Proposed Banff Itinerary (July - 1 Week)

Jun 28th, 2019, 09:30 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 67
Proposed Banff Itinerary (July - 1 Week)

Hi all - Last year, my wife and I did a trip in Vancouver and this community was very helpful in assisting us with our itinerary. Since then, we've had a baby and not vacationed for nearly a year! We've booked Banff in July (our boy will be with our family elsewhere) and are so excited to be both relaxed and active! We arrive mid-July in Calgary, are spending a night in the airport hotel and then off to Banff. We are splitting our time between Buffalo Mountain Lodge and the Fairmont on Lake Louise. Usually I have my scheduled planned to the minute detail but with work and the baby, I haven't had a chance to plan much but did prepare a quick itinerary. Can you please let me know if I have missed anything, am doing too little or too much or any other tips or recommendations? Our goal is to have relaxing days and active days. We want to hike and boat! But we also want to have nice meals and relax together.

Day 1 - Transit Day
  • Arrive late in Calgary and spend night in hotel.
Day 2 - Calgary to Canmore to Banff
  • Breakfast in Calgary, pickup rental car and then drive to check in at Banff Buffalo Mountain Lodge (1.5 hrs)
  • Stop in Canmore on the way to get lunch and get a view of the Rockies
  • Arrive and check in a Buffalo Mountain Lodge and stroll through Banff Avenue and get drinks and dinner
  • Question: Am I wasting a day here? Can we do more?
Day 3 - Lake & Gondola Day
  • Get to Lake Louise and kayak.
  • After Lake Louise, figured we would visit Moraine Lake after to get a view of the Valley of Ten Peaks
  • Take Gondola for views of Canadian Rockies.
    • Question: Is this the same as the Sulphur Mountain Gondola?
  • Upper Hot Springs soak in the evening
  • Question: Too much for one day?
Day 4 - Icefields Parkway tour
  • Question: Does anyone recommend the the Banff Icefields Glacier Trail tour? "The many viewpoints include Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Lake, and Peyto Lake, but for most the highlight is the IceExplorer tour up onto the Athabasca Glacier."
Day 5 - Peyto National Park (Maybe swap with Day 7 Spa day)
  • Check out of Buffalo Mountain Lodge and into Fairmont
  • Peyto National Park
  • After head to Mistaya Canyon
Day 6 - Banff National Park & Hiking
  • Unsure how best to see Banff! Options include
    • Grassi Lakes hike
    • Sunshine Meadows Hike
    • Johnson Canyon
    • East end of Rundle
Day 7 - Spa Day (Maybe swap with Day 5 Peyto tour)
  • We will be at the Fairmont so thinking to make it a spa/relax day.
Day 8 - Calgary Day
  • Check out of Banff and head back to Calgary. Spend a day in Calgary visiting restaurants, shops.
  • Question: Any must-see's or visits for one day in Calgary?
Day 9 - Departure Day
  • Very early morning flight back home

Feel free to rip this itinerary apart. Also, any must eats in Banff, Calgary or Canmore? Thank you!
tonygabe is offline  
Jun 28th, 2019, 09:59 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,716
Am at work so just a quick thought about Day 2. You'll be in Banff while you're still full from breakfast. Since it will be far too early to check in (figuring mid-morning arrival), you should have plenty of time for activities this day. Maybe take a short hike, something like Tunnel Mountain, then go into town for lunch. Then you can either hit the shops and walk Banff Springs Hotel, or go on one of the longer hikes.

A couple of links for ideas:

https://www.banffjaspercollection.co...ikes-in-banff/
https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/ban...e-hiking/banff

IMO, Johnson Canyon should be hit early in the morning, so that you are on the trail and ahead of the crowds before 9am. It does get very crowded, so the earlier the better.
sludick is offline  
Jun 29th, 2019, 10:02 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 10
Hello and Welcome to Canada

On day 2, when you are in Canmore, you should walk in the main Canmore. For lunch, you should definitely visit the Aroma Mexican Restaurant at 101-837 8 Street, Canmore AB. They take a long time to bring orders because everything is made fresh and everything is made by their own hands after an order is placed. IF you are short on time, just ignore. But one thing is guaranteed, you will love their freshly made food. All their food items are very tasty.

On day 2, if you have time and energy, instead of going to the hotel, visit the visitor center just before you head to Banff. There is a drive that you can go for from Canmore. It takes you into the mountains and it brings you back to Kananaskis Country. You get to stop at a few lakes, mountains and some beautiful scenery that is totally unforgettable. This drive can also be taken on your way back to Calgary. I think it would take you to cover the whole loop for about 3 hours with short brakes in between.

You can decide to do these 2 activities or just 1. It depends upon you, however, both are nice activities. We have done this drive about 5 times and every time, we find something new. So it should a memorable experience for you.

Day 3 - you are not doing too much. So don't cut anything out from what you have planned.

I think you should amalgamate day 4 & 5. From Lake Louise when you go to Icefields Parkway, you have to go through Peyto Lake. Unless you are planning something there, then yes, you should plan for 2 days. Otherwise, you can easily to go to Icefields Parkway early in the morning. It is up to you, however, I won't take the tour bus when visiting Icefields. Because the walk is excellent. I have been to Icefields like 6 times in the last 13 years and have always walked towards the Icefields. And always loved it. Most of the lakes (like Peyto Lake) are on your left side when you drive to Icefields. Therefore, you can stop at these places on your way back.

Dy 6 - Grassi lakes are in Canmore. If you went for the drive around Canmore, you will be going to the top of Grassi Lakes. So you can decide if you want to go to Grassi Lakes or not.
You can go to Johnston Canyon and go up to upper falls. You will love the hike. It is short (2 hours) and sweet and you can visit another place.
For an easy hike, just try hiking Tunnel Mountain. It is not a long hike and I think the difficulty is moderate. And the views are memorable.

Have a happy and memorable trip. Enjoy.
TravelFolio is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2019, 08:04 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 67
Originally Posted by sludick View Post
Am at work so just a quick thought about Day 2. You'll be in Banff while you're still full from breakfast. Since it will be far too early to check in (figuring mid-morning arrival), you should have plenty of time for activities this day. Maybe take a short hike, something like Tunnel Mountain, then go into town for lunch. Then you can either hit the shops and walk Banff Springs Hotel, or go on one of the longer hikes.

A couple of links for ideas:

https://www.banffjaspercollection.co...ikes-in-banff/
https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/ban...e-hiking/banff

IMO, Johnson Canyon should be hit early in the morning, so that you are on the trail and ahead of the crowds before 9am. It does get very crowded, so the earlier the better.
Thanks for this. Am building a new itinerary and will share. Appreciate the links!
tonygabe is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2019, 09:01 AM
  #5  
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Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 67
Thank you all for the tips! I have updated my itinerary below based on your feedback and additional research. I am so excited! Happy to take any more tips or recommendations.

Day 1 - Transit Day
  • Arrive late in Calgary and spend night in hotel.
Day 2 - Calgary to Canmore to Banff
  • Morning
    • Breakfast in Calgary, pickup rental car and then drive to check in at Banff Buffalo Mountain Lodge (1.5 hrs)
    • Maybe stop in Canmore on the way to get lunch and get a view of the Rockies
  • Afternoon
    • Arrive and check in a Buffalo Mountain Lodge or drop off luggage until check-in time.
    • Short hike on Tunnel Mountain (4.2KM hike accessible from downtown area)
  • Evening
    • Stroll through Banff Avenue and get drinks and dinner
Day 3 - Banff National Park & Hiking
  • Morning
    • Morning hike to Johnston Canyon, Walk to the Upper Falls (2.7km) for views of the area. Go to Ink Pots pools if time permits (3km one way from Upper Falls). Or go back and do the Lower Falls hike to get closer to the water and canyons. Go early as parking is limited.
  • Afternoon
    • Take Sulphur Mountain Gondola for views of Canadian Rockies.
  • Evening
    • Relaxed evening in town
Day 4 - Icefields Parkway Driving Tour
  • Wake up early to visit Icefields Parkway.Plan would be to drive as far as Tangle Falls (10 km north of the Columbia Icefields). This would be about five hours of driving, round trip, but with all the scenic stops, will take a whole day. Stop for beautiful sights from the parkway. Pack a picnic lunch and beverages to enjoy at one of the picnic sites. Get to the toe of Athabasca Glacier.
  • SO EXCITED FOR THIS DRIVE.
  • Question: Assuming we will not stay in the area for the night and drive back to Banff, does this seem like a good plan?
Day 5 -Spa Day
  • Check out of Buffalo Mountain Lodge and into Fairmont.
  • Make this a Spa/Relax day at the Fairmont given yesterday's long trip. Arrange from beforehand.
Day 6 - Lake & Gondola Day
  • Morning
    • Get to Lake Louise early and kayak!
    • After Lake Louise, visit Moraine Lake after to get a view of the Valley of Ten Peaks
  • Afternoon
    • Hike Lake Agnes trail to the tea house. Starts near the Fairmont Chateau and is about 2.2 miles long (1-2 hours each way for most hikers). One of the most popular trails.
  • Evening
    • Upper Hot Springs soak in the evening
Day 7 - Peyto Tour
  • Morning and Afternoon:
    • ​​​​​​​Drive to Peyto National Park. Another excuse to do the Icefields Parkway Drive
    • After head to Mistaya Canyon
  • Evening
    • ​​​​​​​Perhaps check out another hot spring when we return to Banff
Day 8 - Calgary Day
  • Check out of Fairmont and head back to Calgary. Spend a day in Calgary visiting restaurants, shops.
  • Question: Any must-see's or visits for one day in Calgary?
Day 9 - Departure Day
  • Very early morning flight back home
tonygabe is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 08:53 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,716
Yes, for Day 4, just a day trip and return to Banff would work well. You really won't find lodging along the Icefields Parkway, just lots and lots of beautiful scenery. Take lots of pictures and plan to stop often.

Enjoy!
sludick is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2019, 09:02 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,123
On Day 6 I would switch Moraine Lake with Lake Louise.
Moraine Lake will be one of the highlights of a lifetime.
The problem is that unless they have done something about the amount of available parking you could spend a long time at the junction to the Lake waiting for parking to open up.

Go to Moraine lake early and be prepared to stay a while. When you get out of your car don't walk to the lake. Veer to the left and you'll see "the rock pile". Don't climb it. There are stairs and a path that kind of circle around the pile to sever spectacular viewpoints. The sun rises behind you and a bit from the left so ideal for pictures. If you are taken by the view plan on getting there early one evening as well. It's that kind of place.

The go to Lake Louise. There is much more parking at Lake Louise so you shouldn't have a problem there.

Johnston Canyon is a true engineering view. The view of Johnston Canyon is a partially blocked very nice waterfall but the jike there is very different than anything you've seen. The trail is man-made and hangs from one side of the canyon. Not scary at all but something else you'll remember.

Again, the parking area may not be big enough.

Tangle falls is a beautiful roadside waterfall. The parking spot is on the west side of the road and you carefully cross the highway to the falls that are right in front of you. It is best seen in mid afternoon as the sun rises in front of you when you are facing the falls.

On the Icefields Parkway stop at the Vistors Center stop. Not because of the view as that's not one of the nicer looking glaciers. Drive across the highway and park in the lot there. You can actually walk to the "Toe of the Glacier". Some people will actually walk onto the glacier but not a good idea. If you go there make sure you are wearing you warmest clothes. Sweats, sweaters, hood, gloves, etc. The wind blows off the ice and IT IS COLD.

This area has more roadside scenery than any park I've been to. Yes, there are worthwhile hikes but you will also make many roadside stops for mountains, lake and glacier views.

I'm not sure where you read about Mistaya Canyon since I don't think it's that well known. Absolutely go there. The exit is at Km 71 on the Parkway going from Lake Louise north. It's not a very long hike to the bridge and then you spend some time walking out onto the rocks. Nothing at all difficult. But well worth the time for the views below you and out into the mountains.

Peyto National Park? No such place that I know of. However, at Km 40 going north from Lake Louise you have the Bow Summit turn off. The hike is a fairly easy 3 Km each way. Try not to get into a fight with anybody to get the spectacular classic views of Peyto Lake. There is a too small viewing deck but if everybody cooperates you to can enjoy those views.

Both the Bow Summit and Mistaya Canyon turnoff are well before the Icefields start.

I realize you can't be everywhere and Tangle Falls at Km 134 going north is still good but if you want more of those views that you'll remember for as long as you can then Angel Glacier is the place.
It's around Km 200 to get on the road to Lake Edith Cavell, Mt Edith Cavell. It's only about 2/3 mile from the parking lot to the most spectacular glacier view you'll see anywhere.

The first time I went there I was looking for wildlife. We drove on that road for about 10 miles and wondered why since we saw only one car. Then we got to a packed parking lot. Where did they all come from? Clearly a lot of people knew about this place. It's about 45 miles from Tangle Falls and requires 2-3 or so. So if you decide to go there you'd have to make some changes.

If you want to see photos of these places you can see some of my trips at TravelWalks Photographs and go to those trips. Actually, on the front page the link to one of those trips show Angel Glacier running off into Lake Cavell.
Myer is offline  
Nov 15th, 2019, 06:10 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 480
bookmarking
Sberg is offline  
Nov 17th, 2019, 11:48 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,284
Following along as Instagram has me obsessed with Banff.
denisea is offline  
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