, was $2200. (I have no idea how much it's gone up since then!) You can visit a clinic for under $100 (I think an office visit is around $50, but I'm not 100% sure).

With your son's allergies, B&B may not suitable. Most of the approx. 15 B&Bs in Jasper offer a complimentary "self-served continental breakfast" - usually baked goods, pre-packaged cereal, yogurt etc., and few offer customized items. Most of the "private home accommodations" do not offer breakfast at all, just accommodation. Some of the private home accommodations in Jasper have suites/rooms with a kitchen or kitchenette (usually fridge/microwave) facilities - these are searchable items on the site I mentioned above (

Many Banff or Canmore B&Bs offer the more traditional served, cooked breakfast (which was not allowed in Jasper for many years), and with advance notice, some would be willing to cater to your child's special needs.
krp329 is offline  

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