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Tentative itinereary for Rockies (and Edson). Please help!

Tentative itinereary for Rockies (and Edson). Please help!

Feb 9th, 2004, 02:19 PM
  #1  
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Tentative itinereary for Rockies (and Edson). Please help!

You've all been so great with suggestions and I've been pouring over the maps trying to decide. Then today, I think I may have come up with a plan. SO be gentle with me!!! But please help fine tune this plan ( or yikes, even send me back to the drwaing board if necessary).
I'm just not sure of the timing..... but here goes. we have 2 weeks.
Arrive in Calgary and go to Canmore or area to stay for a few days. Visit Banff, Lake Louise and Icefields Parkway, do Icefields tour.
Then head up towards Jasper and over to Edson to visit friends for 1 or 2 nights. While staying in Edson, tour around Jasper and closer to Edson.
Leave Edson and head for Sicamous via Yellowhead South HIghway.
Visit Sicamous friend for 1 or 2 nights.
Head west on Trans Canada and go down to HOpe via Highway 1.
Stay in HOpe (have a place to stay)
Then take highway 3 to Kimberley and go north from there to Radium HOt Springs and on to Banff and back to Calgary for our flight home.
Sorry BAK, unless I can see Ian, I'd rather stay in the mountains than take the flat road back to Calgary.
This plan would eliminate the day wasted going up the boring way to Edson.
We are not at all interested in seeing any cities. (I've seen them, my friend is not interested). We want to see the mountains...beautiful scenery and hopefully wildlife. IF this plan is a bit too ambitious, we'll cut the friends down to one night each, not the scenery!
What do you 'experts' think?
kodi is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 02:36 PM
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Hello Kodi,

I re-read our previous correspondence to refresh my memory:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...9&tid=34465310

I think your latest outline is quite good. But it seems to me that the current draft of your itinerary still doesn't grapple in a tangible way with the fact that it isn't feasible to use Edson as a base from which to tour Jasper.

But perhaps I've misunderstood.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:08 PM
  #3  
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Hi Judy, Thanks for your input. It's good to know that I'm on the right track. No, you didn't misunderstand. I'm just trying to work in the Edson thing. So after we leave Banff area, do you think we should stay around Jasper and do a quick pop over to Edson for one night to visit? Can't get away from that , and thought I could kill two birds with one stone. Or can we do all this area from Canmore? Seems too far.. so perhaps an additional stop around Jasper is the answer.
Also, do you think a week is enough time to do the first chapter ( Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and Icefields) or is that really pushing it.
I've got the rest worked out ok if we head down the Yellowhead on the 8th day (or so).
So a week for the first leg and a week for the Sicamous, HOpe, Kimberley part.
Sound OK?
kodi is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 04:40 PM
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Yes, Kodi, I feel you're on the right track, except that Jasper is too far for you to see from Canmore (or even from Banff or Lake Louise). You most certainly need a stop in Jasper. Then, because you have friends whom you want to see in Edson, you'll want to have a stop there as well. Yes, I think roughly a week on the Alberta side of the mountains and roughly a week on the B.C. side would be a good way of splitting your time.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 05:03 PM
  #5  
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Judy, thank you, thank you, thank you!!
This has been the hardest trip I've ever planned, simply because there is so much to see and so many beautiful areas. But now it's definately falling into place. I'm going to sit down now and fine tune it so I can make reservations. I know they have to be done soon.
Thanks again.
kodi is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 08:25 PM
  #6  
 
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Judy is right - Edson is too far away (about 1.5 to 2 hours drive) from Jasper to make it a base for "touring around Jasper". By all means spend at least one night in Jasper (and that also means that you can use one whole day to drive the Icefield Parkway and make all the "not-to-be-missed" stops along the way at a relaxing pace, including the Columbia Icefields tour).

Here's a thought - perhaps your Edson friends wouldn't mind meeting you in Jasper for one day so that you could maximize your time in the mountains as well as spending time with them (and then all of you could head east to Edson after the Jasper sight-seeing is over)????

One more thought about your itinerary - that's a very long route that you have planned - from Hope to Radium Hot Springs. Personally, I prefer the Trans Canada and Roger's Pass (some beautiful scenery and awesome mountain passes along the way), plus it is an easier and faster drive.
My suggestion would be to drive Hope - Kelowna - Revelstoke - Golden - Radium Hot Springs, instead of the long twisty-turny Crowsnest Highway in the south part of B.C.

By the way - the route that BAK had planned for you wasn't exactly through "flat country". The ranching country in south-west Alberta is in the foothills, and almost everywhere that you are, the Rockies make a beautiful backdrop. It is gorgeous and very scenic - makes you want to buy some land and live there forever!!!
Borealis is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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Thanks Borealis, Great idea to see if my friends can meet us in Jasper. We'll be there on the Sat or Sun, so that would work out for them. I've checked the sites on the Icefields Parkway, but am unable to determine exactly where the visitor's centre is. Is it closer to Jasper? Should I book 1 less day in Banff and add a night to Jasper? So it could be 3 nights in Banff area and 2 nights in Jasper, then 1 in Edson. Does that sound about right?
Last year I visited my friend in Sicamous, but the other friend I was with didn't want to go further afield than what could be driven in one day. So we did drive to Rogers Pass one day. I was so disappointed not to have gone further , so this year I am so determined to see as much as possible and to really enjoy. So because I did drive the Trans Canada from Sicamous to Roger's, I thought the lower route along 3 would be a nice change. Is it really that weavy, windy? Or is there another whole area in the Rockies that I'm missing here?
The foothills DO sound beautiful. I can just imagine wanting to buy propery!
kodi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 05:41 AM
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>>>>>>I've checked the sites on the Icefields Parkway, but am unable to determine exactly where the visitor's centre is. Is it closer to Jasper?<<<<<<

If the visitor's centre you're referring to is the Columbia Icefields, where you can ride and walk on the Athabasca Glacier, that is roughly half way between the towns of Lake Louise and Jasper.

>>>>>>Should I book 1 less day in Banff and add a night to Jasper? So it could be 3 nights in Banff area and 2 nights in Jasper, then 1 in Edson. Does that sound about right?<<<<<<

It sounds good to me.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 05:45 AM
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Me again!
I'm fine tuning my plans so I can make reservasions. Including the day we arrive we will need 6 nights accommodations. So what to do? 3 Banff area and 3 Jasper? The seventh night will be Edson. Or 4 in Banff and 2 Jasper. Maybe we could use one of the days in Banff to go down to Radium Springs and then at the end of the trip, come back the foothills way.
I really do appreciate all help. I'm sorry if I'm driving everyone crazy!!
kodi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 05:47 AM
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Thanks Judy, I must have been posting at the same time as you.
kodi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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>>>>>>I'm sorry if I'm driving everyone crazy!!<<<<<<

Well, I can't speak for anyone else, Kodi, but at this stage my head is spinning.

It sounds as if you want to see every square inch of the mountains and not miss out on anything. The problem is that the mountains cover thousands and thousands of square miles. I have lived here for 23 years, and I still have lots left to see. If I haven't been able to cover it all in 23 years, I doubt you're going to be able to do so in 2 weeks. So you're going to have to make some choices. If this was my trip, this is how I would tackle the first week of it.

Arrive in Calgary and drive straight to Lake Louise. Spend 3 nights in LL. Spend one day going to Banff and, more importantly, on the way to or from Banff going to Johnston Canyon. Spend another day hiking to Lady Agnes Teahouse and seeing Moraine Lake. Lake Louise Inn if you want medium priced accommodation, Deer Lodge (larger Tower Rooms) or Post Hotel if you want to go more upscale.

Then take a day to drive from LL to Jasper, stopping at the Peyto Lake lookout, Columbia Icefields, and a couple of waterfalls along the way. Spend 3 nights in Jasper. During 2 full days in Jasper, take the gondola (cable car) up Whistler Mountain, and go to Angel Glacier, Maligne Lake and Maligne Canyon.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 08:54 AM
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Judy thank you very, very much. I appreciate your time and suggestions. Maybe I need to move out there!!!
We are so excited about the trip and really don't want to miss anything....but I think I have a pretty good idea now of what we will do, thanks to everyone helping and being so kind. WE won't miss the Johnston Canyon or the hike to the Tea House.
Now I can get going on accommodations.
Thanks again.

kodi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 11:28 AM
  #13  
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Just to clarify, it is Lake Agnes Tea House. A longer hike that you can add on to that which is gorgeous is to go to the teahouse, then up to the Big Beehive, then across to the Plain Of Six Glaciers Teahouse and that area, then back down. Its a long day, but worth it!
mms is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 11:36 AM
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>>>>>>Just to clarify, it is Lake Agnes Tea House.<<<<<<

Yes, Mms, you're right. Thanks for that. LAKE Agnes and Takakkaw Falls are my undoing.

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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Before you commit 3 nights to Lake Louise, I suggest checking out prices at accommodations. If you have unlimited funds, then it is no problem.
But even routine motel rooms are double what you might expect to pay elsewhere.

My suggestion is to modify your plans somewhat and spend a night at The Crossing, which is part of the way up the Icefields Parkway toward Jasper. It is not the Ritz, but serviceable for 1 night.

It is one of very few places along the Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper.
The Num Ti Jah Lodge is an option as is the Columbia Icefields Chalet at the Icefields Center. (It is a little more pricey, $185 C or so per night.)

The Icefields Parkway can be driven in one day, but one of the beauties of the trip is to take a few hikes of short distances as you drive along.

Also, if you have never done it before, the ride on the glacier buggy is a worthwhile endeavor. I did it once and enjoyed it, although I have never been motivated to do it again when I returned.

Peyto Lake is beautiful, and there is a short but rewarding hike to the west, above the lake. Great views from up there all the way to Bow Lake.

Also Panther Falls, the highest falls in Banff Park, are bypassed by most visitors because they do not know they are there. The trail is not well marked, and the viewpoint is less than furnished or sheltered from the spray,but the falls are thunderous.

Parker Ridge, north of the Icefields Center is an interesting walk for a view of the Saskatchewan Glacier. Unfortunately, it is sometime closed to preseve the tundra.

Stanley Falls, aka the Falls of Beauty Creek, are another unknown attraction.
The series of cataracts is pretty.

There are several other interesting short hikes along the parkway as well, such as at Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls.

And by all means drive over to Yoho NP and visit Takkakaw Falls. If time permits, Emerald Lake is worth a stop, although I don't think its setting is quite as beautiful as the total picture of Lake Louise or Moraine Lake.
Of the highway accessible lakes, I rate it about 4th on the list, which is still pretty good.

dixon is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 09:29 PM
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Kodi -
Three nights in Banff, two nights in Jasper, and one night in Edson sounds about right unless you plan to drive from Edson to Sicamous all in one day. In that case I would recommend spending two nights in Edson and leaving early in the morning after the second night for the long drive to B.C.

As for the Crowsnest Highway (#3), it is quite a long drive because the highway is narrower, the speed limits are lower, and the road meanders a bit. There are some lovely spots along the way. There is a spectacular viewpoint just east of Osoyoos, and the Christina Lake area is pretty. Just give yourself lots of time to do the drive; I think that I would split it up into at least two days (that way you can stop at the interesting places without having to rush through).

Oh by the way, when you arrive in Calgary, or once you've made it to Banff, go to a bookstore (there's one on the main street in Banff not far from the bridge) and look in the "local" section - you will find a wide variety of guidebooks for the Rocky Mountains and for B.C. (two of the local publishers that come to mind are Lone Pine and Altitude - oodles of books aimed at every taste, with information put together by people who actually live here!!!).
These books will give you a better idea of the huge number of things that you can see and do while on your trip, and may help you decide how to spend your time.

But for now - relax!!! I'm sure that you will have a great trip!!
Borealis is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 06:58 AM
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Ok, I'm more relaxed!! I think what was getting to me was having to lock into accommodations so early. I'm used to doing car trips, where we aren't locked in, but realize it is a must in this area. I didn't want to get there and realize my plan was way off.I'm ok now!!! Thanks you so much for the additional information. Dixon, the Crossings sounds like a good plan.
Borealis, we will definately go into the book store. I love books and will probably end up with a few of them.
We may or may not get over as far as Hopo, but rather go down through Osoyoos and back across Highway 3. But I'm going to leave that one up in the air. I don't think those reservations will be as urgent and we'll just see how our time is. Either way, we'll allow lots of time.
BTW, our friends are going to spend the day in Jasper with us and have suggested brunch at Jasper Park Lodge and then some hiking to work it off!! So thanks again everyone, it's all falling into place and we are really looking forward to it.
kodi is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 04:48 PM
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my wife just reminded me that the rooms at the Crossing could be considered a little small. But for a sleep over, they are acceptable. I would not want to be there for three nights as a destination type of place.

My bed was comfortable, and I don't recall anything about the bathroom, so it was ok I am sure.

There is a cafe associated with the motel as well as a gas station. The place is popular because it is about the only place for gas between lake Louise and Jasper. (If there is another one, I cannot recall where it is.)

As you can imagine, the tour buses give the rest rooms a good workout during the day.

When a tour bus stops, about 50 - 60 people scramble off like thirsty cattle spying a water hole. And it does not take many loads of 60 people each to fill up the gift shop.

On a hot summer day, I wonder how many tubs of ice cream that place sells?
I know it pumps many gallons of gas.

brookwood is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 05:25 PM
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Thanks for the information on the Crossing. At least we will know what to expect, and so will be prepared. Ice cream? They sell ice cream? Well that will be worth it right there!!!! We'll ahve to get our share before the tour buses get there.
kodi is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 06:17 PM
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Oooooooo - ice cream!! Judy-in-Calgary, are you there?? What is the name of that famous place in Cochrane that sells the fabulous ice cream?
Kodi - Cochrane is a town just west of Calgary, you'll drive right past it on your way to Banff, and if you like ice cream this may be worth a stop !!
Borealis is offline  

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