Apr 19th, 1999, 01:25 PM
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We are planning a l0 day - two week vacation in the above places in August. This is a first time visit. Any suggestions regarding scheduling and hotels would be appreciated.
Apr 20th, 1999, 03:39 AM
Bob Brown
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I have visited the area in which you plan to take your vacation several times. In fact, we will be back in August, flying into and out of Calgary.
Normally we stay in Field, BC, in Yoho National Park, just over the Great Divide from Lake Louise.

The reason for that is convenience and cost. I suggest that you spread your time out with two days for each location, but you will want to allow time for an all day drive up the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper. Our first trip, we drove it both ways, spending two nights in Jasper. In Jasper, we stayed at Jasper House Bungalows. You will find motel prices high in that region. In Jasper, there is a list of Parks Approved accommodations in private homes that you can get from Parcs Canada. Those we used once. We found the arrangement to be satisfactory, but you are negotiating with a private individual who probably does not take credit cards. We sent cash through the postal service.
There are so many wonderful sights to see, I could not begin to describe them all, again. I have written on this theme many times on this forum, so you might want to track down what others have said. This is an oft repeated comment.
Apr 20th, 1999, 04:41 PM
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Please look into Kananaskis. It is a beautiful area ,built for the winter Olympics, located between Banff and Calgary. It has just three inns, hotels and wonderful restaurants and beautiful golf courses. I would not miss this area, at least for one night.
Apr 25th, 1999, 07:05 PM
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We visited this area in August '96. It is a spectacular place to go. We arrived in Calgary and were on motorcoach tours of Lake Louise, Jasper and Banff. From Banff, we rode the Rocky Mountaineer to Vancouver and flew home from there. Calgary was a beautiful clean city although our time was limited there to just one overnight, so we did not get to thoroughly enjoy it. We stayed at the Palliser, a Canadian Pacific property and it was a distinguished and lovely hotel. We stayed at the Chateau Lake Louise (a room with a view) and it was splendid as well. The scenery is aweinspiring. If you're active, don't miss one of the many hikes you can take around the lake which take you up to vistas with spectacular views! (Don't forget to pack a sweater or other light jacket, these areas are chilly even in August). En route to Jasper via the Icefields Parkway, if you notice a sign for Peyto Lake, be sure to stop for a pic. Also recommend the Athabasca Glacier and snocoach tour (again, dress warmly for this--we were about the only people there in shorts--talk about a winter jolt in August!). Another good picture spot is the Athabasca Falls also en route to Jasper. In Jasper, we stayed at the Chateau Jasper, a nice comfortable lodge located along the main drag in town which is only about a mile or so long. Sights we enjoyed in Jasper were the Tramway, all the local wildlife, Maligne Canyon, Pyramid and Patricia Lakes (not too far from town), and horseback riding along the ridges of Jasper at Pyramid Stables (there are several places which offer horseback riding). I expected the most from Banff which later gave us the least in excitement. Don't get me wrong, t's beautiful, but also touristy and somewhat stuffy, you can shop on Banff Avenue, etc. We stayed at the Banff Springs Hotel which was overrated, in our opinion. Again, we only had an overnight here, so we missed a few sites, the the gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain. We liked Jasper the best of all the towns, just because we had more time to relax and it is so laid back but beautiful. We had one night in Calgary (needed two), two nights in Jasper which was good, one night at Lake Louise which also was good if you get there early in the afternoon. Be prepared for check-in lines if you stay at the Chateau. We had one night in Banff and needed two here as well. Since we were booked via the motorcoach tours in connection with the rail tour, we were at the mercy of their scheduling I would recommend investigating the sites and self-drive if you can. The only problem is the diversion of the task of driving instead of viewing, you'll probably want to make frequent stops. The nights were cool, so pack some fall attire in addition to the summer attire.
Apr 27th, 1999, 02:01 PM
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We made 2 trips to the area, one in July and one in April. For Banff I would recommend The Rimrock Resort. It is above town with spectacular views of the valley. They have a shuttle bus that runs back and forth to town. You will avoid many of the big tour buses that off-load at other larger hotels. Breakfast and dinner are first rate. In Lake Louise we suggest the Post Hotel. It is just off the main road, but is quiet. It is a Relais & Chateaux property. Chateau Lake Louise Hotel also does a big tour group business. There is public parking at the Lake so you can still visit and enjoy their restaurants. In the small "shopping center" in Lake Louise (Samson Mall) is a fabulous bakery, Laggan's Mountain Bakery. There is always a line out the door, but it moves quickly and they have good soups, pot pies and pastries. Jasper seemed less visited than the other 2 areas. More wildlife to view, including a black bear...be sure to make some noise if you're hiking. Kananaskis is just at the entrance to the Rockies. We found the hotel better maintained than the lodge. Both are Canadian Pacific properties. They share most of the same facilities and restaurants. Good place to do hiking. Regardless where you stay, be ready to work with crowds and traffic. The scenery is worth the trip.
May 6th, 1999, 08:26 AM
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I did this trip 2 years ago and stayed at the Post Hotel in Lake Louise also and highly recommend it. In Banff and Jasper we stayed in B&Bs rather than large hotels and were glad we did because we got good recommendations from the owners on hikes, restaurants, etc. There is a book available at larger bookstores that is a guide to all Canadian B&Bs, or you can probably get a lot of the same information now on the internet. We stayed only 3 nights in Banff and I would have liked 5. We stayed 2 nights in Lake Louise which was perfect. We stayed 3 nights in Jasper which was about right, although another night would have been OK (I personally liked the Banff area better than Jasper and found there was much more to do in the area, although both were lovely -- and I disagree with the other person who thought Banff was stuffy). Gondola rides in both Banff and Jasper were fantastic -- ride up, hike down (allow lots of time!). In addition to Lake Louise, don't miss Emerald Lake and Maligne Lake. The drive between Banff and Jasper is gorgeous and you should allow time for lots of stops -- I would not do it all in one day if I were you. We stopped overnight on the way in Sunwapta Falls which was nothing fantastic but broke up the drive and allowed us to spend time seeing things on the way. We did a great hike at Peyto Lake which is worth a good long stop. The Icefields are neat and I recommend the tour. I would not spend much time in Calgary at all (that's where we flew in and out of -- trust me, your time is better spent in the mountains!). Bring tons of film!
May 11th, 1999, 06:11 PM
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I live in Calgary and last summer did a week in the area with a 6 and 8 year old girls. In Calgary they loved Heritage Park (buy the ticket that includes rides). This will take a whole day and is real favourite. Our Zoo has special guests (Koala bears) this summer and as zoo's go Calgary's is excellent. In Banff go up to Lake Minniwanka (I can't spell it sorry) but it has a great boat ride they would enjoy.

In Banff you also have the Gondola ride up Sulphur Mtn and the Upper Hot Springs Pool. Check out the Cave and Basin for the history of the park and go for a walk around the Banff Springs Hotel. If it's raining there is mini-golf and bowling in the Banff Springs Hotel plus a 4 screen movie theatre downtown and they might enjoy the Luxton Museum. Best place in Banff that's a good deal is the High Country Inn. 2nd choice would be the Banff Caribou Lodge. The High Country has a swimming pool.

Check out Takakkaw Falls just inside B.C. in Yoho Park.You can walk up real close and get nice and wet. It's a short walk and the children will enjoy it. Don't miss Emerald Lake (in the area). Also Lake Louise is always popular and you can rent a canoe or take the stroll along the right side of the lake. Don't miss Moraine Lake either. (On the road up to Lake Louise watch for the sign).

Jasper is nice but really isn't too impressive to two young girls. It's a long drive although a stop at the ice-fields is always popular. Still it's a long way and it's really for hikers and white water rafting. If you do go make sure you go to Mt. Edith Cavell and take the little trail to see the glacier up close.

Other ideas in Calgary is Sicome Lake (for swimming - way out South on Macleod Tr and left at 162 Av). Downtown we have Eau Claire market with water park, IMAX and Prince's Island that's nice to walk through. We also have Bowness Park that has canoes to rent on the lagoon.
A great daytrip from Calgary is the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller which allows children to actually go on a dinosaur dig. Two seperate children visiting have found dinosaur bones unique in the world which were named after them. There is a wonderful museum there and I'm sure you will not be disappointed.

In my opinion you might prefer to drive to Waterton instead of Jasper. Waterton is 3 hours south of Calgary on the U.S. border. They have Waterton Lake (boat cruise takes you into Montana) and Cameron Lake. You are most likely to see bears in Waterton. Also in this area is Red Rock Canyon. Waterton is small and still undiscovered by the big tour companies and we've had lots of success with all the visitors we've taken there. On the way down from Calgary after about 2 hours why not check "Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump" with some good Indian history.

Have fun

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