Finalizing a Banff itinerary

Old May 12th, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Finalizing a Banff itinerary

After getting a better idea of trip duration from my dad and taking advice from my earlier thread into consideration, I think I know what I want to fit into two days, but I'm not exactly sure how to do it and where to stay. That's where I need some recommendations.

We're departing from North Dakota probably on July 8 and driving up to Regina for a Roughriders game. After staying the night there, we plan on driving to Calgary (or Cochrane because hotel rates seem to be high because of the Calgary Stampede). From Calgary/Cochrane we would head into Banff National Park and spend two nights in the area. After the second night, we would drive to Waterton National Park, which leaves a bit of time that day to either do a couple more things in Banff or do something in Waterton.

The following are the things I want to see in Banff (and Yoho):

Banff area
Johnston Canyon
Takkakaw Falls (Yoho)
Lake Louise
Moraine Lake
Peyto Lake
Icefields Parkway up to Athabasca Glacier

How would I best fit this into two full days plus maybe part of a third? And where should I stay the two nights in the park?
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Old May 12th, 2012, 06:35 PM
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Here's what I was thinking

Day 1 (referring to the first day in the area):
Spend the night in Calgary or Cochrane

Day 2:
Drive to Banff
Spend time around the Banff townsite
Johnston Canyon
Takkakaw Falls (Yoho)
Spend the night in Lake Louise

Day 3:
Lake Louise
Moraine Lake
Peyto Lake
Icefields Parkway up to Athabasca Glacier
Spend the night in Banff

Day 4:
Potentially have some time to spend in Banff before driving to Waterton

Would this work?
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Old May 12th, 2012, 06:50 PM
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Note: I originally thought we would be leaving July 8, but I noticed a potential conflict, so it might be July 28, which would mean seeing a football game in Calgary on the 29th instead.
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Old May 13th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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I think you might not have time to make the Icefields Parkways up to Athabasca Glacier piece, that's pretty much a full day in itself. Otherwise, looking pretty good.

Try to get to Johnston Canyon early, before the crowds come. It's a beautiful, easy hike and very popular. Allow a few hours.
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Old May 14th, 2012, 04:12 AM
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Here are some ideas, hopefully you will not have rain when you visit:

Day 1: Drive to Banff, check out the Banff Springs Hotel( we usually do this in the evening or when it rains),Bow Falls, walk around the town if desired, have lunch.
Drive to Lake Louise, park and take a short walk around the Lakeshore Trail. Hiking to the Lake Agnes Tea House or the Plain of Six Glaciers are popular hikes. I don't think you were planning on hiking.
Since you aren't hiking, you may even have time to check out Moraine Lake. Walk to the top of the rockpile for a famous view and photos.
Stay in Lake Louise.
Check out Baker Creek Chalets, Paradise Lodge, Lake Louise Inn and even the hostel.
We enjoyed an affordable dinner in the casual Outpost restaurant at the Post Hotel--go to the back of the very expensive hotel.

I am not a big fan of Johnston Canyon. There are so many places you can walk where you are blown away with the views. The canyon is interesting but with your short visit, I would spend my time elsewhere. You can stop here on your way from Banff to Lake Louise if you want to walk this trail. I do like the Maligne Canyon walk in Jasper but you definitely do not have time to get to Jasper. It is also a great walk to do if it is raining--the trail is paved.

Day 2: Head to Moraine Lake( if you missed it yesterday), rockpile, shoreline trail. There is a 2 mile enjoyable hike to Consolation Lakes that starts by the rockpile. The lake is strewn with boulders and you are surrounded by mountains.
Leave Moraine Lake and head to Emerald Lake Lodge for lunch. Stop at Takkakaw Falls on your way back.
Stay in Lake Louise.

Day 3: Take the Icefields Parkway only if the weather is clear. Stop at Bow Summit/Peyto Lake, enjoy the views along the drive, stop for a picnic, go as far as you can and then turn around. The views are beautiful each way so you won't mind doubling back.

Day 4: Stay in Lake Louise or Banff
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