Jasper & Banff

Old Jan 27th, 2022, 03:19 PM
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Jasper & Banff

Hello.
Looking for advice for our July trip to Jasper and Banff.
So far, the plan is to fly to Edmonton, rent a car and drive to Hinton. We'll get to the hotel late afternoon. We booked 3 nights in Hinton to cover the Jasper part of the trip.
Then we will drive to Canmore where we booked 5 nights. We'll be flying back home from Calgary.
Basically we'll have 2 full days for Jasper, one day to drive on Icefields Parkway to Banff, and 4 full days for Banff.
We are traveling with 2 kids, 9 and 11 years old, used to some hiking, but mostly easy or moderate trails.
Please help with suggestions for daily trips.
What to see and do?
Any tips?
How is the weather the first week of July?
Thanks!
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Old Jan 31st, 2022, 06:54 PM
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Hi Daniella. =) I'll take the first crack here. You don't mention if you are arriving from within Canada or elsewhere, so I'm not sure how much detail to go into for you. For example, Canada Day is on Friday July 1 so a long weekend all 'round. That typically means it gets busy, CoVid notwithstanding. If it's a late Spring, there will still be snow on some of the higher elevation trails, but there should be lots of wildflowers out to greet you. Some are very small but exquisite in detail and colours.
The drive from Edmonton to Hinton is pretty unspectacular but once past Hinton there's much more to see. Is there a reason you want to stay in the Hinton area? You will be much closer to various activities if you stay closer to Jasper, although the prices for accommodation go up. It is not a fast highway along the Number 16 once you get into Jasper National Park just beyond Hinton, as there is wildlife in the area, betimes right along the road. There are cabins at Pocahontas with trails nearby and Miette Hot Springs back into the mountains behind Pocahontas. (If weather is iffy or rainy, that's a good option.) If the weather is warm, and you just don't know because while July can be amazing, it does tend to rain, there is a sandy beach area that was recently developed where the Athabasca River widens along Hwy 16 well before Jasper. Closer to Jasper there are some easy trails, like Valley of the Five Lakes, but with some driving even from Jasper, you will see even more. Maligne Canyon is great for families; we really enjoy the Jasper Skytram, which gives spectacular views in three directions and some solid elevation gain for the kids if you take the trail upward again, past the arrival station, where you can buy a meal or snacks. Take jacket layers tho, it's cooler up there, possibly even light gloves. I would definitely recommend Cavell Meadows. It can get crazy busy there, so go either early in the day or later afternoon, as the days are long in summer. Lots of marmots in the rocks there and some history on Edith Cavell, for whom the beautiful mountain was named. You could take in Athabasca Falls that same day as Cavell or stop in as you go South from Jasper Town on Hwy 93 North Icefields Parkway, toward Lake Louise when you head to Canmore. The Falls are worth a visit.
The whole Parkway is just a.. fantastic drive of gorgeous scenery and perhaps wildlife. Jackets likely needed again if you stop near the Columbia Icefields. At Sunwapta Pass you cross into Banff National Park. I love the outlook over the Weeping Wall, and in July it will still be "weeping" the Spring runoff -- stop at the top of "The Big Bend". Peyto Lake viewpoint was re-opened last fall, lucky you! It is a busy trail but for good reason. There may be snow, as it's seen from the top of a pass, hence "viewpoint". Again, it will depend on how Spring has unfolded. Shortly after Peyto comes Bow Lake and Crowfoot Glacier. It might be a good place to stop for a picnic lunch, I think there are some picnic tables along the lakeside. After that, and more beautiful lakes and scenery, the Parkway joins the TransCanada #1Highway. Further south now, the mountains have a different feel to them than the geology around Jasper. From the junction, which is just before the village of Lake Louise, continue on south toward Banff - the look out over Vermillion Lakes and toward Mt Rundle is iconic. You could make a quick stop into Banff if you have time/inclination. And then, on to Canmore. Watch for the "hoodoos" along the way!
Banff is an easy day trip from Canmore, parking in town can be a challenge and there are parking fees. Sundance Canyon can be a good hike, beyond the Cave and Basin. We did a river raft trip last summer that was very fun, on the Bow River starting just below Bow Falls. Outside of Banff, there are great hikes, like the Upper and Lower Bankhead hikes, and on out to Lake Minnewanka where there is a tour boat if that's of interest. I've never taken it myself. Check out the history of Lake Minnewanka tho... and the option for SCUBA diving there is interesting even if you're not a diver! Lots of Banff National Park hiking options, that *will* require some planning because of crowds and public transit, eg Lake Louise, Morraine Lake, Johnston Canyon, and the Inkpots beyond the Upper Falls for a more challenging, but much less crowded trail. We took the Lake Louise gondola/chair lift last summer, a first, and did some hiking up there, but I think the kids would likely enjoy the Banff Gondola more, which takes you up Sulphur Mountain where the Banff Hotsprings are. We really enjoy both gondolas, it just depends on what your kids will like. =) Closer to Canmore is a half day hike to Grassi Lakes, another busy trail but with a beautiful destination and often rock climbers on hand to watch. But you need the Alberta Kananaskis Conservation Pass to hike Grassi or beyond into the Spray Lakes area, it's a gravel road beyond Grassi. Again, go early (that means before 7am, or even 6 am I'm told for Lake Louise!) or go later in the day to get parking and avoid a lot of day hikers. =)
I hope some of this will be helpful for you -- I can try to answer questions, and there will be others to give more highlights and opinions on what I've offered here. =)
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Old Feb 2nd, 2022, 01:38 PM
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Thanks for all the detailed info and suggestions!
We are traveling from Toronto, starting on July1st. I know it is a long weekend, but we had to wait for the end of school year. 🥴
I've borrowed 4 travel guide books from the library. As I am going through them, I will ask you some questions. Hope it is ok with you 😀
Daniela

Last edited by daniela_wasiljew; Feb 2nd, 2022 at 01:43 PM.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2022, 05:43 PM
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That's just fine. I hope the guidebooks give you some great ideas. =)
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Old Feb 6th, 2022, 09:23 AM
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You must squeeze in The Royal Tyrrell Museum-the most AMAZING dinosaur museum. It’s 90 minutes NW of Calgary.
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Old Feb 7th, 2022, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by deladeb View Post
You must squeeze in The Royal Tyrrell Museum-the most AMAZING dinosaur museum. Itís 90 minutes NW of Calgary.
To add to this, Dinosaur Provincial Park is the ultimate Badlands experience. One of the great landscapes of the world. Also, Taber corn is grown in the region, in a limited supply, and it a treasured agricultural product. It can be bought off trucks by the side of the road and they are supposed to display a certificate of authenticity. Be on the lookout. The Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary is another place great for families. Very scenic. Lots of varied options with kids.
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Old Feb 16th, 2022, 04:35 PM
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Oops, NE of Calgary
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