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check rough Banff/Jasper itinerary for time

check rough Banff/Jasper itinerary for time

Jun 24th, 2005, 01:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 218
check rough Banff/Jasper itinerary for time

Hi all

After reading various posts here and consulting friends, I have a rough "timeline" I would like to check out before booking lodgings.

We like hiking, nature, photography, history, wildlife, restaurants, and many other things (I may go horseback riding, not sure about husband....)

Friday July 30 - arrive Calgary late and stay
Saturday - drive to Jasper
Sunday - Jasper
Monday - Jasper to Banff (Icefields Parkway)
Tuesday - Friday inclusive Banff as base for Banff/Lake Louise/Canmore etc.
Saturday - drive Banff to Drumheller, stay in Drumheller
Sunday - Drumheller to Calgary and depart

I am not certain whether the Athabaska glacier is reachable on one of the Banff days, or if it is really a priority having driven the Icefields Parkway?
We have 2 drivers so don't mind some driving, but don't want any marathon sessions either. Any input on this schedule is appreciated - I have not started to really consider specific areas / activities yet, just to make major bookings.

Thanks very much!
nkh is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Hello nkh,

It looks like an excellent itinerary.

On my calendar, the Friday is July 29th. I wouldn't have noticed it, except that Monday, August 1st is a public holiday in Alberta, and that will make it a holiday weekend. Becker's Chalets, which is one of the popular properties amongst the posters on this forum and which, as far as I know, does not ordinarily impose a minimum stay requirement, has implemented a minimum 3-night stay requirement for that long weekend. I suspect some other popular Jasper properties may do the same thing. Popular places in the Canadian Rockies really book up in July and August, so it would be prudent to make reservations just as soon as you have your itinerary sorted out.

If you had to do so, it would not be the end of the world to deduct one night from Banff and re-allocate it to Jasper, so that you have 3 nights in Jasper and 4 nights in Banff.

The best time to see the Athabasca Glacier is when you're driving the Icefields Parkway to or from Jasper. The glacier is close to the road, about half way between Lake Louise and Jasper. If you didn't take the opportunity to see it while you in any case were driving right past it, you would need to return quite a long way to see it later.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Your itinerary looks very good!!

If it was my trip, I would stay an extra day in Jasper, it's a charming low-key place and there's also lots to see in the area that you probably will not be able to fit into just one day.

The Columbia Icefields are closer to Jasper than they are to Banff, and it's a long drive either way because the glaciers are about halfway between Lake Louise and Jasper [distance is just under 240 km (150 miles)]. Your best bet is to stop and visit on the day that you are coming back to Banff. That way you won't have a lot of backtracking to do from your Banff "home base". Additionally, since you are driving from Calgary to Jasper on day 2 anyway, you will be able to gauge the distances between the various points of interest, and plan the Icefield Parkway drive on day 4 to suit you.

The points of interest that are within a short driving distance of Jasper (and accessible from the Icefield Parkway) are Athabasca Falls and Mt. Edith Cavell.


Borealis is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Oops Judy - didn't see your posting before I wrote mine - but I see that we agree !!!
Borealis is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 05:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 218
thanks for checking things over (and now that I am the same calendar as everyone else it will help ), and also for long weekend notice. Due to the wonders of flexi-time, we may be able to "move" our August 1st long weekend day to the next week - from inquiries I know there are accommodations available for the same itinerary, but a week later.

Thanks also for the info on the glacier - definitely sound like it is worth an earlier start and stop along the way back to Banff.

Could you please let me know if the following driving times are about right (without stopping for views or side trips)

Calgary - Jasper about 5 hours
Jasper - Banff about 5 hours
Banff - Drumheller about 3 hours
Drumheller - Calgary airport about 1.5 hours

Thanks again for all help - the initial plan success shows how useful everyone's previous posts are!
nkh is offline  
Jun 24th, 2005, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
>>>the initial plan success shows how useful everyone's previous posts are!<<<

It is so nice when someone reads previous posts.

All of your driving times are about right, except Jasper to Banff, which is just under 4 hours.

If you stop on the way to see Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, to ride the Snocoach on the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefields, to see Peyto Lake, and to have lunch along the way, Banff - Jasper could take you 7 hours, if not 8 hours. However, as Borealis said, if you'll be doing that drive twice, you could do some activities on the way up and others on the way down. There also are some nice hikes off the Icefields Parkway.

For the Banff - Drumheller drive, you may have seen posts to the effect that you can escape Calgary's traffic by swinging to the north of the city. In that case you would drive Banff - Cochrane - Beiseker - Drumheller. In fact that is the route on which the 3-hour time estimate is based. If you went through Calgary's traffic, you easily would add half an hour to your driving time.

When you start working out the details of what you want to see in each of the four contiguous mountain national parks, here is a web site with links to descriptions and maps of each of them:

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 25th, 2005, 07:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 218
Thanks again

I like the idea of doing some things on the way up to Jasper and some on the way back (removes the "just getting there" mentality we may get for the first day).

The tip on Banff-Drumheller route is great - I hadn't picked up on that route detail, but it sounds like an important one.

Thanks also for the website reference. Now just to finish/confirm the bookings, then we can start looking at details other than the rough list of things we think would be neat to do. I am sure I will have some more specific questions closer to the time.....
nkh is offline  

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