Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Canada
Reload this Page >

itinerary - Calgary/Banff/Edmonton/Calgary loop

itinerary - Calgary/Banff/Edmonton/Calgary loop

Old Jun 8th, 2008, 11:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
itinerary - Calgary/Banff/Edmonton/Calgary loop

I have been looking through the forum and have learned alot so far. Now, I would like to run this past the knowledgeable posters and see what they think...

Four travellers (age 50, 47 and 2 17 year-olds (our son and his girlfriend).

Likes: mixed - taking in the scenery, easy walks, not streneous hikes.

We will be in Calgary for a specific event, arriving around lunchtime on Monday or Tues Aug 11 or 12 (after a flight from Ontario). Our event doesn't begin until mid- to late-day on the 13th, so between our arrival and then we plan on taking in:
Calgary Tower
Olympic Park

Our event ends mid-afternoon on Sunday the 17th. We will then travel to Banff. Should we leave on the Sunday or wait until Monday morning (I think we should have a bit more time in Edmonton so maybe we could gain some time here)

Monday-Wednesday: Banff - including the Gondola, Hot Springs.

Wednesday - leave Banff for Jasper, stop at the Columbia Ice Fields. Stay in Jasper until Friday morning and do/see: Maligne Lake boat tour, Meitte Hot Springs, Athabasca Falls.

Friday morning - leave Jasper for Edmonton - Spend the rest of Friday at West Edmonton Mall (with 2 17 year olds, is this enough time?)

Saturday morning - leave Edmonton for Stettler arriving for the 2:30 departure of the steam train. Overnight in Stettler.

Sunday morning - drive to Drumheller to spend time at the Tyrell museum.

Monday moring - leave Drumheller for Calgary and spend the afternoon at Heritage Park.

Tuesday mid-day - fly home.

One of our biggest complications is accomodations arrangements with the 2 17 year-olds. We certainly don't want to have two rooms each night (one for the guys/one for the gals) but I hope a room with 2 queens or even kings would be OK - (one for the guys/one for the gals!) Anyone had any experience with this kind of "complication"??? Some of the cabins might be OK for the time in Banff/Jasper but they are quite pricey.

planitall is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 12:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 593
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In Jasper, you might want to consider private home accommodation or B&B - they're a lot cheaper than the hotels. A number of them have either two bedrooms (a few even have three bedroom suites), or two or more beds. Don't let the listings with "shared bathroom" put you off - if two rooms share the bath and you book them both, you are not sharing. Listings are searchable: www.stayinjasper.com
krp329 is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2008, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 555
Received 6 Likes on 2 Posts
Your itinerary seems very well thought out.
A couple of suggestions:

1. Lake Louise
Be sure to spend some time at Lake Louise ... we usually try to stay there rather than Banff townsite ... LL is newer and seems more connected to the mountains - Banff Townsite is far bigger / built up ... some parts seem a bit less pleasant like many older resort towns ...

There is a part of LL near the highway, we stay in any of the hotels there .. then a few miles away is the lake ... Lake Louise ... with its magnificent chateau 5 star hotel. The lake has a nice walk along its shores ... I'm not sure how much your party walks, but the trail goes back to a teahouse nestled in the mtns.

However, in Banff, the Banff Springs Hotel, the Gondola, the museum, and Banff Springs are definitely worth it.

2. Near Banff and Lake Louse Moraine Lake is also nice to visit.

3. Between Lake Louise and the Icefields be sure to watch for Peyto Lake ... excellent viewpoint. (Though there are many others too numerous to mention)

4. Stettler and the train
My wife grew up near there, and we've seen lots of steam trains (almost every tourist area seems to have one nowadays), so I don't know if I'd recommend it ... might cut that short if time wanted elsewhere ... but it is a neat train ride and give you a flavor of the wheat and cattle country.

5. The Tyrell Museusm is fantastic .. I'm always disappointed how many tourists to Calgart completely overlook it. When you are in Drumheller look for signs or mentions of the Hodoos ... eroded formations that I wouldn't drive too far to see, but I'd take a boo at them when there.

6. Sleeping accomodations:
Hmmm, that could be a problem depending on attitudes ...
you might try a number of the "suite" hotels ... there are lots of them nowadays ... many with 2 bedrooms off of a living room ... sometimes the living rooms have a couch that makes into an additional bed. One thing that's sometimes feasible: get a 1 bedroom place with a living room that has a couch that makes into a bed ... then ask for an additional roll-away bed - I've been with a number of groups where that has happened ... and most chain motels have one or more rooms like that
elbegewa is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2008, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,477
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Have you considered saving Edmonton for another visit? There is so much to do in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper, I would spend the whole time there, along with Drumheller.

I have never been to Edmonton so perhaps I am not the best to be giving that advice, but seems to me you will fall in love with the beauty of the area and will hate spending time at the Mall. I think even 17 yr. olds will feel this way.
I guess the mall is wonderful but that of course is your decision.

Have a wonderful visit.

I love driving the Icefields Parkway--there are so many places to stop that if you drive it both up to Jasper and back, you can divide your siteseeing.

You are travelling in high season and have added a bit of expense to the trip with the girlfriend--lodging is expensive in Lake Louise and Banff. Your son owes you big time. Paradise Lodge in Lake Louise has a 2br and so does Baker Creek. I will be surprised if it is still available. You may want to look at www.kayak.com and click on hotels, if you can't find availability in the cottages. I found lodging for our first and last nights searching on kayak.

I would definitely stay in one of the homes in Jasper. They are a more affordable option. Patricia Lake Bungalows does have hotel rooms that get ok reviews for $85/nt. in high season.
LindainOhio is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2008, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,466
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
in drumheller, we just stayed in the family suite at the super 8 - it was great - one room had a king bed, one room had 2 queen beds and i think there was a pullout couch in the living room. full kitchen. as you are entering drumheller, you'll see a sign saying turn left to view a canyon - can't remember the name of it. you can't see it from the road but it is just about 1 minute off the road. really beautiful. go to the swining bridge too.
in jasper - your home accommodations will be your best choice.
west edmonton mall - depends what you want to do there - it's about a 4 1/2 hr drive from jasper to edmonton and most teenagers i know do not like early get aways. if you want to do a lot of shopping, you'll need several hours - it's huge. there is also a great waterpark there that the kids might like but again, you want at least 3 hrs (i think they have an evening pass that is cheaper if you only want three hrs), there's an amusement part with roller coaster and other rides. so you really need to know what you want to do.
i would drop the heritage park in calgary - that time could be spent somewhere more exciting - the mall, drumheller.
if you are only coming to edmonton to see the mall, you might want to reconsider. if you do calgary, banff, jasper then return on the icefield parkway turning to hwy 11 and turn east towards rocky mountain house and onto drumheller - that would free up some time. (there is a nice beach at sylvan lake, by red deer if it's a nice day for a swim - it's a long drive but you'd see some different scenary rather then going through banff/calgary again).
for banff, check out douglas fir resort - they may have accommodations that would suit you - i'd recommend booking jasper and banff right away (actually, drumheller is busy in the summer too)
ltt is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 689
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If it was me, I'd skip Stettler and spend the extra time in Edmonton. There is so much to do at WEM that you could spend all of your extra time there.
loru100 is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,121
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If it was me, I'd skip the zoo. I thought it was horrible.
April is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 05:10 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 555
Received 6 Likes on 2 Posts
If it was me, I'd skip the WEM and visit the Tyrell Museum

(pardon me, I couln't resist showing where my priorities are)
elbegewa is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 05:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh my! Lots of replies!

Now I wonder if should revamp this! I am really keen on spending additional time in the banff/Jasper/LL areas and maybe skip Stettler. I thought the whole train with robbery might be fun, but it is almost a full day (6 hours) and quite expensive, so maybe it can go! That way, we could spend additional time in Edmonton (like a full day!). Maybe we could head to Tyrell on our first day, overnight one night there before heading back to do the Calgary attractions!

I will revamp and repost... I really do need to book soon though! There are just SO many options!!!
planitall is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2008, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 555
Received 6 Likes on 2 Posts
Drumheller and Tyrell are quite do-able as a one day trip there and back from Calgary
elbegewa is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2008, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,466
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i guess i assumed you had family/friends to see in stettler. if not, definitly cut that out of the itinerary.
ltt is offline  
Old Jun 13th, 2008, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,737
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A must stop in Edmonton is Fort Edmonton Park. It's much better than Calgary's heritage Park.
Check out their web site. Plan to stay at least 8 hours. Lots to see, great food as well.

A lot of old west movies are filmed there as most buildings are rebuilt form the original building and not replicas.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana were there years ago and were totally impressed. There are more to see now than before.
Eschew is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2008, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 172
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We all have our opinions don't we. It's hard to know who to listen to.

I think on the whole your trip sounds great. The time spent in WEM wouldn't be enough for the teens I've taken there but way too much for me which makes it about perfect on average.

About your sleeping issues, we have a similar one - family of 4 with 2 males and 2 females. We handle it just as you're suggesting and it always works.
Heather49 is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Apr 26th, 2007 07:16 AM
May 28th, 2006 05:26 PM
Jan 21st, 2006 04:44 PM
Jun 27th, 2005 09:24 AM
Jan 9th, 2004 05:50 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -