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Canadian Rockies Trip Advice for Oct 2018

Canadian Rockies Trip Advice for Oct 2018

Sep 3rd, 2018, 06:28 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 80
Canadian Rockies Trip Advice for Oct 2018

Would love some advice on a potential last minute trip to Canadian Rockies in early October. Wed be looking at 9-10 days, probably Oct. 1 to Oct. 11 (or something like that). We know the weather will be iffy, but beyond that we have a few other questions. First, a bit about ourselves were a couple in our fifties, enjoy hiking (preferably 2-5 miles or so per hike), scenery/wildlife, and cute/quaint towns, and as to accommodations, we prefer B&Bs, Inns, Boutique hotels over large resorts. Trip would include Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, and Icefields Pkwy, and time permitting, Yoho, Kootenai, other. Any advice would be welcome, but a few specific questions include:
  1. Use Calgary or Spokane airports - We know Calgary is much closer, but we like scenic drives, and using Spokane might give us a broader perspective and more in the way of interesting small towns. We saw advice elsewhere suggesting a route that was essentially Spokane to Banff area to Jasper area, then back down thru Yoho, Golden, Revelstoke, Nelson, Metaline Falls, Spokane. Obviously a lot more driving, but sounded interesting. Thoughts?
  2. Thanksgiving weekend - We dont yet have any accommodations booked how big a problem is the holiday weekend? Our preferred accommodation types are noted above (and wed like to stay below $200 U.S. per night), but were not above more mundane chain motels (Comfort Inn, Best Western, and the like) if necessary, as long as theyre clean.
  3. Post-Thanksgiving closures (roads, hiking trails, accommodations, restaurants) How big a problem?
  4. Any particular B&Bs/Inns/Boutique hotels youd recommend in Banff and Jasper areas?
Thanks very much!
curiousgirl964 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2018, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 581
1. I'd go for Calgary. The drive from Spokane is not that scenic, especially in early October when things tend to be going into 'winter mode' and you're adding a lot of car time into the mix, plus by October the weather can be less predictable. You'd also have to do it as a round trip - one way rentals are not an option across the border - which adds a ton of time.

Round trip from Calgary would give you enough time to explore more than just Jasper/Banff/Lake Louise - you could see a bit of BC or head south of Calgary to Waterton and/or sights down there (badlands etc).

Also a car rental from Spokane may be an issue because you will need M+S tires to go into BC, and it's unlikely they'd offer them there.

2. Definitely book ASAP. Up through Thanksgiving weekend, it's still very much high season in the Rockies and you're likely to find that options, especially in the cheaper range, are very limited. Weekdays may have more options, but weekends will be booked up with people heading out to see larches, do late season hikes etc.

Thanksgiving will be very busy in the mountains. Might be very hard to find anywhere in Jasper now, so I'd look in Banff or Canmore - or Lake Louise if there's still anything in your budget.

After Thanksgiving, it should be easy.

3. After October 8, seasonal roads and most seasonal attractions will shut. This means no access to Moraine Lake, Takkakaw Falls, Miette Hot Springs and a few other spots. As October proceeds, you also have a higher risk of hitting wintry weather. Attractions that will shut include boat tours, canoe rentals, horseback riding tours etc.

The other issue is that as of October 1, you will need to have at least M+S tires on your rental to drive into BC. This would be a specific request and cost extra. Unlikely to happen out of Spokane.

4. In Jasper, try private home accommodations - most economical and can be very nice. www.stayinjasper.com There are a variety of B&Bs in Banff and Canmore. Many of the Banff hotels tend to be run of the mill, mid range, so nothing special. Moose Hotel gets good reviews. Lake Louise, if you can find a room, would be more special - Deer Lodge or Post Hotel, for instance.

Overall, I would fly in and out of Calgary. I would go first to Canmore/Banff/Lake Louise and hit the sites before the seasonal roads shut. Allow 3-4 nights. After that, it will depend on availability for the holiday weekend. If you can find somewhere in Jasper, stay there for 3 nights (Fr, Sa, Sun). Then back down the Icefields Parkway. You could choose to head into BC for that time or stay around Calgary or southern AB. Or in Banff/Canmore again.
kgsneds is offline  
Sep 5th, 2018, 07:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Another option to consider would be to fly to Vancouver and take the ViaRail Canadian to Jasper. It only runs 3 days/week but you get great views of the Canadian Rockies without driving through them.
There are rental car agencies within walking distance of the Jasper train station. My stays in Jasper have been at the HI hostel.(either private room or dorm).
tomfuller is online now  
Sep 6th, 2018, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 581
The train runs to the Rockies, so on the Vancouver-Jasper train you are only in the Rockies for about 1.5 - 2 hrs of the journey. Certainly other mountain ranges along the way. Also, you'd need to check the schedule as by October you might end up doing that part of the trip in the dark.

The Hi Hostels in the Rockies tend to be nice, but the one in Jasper is the only I do not recommend. Can't speak for the private rooms, but the building is old, and not in great repair. In fact, they are scheduled to open a new hostel next summer, so that building will be shut & torn down after this winter/spring season. The dorms are also large and have set timers on the lights. For a couple, I'd strongly suggest looking into PHAs - especially after Thanksgiving, availability and prices will be good.
kgsneds is offline  
Sep 7th, 2018, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 474
I have posted a blog for much (not all) of the trip from WA State - incl.Spokane- to the Canadian Rockies. Although it is focused on the trip in winter, it includes much about the summer gathered from my many trips in the area. Lee's Random Ramblings: Seattle to Alberta in Winter

Last edited by elbegewa; Sep 7th, 2018 at 07:36 PM. Reason: added info
elbegewa is offline  
Sep 26th, 2018, 05:09 AM
Join Date: Sep 2018
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I'd prefer Calgary airport, especially in the season you have chosen (weather conditions) as far the thanksgiving weekend goes, don't go for the last-minute booking, instead book the best deal you get right at the moment. No idea about the rest of the parts.
emiliaparker is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2018, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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In case anyone was planning on going to Calgary soon, yesterday there was 33 cm of snow (13") official. Some areas outside the city reported over 40 cm. 30 snowplows from Edmonton came to Calgary overnight.
tomfuller is online now  
Oct 4th, 2018, 06:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 80
Thanks, everyone for the advice. We have had to delay our vacation plans so won't be traveling at all this Oct but this info will be really helpful for next year. Looks like the delay is not a bad thing -- 13 inches of snow!? It is unseasonably warm and 90 degrees today in the Washington DC area.
curiousgirl964 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2018, 04:46 PM
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Sberg is offline  
Oct 30th, 2018, 02:22 AM
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samsteven is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2018, 04:20 AM
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We went in May, to avoid summer tourists. i have heard it is packed with tourists in the summer. If I did it again, I would go in Sept. In May, the scenic lakes were still frozen, so we didn't get to see that turquoise water but it didn't ruin our trip. Flew into Calgary, first night in Canmore. 2 nights at that big hotel on Lake Louise (but I wouldn't do that again) Lake L is sort of odd. The only thing there is the beautiful lake (must see), the majestic hotel, and a few gas stations and coffee shops out near the highway. You certainly must see Lake L tho. We LOVED Jasper more than Banff. Much smaller and less touristy, but nice.
Ekellydds is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2018, 06:09 AM
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Ekellydds--There is some fantastic hiking at Lake Louise. The Lake Agnes Tea House up to the Big Beehive and then on to the Plain of Six Glaciers and then back to the hotel is a fabulous way to spend a day
mms is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2018, 06:59 AM
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yes, for sure. We did some of those. The Tea house was still closed for winter tho'.
Ekellydds is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2018, 01:40 PM
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Ekellydds--There are two tea houses on that route. The OP is talking about early October.
mms is offline  
Nov 10th, 2018, 04:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2018
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anyone suggests me for the best way to get a Canadian visit visa from Pakistan?
eonlinequran is offline  
Nov 13th, 2018, 11:14 AM
kgsneds is offline  
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