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Summer trip to Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park

Summer trip to Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park

Old Mar 12th, 2014, 02:37 PM
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Summer trip to Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park

My husband and I are just beginning to plan a July getaway to the Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park. We are looking at two to three weeks in July or early August. Thinking of flying in and out of Calgary and renting a car, but would consider other options. We love trains, and would enjoy a one or two day train trip, but don't want to spend the time to go to Vancouver or Toronto. We are interested in exploring Banff, Lake Louise, and possibly Jasper. We also want to spend a couple of days in Glacier National Park. Is it too late to get rooms in any of the park lodges? Know it is the high season, but it works for our schedule. Any "can't miss" locations we should see? We are retired, but very active adults who love to hike, golf and sightsee. We have stayed in lodges and cabins in Yellowstone and Grand Teton and enjoyed them very much. We also like small hotels and B&Bs, but we really don't like to rough it too much. We love to explore small towns and enjoy fine dining and wineries. Any planning advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 06:42 PM
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not really clear what you want regarding a train trip if you don't want to "go" any distance. you could consider jasper to kamloops which is a realatively short distance. if you happend to go to the okanagan area (penticton) there is the kettle valley rail trip...very short...beautiful views. not it's not too late to book accommodations...contact the resorts...accommodation recommendations are mentioned often...do a search.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 09:26 AM
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It's not too late to get rooms, but it's time to start booking now. The first Monday in August is a holiday in most of Canada - it's often the busiest weekend in the Rockies, so I would book your lodgings for that period as soon as you can.

Banff and Jasper National Parks are a bit different from the US parks in that there are actually towns within the parks (Banff, Jasper and sort of Lake Louise). As such, the range of accommodations are much broader than in Yellowstone or Grand Teton. It's not just a few lodges, but everything from B&Bs/private home rooms to hotels to lodges.

If you are into golf (not what I'd do in the parks, but...), in Jasper you might want to splurge and stay at the Jasper Park Lodge. It has a nice golf course and a beautiful setting.

You can stay in Banff or Lake Louise or Canmore as well - the Fairmont properties tend to be the fanciest, but there are a range of other hotels/lodges etc. Cabins tend to be part of hotels as it's not legal to rent houses within the parks due to regulations about housing within national parks.

There isn't much in the way of train trips within the Rockies - one day will get you to Vancouver. Other than the very expensive tourist train, the route goes from Edmonton to Jasper then to BC. So not much time in the Rockies, and you spend a lot of time in the trees from what I understand. If you want to see the sites, much better to rent a car and drive down the Icefields Parkway (spectacular) and explore on your own.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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Where are you coming from? The ViaRail Canadian leaves Vancouver 3 days a week and stops in Jasper. There are several car rental places within walking distance in Jasper.
Brewster tours also has a desk in the east half of the Jasper train station. The other train option would be to take the Amtrak Empire Builder from Seattle (or Portland) to Whitefish Montana and go through Glacier on the way to the Canadian Rockies. The Empire Builder runs every day.
You may have trouble finding a rental car company that will let you take the car from one country to the other.
If you are not looking for fancy lodging, the HI Hostel about 4 miles SW of Jasper is nice and cheap. I have stayed there several times.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:34 AM
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I would not recommend the Whistlers (Jasper) HI Hostel for tourists unless you are on a very limited budget - for a couple, you can get much nicer lodgings in a home stay (B&B) for not that much more.

The hostel is great for a cheap place to stay on a weekend climbing/skiing trip, but it's not aging well. Aside from a few smaller rooms, the beds are in two large (25+ bed) dorms, which are not sound-proofed. The washroom facilities are limited for the number of beds and not in good condition. The kitchen area is relatively spacious, but also in need of upgrades/repairs.

Don't get me wrong - the hostel is fine for cheap weekend climbing trips and some of the other HI Hostels are excellent. Whistlers, however, is really one for the young backpacking crowd who don't mind large dorms, noise and limited facilities.
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 06:04 PM
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you may also want to check out a golf package at another Fairmont Hotels property, the Banff Springs.

There may be a train trip of interest, but it is a tight turn around... Jasper to Kamloops return on VIA rail. Check it out on viarail.ca

The Post Hotel in Lake Louise village is known for its fine wine selection, posthotel.com/posthotel/amenities/wine.html
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