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One week in the rockies with a 15 month old - please help with itinerary!

One week in the rockies with a 15 month old - please help with itinerary!

Mar 2nd, 2010, 04:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 131
One week in the rockies with a 15 month old - please help with itinerary!


We are planning to spend a week towards the end of June in the rockies with our son who will then be 15 months old. We will be traveling from NYC (we live in Singapore now - we are in NYC for a conference and thought of taking this opportunity to see the rockies). What is the weather usually like in late June? What will be the absolute must-sees / must-dos that you think we would be able to do in a week - considering our pace will be slow given we will be traveling with the baby. This is our first long distance trip and we are completey excited (and terrified) about it.

Please help us with this itinerary! I did some reading in this forum and am completey confused about what to do. Also, we are interested in taking the rocky mountaineer for a couple of days if that is possible. is it worth it?

Thank you!
love_travel11 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 06:54 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Temps will average mid to upper 60s highs and mid 40s lows, but it can vary considerably.

I'd concentrate on Banff/Lake Louise and Jasper. Plenty to do in a week. With a 15 mo old I would stay in no more than 2 places. Maybe 4 in Banff area and 2-3 in Jasper. Don't think I'd opt for hotels. We've often gotten a condo in Canmore, just outside Banff, and it works great for families.

Lake Louise is easy day trip from Banff. Could do Yoho/Kootenay Nat Parks from Banff as well. Definitely drive the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper - stunning scenery and wildlife. Stop at Columbia Icefields and consider a trip onto the glacier in a snow buggy [although I'd caution that it can be rough so a 15-mo old may not like the bumpy trip]. We have often packed a picnic on this trip when weather was nice; lots of places to stop and enjoy the breathtaking views.

You could fly into Calgary and out of Edmonton, but drop off fees on cars can be high so check. Frankly with a week, I'd rent a car in Calgary and return it there - the return trip from Jasper along the parkway would be worth it.
dfr4848 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2010, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 4,412
If you don't have a backpack carrier for your 15mo old, you might consider getting one from outdoor equipment shops such as Mountain Equipment Coop in Calgary or Banff. You might even be able to rent one. It will make walking the trails much more enjoyable for baby and parents.

If you wanted to fly home from Vancouver, you could certainly end your trip with the two-day Rocky Mountaineer train from Calgary to Vancouver.
laverendrye is offline  
Mar 7th, 2010, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1
I wouldn't recommend taking the Rocky Mountaineer with a young child, as you will be spending pretty much the whole 2 days cooped up on the train; it's pretty much non-stop.
Instead, I would recommend making the town of Banff your base; there are playgrounds in the town, and you can go on shorter walks in the immediate area, such as the walk to the top of Tunnel Mountain, or the Fenland Trail along 40-Mile Creek. You could also take in a horseback trail ride and meal; children can ride in the horse-drawn wagon. Drive the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A) between Banff and Lake Louise, making sure to stop at Johnston's Canyon and the other roadside pullouts along the way.
I'm not sure if Banff to Jasper is practical with a 15-month old, as that is a 4 hour drive, nonstop. You would be crazy to drive it nonstop, though, as there are lots of places to stop and enjoy the scenery, which might make the pace more acceptable with a young child. But then you would still have the return trip to deal with.
Country_Wife is offline  
Mar 10th, 2010, 11:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 100
I agree with laverendrye. A child carrier is a must some trails are stroller friendly but most are not. I love Johnston's Canyon and recommend it to all my out of town friends. Make a day of it and bring lots of water and a picnic lunch. You can go right up to the Ink Pots if you are in any kind of physical shape. You can take the Johnston Canyon parkway all the way to Lake Louise or just to the highway 93 cutoff. This is a gorgeous stretch of road and has many places to pull over and take pictures. The other sites are Marble Canyon which I believe has reopened after a devestating forest fire several years ago and the paint pots. Both are less than an hour hikes a short drive down hwy 93 south. Lake Louise is also a must see. In Kananaskis country just south of Canmore( you can get access from Canmore- gravel road get sites to see) you can make your way up to Shark Mountain and hike to the Karst(under ground river)
Again this is a really level hike ( you could use a bicycle as it is mostly cross country ski trails)with just the last 200 metres being a 50 metre climb with stairs and paths. It takes about 3 hours round trip. My wife has taken some of the most beautiful pictures in this area. Of course the normal tourist things are the gondola ride in Banff or Lake Louise. The hot springs in Banff or take a day and go to Radium. There are real natural hot springs near Canal Flats but again with a small child it may not be worth it. Lake O'Hara is another place a lot of people go but in 27 years in Calgary I have never been. I did price out staying at the lodge for a weekend but decided to take a 2 week all inclusive beach vacation( same price). No need to be terrified day time weather is usually pretty warm. Early morning and evening it is moderated by the snow on the mountains. Dress in layers no need for snow boots or mittens but it has been know to snow every month of the year in Alberta. Hope you have a great time.
MrShort1 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2010, 03:31 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 593
I'd pass on the Rocky Mountaineer with a child that young as well. In the FAQs on their website, RMRT says that "the Rocky Mountaineer trip is a minimum of two 9-hour days onboard the train, which may be long for some children."

You could consider flying NYC to Calgary, renting a car and visiting Banff, then Jasper (where you drop the car), then VIA Rail's overnight train "The Canadian" from Jasper to Vancouver, where you fly out. www.Viarail.ca VIA is less expensive than RMRT and there will be other families on it.

In Jasper, you might want to consider staying at a private home accommodation. Some of them cater to families with kids and you can get a 1 or 2 bedroom suite with kitchen or kitchenette for a lot less than a hotel room. www.stayinjasper.com Easier to self-cater, more homey and definitely a lot cleaner. Toddlers spend a lot of time on/near the floor - I would be very cautious about hotel room flooring.
krp329 is offline  
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