Canadian Rocky Day Hikes

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Dec 26th, 2017, 07:20 AM
  #1
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Canadian Rocky Day Hikes

My wife and I would like to fly to Calgary in June. We want to maximize the quality day hikes we can squeeze into a one week vacation. Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Waterton look like great options, but I am concerned we might be spreading ourselves too thin. We like moderate hikes with stunning scenery. Which hikes should be a priority? Should we reduce the number of parks we try to visit in one week?
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Dec 26th, 2017, 09:19 AM
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I live in Calgary and love hiking in the Rockies, so hope to be able to give you some useful "on the ground" advice.

Given that you are looking for an active, involved vacation, I would not try to do all of these national parks in one week. I suggest you focus on the Banff area, with a day each in nearby Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. So you will definitely need to have a rental car.

Both Jasper and Waterton are a solid half day's drive each way from Banff National Park so you'd spend too much time driving and you just don't have it given a week. Focus on Banff during your first week here.

The best hikes in the area are in the subalpine region and these will still be covered in snow in June. Depending on the snowpack, usually the high altitude trails don't open until July. So if you have flexibility, I'd suggest you come in July when the weather is nicer and the subalpine is snow free. Also if you do come in July, avoid the days the Calgary Stampede is being held as prices are higher and availability of everything from rooms to car rentals is limited.

There are literally dozens of great hikes in the area and the ones I'd recommend for June are different from those I'd recommend in July, so without knowing more I won't bother listing them right now.

There are a lot of good guide books on hiking in the Rockies and a lot of good websites. A website I've found very useful is one I have no affiliation with, but here's a link you might find useful: http://hikingwithbarry.com/2016/02/2...hiking-alberta. It's probably worth investing in a hiking book, and I'd recommend this one. https://www.amazon.com/Best-Day-Hike...BYWW920VRHH3SW. My own website, www.drfumblefinger.com, also has some useful hikes and information about the Banff area.

As you develop your plans, feel free to ask more questions.

The Canadian Rockies are one of the most beautiful places in the world and even with just a week, you'll enjoy a travel experience you'll never forget.
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Dec 26th, 2017, 11:54 AM
  #3
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Unfortunately, visiting in July is not an option this time.
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Dec 29th, 2017, 05:31 PM
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When in June will you be in the Rockies? Early or late in the month?
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Jan 2nd, 2018, 12:08 PM
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If you have week, I would split it between Banff/Lake Louise/Canmore and Jasper. The drive between Lake Louise and Jasper is one of the most stunning in the world, and has some spectacular hikes.

You could do three nights in Banff (or Lake Louise), then two in Jasper, then your last night(s) back in Banff or Canmore. If your focus is hiking, I'd probably stay in Lake Louise as it puts you closer to the hikes in Lake Louise and Yoho.

And yes, timing will be important. Some of the higher elevation hikes can be snowbound as late as early July. So our advice may vary depending on when in June you are visiting.

I'd probably set aside a day for Lake Louise area. Later in the month, I'd likely want a day for hikes around Moraine Lake. Some of the nicer hiking locations (Takkakaw Falls and Lake O'Hara) in Yoho NP are not accessible until late June, but there are some nice hikes in the Emerald Lake area. Earlier in Jun Along the parkway, Wilcox Pass is excellent, as is Bow Glacier Falls. In the Jasper area, you can easily spend a day around Maligne Lake. You will likely come too early for Edith Cavell Meadows.

For hiking guide books, I suggest Canadian Rockies Trail Guide as it's the most comprehensive. That said, you can easily get good info online and pick up Parks Canada's hiking maps when you arrive.
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