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Need help with Banff and Jasper Trip planning

Need help with Banff and Jasper Trip planning

Jul 18th, 2017, 10:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 11
Need help with Banff and Jasper Trip planning


We are going to Banff/Jasper in August. We're a couple with four children (ages 18, 16, 10, 7). Our dates are now locked in. We also have made the following reservations in local hotels/AirBnBs.

Flying from Washington DC to Calgary on August 7 and staying with family for two days

August 9-12 - Staying at Harvie Heights (near Banff)

August 13,14 - Staying at Lake Louise Hotel

August 15-18 - Staying on an Air BnB at Patricia Steet in Jasper

I know children will love Gandola, boat rides, glacier, picnics (nothing overly ambitious). We will rent a van. Please help me decide which "must see" attractions should we visit and which "must-do" activities should we keep on our list.

Thanks much!
JonahG is offline  
Jul 24th, 2017, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,514
Waiting for your response as we are planning something similar.
fmpden is offline  
Jul 31st, 2017, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 582
Note that Harvie Heights is actually just outside of Canmore, not Banff. It's a good 20+ minutes from there to Banff, depending on traffic at the park gates/construction.

Pleasant place to stay, but it's well outside the main area of Canmore, so you will be driving to any stores, restaurants or trails/activities. It also rules out convenient access to public transport - the regional bus system runs from Canmore and Banff, but not from Harvie Heights.

As such, you'll probably need to plan on early mornings in order to get parking in Banff. Once in Banff, you can take the local buses or walk within the townsite and take buses to places like Lake Minnewanka and even Lake Louise.

It would be the Lake Louise Inn in Lake Louise. Note that the Inn is down in the "village". That's about 4km from the lake. Parking is a major issue at the lake, so I'd suggest taking the free shuttle from the village. You will need to drive to Moraine Lake -- plan on arriving before 8:30 or after 5pm to get parking.

In Jasper, while the accommodation may have advertised on AirBnB, it would be a Private Home Accommodation (PHA)or a hotel. All accommodations in Jasper must have a business license and rentals of whole houses/apartments are strictly forbidden. So you would be staying in a hotel or in rooms that are part of a house, usually in the basement.

The gondolas/boat rides are nice, but not cheap and not worth doing if the weather is bad. With a family of five, the cost can add up very quickly. They can add to the experience, but there's no need to do lots (or any) paid attractions to have a great time in the parks. So I would do some research and consider your plans.

I think the SkyTram in Jasper is probably the best for views. In Banff/Lake Louise, the Lake Louise Gondola is known for bear spotting, but offers only partial views as the top station is only half way up the mountain (or so). The Banff gondola offers more panoramic views.

The boat tours would be at Lake Minnewanka or Maligne Lake. In either case, you can see the lakes without a cruise and even walk along some of the lakeshores.

The glacier tour is quite pricey now as you're forced to bundle it with the underwhelming Skywalk. A nice and free option is to do the short hike to the toe of the glacier.

For the Banff/LL area, I would look into Lake Louise (perhaps hike to one or more of the teahouses), Moraine Lake, Johnston Canyon, Tunnel Mountain, the hot springs and exploring Banff townsite. In Canmore, Grassi Lakes and walking along the river. For a rainy day, the local rec centre, Elevation Place, is excellent.

Then you have two days to see the Icefields Parkway.

In Jasper area, Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon, Edith Cavell (if you can get a permit) and Jasper townsite.
kgsneds is offline  
Aug 1st, 2017, 04:27 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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I'm bookmarking for good info.
volcanogirl is offline  
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