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sheri May 21st, 2001 08:16 AM

Confusion regarding Jasper
Wow...I thought I had our trip all planned out then I read the notice from Natalie saying that its better to skip Jasper??? I planned 3 nights in Banff July 7-9 and the next 3 nights in Jasper 10-12 and one night at Lake Louise 13th and the last night in Calgary 14th. We are a family of 6, that includes two teenage grandsons. Do you think they will get bored in Jasper? Someone please let me know if we should try to get accommodations elsewhere? <BR> Thanks for your help.

Stephanie May 21st, 2001 09:29 AM

I live in Alberta and when I visit the Rockies I always choose Jasper over Banff. If you want shopping, go to Banff. If you want UNSPOILED beauty, hiking, and less in the way of commercialization, go to Jasper. I take it you are driving between Jasper and Banff? The icefields parkway is the most beautiful drive in the world (I have traveled extensively and have yet to find anything that compares) Visit the Columbia icefields (on the road between Jasper and Lake Louise)From Jasper you can visit Angel Glacier, Maligne Canyon, go white water rafting, go up the tram, have lunch on at one of the town's great resturants. Visit Jasper Park Lodge and go canoeing on the lake. Also assume that the first night in Jasper you will arrive quite late in the day (if you do the icefields drive properly and stop at various look outs and go to the icefields). That only leaves two move nights and days as you will need to leave Jasper on the morning of the 13th in order to get to Lake Lousie at a decent hour.

Sheri May 21st, 2001 10:04 AM

Thanks Stephanie for your response. No...I'm not interested in shopping. Is that all there is to Banff? I thought we were going to be able to hike there too? Should I change my dates to be 2 days in the Banff area and push up the entire trip in order to leave 2 days for the Lake Louise area? Its really difficult when you have never seen this area of the world before and you want it to be a great experience for the family. Thanks for your help. I wanted to post my orginial question under the "Alberta" catagory, but it came out under the Generic "Canada" region. I think there is someplace to stay between Jasper and Banff that Bob Brown mentioned. Perhaps we should leave Banff after 2 nights and start up that beautiful drive. Thanks again for your help.

Stephanie May 21st, 2001 10:44 AM

Banff is also very beautiful with lots of great hiking, etc. I just personnally think it is over commercialized. With two teenagers though, three nights in Banff will be great. Although there are hotels along the icefields parkway, they are kind of remote. I have always done the drive in a day starting early, taking my time, and get to Jasper early evening. The sun doesn't set until around 10:00 in the mountains at that time of year so you will have lots of day to see everything.

Brian Kilgore May 21st, 2001 08:57 PM

How much do the kids love the outdoors? To some, a mountain is a mountain, and the shopping and overall "action" in Banff is much better than the boring, dull, non-commercial Jasper. <BR> <BR>I used to have to go to Jasper, and I always found it boring. And, contrary to what people mightthink, the souvenirs in Jasper were awful things, imported fromt he orient for the most part, while Banff had a log of really good crafts, etc., among the tee-shirts and plastic Mountie statues. I actually had the Alberta government send inspectors to jasper to look into this abundance of crap. <BR> <BR>But that was a decade ago. <BR> <BR>There is lots of hiking near Banff and Lake Louise; make sure you do get as far north as the icefields. <BR> <BR>I'd leave Jasper off your route and spend more time in Calgary, and I'd try to track down a rodeo somewhere in the towns east of the rockies, near Calgary. <BR> <BR>BAK <BR> <BR>

sheri May 22nd, 2001 04:53 AM

Thanks Stephanie and Brian for your help. I think we will cut one day off of the Jasper area and check out what there is to do in Calgary. I appreciated your help. Happy Trails to both of you.

Aprila May 22nd, 2001 09:07 AM

It's all a matter of taste, I guess. I would much rather spend more time in Jasper than in Calgary.

Julie May 22nd, 2001 10:18 AM

Hi Sheri, <BR>Just an additional note to the other replys you have. Are you aware that the Calgary Stampede starts on the 6th of July ? so you might find difficulty getting accomodation there.

Sheri May 22nd, 2001 11:20 AM

Julie: Thank you for your concern about our getting accommodations in Calgary because of the Stampede. I have had two rooms reserved in Calgary since last year for our last night in this area, at the Country Inn Suites on 39th St. We could go to the Stampede on that last day. <BR> Regarding changing my reservations from 3 nights in Jasper, I finally made the decision to do so, and added another night in the Lake Louise area. I didn't want to give up Jasper altogether from Brian's advice, but I shortened the stay there. Thanks to everyone for their kind regards for our trip. We are really looking forward to our visit in this part of Canada. I'm sure we will go back after we retire so we can spend many more days in the area.

Coletta May 23rd, 2001 04:00 AM

Hello, <BR> <BR>I'm from The Netherlands and did Calgary-Banff-Lake Louise-Jasper-Kamloops-Vancouver in March. In March it was VERY COLD in Jasper and for me Jasper was disappointing as well. It's very boring and not much is going on (I didn't like the souvenirs either). However, the Icefields Parkway was so stunning, that it was definitely worth it to drive up to Jasper, just for the Parkway. We drove it in icy conditions. We left Lake Louise (which was gorgeous as well) at 1PM and arrived in Jasper around 7PM. We stopped several times and didn't drive fast. If you don't go to Jasper, you will miss the Icefield Parkway, which would absolutely be a shame. <BR>Banff is great for hiking and the people are all very friendly. Go to the information center first before you do anything else. They have useful advice. <BR> <BR>Greetings from Holland, Coletta

Sheri May 23rd, 2001 12:04 PM

Coletta: Thank you for your greeting from Holland. We have revised our plans to spending 3 days in Banff, the next night at the Columbia Icefields Chalet, then on to Jasper, spending 1 night there and back to Lake Louise for 2 nights and the final night in Calgary before we fly home to Ohio. Thank you for your genuine interest in our adventure. I was checking other postings and took Bob Brown's advice to stay at the Icefields Chalet for the night which is an hour and a half out of Jasper. That way we can spend more time admiring the scenery from Banff to Jasper and take advantage of two tours at the Icefields region. <BR> <BR>Many thanks from America

Stephanie May 26th, 2001 08:02 PM

Clearly everyone has their own tastes but Brian's advice to leave out Jasper altogether in favor of CALGARY (of all places a big city with traffic problems that is always dusty,dirty, and dry at least when ever I've been there--too many times unfortunately) is something I just had to respond to(I know the original poster already booked the trip... and by the way your new itinereary looks great) But in regards to Brian's comment re:Jasper is boring... The Canmore/Banff corridor has become so over developed and commercialized over the past 10-15 years that the natural integrity and beauty of the area has been comprimised. Environmentalists and Parks Canada are fighting developers who want to continue to encroach on the natural habitat of the wildlife. Do a search on the Web and I am sure you will find a lot of news articles on this topic. There has been an increase in bear and cougar attacks (these animals are later trapped and put down) and many believe this has to do with the fact that developments (along with come more pollution and increased traffic) in the Banff/Canmore areas have affected the natural movement and feeding patterns of the wildlife. It is quite sad, really. This is not to say that Banff is a BAD place (and I certainly don't wish to scare anyone off) is truly beautiful. It is just that I personally think that commercialization and over-development of an area that boasts such natural intrigue is something of a paradox as this only further perpetuates the problem and could eventually lead (if it hasn't already) to a comprimised eco-system. Jasper, on the other hand has taken great pains to severly restrict new development and really prides itself on being small, laid back, and pristine. You will not find any Tommy Hilfiger or Gap stores in Jasper because a mountain vacation, unlike a trip to New York, shouldn't be about shopping for designer clothes. You will, however find a some great mountain outfitter shops that offer rafting/horseback tours, great resturants and pubs and yes, some tacky souvineer shops....but in order to appreciate Jasper (or any mountain town for that matter) you really have to be willing to venture out, away from the townsite and the shopping etc. Otherwise you will be bored.

sheri May 29th, 2001 09:52 AM

Stephanie: Thank you for your advice. I totally agree with you regarding not spending your time shopping on a mountain vacation. I sincerely hope there is more to do around Banff than shop. We are not shoppers...we love nature. I have changed our itenerary to keep one night in Jasper at the Pyramid Lake Resort. We have the executive loft reserved and it sounds lovely. It will sleep 8 and we are 6. I decided on only one night there and to add another to Lake Louise Inn in case the family wants to be closer to other things to do. Someone said one day in Jasper is enough. I'm thinking of suggesting to them the trip to Malign Lake and Spirit Lake near Jasper. Or the train up to Mt. Robson depending on the weather conditions. No sense going up there if its terribly cloudy. Oh I'm wondering about Banff? I know the Chalet is there with Hot Springs. Maybe we should stay in Yoho National Park? After all..we didn't leave yet? <BR>

Randy May 29th, 2001 11:11 AM

If the teenage grandsons like cycling and are at all adventurous, rent mountain bikes in town. Then take them out towards the Jasper park lodge. Just across the river is a mountain bike trail head. I can't remember the distance, but it my nephew and I abou 4.5 hours to do the loop. To save timeyou can drop them off at the river and pick them up on the parkway about 3.5 hours later. There are some nice easy kikes around Banff, but the trails around Jasper are a lot less crowded. A nice trail for hiking is the trail from the old pool at Miette hot springs. There is also a nice easy mountain climb that starts near the new pool. A bit of advice, dtour from the Trans-Canada just west of Banff and take the old Highway to Castle mountain junction. <BR>In summer the highway from Banff to Louise is jam packed. <BR>First time drivers in the area also tend to stop on the highway at every animal sighting and cause dangerous traffic problems. Remember That the highway through Banff to Lake Louise is a major transportation corridor to B.C., and as such will have lots of trucks on it. The big advantage to Jasper, is you don't have that commercial traffic problem. The best advice, is to visit, and make up your own mind as to what kind of place you like, then come back!

Al Godon May 29th, 2001 01:15 PM

All of those places in the Rockies are too blamed expensive. I see little reason to go to any of them. The scenery is mediocre at best, particularly Jasper. <BR>Find a good B and B in Canmore and spend the time in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Most of the sophisticates, i.e. rich folks, never heard of it so they don't go there. <BR>Then visit Waterton Park south of there. <BR>It borders the US Glacier Nat Park. <BR>A drive on the Icefields Parkway might be nice, but Banff is like Gatlinburg, Tn, only more expensive, and Jasper is a one horse town with 6 horse prices. <BR>

dnorrie May 29th, 2001 02:34 PM

Canmore is quite a bit cheaper, Al Gordon is right about that. I also believe Field is cheaper than Jasper. But the national parks are expensive and there is an entry fee at each of them unless you buy an annual pass which you can do for a group of up to 7 people for $70. Waterton is a lovely little town and is quite close to the US border and the Going to the Sun Highway. I believe entrance into Glacier on the Montana side is at least $10, maybe more this year. But it is a spectacular (although scary, if you are not used to extremely narrow, high and winding mountain roads). Some things to remember about Waterton, book your rooms in advance, it does fill up. They have a really good web page. The other thing is Waterton (and So. Alberta in general) get really high winds as we are in the Chinook zone and this year has been exceptionally bad. The wind has blown for what seems like a month and at rates of 35 - 50/km. per hour. It is very dry and the wind raises dust levels to an unbelievable degree. So you may want to watch the weather regarding that.

dnorrie May 29th, 2001 02:37 PM

Just an added note regarding wind, today in Lethbridge (about 1 1/2 hrs from Waterton) the winds are blowing at 65/km. per hour and it is expected to continue like this for another week at least. You may want to stay closer to Banff and Jasper just because of this. But if you keep an eye on the weather net, you should be able to make a decision a little closer to your time of departure. Good luck.

Sheri May 30th, 2001 08:29 AM

Hello Friends: <BR> Thanks for all your suggestions. It's really hard to select, but I have decided to remain with Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise and Calgary for this trip. <BR> Randy said a nice walk if at Miette Hot Springs but he didn't say if this was in Banff or Jasper? Also the mountain climb at the new pool? I'm assuming this is at the same area but what location were you referring to Randy? Regarding your advice of staying off the Trans-Canadian highway and taking the old highway...I'm assuming it is a very narrow and winding road. We are not use to mountain driving. How bad is the road? Thanks again for your help.

dnorrie May 30th, 2001 10:24 AM

I am not sure what road Randy is referring to but most of the roads in Alberta are very good. Some are more narrow than others but because we are an oil rich province, there is enough money to maitain the roads quite well. Even if it is narrow, it shouldn't be too bad for driving. <BR> <BR>If you are a AAA member, you can stop at any AAA and pick up excellent maps and accomodation guides when you arrive in Canada (or if you are from Canada, before you leave). They are the best maps and should be helpful.

Sheri May 30th, 2001 10:53 AM

Thanks D Norrie: My husband has been telling me to stop at AAA (we are members) for road maps for that area, but I kept hesitating thinking we didn't need any. Since you are from Canada, I'm sure you know the area and we will take your advice. I'll stop by and get maps before we leave. Thanks for your help. <BR> Happy Traveling to you!

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