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Please advice on 1.5 day itinerary in Jasper, Banff

Please advice on 1.5 day itinerary in Jasper, Banff

Old May 21st, 2016, 10:59 PM
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Please advice on 1.5 day itinerary in Jasper, Banff

Hi,
I have a wedding in Edmonton on a Wed evening in mid June and have to be back in Edmonton by Fri evening (about 8 PM), so we (going with 4 adults and an infant) basically have Thurs morning to Fri evening. I would like to maximize our day and a half and see as much as we can as we have never been to the Canadian Rockies before. I'm are not sure we'll be able to fly out and come back again to spend the week plus required to see all the beautiful parts of the Rockies.
After spending time researching the vast gorgeous hikes and scenic points, I'm overwhelmed, to say the least, at all the things I want us to be able to see, but am not sure what we can realistically do in the short time frame. We are interested in gorgeous views, scenic yet easy (and short) hikes; no musuems or culture for the short duration we have. We would like to drive from Jasper to Lake Louise/ Banff or vice versa to explore the Icefields Parkway, Peyto Lake, Bow Parkway, Maligne Canyon/Lake, Johnston Canyon, Mirror Lake, Athabasca Falls, Lake Louise, Lake Moraine and Mistaya Canyon.
Realistically, I don't see us leaving Edmonton on Thurs morning until 8 or 9 AM due to the wedding the night before. We know there would be a lot of driving, due to Edmonton being the starting and end point at opposed to Calgary. What do you think we can see and do within this short time frame? If we drive from Edmonton to Jasper, it says it takes about 4 hours, so let's say we get there about 1 PM. Since, it gets dark late, like 10:00 PM, would there be enough time to drive down the Icefields Parkway and see the lookouts,with a short hike or two until it gets dark, reaching Banff/Canmore at around 10 PM? It says it's about a 4 hours straight drive from Jasper to Banff/Canmore, but we want to take in the Icefields Parkway and stop by the scenic lookout points, at least a few of the most stunning ones, since we wouldn't have time time for all.
Then Friday morning, we could leave accommodations by 7:30 AM and do what? Drive back up the Icefields Parkway and get to do some lookouts and hikes we didn't get a chance to do on the way there? Or spend time in Banff, some hiking, Cascade Mountain, Kananaskis and driving back up to Calgary to Edmonton? What is a better idea which utilizes our time more wisely and is a little less driving? We will be packing food to eat on the way, so we can spend as much time driving/hiking; not going to eat out.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post and for sharing your advice and opinion!!
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Old May 24th, 2016, 11:52 AM
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Theoretically it's doable, but NOT suggested or realistic, especially with a baby in tow. You'd be spending all your time in the car.

You really have one night. Driving all the way from Edmonton to Jasper to Banff is not realistic in one day. With construction, speed limits, if the weather is good, you'd be looking at 9 hrs of driving at least. It's a good 4 hrs from Edmonton to Jasper -- probably longer now because there is construction in several places between the park gates and Jasper townsite. Then a good 4-4.5 hrs from Jasper to Banff, usually longer when you factor in slow traffic, construction etc.

Nine hours of tires on the road - not counting any stops. You'll need to get gas at least once, not to mention stopping for food, bathrooms and to actually see the sights. Not least doing any hiking. Not realistic at all.

I think the only realistic option is to do an overnight trip to Jasper. If you can find a place to stay - starting looking ASAP. You will probably have more lucky midweek, but things are booking up very quickly.

Leave bright and early, drive to Jasper and explore a bit of the parkway before heading to your hotel. Then explore around Jasper/parkway before heading back to Edmonton on Friday.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 02:14 PM
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Thanks kgsneds for your reply and advice!! I think we're going to be mostly driving with short hike and or walks, stopping for photos and picnic. I'm wondering if we have to choose between Banff & Jasper, wouldn't Banff make more sense? Meaning we would be able to see more sights, like Johnston Canyon, Moraine Lake, Yoho NP,Lake Louise, drive 45 minutes up the ice fields parkway to bow parkway to see Peyto Lake before turning back and maybe Kananaskis, no?
If we go to Jasper, we would see less due to the amount of driving needed to get to each place, like besides abathasca falls and maligne lake, I'm not sure what else we would see.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 02:16 PM
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I have already booked accommodations in Jasper and Banff, so I'm going to be canceling one location, as soon as I figure out what to do.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 03:26 PM
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Listen to kgsneds. He knows the area.

Forget Banff this trip and enjoy Jasper and area.
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Old May 30th, 2016, 08:08 AM
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Yes, there's lots to see around Banff and Lake Louise, but you haven't allowed nearly enough time to do that kind of trip. If you drive to Banff via the Icefields Parkway you won't have time to make any stops, let alone side trips to somewhere like Yoho NP.

With one night, Jasper is the only realistic option -- you have time to drive there and explore a bit one afternoon and one morning before driving back.
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Old May 30th, 2016, 03:11 PM
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Sigh. I don't travel often, especially not for vacation, so I was figuring to get to see as much as I can. I guess I'm just trying to fit too much in the short time. Thanks you, kgsneds, for taking the time to reply several times to my questions and sharing your opinion! So, we'll see Jasper and along some of the parkway, time allowing.
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Old May 30th, 2016, 03:14 PM
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Hopefully, for when I return to the Rockies, how many days are recommended to see Banff, LL and some of the parkway in the summer time? Just for nature, scenic and easy hiking activities.
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Old May 31st, 2016, 07:38 AM
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You could spend weeks, but probably at least 2-4 days in Jasper and 3-5 days in Banff/LL area.
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