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Early Summer Banff/Lake Louise/Field

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My husband and I have booked flights to Calgary (from KY!) and lodging in a rental house in Field for the end of June/early July! We will have 4 full days to explore the Lake Louise/Banff immediate area. We are looking forward to lots of hiking (nothing too dangerous but we can go a long time) and taking in the beautiful sights.

What would be a good itinerary considering that we are driving from Calgary to Field (just outside of Lake Louise) on the first day and starting from Field each morning? We plan to eat breakfast at home and pack lunch most days but I'd also be interested in dinner recommendations...doesn't have to be fancy.

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    field is beautiful but tiny. won't have many restaurant options there. may have to plan to drive for any variety of restaurants or just plan on eating at "home" assuming you have a kitchen.

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    Field is indeed tiny - I think it's less than 400 persons total. Your restaurant options will be limited - there's Truffle Pigs and maybe a couple of other places. Beyond that, you will have to go to Lake Louise, Golden or Banff to eat.

    You will be staying during a peak holiday time (July 1 is a national holiday here), so it will be quite busy in the tourist hotspots. There may be some fun activities on July 1 in Banff or Canmore, but you may also want to consider the crowds - parking could be a nightmare that day. So it could be a day to go hiking instead.

    If you are in Field and like hiking, you might want to see if there are spots on either of the hikes to the Burgess Shale Fossil beds. These are long and somewhat steep hikes, but well worth it to see the fossils - both areas are closed except to people on guided tours. You can book via the Parks Canada website (good Parks Canada and Burgess Shale).

    The day you drive to Field, you probably have some time to explore, depending on when you leave Calgary. One option if you are leaving reasonably early is to go to Banff, then go on Rt. 1A from Banff to Lake Louise. It's a good place to see wildlife, and you could check out Johnston Canyon.

    I would allocate one day for Lake Louise - depending on your interest, you could spend the whole day hiking to and between the teahouses, or use part of the day to grab a bite to eat at the Chateau etc. And/or head up to Moraine Lake, though be aware that it's a long, windy road with somewhat limited parking, so on a peak day (holiday, weekend), you need an early start to avoid tour buses and parking jams.

    I would also allocate at least one day to drive out via Lake Louise onto the Icefields Parkway. It's well worth the drive, and with a full day, you could easily go half way down and back. It's something I wouldn't miss - between the blue/green lakes, the glaciers, the soaring mountains and waterfalls, it's a sight like no other. You can do the glacier tour as well.

    You could use a day or to explore Banff & area. If the weather doesn't cooperate, there's a couple of good museums, plus other indoor activities. You can hike/walk on the trails near town, or head out to some of the pretty areas along 1A.

    Then you could spend one day in YoHo. Places like Emerald Lake, Takkakaw Falls and Watpa Falls are among the highlights. If you are really into hiking, you could try and get a bus reservation up to Lake O'Hara, but this requires a lot of time on the phone and is only worth it if you're in for a full day hike (bus seats are quite limited, so going up for a quick peek is not fair to those who would like to spend a day or more).

    Have fun!

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