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Canadian Rockies Itinerary - What would you change?

Canadian Rockies Itinerary - What would you change?

Old Apr 25th, 2006, 04:26 AM
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Canadian Rockies Itinerary - What would you change?

My husband and I are going to the Canadian Rockies mid-September. We like to hike and see the beautiful scenery - going into town to shop is not a priority even though we'll do it once or twice in the evening. Here's our itinerary if anyone could let me know if we're shortchanging Jasper - should we leave Lake Louise a day earlier to have more time in Jasper?

I have compiled a ton of places to see and hike off of the Fodors' postings and it seems you need more time for the Banff NP/Yoho NP area than Jasper. One thing I think I've noticed is to account for the time it takes to drive to places. Here goes:

Friday: Fly into Calgary AM - drive to Lake Louise. Stay at Baker Creek Chalets.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday: Explore Banff NP and Yoho NP (and Glacier NP if time permits.)

Tuesday (or should we leave for Jasper on Monday?): Drive the Icefields Pkwy to Jasper - taking all day with stops all the way up.

Wednesday - Explore Jasper NP

Thursday - Either stay in Jasper for 1/2 day and drive back down Icefields Pkway or leave Jasper AM and drive down Icefields Pkwy and explore other areas we missed on the way up or leave Jasper AM and drive straight down the Icefields Pkwy and explore Banff NP more.

Thursday Night: Stay in Canmore for flight out Friday Morning.

Thanks so much for any responses - it's amazing how much this site has helped!
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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 08:57 AM
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I think trying to fit in Glacier is too much.
Here's what I would do.
Fri-Since you get in in the morning, stop in Banff for lunch, pick up the hiking book, Hiking the Canadian Rockies if you don't have it--great book. You will have time to hike Johnston Canyon. (I don't really like this walk. I would only do it if it was raining. Everyone else likes it.) Stop at the Chateau and walk around the lake. Sept. is the offseason, I would stay at Emerald Lake Lodge--beautiful.

Sat. Lake Agne Teahouse, Beehive and Plain of Six Glaciers Hike.

Sunday Yoho, the Falls, Emerald Lake hikes.

Mon Drive to Jasper--make stops, hike

Tues. Jasper Hike Maligne Canyon--prefer this canyon walk, Maligne Lake, Edith Cavell Glacier and Meadows hike.

Wed. Drive to Lake Louise. I would stay at Baker Creek.

Thurs. Hikes in Moraine Lake area. We had to have 6 people to do these hikes because of the bears--we couldn't get 6 people together--really rainy day. There is a bulletin board to list your names. I even asked at the lodge but you have to be a guest to join their hikes.

I would save Banff and canyons for rainy days.
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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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Your plan sounds fine to me. Yes, Glacier might be a bit of a stretch, but if the day looks very clear, I think you will appreciate the trip.

There is a trade off, however, between time in the car and time on the trail.

The route from Yoho to Golden is fairly scenic because of the deep canyon of the Kicking Horse River as you descend to the Rocky Mountain Trench at Golden.

(The trench is a major fault zone in the earth's surface that extends for a long ways both north and south of Golden. It marks the boundary of the North American tectonic plate.)

If you have a good sunny day in Jasper you can see quite a bit in 10 hours or so. Mount Edith Cavell is a spectacular place. The Whistler is another with that Swiss installed tram line to the top.

Maligne Lake is a place to which everybody seems to go, but it never made my day for some reason. The boat ride is actually fairly short and the end of the lake does not appear to get much closer. It is a long lake, that is for sure!!

There are some nice falls along the Parkway, both Athabasca and Sunwapta.

Bear in mind that if you leave one place early, you will miss something there to gain something at the other end.

I would not worry about it. Have a good list and if something you are doing is really satisfying, stay with it. I doubt if you can beat it elsewhere. I made that mistake once by cutting short our hike to Bow Glacier Falls in order to get on to Edmonton.
Now I wonder why?

Just bear in mind that you cannot see it all, so maximize the moment. The grass is not always greener up the road.

I strongly suggest The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson. It is comprehensive; a Fodors-compiled list is not.

You can read every post I have put out here and still have a restricted list.
There are hundred of miles of trails to explore, so I pick the ones that I think I can do at the time.

I have my favorites as do other people.
Patton and Robinson have spent a lifetime walking those trails. They know more than just about anybody about what is good and what is not.
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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 05:39 AM
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The book Bob Brown recommended is the book you want to get if you are going to do much hiking. I put a check mark in my book every time Bob recommends a hike. Now we just have to get back there.
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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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I have been there many times for 25 years and last Septmb I had a guest from China and the drive up to the icefields was really, really important. In all the yrs I have been there, it was the most beautiful I have ever seen - ranks w/any world site (not the icefields - the drive up). I guess we were there early oct & when we got off the icef. hwy, we could sit nr a lake or mt and be the only ones there for 30 minutes - no trucks, no cars, just us and the birds. Be sure you do that route in Sept - unless the weather is lousy, don't miss it.
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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 04:03 PM
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Thank you everyone. My husband and I were going to the book store this week to purchase a book or two so perfect timing with the recommendations. We'll look for these or order on-line. Thanks again.
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Old Apr 26th, 2006, 07:28 PM
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Well, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but there are miles of trails out there I have yet to see, and at my age, I know I never will.

I definitely agree with the statement about the beauty of the Icefields Parkway.

I have driven up it and down it, and I have driven sections of it when I did not go all the way to Jasper but returned to my base in Field. Driving the parkway is worth every dollar it has cost me and every minute it has taken me
to get out there from my home east of Atlanta.

Would I do it again after umpteen trips?
You bet I would.

I will tell one anecdote from our travels up and down the Icefields Parkway that my wife and I still chuckle over. At Sunwapta Pass there is a big parking lot where you can look back at where you came from and also view Bridal Veil Falls across the gorge. The total scene from there is really a spectacular view. You cannot miss it because, if north bound, the road makes a sweeping curve to the left and then bends sharply back to the right as it ascends the mountain to the crest of the pass.

At the parking lot you can easily see Bridal Veil Falls, but what 95% of the people who pass that way dont't know is that Panther Falls of Nigel Creek, the highest falls in Banff National Park, are tucked away in a deep cleft that hides them well from view. They are so secluded that I think it is virtually impossible to get a comprehensive view from any one vantage point.

The trail from the parking lot to the falls is virtually unmarked. If you don't know it is there and where to look, it is very easy to miss. The trail to a spot where you can see anything of the falls curls down from the lower level of the parking lot.

When you get close to the falls, most people don't see much but spray and mist unless they want to get very wet.

One day, when the sun was shining brightly, my wife and I decided that this was the day to see the falls. So we put on our full rain gear - Goretex parkas, rain pants, and waterproof goves - and headed to the trailhead. Some old guy was sitting on the hood of his car watching the world go by. [Being 70 at the time I think I can call somebody old.] When he woke up enough to see us going by in our rain suits, he looked at us like we were a couple of nuts. Rain suits on a clear day? Geez.

Well when we came back from our damp view of the falls, we were dripping water all over the place. Our lounging friend was still there, probably to see us come back. As we passed by, he really did give us the once over. My helpful wife filled him in with one short sentence: "We went for a swim."

She kept it in until she got to the car then she started laughing. So did I because I was walking behind her and got his full expression.

Well it certainly felt like I had gone for a swim because I have gotten less wet in the shower!! The spray was so heavy that I did not risk taking my camera out because it would have been drowned. I don't think I would gotten much of a picture anyhow, just water coming into the lens.

At any rate, the Icefields Parkway is full of adventures. All you have to do is go do them!!
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