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Itinerary Help - Alberta - Banff/Jasper/Glacier

Itinerary Help - Alberta - Banff/Jasper/Glacier

Old Aug 18th, 2011, 05:22 AM
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Itinerary Help - Alberta - Banff/Jasper/Glacier

Hi All,

My wife and I are planning a vacation to Alberta in October. We managed to gets some really low mile frequent flier tickets and are planning the trip around them. We fly into Calgary the night of October 19 and out the morning of October 29. At this point, I have a car rented and have a hotel near the airport for the first night.

We'd like to spend most of our time exploring the parks. We're big hikers and love the outdoors. We also like interesting local restaurants, brewpubs, vineyards, etc. We tend to like smaller places for lodging and plan to stay in lodges or B&B's.

My initial plan was to try and hit Jasper, Banff and Glacier (in Montana, not Canada). My thoughts were to drive to Jasper, spend three nights there, then drive down to Glacier. After spending three nights there, we'd drive back to Banff for the last three nights (leaving us reasonably close to the airport for our morning flight).

I'd love any general itinerary suggestions... should we skip Glacier and spend more time in the Canadian parks? Are there other things we shouldn't miss? Great hikes, places to stay, restaurants?

I'm still combing the other posts... and have found some great info.

Thanks in advance!
astein12 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2011, 05:38 AM
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I would skip Glacier--I would think that the Going to the Sun Road would be closed then.

You could spend the whole time doing Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. You should be able to get good rates on lodging since you are travelling the end of October. I am not sure when the Icefields Parkway closes--or if it closes---we have driven part of it in winter.

There are some very nice B&Bs in Banff. We are also hikers so we like to stay in Lake Louise which is closer to the hiking we like. We have also enjoyed staying at Emerald Lake Lodge, outside of Lake Louise---which has gotten expensive but may have specials during the time you are visiting.

We have stayed at the cheapest cabins at Paradise Lodge and like the location.

Alpine Village is very nice in Jasper. There are also many rooms available in homes--like B&Bs with no breakfast

We enjoyed staying outside of Jasper in the cabins at Patricia Lake.

The area is a hikers paradise---great hiking book The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton

We had a morning of snow the first week of September so I would think you should be prepared for some snow.

I have a trip report from 2009 on the forum--click my name to find it
LindainOhio is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2011, 06:18 AM
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I actually loved Glacier. But if you skip it, I would try the Canadian equivalent in Waterton. It is stunning there, and I completed the best hike there called 'Crypt Lake' (http://www.trailpeak.com/trail-Crypt...k-Gate-AB-2026).

I stayed in a number of camp sites in Jasper and Waterton and skipped the very touristy Banff area. The Icefield's Parkway is stunning to drive if you are going to miss the Going to the Sun road in Glacier. LindainOhio is right, I think it will be closed. But check that out before you go just in case, because it is worth it! I have done it twice now. This summer, when I went at the end of June, it had just opened a week before.

As for food, I love my pizza, so I recommend Jasper Pizza and Waterton Pizza (their actual names!). But, in Jasper, if I must recommend one meal, a guarantee MUST - it would be Prime Rib Village. Order the greek salad and the prime rib, and you will not be disappointed. The owner, Nick, has been making them for years and he is still very hands on.

Check out my blog for more ideas/hikes/restaurants/camping sites I did this summer in Jasper and Waterton (wistfullywandering.wordpress.com)
Cooperstown is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2011, 10:29 AM
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Thanks all for the replies... I am concerned about the driving distances between Jasper and Glacier, so I'm considering eliminating one... just having a hard time figuring out which!
astein12 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2011, 11:26 AM
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You probably know this already, but you're not going to be finding any vineyards in Alberta or in the Rockies... but if it's a serious interest of yours, October's the perfect time to be in the Okanagan Valley in BC - the semi arid valley about a 6 hour drive west from Calgary. There are dozens and dozens of vineyards/wineries to tour, plus I think October's when the Okanagan Wine Festival happens. I just thought I'd throw that out there as you're going to be close enough, relatively speaking. And for what it's worth, the Okanagan's a popular vacation destination for Albertans.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 08:33 PM
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Late October is a "shoulder" season in the Rockies. Often too cold/snowy for hiking/biking but not cold enough or enough snow yet for skiing. Be prepared for cooler weather (average high in October is 10C and low is -1C) and cold/rain or snow.

Some trails will be closed, for example Moraine Lake road is closed in early October, but others will be open. Check with the visitor's centre and they'll be able to advise you which trails are open/in good shape when you arrive.
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Old Aug 19th, 2011, 05:34 AM
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Great info... thanks all!

We're usually shoulder season travelers and pretty strong hikers. We're also firm believers in the old expression that 'There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.' So a little snow and rain is always welcome.

Thanks for all the beer, wine and pizza thoughts... any advice on particular lodging around the area?
astein12 is offline  
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