May 10th, 2004, 10:09 AM
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Hi, my friend and I are planning a trip to the Rockies - we plan to spend 3 days in Banff, 3 in Jasper, possibly 2 in Yoho and 2 in Kootenay. Can anybody recommend good hiking trails, we plan to back country camp and hitchhike between parks as our budget is limited. Thanks
sandflo24 is offline  
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May 10th, 2004, 11:08 AM
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Hello Sandflo24,

You need books that describe trails, give their length, grade them for difficulty, and provide maps. Then you can choose which trails you want to do.

Bob Brown, who is a regular poster here and has done a lot of hiking in the Canadian Rockies, swears by "Canadian Rockies Trail Guide" by Brian Patton, Bart Robinson. There are those who say one needs to supplement the Patton & Robinson book with "Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies: An Opinionated Hiking Guide to Help You Get the Most from This Magnificent Wilderness" by Kathy Copeland. Each book is said to contain some useful information that the other does not.

If you don't want to commit right away to spending money on the books, perhaps you could check them out at your library first.

I think you'll need a minimum of 3 days in each place. If you want to camp in the back country, you need a day to walk to your destination, and a day to walk back out again. Although I haven't hitchhiked, and I don't know the average success rate of hitchhiking in the Rockies, I would think you would need a day to hitchhike from one destination to the next.

My husband and I have done 2 day hikes and, on long weekends, 3 day hikes. We particularly enjoyed the 3 day trips -- one day to hike to our camping spot, one day to explore the area around it at a relaxed pace, and one day to hike back out again. If you did that, you would really need 4 days before you could set out on another hike.

I don't know how you're going to access the Rockies. If you fly into Calgary, I should warn you that hitchhiking is illegal within Calgary's city limits.

There are shuttle services between Calgary Airport and Banff. Brewsters' one way fare of C$42 probably is representative of the fares charged by these bus companies.

The Greyhound fare from downtown Calgary to Banff is $23. (I have a feeling they have a lower fare for students, if that applies to you.) But, by the time you've added the cost of Greyhound's shuttle from the airport to downtown Calgary, which is C$14, and the hour or so that that would add to your journey, Greyhound looks no more attractive than the direct bus services between Calgary Airport and Banff.

I suppose you could get a taxi to take you from Calgary Airport to the spot where the TransCanada Highway meets Calgary's western city limits, and you could hitchhike from there. I don't know how much that would cost you. Between C$20 and C$30, I would guess, but you could split that fare between the two of you.

If you haven't already checked out Lonely Planet's travel discussion forum, I suggest you do so. From the little I've seen of it, it seems to be more adventure oriented than the Fodors forum.

Best of luck.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
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May 10th, 2004, 04:21 PM
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I suggest you look at these two hikes:
The Rockwall Trail in Kootney and the Little Yoho, Whaleback Loop in Yoho.
Take the Iceline from Whiskey Jack Hostel to the hut and camp area near Kwietenok Pass, then walk down the Little Yoho to the junction with the Whaleback trail, then up and over the Whaleback and down by Twin Falls to retrace your steps to Whiskey Jack.

The Iceline is one of the classics; so is the Whaleback.

Near Jasper, if you have the time, do the Ramparts.

I stick by Patton's and Robinson's book. They give facts; the other one gives one man's opinion. One can tell from the facts whether or not the trail is worth the time.

Also, check out the area known as the Grand Brazeau. or Brawzeau lake.

There are enough miles of trail out there to last you a lifetime.

I will not be out there hiking much this summer. My new hip is healing, but I doubt if the leg will be strong enough by early July. I will be working on it!! Perhaps I can do some flat walks.
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May 20th, 2004, 06:40 AM
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thanks very much for your tips- we've decided to prolong our stay to three weeks, and will be travelling to Calgary by bus. I can't wait ! I hope that you are able to get out there Bob. Thanks again, sandrine
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