Golden to Jasper and return

Jul 19th, 2005, 02:05 PM
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Golden to Jasper and return

We'll be visiting our daughter in Golden next month, and thought that it would be a good occasion to take a side trip to Jasper. Although I've travelled the Trans-Canada and visited Banff many times, I've never seen the Icefields Parkway.

Because of other commitments, we have two days to do the trip, leaving Golden early one day and returning late the next.

I know that there's a host of information here Fodors on various threads, which I will consult, but I would appreciate any recommendations for a two day itinerary, as well as overnight accommodation in Jasper. As this will be in late August, I suspect many of the places there will either be booked, or have a three night minimum. Jasper Park Lodge is NOT in our price range!

Thanks for any suggestions.
laverendrye is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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The Icefields Parkway is a great drive.
Even with stopping, I think you can make Jasper by night.

I am assuming you are returning the same way - south on the Icefields Parkway. To do otherwise is to take the long way round.

On the way from Golden to the junction of the Icefields Parkway and the Trans Canada, you pass through Yoho National Park. If you have not visited Takkakaw Falls, I urge you to do so. It is a short detour off your route, but the sight of the falls pouring over the face of the cliff is unforgettable.

Once on the Parkway, I suggest that you include these stops. Bow Lake, Mistaya Canyon, Peyto Lake, Sunwapta Pass, the Icefields Center (where you can take the buggy ride onto the glacier), Sunwapta Fals, Athabasca Falls and any number of quick photo ops along the road.

Once in Jasper, I suggest Mount Edith Cavell and the Angel Glacier. Unfortunately, global warming has caused the glacier to retreat up the mountain side at an alarming rate. If you have time, you might also drive to Maligne Lake, but it is about 30 miles or so out from Jasper to the east while Mt. Robson is the othere way.

As you drive along the parkway, I am sure you will notice a few places that you might be worth a second look. I could name a few more stopping places,but you might not have time to see them. For example, I tell people about Panther Falls at Sunwapta Pass.
The falls you see across the valley are pretty but Panther Falls they are not.
Those falls are hidden and require a short walk. Even then, to get into a good viewing position you need a rain suit.

I came back from there on one sunny day in my Goretex outfit thoroughly drenched. Some guy sitting there on the hood of his car saw us go down the trail dressed like we were headed into a monsoon. He was still there when we came back dripping wet. As my wife walked by the fellow she noticed his unspoken curiosity and offered some helpful comment like, "We went swimming."

As for Jasper, most of the accommodations are in one of several categories. These include: expensive, 3 night minimums, and booked solid. I suggest you peruse the Jasper list of "parks approved accomodations" and see if you might be able to find something acceptable for a one night sojourn.

Here is the website. The search engine has a little sophistication to it.
Good searching.
bob_brown is offline  
Jul 19th, 2005, 06:11 PM
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Thanks for your suggestions, Bob. They are quite helpful.
laverendrye is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 05:06 AM
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Hello laverendrye,

I second everything Bob has said. The only thing I might not do on the second day is drive all the way to Maligne Lake. It's a lovely lake and the drive to reach it is lovely too (AND we've always seen wildlife when we've driven on it). However, because of the 60 km/hr speed limit on that road, it does take almost an hour to drive its length, and then almost another hour to return to Jasper townsite.

Something that I believe would be a better use of your time would be a visit to Maligne Canyon, which is on Maligne Road, 11 km from Jasper townsite. If you park at the 5th Bridge you can miss the crowds who park at the main parking lot, and walk in the canyon in greater peace.

I also love the drive to Mount Edith Cavell. Cavell Road is a turn-off from Hwy #93A, which is an alternative to Hwy #93 if you're heading south out of Jasper townsite towards Lake Louise. Hwy #93A joins Hwy #93 in the vicinity of Athabasca Falls.

I believe you would have time to see Maligne Canyon and Mount Edith Cavell on the morning of the second day. Then, after lunch you could set out for Golden. Since you would have fewer stops on the return journey, you should be able to drive from Jasper to Golden over the course of the afternoon. It would be about a 4-hour drive if you didn't have any stops.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 09:27 AM
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My son David, now 45, recommends eye ball retainers to keep your eyes from popping out.

We drove both north and south on that road on our first trip out there years ago.
As he said, after the first hour of the return trip, "Ho hum. Just another awesome, world class view."
bob_brown is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 01:47 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts on the itinerary, Judy. Along with Bob's suggestions, they're just what I'm looking for. Bob: I'll try to remember the eye-ball retainers.
laverendrye is offline  
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