Canadian Rockies itinerary help!!!

Old Jun 15th, 2006, 04:28 PM
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Canadian Rockies itinerary help!!!

We are a senior couple who will be driving from Missouri in late Aug. Admittedly, the drive there and back will be long; so we want to avoid wasting time when we get to Banff and Jasper NP, although our time is flexible. We're not hikers, unfortunately, so we'll see the sights which are available to casual walkers. Also, the budget is modest. Less than luxury accommodations are necessary. No problem; we want to see the glorious nature. We have done considerable investigation and came up with this itinerary for the parks:
Arrive late at Mtn. View, AB (Rocky Ridge B&B).
Tour Waterton Lakes and drive to Banff.
Stay 2 nites in Banff and tour environs. (Rocky Mtn B&B, Banff)
Drive to Jasper.
Stay 2 nites in Jasper and tour environs. (Gingerbread House, Jasper)
Drive to Windermere, BC, thence to US.
I'm now wondering whether I've cut the time in the parks too short? Not sure how I will make time for Icefields. Another day or two would be fine, but I need a reason to do so. I will be grateful to whomever will enhance this plan.
Thanks, Bobr66
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Old Jun 15th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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A visit to the Columbia Icefields need not take much more than two or three hours.
You could do this on the day you drive from Banff to Jasper.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 07:42 AM
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the itinerary is fine. if you can, i'd add another night onto jasper. you'll spend an entire day enjoying the drive between banff and jasper so that leaves you only one day there to explore. windermere is a beautiful area. so a search on this form for posts from : Judy_in_Calgary - she's the expert here for that area and has given great advice in the past.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 07:40 PM
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Hi Bobr66,

If you've researched your route, you no doubt will have seen the recommendations to drive from Waterton to Banff on Hwy #22, through the Highwood Pass and then on Hwy #40 through Kananaskis Country.

I feel you could use an extra night in Banff.

It's nice to have a day to explore Banff and its environs and another day, which also could be based in Banff, to explore Lake Louise and its environs.

If you are going to stick with your current itinerary, I suggest you resist the temptation to stay around Banff during the day. In that case, I suggest you forego Johnston Canyon, which is a popular landmark relatively near Banff townsite. A better use of your time would be visits to Moraine Lake, the lake of Lake Louise and, if you can fit it in, Yoho National Park (to see Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake).

Even if you are only casual walkers, I believe you would find it more than worth your while to walk to the top of the pile of rocks at the north end of Moraine Lake. That extra bit of height greatly enhances the view.

If you have time for only one cayon while you're in the Canadian Rockies, it's better to see Maligne Canyon outside of Jasper townsite.

The four best lakes in the four contiguous mountain national parks, in my opinion, are Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Emerald Lake and Peyto Lake. Peyto Lake is about half an hour north of Lake Louise, just off the Icefields Parkway. You could see it on the day that you drive to Jasper.

Another treat I can recommend on your Jasper-based day is the drive to Mount Edith Cavell. Stop a couple of times to look down at the view of the Astoria River Valley.

While it's true that Banff and Jasper each could use an extra day, your current plan is do-able.

To get from Jasper to Windermere, I assume you'll drive back down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. At Lake Louise you have a choice of turning west or east.

If you turn west, you go through Yoho National Park. You would need to turn south at Golden and drive down through Radium to Windermere. If you previously had not had a chance to visit Tak Falls and Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, that is the route I would recommend.

Your other choice is to go east as far as Castle Junction and then southwest through Kootenay National Park to Radium and then further south to Windermere. Basically you cannot go wrong whichever route you take. The road through Kootenay National Park would provide you with dramatic scenery too.

Hope that helps.
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Old Jun 17th, 2006, 09:52 PM
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Thanks very much for the replies.
ltt, I've taken your suggestion and extended a day at Jasper. I notice that Judy agrees.
Judy, I'm very pleased that you sent additional info. No, I haven't researched my route enough because I overlooked Rt.40 and Highwood. Now I've got it. My short stay in Banff will be as a base to go elsewhere, and you've pointed out where. I like your option. My plan, upon leaving Jasper, is to detour to Field and the Spiral Tunnel and maybe Tak Falls and Emerald Lake, then return to parkway and thence thru Kootenay to Windermere. The extra day I've inserted will help a lot.
My sincere thanks, BobR
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