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Traveling to Canadian Rockies have Questions

Traveling to Canadian Rockies have Questions

Old Feb 20th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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Traveling to Canadian Rockies have Questions

We are a family of 6 traveling with another family of 6. Kids in both families are ages: 16yr down to 8yr. We both will be camping in our RV's.

We will be going the first 2 - 3 weeks in July. (I am aware that is the busiest season in the Rockies.)

It has been suggested by a friend who traveled the Canadian Rockies last summer (She did not camp, but stayed the two weeks in the Canmore area & taking day trips from their condo).....that we stay in Kananaskis. Primarly Peter Laugheed Provincial Park. Her reason being that it is not nearly as crowded & just as beautiful with fantastic hiking.

After some research on various boards, I can see right now that I am more confused! I quess I'm not sure how we should navagate our time in each area....Should we take our 38ft RV & 34ft RV to Jasper staying a few nights in Parks along the way back down to Peter Laugheed Park (staying there the bulk of the time)? OR base ourselves at Peter Laugheed taking day trips to other areas?

Some ideas of things which we would like to do:

Hiking
Rafting
Gondola
Kids will bring their bikes
Those Hot Springs sound wonderful! Which is the best?
What about the Calgary Stampede? I think the kids may enjoy that.
Open to any other suggestions!

I did have the Alberta Vacation Guide sent to me & I am also having some more Canadian Rockie information sent.

Thank you for any suggestions or help! ~jeanine
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Old Feb 20th, 2005, 12:48 PM
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Peter Lougheed is a good place. Good trails. Up and down the Icefields parkway there are some nice camp areas.
I have not done it in an RV, but we stopped in one of the campgrounds once and it had nice facilities. It was near Waterfowl Lake. I recall it as being spacious and well in the trees.

The stampede can be fun for kids. My son took his two boys at ages 14 and 11. I think they had a big adventure.
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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 08:15 AM
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Kananaskis is beautiful, but nowhere near as spectacular as Jasper and Banff. I think you would be doing your trip a disservice by limiting yourself to this area. Especially with 2-3 weeks to spend. Are you flying in and out of the area, or driving in your RVs?

I would definitely include time camping in Jasper and Banff, and even Kootenay and Yoho in your trip. Basing yourself outside of the Parks is ok if you are only there for a few days, but with even 2 weeks you will want to travel around and see more than just Banff - which is exactly what your RV is great for! Take advantage of it, and set up a route where you change locations every 3 nights or so, and travel throughout the Parks. Yes, it is abusy time of year, but as soon as you leave the highway or townsites to go on a hike, you won't see many people - if any.

The Stampede is great, and would be a fun way to end your trip. If you are flying out of Calgary - a day at the stampede before you leave would be fantastic. Calgary is a very expensive place to stay during Stampede though. There must be some campgrounds around the city, but I am not aware of any . .
 
Old Feb 21st, 2005, 08:47 AM
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Hello Jeanine,

Most campgrounds in the Canadian Rocky Mountain National Parks are first come first serve. I understand people in RVs start lining up in the morning to get in at noon during the peak months of July and Augst.

However, in the summer of 2005 Jasper National Park will be offering a reservations service at its Pocahontas, Whistlers, Wapiti and Wabasso campgrounds.

The reservations number is 1-877-737-3783. They aren't taking reservations for the 2005 summer season yet. I saw a post about it around here recently. I think it said they would be taking reservations in March. Anyway, you could call the number and find out when they'll start taking reservations. I HIGHLY recommend you reserve.

I do not recommend Pocahontas, because it is near Jasper National Park's east gates and, as such, too far out of the way, IMO.

Whistlers sounds as if it would be a good campground. It's quite close to Jasper townsite. It has some sites with full hook-ups, some with electricity only, and it has flush toilets, showers, sani-dump.

Wapiti also is quite close to Jasper townsite. It has electricity, flush toilets, showers, and sani-dump.

Wabasso is quite far from Jasper townsite. It has flush toilets and sani-dump, but no hook-ups, no electrical outlets, and no showers.

I have to go off and do errands, but I will try and return later (maybe tonight) and post information about campgrounds further south than Jasper.

Yes, there are campgrounds that are about 20 kilometres out of Calgary that you could use as a base for visiting the Stampede.

Something that you have to think about is that the places that are of interest (for hiking, rafting, gondola rides or simply those that provide the most spectacular scenery) in many cases are some distance from campgrounds. So if you use your RV itself to get to these places I guess you'll need to pack up each morning before setting out.
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Old Feb 21st, 2005, 03:22 PM
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Hello again Jeanine,

Gondolas are located at Lake Louise and just outside of Banff and Jasper townsites.

Some of the most exciting white water rafting is on the Kicking Horse River in Yoho National Park. The rafting in Jasper is tamer.

Hiking is available throughout the Rockies.

Calgary

I have not stayed in a campground close to Calgary, but I've driven by some of them. I've also found a couple on the Internet:

Natureís Hideaway Family Campground

Private campground on the banks of the Highwood River, near DeWinton, southeast of Calgary. Provides full services for RVs. Accepts reservations. Would be a suitable base from which to visit the Stampede.

http://www.natureshideaway.com/index.html

Riverbend Campground

Private campground on the banks of the Sheep River, near Okotoks, south of Calgary. Provides full services for RVs. Accepts reservations. Would be a suitable base from which to visit the Stampede.

http://www.riverbendcampground.ca/

KOA Kampground

Private campground near Canada Olympic Park on the western edge of Calgary. My recollection, from driving by, is that it is an open, treeless area. Also, itís quite close to busy Hwy #1. Not very appealing, IMO. However, it provides a shuttle to downtown Calgary and Stampede Park, which I think would be useful. Accepts reservations for the Stampede period until Mar 15. Phone (403) 288-0411.

Symons Valley R.V. Park

Private campground. Tap water, public phone, laundry facilities, shuttle service during Stampede, restaurant, sani station, hot showers, propane, power rental (20 & 30 amp). Beyond city limits, to the northwest of Calgary. I have not seen this particular campground, but the countryside to the NW of Calgary is pleasant enough. Phone (403) 274-4574

Not recommended

Calaway RV Park & Campground


At junction of Hwy #1 and Hwy #22. Next to Calaway Park (outdoor amusement park with roller coasters, etc.). The facilities may be fine, but itís an open area with few, if any, trees, and close to the busy TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1). Might be okay as an overnight stop in a pinch, but the setting doesnít appeal to me. Just my opinion.

KANANASKIS COUNTRY

Boulton Creek Campground in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park


Grocery store, restaurant, firewood (for fee), shower building with flush toilets, trailer dump, picnic table, fire pit, phone. Accepts reservations. The reservation system opens the first business day of May. Call (403) 591-7226.

Scenery, while beautiful, is not quite as stunning as that in the national parks.

Iíve stayed at Boulton Creek myself (in a tent).

http://www.kananaskiscamping.com/

Mount Kidd RV Park

Private campground. Accepts reservations. Provides full range of services for RVs.

http://www.mountkiddrv.com/rates.html

Mountain National Parks

I was going to look up a bunch of information for you about RVing in Yoho, Kootenay and Banff National Parks. However, it then occurred to me to check out the Open Roads Forum. I found that the information there was so good and so specific (how wide parking spots are, whether or not full hook ups are available, how often the passing trains whistle at night, etc.) that I felt there was no way I could compete.

I think you will be better off posing your questions at the Open Roads Forum ( www.rv.net ). The people who post there actually camp, and they speak from experience.

That's the flaw in your friend's info, I suspect. She stayed in a condo, and you'll be camping. There are some important logistical differences.

Hope that helps.
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Old Feb 25th, 2005, 11:02 PM
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Don't miss the Kananaskas Valley - you can take a horseback ride into the mountain for 3 days. Also guided river rafting on the Bow river (not too wild). My favourite stretch of highway is the Ice Fields Parkway - each vista more beautiful than the last. Also, the kids will enjoy a visit to the Athabasca Ice Fields - take a bus up the glacier and learn about an ice falls. See 900 year old trees that are just 6 feet high trying to survive above the tree line. Lots of campgrounds but you would be limiting yourself it you stayed in just one area. The Calgary Stampede is not to be missed, but neither is the dinosaur fields of Drumheller - the site of some of the most recent authentic dinosaur parts - not a cheesey fake tourist gimmick! Enjoy - and too bad you only have 2-3 weeks - there is so much to see and do!
And remember - the wild animials are WILD and dangerous - keep your distance and were bells on your clothing when hiking to alert the animals to your presence to avoid surprise contact with some of the larger species.
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Old Feb 26th, 2005, 04:01 PM
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Thank you so much everyone for your wonderful suggestions and help!

Judy, I did post in on RV.net too & got some more good responses...it's a great web site for RV's---thanks for letting me know about it!
~jeanine
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Old Feb 27th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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We took our motorhome to Jasper and Banff last summer. One suggestion I have is that you may want to rent a car for a day in each town to get to some of the areas. Many of the mountain roads are very steep and narrow - difficult to navigate in a motorhome. The road to Miette Hot Springs near Jasper is fairly steep. The road up to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake is also not recommended for motorhomes. We have an older motorhome and it may not be as fuel efficient as some of the new models, but we found it was cheaper to rent a car, than it cost us in gas going up some of the mountain roads. It was also nice to be able to zip into town from the campground for the evening without having to move the motorhome and try to find someplace to park it (especially in Banff)
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