itinerary help-Banff, lake Louise 8 days

May 22nd, 2008, 01:30 PM
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itinerary help-Banff, lake Louise 8 days

Aug 3 heading to Calgary. Then on to Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louise. We have the flights but haven't really planned much else out. However reading this forum, I'm confused as to how to plan this. It sounds like Yoho and Lake Louise would be the beter choices than Banff and Jasper since we like nature, vistas, hiking etc. Does anyone have an itinerary suggestion. I know I need to at least get accomodations reserved. Should we stay in one place the whole time or get several different accomodations? Help! thanks so much.
heyjude2919 is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 03:49 PM
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Considering you are going to be arriving in the height of tourist season, where you stay is likely to be dictated by where you can find accomodation(s). It's very late to be planning this trip and you're choice(s) will likely be very limited.

Itineray suggestions are hard without information such as number/ages of people travelling, what you like to see/do, budget considerations etc.

Here's a website that may help you:

I would recommend booking your accomodations asap.

ShelliDawn is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 04:55 PM
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Thanks so much. It is just me and my husband. We are 60 and 62. And really don't need anything fancy. The views and hikes are what's important to us. I will check out the website. Thanks
heyjude2919 is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 05:22 PM
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I just looked at the website and the different itineraries there. The 10 day itinerary there took in Vancouver. I hadn't considered including Vancouver. I'll think about that. I was thnking 2days Banff, 3 days Lake Louise 2 days Yoho, 2 days Jasper and a extra day if I could getr the bus to Lake Ohara and of course i day flying in and one day out. If I did that would staying in one lodge be the best idea? Also I put in a request for a B&B treetops (pretty cheap)in Banff and then maybe 5 nights at baker creek (that's all they had
heyjude2919 is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 05:32 PM
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August 5-8 is a holiday weekend and you will definitely have difficulty finding accommodation for then, so I would work out where you would like to be then and book that ASAP!

The towns of Banff and Jasper (and Field, in Yoho NP) are just a small area of their respective parks - all of the parks are primarily wilderness and all have abundant natural beauty.

Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks can all be visited from one base, which could be in the towns of Banff or Canmore, the villages of Lake Louise or Field, or any of the "outlying accommodations" (cabins, bungalows) in Banff or Yoho NPs.

The Banff/Lake Louise Tourism bureau has full accommodation listings for those areas:

The town of Jasper is about 3.5 hours' drive from the town of Banff (or about 3 hours from Lake Louise) and makes an ideal base for the sights of Jasper National Park.

If the only thing you plan to see in JNP is the Columbia Icefields, you could do that as a day trip from Banff, however if you wish to see other areas like Mt. Edith Cavell, Maligne Lake, Athabasca Falls, Maligne Canyon etc., then you would be best staying in the Jasper area for some of your vacation.

Jasper Tourism has accommodation listings:

An economical alternative to expensive hotels in Jasper NP is private home accommodation or B&Bs:

Parks Canada has a very useful and informative website on all the parks, and what to do and see in them. Go to and then choose the park of your choice for more info.
krp329 is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 06:45 PM
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You might be able to find a vacant apartment for a few nights in the town of Field in Yoho, about 14 miles of mostly highway driving from Lake Louise and about 17 from Moraine Lake.

Try Google for Field Accommodations.
Or go here:

We have stayed at Spiral Tunnels and Mt. Stephen Guest House. Both are good with Spiral Tunnels being both a little more expensive and a little nicer. (King bed, nice sitting room, big bathroom with separate tub and shower.)

In Jasper, you will probably take what you can find. If you get lucky, Becker's Chalets will have an opening. I also stayed twice at Jassper House Bungalows, but it is often booked in August.

One other place that is nice and might have a vacancy is Mount Engadine Lodge. The food there is great. We had a room in the tri-plex cabin that was fine.

If you want some adventure, hike to Twin Falls Chalet. The trail is about 8 k up there, but flat until the end. It is right by the very beautiful Twin Falls. The chalet, however, is what I would term rustic. No electricity; cooking is on a wood stove. Fran Drummond who has run the place for many years as a labor of love is a fantastic cook and something of a legend in her own time.

TFC is not everybody, but my wife and I have been there quite a few times. There is one blockbuster of a scenic hike to take from there: The Whaleback Trail. I did it at age 70. It was a little of a challenge, but egads what scenery.
The view from the high point of the trail is the stuff of legends. No view like it elsewhere in the Rockies.

ShelliDawn (got it right this time) is right on. I have found that advice from ShelliDawn and Judy in Calgary is always expert because they live there and know the territory very, very well.

I have visited there quite a few times, and love the area.

In your planning don't leave out Kootenay Park which is west of Banff Park. Yoho is a small park in terms of area, but it has a lot packed into a small area. Takkakaw Falls are a beautiful alpine waterfall that I find enchanting just to view.

I think you find places to stay first! Then start fitting in the attractions.

Here is a quick, partial list:

Johnston Canyon (just off the road from Banff to Lake Louise near Castle Junction.)
Marble Canyon (over the Vermillion Pass in Kootenay)
Moraine Lake
Lake Louise
Plain of Six Glaciers Trail (about 3 miles to the tea house)
Takkakaw Falls
Emerald Lake (perhaps; I rate it lesser than most)
Bow Lake
Peyto Lake with a hike up the hill to the west for a view from the meadows above the lake)
Mistaya Canyon.
Parker Ridge
Athabasca Glacier
Sunwapta Falls
Athabasca Falls
The Angel Glacier coming off of Mt. Edith Cavell
The Whistler (reached by a Swiss cable lift)
Maligne Lake and Canyon

There are a bunch of others, but I will spend 3 days doing Twin Falls Chalet just for the fun of it.

There are some lesser attractions, too, like Panther Falls that can be reached by a short trail from the parking lot near the top of Sunwapta Pass as you change over from Banff to Jasper. The trail is at the lower end of the lot and leads to the highest falls in Banff Park.

The falls will get you wet, however. We went down there one sunny day clad in full rain gear. Some old geezer, about my age or younger, was sitting on the hood of his car. As we headed down the trail, he give us a very quizzical look. Full Goretex rain gear on a sunny day? Did these two escape from the funny farm?

After a while we returned, dripping wet from head to toe because we got a full dose of spray from the falls. The man was still sitting on his car. As we walked past, he really did give us a quizzical look. My helpful wife said to him as she went by, "We went for a swim."

Let me conclude with this idea.
Find places to stay. Then pick your spots to visit. There is more there than you will have time to see, so see what you can and enjoy it. You will not regret it, ever!!

bob_brown is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 07:55 PM
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Thank you so much. I am getting more acquanited with the area every hour. I'll try booking tomorrow. Ilift a message at Spirit Tunnels. So it looks like I should get a place for a couple of nights in Jasper a couple in Banff and the rest around Lake Louise and Yoho. I assume the order doesn't really matter as long as I get a place to stay.
heyjude2919 is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 01:27 AM
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If you don't like the commercialized town sites and enjoy hiking, my recommendation is to skip Banff and Jasper and head to Waterton.

Waterton has BEST hiking trails in Alberta and probably second to none in Canada. (okay, West Coast Trail is pretty good and high on my list)

Crypt Lake hike is a must in Waterton. I can spend 2 weeks hiking in Waterton. Cameron Lake is over rated. The shoreline hike is good. You can even walk across the border to the US without anyone stopping you. Actually, there is no one there to stop you. There is a US Park Ranger station at the other side of the lake and that's it.

Wild life is plentiful. Bears, Cougars, Moose etc are everywhere. Deer & Elk graze at the town site (attracting the cougars)

CAUTION: There are bear sightings daily and bear mauling is frequent. I always make my first stop at the Park Wardens and highlight the bear sighting on my map (places to avoid).

If you really want Jasper/Banff etc. then the suggestion from Bob Brown is good. High on my list are: In Lake Lousie, the tea houses (there are 2 of them), the Beehives, the Hunter's cabin on the other side. Along the "Parkway", Peyto lake, Mt Edith Cavell, Johnston canyon and the Athbasca Falls are good. I also like Pyramid Lake by Jasper.

Have you consider travel by bicycles?
Eschew is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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I suggest calling Spiral Tunnels.

I presume Karla still owns the house.
I have not been there in several years, so I don't know for sure.

The place books up rather quickly.
bob_brown is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 02:28 PM
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> CAUTION: There are bear sightings > daily and bear mauling is frequent.

Pardon me, Eschew, but the second part of this statement is simply not true. Bear attacks do happen in the Rockies from time to time, but serious maulings are very few and far between.

The trick is to make the bears aware that you are there by making noise on the trail (hollering, whistling, clapping etc ... forget those stupid little bells that hardly make any noise and identify you as a gullible tourist) and the very vast majority of the time, they will avoid humans.

As you say, it's a good idea to check the bear reports, and the trail report too (for closures). Parks Canada is now publishing the previous weeks' sighting report online - check the website for whichever park you are interested in at - there is a link on the homepage for each park.

Bears are very mobile and verywhere in the parks, so avoiding places where they have been sighted basically means you wouldn't go anywhere. And probably the majority of sightings are not reported anyway. You just need to be aware that "you are in bear country" and act accordingly. If this is new to you, ask at the Park Information Centre.

I am aware of about five bear-related fatalities over the past thirty years in the Canadian Rockies (which is a vast area, ALL of it is "bear country") - the last one being a couple of years ago when some runners were knowingly in a area that had been closed because of a problem bear.

In Jasper National Park, I am aware of a few non-fatal attacks in the past several years; all of them were defensive behaviour on the bear's part - the humans were careless and surprised the bear. Mountain biking is particularly dangerous, as you are fast AND quiet, and can come around a corner and find yourself too close to a bear.

From wikipedia, in ALL of North America:

"There were about 52 recorded deaths due to black bears between 1900 and 2003 and about 50 deaths due to brown bears and about 5 due to polar bears in the same period."

I know the list that is compiled in that article is not 100% accurate, as there is one fatality from Jasper National Park in the 1980's that is missing - but still, you can hardly say that bear maulings are "frequent".

The number of bears killed in the parks because of habituation (which is usually caused by human carelessness) leading to problem behaviour is higher than the number of humans killed in attacks. Humans are definitely more dangerous to bears than the other way around!

Yes, there IS a slight danger from bears - but to say attacks are "frequent" is really overstating it. Driving in a car is statistically more dangerous.
krp329 is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 03:45 PM
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If I may put my 2 worth in, I agree that Crypt Lake is a good hike.
Other hikes in the Waterton area may be fine, but there are too many in the Canadian Rockies to start saying that one park has a monopoly on the best ones.

If I had to nominate one park for the most best trails award I would say Yoho without hesitating. The circuit from Lake O'Hara to Lake Oesa, then along the Yukness Ledge to Opabin Lake and then the steep descent to O'Hara is hard to beat.
Or if you want a real hike, take the Wiwaxy Gap to Oesa, or the All-Souls Alpine route.

That said, others come to mind such as the Whaleback with the Waterfall Valley extension and possibly a section of the Iceline thrown in for good measure.

I think it is a question of what one likes. Given the hundreds of trails, there has got to be something for everyone with no one location being the champion.

And yes, The mountains of Glacier and Waterton are geologically part of the Canadian Rockies. They were formed at the same time as the peaks around Banff and Jasper.

The distinguishing characteristic of the Glacier-Waterton formations is their ancient age. They are pre Cambrian and, they do not have fossils with bones. They actually originated as part of a very old landmass known as Rodinia.

When Rodinia split up and began drifiting, the Rockies kept two pieces at the northern and southern ends, but the chunk in the middle is now part of Australia. Yep, continents do drift about over geologic time.

The Purcells and Selkirks of Glacier Canada are technically not part of the Canadian Rockies. The Rocky Mountain Trench forms the western boundary. Right now, the Columbia River fills a good part of the trench before it turns around and flows southward to Washington and ultimately westward to the Pacific near Portland, Oregon.

bob_brown is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 08:44 AM
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Thanks so much to all. We did have trouble but have secured 4 nights in Field in a private room in a hostal and have our names on a waiting list for Baker Creek. Then 2 nights in Jasper and 2 nights in Banff at a B&B. So htat's pretty much our tiinerary. We have been to Glacier National Park and got to Waterton but only for a day. We'll head back there another time. The hike tips for all of the areas are great. Thanks to all.
heyjude2919 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 05:24 PM
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You will have a wonderful time in the Canadian Rockies. Be sure to plan on a full day to drive from the Banff area to Jasper... there are lots of beautiful stops along the way (with many excellent walks or hikes of varying lengths) and you will want to enjoy them as many as possible.
msteacher is offline  

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