need help planning banff/jasper trip

Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 07:58 AM
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need help planning banff/jasper trip

hi all -
husband and i are planning trip to can. rockies either late summer or early fall and want to see can. rockies. vancouver is not of interest right now. we are very active, love small interesting towns, local flavors, hiking, scenery, wine, nice hotels and great food. can you give me some place to start on this. we will have about 7-10 days. itineraries are appreciated! thank you!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 08:42 AM
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I would suggest that you do a lot of reasearch - there's a lot of informtion accessed through a search of this site, and narrow things own a bit.

My husband and I did a similar trip summer before last. We flew into Calgary, spending the first night in Canmore, a small, appealling town with a number of bandbs. In the morning we did a nearby pleasant introdutory hike, then went swimming in a cold but beautiful lake on our way towards Banff {busy} and Lake Louise, our final destination of this leg.

We stayed at the Lake Louise hostel for a entire week because of its perfect proximity to the trails and sites we were interested in experiencing.We love to hike! It was clean and comfortable, and has an excellent, informal restaurant open to the public. But was it noisy! Friends who stayed there in the fall had a much different experience; they said it was quiet! I dunno!

If finances are not an issue, there are perhaps better alternatives for you.

The highlight of the trip was the Iceline Parkway to Jasper. We took it both ways, allowing plenty of time to hike {some of the best hiking in the park}, take in the glacier, etc. It's an amazing drive!

While we appreciated the LL and Yoho{don't overlook this amazing park} area for its sheer beauty - we were constantly oohing and ahing on the hikes, we saw much more wildlife in Jasper - bear,bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk... We didn't hike nearly as much as in the other areas, because of the oppressive heat and smoke from nearby forest fires. There are wonderful drives to spot animals and scenery here. My ultimate favorite was a drive nearly at dusk to see Angell Glacier. on the drive up we saw the awesome waterfall, elk, a momma bear with her cubs, and othe animls, We almost had the trail {short to the little lake and mini-iceburgs) to ourselves at this hour. Spectacular scenery for not a lot of effort.

From Jasper you can drive to the impressive Mt. Robson, or take in a soak in a hotspring, raft and horsebackride. We stayed at very peaceful cabin overlooking the river,and cooked our own meals. Sometimes elk and deer would wander through.

From Jasper, we headed to Waterton for a couple of days {wonderful], Head-Smashed In" historical site, and onto dinosaur country, Dinosaur Provincial Park and then Drummheller {fantastic museum} and back to Calgary.

This itinerary took us three weeks. A Banff-Jasper and back route would allow you time without rushing. Perhaps 4 or 5 nights in Banff or Lake Louise and 3 in Jasper, with a day at either end for travel?
Molly2 is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 10:53 AM
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You are so kind to give me al of this info. It helps so much! I like your ideas. Perfect. We love B and Bs. We use Karen brown guides for Europe and love her ideas. What B&Bs do you suggest? Is Glac. NP and yellowstone in the US out of the way to add to this trip?
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Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 11:09 AM
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Hello zacky,

Molly has given you good advice.

If you have only 10 days, there is no way you could fit in Glacier National Park in Montana and Yellowstone. It would be way too rushed. I suppose it could be done if you did nothing else but drive, but you would have no time to stop at scenic lookout points or hike.

I think this would be a nice 10-day itinerary.

1 - Fly into Edmonton.
2 - Morning in Edmonton, afternoon drive to Jasper.
3 - Explore Jasper's environs.
4 - Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise.
5 - Lake Louise (explore Moraine Lake and LL itself).
6 - Lake Louise (explore Yoho National Park).
7 - Take Bow Valley Parkway, walk into Johnston Canyon, drive on to Banff townsite. Overnight in Banff townsite or Canmore.
8 - Drive to Calgary the long way, through Kananaskis Country, over the Highwood Pass and through the small town of Bragg Creek.
9 - Day trip to Drumheller to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
10 - Fly home.

Do word searches here at Fodors for Beckers Chalets (Jasper), Post Hotel, Deer Lodge, Baker Creek Chalets and Paradise Lodge & Bungalows (Lake Louise), Buffalo Mountain Lodge (Banff), Lady Macdonald Country Inn (Canmore), Kensington Riverside Inn (Calgary). All of those properties have charm.

There are no B&B establishments in the village of Lake Louise (at least none that I know of). There are B&Bs in Jasper, Banff, Canmore and Calgary. In Jasper they have several "home accommodators," which are similar to B&Bs, but they don't serve breakfast. If you really do want B&Bs, as opposed to the properties I've mentioned, I suggest you return and let us know that.

You could reverse the direction of the trip if airfares were more favourable. Also compare car rental drop off fees doing it each way. If you don’t want to fly open jaw, this itinerary can be adapted so that it’s a round trip flying in and out of Calgary.

In the first week of September, Banff’s daily high temperature averages 60 deg F and the low averages 37 deg F, but the temperature on a given day could be much higher or lower. In 2003 it got up to 83 deg F, but that was a unusual year. It easily can be in the low 30s F at night, and may get as low as 28 deg F. You have a good chance of getting a bit of snow, but it usually doesn’t last long at that time of year, and shouldn’t cramp your style, as long as you’re dressed properly. Wear lightweight hiking boots, dress in layers, and have an outer jacket that is wind- and water-resistant. Bring gloves or mittens and, especially if your jacket doesn't have a warm hood, bring a warm hat.

Mountain restaurants are casual at lunchtime. The moderately priced ones are casual at dinnertime too. The upscale ones are smart casual at dinnertime.

Write away for a free map and travel guide from Travel Alberta at:

and from Tourism British Columbia (for Yoho and Kootenay National Parks) at:

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 02:15 PM
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You will not be disappointed in the Canadian Rockies. I have been there several times and by now I have my specific targets.

First, bear in mind that Banff and Jasper are two of five possible national parks in the that area.
The other three are Yoho (my favorite), Kootney, and Glacier. (Not in the US.)
In addition there is the Alberta park of Peter Lougheed, which geologically is an extension of Banff.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology is a World Heritage Site and well it should be. It is a museum that is focused on one topic: paleontology. If the development of life on this planet is of no interest, then perhaps it is not worth the effort.
Personally, I have been there twice and have hopes to return again.

The educational program at the museum is tremendous. Mostly the dramatizations are aimed at the younger set, but they are fun those interested regardless of age because they are clever and the young men and women who handle the task are enthusiastic about what they do.

When you say "nice hotels", the weak dollar (if US funded) may cause you a little sticker shock, particularly around Lake Louise and Jasper.

If you are serious about visiting the area, I suggest two books. The Canadian Rockes Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson and the Handbook of the Canadian Rocies by Ben Gadd. The two works complement each other nicely.
bob_brown is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2005, 06:24 PM
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zacky, I hesitate to recomend the bandb we stayed at in Canmore as it was "just o.k."

"Taste the Past" in Drumheller we liked a whole lot. We stayed in a large room with an ensuite bath {seperate shower area} very interesting artwork, friendly, helpful host and hostess, and excellent breakfast. It's a short walk into town and restaurants.

We also very much liked the bandb we stayed at in Waterton, but the owners were planning on selling. Post again if you manage to fit Waterton (somewhere!) in your trip, and I'll try and find out for you. I think, though, that Lake Louise, Yoho and Jasper will keep you plenty busy! Yellowstone and Glacier/Waterton would make for a perfect return trip - and I KNOW you'll want to return!

Molly2 is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2005, 08:30 PM
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My husband and I did this trip this past September. We flew into Calgary and drove to the Lake Louise area for the first 3 nights. We stayed at Baker Creek Chalets. We then drove to Jasper for another 3 nights. You will take a full day driving the icefield parkway. You have to stop every few miles to take pictures and walk to waterfalls, etc. The trip up on the glacier is a must do! We then spent another full day coming back over the parkway and stayed in Banff for 4 nights. I really enjoyed the parkway,Jasper and the drive down to Field ( we did that while we were staying close to Lake Louise) more than I did Banff.
If you have any specific question, you can e-mail me at [email protected]
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Old Mar 27th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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While doing research for my own trip, I found two B&Bs that looked great.Thea's House and Eleanor's House. They have their own websites.In Jasper I chose The Park Place Inn.I liked the looks of the hotel. It is in the town, not "out in the scenery" but with driving the icefields parkway all day I think we will appreciate being able to walk to a restaurant when we arrive in the evening. Good luck!
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Old Mar 27th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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Suggest you go to:
Order the tour book they offer. I just got mine in the mail this week-end. It lays out the area surrounding Calgary and the points of interest in each of them even outlining multiple day trips to hit highlights of the whole area. The region is very diverse. This publication was an education for me.
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