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fly into Edmonton or Calgary for Lake Louise trip

fly into Edmonton or Calgary for Lake Louise trip

Old Jul 14th, 2005, 01:22 PM
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fly into Edmonton or Calgary for Lake Louise trip

My husband and I are planning a trip to the Banff,Lake Louise area the end of August. We were there four years ago and only had time to drive the Icefields Parkway from the south for about 30 min. We enjoyed a hike above Lake Louise and got almost to the Tea House. But this is the most strenuous hiking we are capable of doing. That trip we also spent time in Glacier National Park, Waterton, Radium Hot Springs and Banff. This time we are wondering if we should spend time in Yoho National Park, and Kootenay. We drove through parts of Kootenay and thought it was beautiful. We are also thinking of driving the Icefields Parkway. We like short easy hikes, sitting and looking at beautiful scenery and soaking in hot springs. We will have 6 days.

Also do you think we would save any time by flying into Edmonton and out of Calgary instead of in and out of Calgary?

Thanks for your help.

krisz is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Hello krisz,

Calgary definitely is the better access point for the more southerly places like Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks.

For example, it would take about 2 hours from Calgary International Airport to Banff and about 3 hours from Calgary International Airport to Lake Louise.

The non-scenic route from Edmonton International Airport to Banff would be about 4 hours and from that airport to Lake Louise by the non-scenic route would be about 5 hours. What I mean by the non-scenic route is driving south from Edmonton on Hwy #2 (recently renamed QE2 Hwy) and then turning west at some point before Calgary so that you miss that city's traffic. Even on that so called non-scenic route, you would, of course enter the mountains as you approached Canmore.

Edmonton would give you an advantage if you were going to travel to Jasper first. Edmonton is about 4 hours from Jasper, whereas Calgary is about 5 hours from Jasper.

There may be some advantage in flying in and out of one city. It may save you a one-way drop off fee on a rental car, but that is a point that you would need to check.

Also, previous posters have mentioned that the price of an open jaw ticket can vary, depending on the direction in which you travel. Into Calgary and out of Edmonton may be more expensive than the other way round, or it may not be. Again, that is worth checking out.

It's not clear to me if your 6 days will include flying time or not. I'll assume for the moment that the 6 day time frame does include flying time.

When you have a short itinerary, the most efficient thing to do is to get to Jasper on the first night if you can. That would be a demanding thing to do if you had flown from the east coast. However, if you feel you are up to it, I would recommend it.

Clearing immigration and customs takes about an hour. If you were able to get out of Calgary Airport or Edmonton Airport by, say, 4.00 p.m., you would be able to get to Jasper by 10.00 p.m. or 9.00 p.m. -- even if you stopped for dinner on the way.

Edmonton's sunset is about 8.30 p.m. at the end of August, and I think Jasper's sunset is about an hour behind Edmonton's. I mention that because there are likely to be more animals on the road at dusk, so do be extra careful if you drive at that time.

Spend two full days in Jasper. There you can do the beautiful Mount Edith Cavell drive. From the trailhead, you can do the wonderful Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows hike. It takes half a day if you walk the full circuit, but it's a nice hike even if you do part of it.

Then go to Maligne Canyon, and spend a couple of hours walking in the canyon. If you park at the 5th Bridge, you'll miss the crowds at the main parking lot, and will be able to enjoy the canyon in greater peace.

Then do the hour-long drive to Maligne Lake. That road is rich in wildlife. If you wish, do the cruise across the lake to Spirit Island.

The next day do another Jasper-based activity. For example, you could do the hour-long drive to Miette Hot Springs. Part of that drive would take you onto the road between Jasper townsite and Jasper National Park's east gate, which you may or may not have driven already, depending on which airport you'd used to access the mountains. It is another road that is rich in wildlife.

I followed your signature, and looked at a couple of your other posts. Sorry, that may seem like snooping, but I find it helpful to become familiar with a person's likes and dislikes, if I have not encountered them on the forum before, or if I've seen their posts only rarely.

From looking at a post about Italy, for example, I got the impression that you were what I would call a "fast traveller." Since that is the case, you might enjoy going to Mount Robson Provincial Park in the afternoon, although that's an hour's drive from Jasper townsite, in the opposite direction from Miette Hot Springs!

On your third day, drive the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. It'll take you all day to do it if you stop at Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, the Columbia Icefields and Peyto Lake. You may enjoy doing one of the hikes off the Icefields Parkway, e.g., Parker Ridge.

Overnight in Lake Louise.

Spend a day "mopping up" and seeing what you didn't see in that area last time. If you didn't see Moraine Lake (9 miles from Lake Louise) before, see it this time. In Yoho National Park visit Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake.

You might enjoy the 2-hour Consolation Lake hike from Moraine Lake, or you might enjoy the flat, 2-hour lakeshore path at Emerald Lake.

You probably remember from your last trip that the time at which you flight departs determines where you can spend your last night. If I've guessed correctly, you'll fly out on Day 6. If you'll be going out on a morning flight, you'll need to spend the last night in Calgary (but you can have a full day of activities in the Lake Louise - Yoho area and drive to Calgary that evening). If your flight departs around noon, you could spend the night in Banff / Canmore.

As you can see, I've suggested 2 full days in Jasper. I really do highly recommend that you place more emphasis on Jasper this time around.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2005, 03:33 PM
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If you want to visit Yoho and Kooteney, then my suggestion is to fly into Calgary.
Edmonton is 200 miles from Jasper, as I recall.

If the rental car rates are ok, you could fly open jawed as you suggest. But I checked once on returning a Calgary rental in Vancouver, and I could come back to Calgary and fly to Vancouver cheaper than I could pay the drop fee on the rental car.

In Kootney make sure that Marble Canyon has been reopened before you go there expecting to hike it. Last year it was closed because fires had destroyed the bridges and walkways.

The best hike in Kooteney that is not long and arduous to many people is Stanley Glacier. And even that may be tough if the Tea House stressed you.

Most of the hikes in Yoho, other than a stroll around Emerald Lake is going to be steep uphill. I know the Iceline, which is one of my favorites, involves a climb of about 2,000 feet before you each the high point of the trail.

brookwood is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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OOPS. My high school English teacher just flipped. Hikes ARE!!

brookwood is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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Thanks for the tips. And your are right, Judy. We are fast travekers. The airfare is pretty much the same however we do it as was the one rental car company I checked. I was thinking we'd save time by flying into Edmonton and starting up at Jaspar, but apparently it would be only an hr. In that case, I'd rather just use Calgary.
krisz is offline  
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