Trip to Banff around July long weekend

Mar 18th, 2014, 12:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 10
Trip to Banff around July long weekend

we ( husband + me) are planning a trip to Banff this July! Ideally a 8-10 day trip, we are thinking of flying to Calgary from SF. We wish to cover Banff, Jasper & Vancouver. Please give suggestions on must sees and must do's. We are in for adventure!

Thanks for the help!
RuchAgrawal is offline  
Mar 18th, 2014, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 93
Calgary is a great entry point. You don't say when in July, July 1st is Canada Day, and that weekend from June 28 will be packed so make advance reservations as soon as you are able. Weather can also differ from early July to end of July - mountain wildflowers are most abundant in early July, if that is of interest.

You might consider driving from Calgary, spending some time in the Banff/Lake Louise areas, part of Banff National Park in Alberta; then head down to Kootenay National Park just over the provincial border into BC (British Columbia), and back up toward Jasper National Park in Alberta, by way of Golden and Field. After exploring these vast areas of gorgeous mountains, take the VIA train from Jasper to Vancouver, I believe they run three days a week in the summer. It includes an overnight on the train, so some of the scenery does go by while you sleep... pro's and con's. Spend a couple of days in Vancouver, and you head back to SF.

I'm sure you will read other posts related to similar questions. My list of must-do's for Banff and Jasper National Parks include
Bow River in Banff, and the Cave and Basin area
Bow Valley Parkway/Johnston Canyon and Inkpots
Lake Louise
Peyto Lake
Jasper Tramway
Mount Edith Cavell

There are many more worth mentioning, these are some highlights without even mentioning the area between Lake Louise and Vancouver. You also haven't said if you are interested in hiking or fine dining, or maybe even both!
out_and_about is offline  
Mar 19th, 2014, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 581

If you only have 8-10 days, you may want to consider focusing on the Rockies. It's usually recommended to spend at last 2-3 nights in each of Banff and Jasper to really get a sense of the area, plus the option of additional nights in Yoho/Kootenay. By the time you start factoring in two days/one night for a drive or train to Vancouver (10 hours flat out drive), you are eating up a lot of time. You want to have time to actually do things, rather be driving or on a train (which does spend a lot of time in the trees, so not the best way to experience the mountains).

An itinerary might be something like this

Day 1 - arrive in Calgary, drive to Banff
Day 2 - explore around Banff, Bow River, Cave & Basin, other hikes or walks
Day 3 - go up to Lake Louise, hike to the teahouses, glacier overlook, perhaps up to the Fairview Overlook or higher up
Day 4 - option to head out to YoHo for things like Takkakaw Falls, Field, Emerald Lake
Day 5 - drive to Jasper via Icefields Parkway]
Day 6 - explore Jasper (Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon)
Day 7 - Jasper area- more hikes
Day 8 - drive back along the Icefields Parkway, see more sites etc
Day 9 - return to Banff/Calgary for flight home

If you are going to come around July 1, you need to book your accommodations ASAP as availability goes quickly for holiday weekends. Same for rental cars and tours.

What kind of adventure do you mean? If you want to experience more of the mountains, there are options for half day or day long rock climbing courses from private companies, or sometimes guided hikes by ParkCanada staff (depends on timing). You could also do the guided hike/walk to the toe of the glacier rather than or as well as the standard snowcoach tour.
kgsneds is offline  
Mar 19th, 2014, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,522
As mentioned there is a long weekend up here and the Calgary Stampede at this time so book accordingly!!!
amer_can is offline  
Mar 20th, 2014, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 93
Re the train to Vancouver... we have done this trip and from what I've heard, it's the Jasper to Prince Rupert route that takes you through a lot of trees. We've found the Edmonton to Vancouver train via Jasper and Kamloops a delight, but then we have had such good fortune to see these mountains from so many angles, perhaps we aren't as hungry for mountain scenes.

As Vancouver was on your list, and you are looking for adventure (which sure comes in a lot of forms!) a one-way train might be worth considering. And by the way... sorry I didn't note very well the title of your post, RuchAgrawal as you said very clearly what part of July!!
out_and_about is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 03:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 10
Thanks a lot for your tips, they are really helping us with the planning, just working on the final trip plan now, will share it soon for further comments.
RuchAgrawal is offline  
Mar 28th, 2014, 07:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,466
i think 8-10 days is rushing it to see all that area. if you rent a car in calgary, do banff, jasper and leave the car there, check out how much the drop off fee would be. i like the train ride from jasper to vancouver but it does occassionally run late. if you just want a couple days in vancouver, you could return the car to calgary and catch a flight to vancouver and then fly home from there.
ltt is offline  
Mar 29th, 2014, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,077
I don't know how much it costs to fly to Calgary from SF.
The way I would do it is to fly to Seattle and take the train or Amtrak bus from there to Vancouver. See Vancouver and then take the Canadian (3 days a week) to Jasper. Rent and return the car to Jasper. The Canadian leaves Vancouver at 8:30PM usually on time and arrives in Jasper about 4PM the next day.
There are car rentals within walking distance of the Jasper train station. If you wanted to stay in Jasper you could rent the car the next morning to go to Banff.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2014, 05:01 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 118
Travelled from Australia...wondered why the travel agent had booked us at Calgary for 2 nights...a 'nothing' city, would only be worth the stop when the stampede is on....Banff, we had bad weather, sleety and snowing, couldnt do what we had wanted to do....SO happy we had springed for a night at the Fairmont at Lake Louise,,,,SPEND the money,it was wonderful to soak up the view and walk the lake even in the light drifting snow, but then be able to enjoy the view from inside the palatial surroundings...the 'Great Western' hotel at English Bay was a great base at Vancouver, we loved the city, (very much like Melbourne Australia but smaller), close to the bay and the cute boat/ferries that take you to the public market and restaurants at Granville Island....the 'Raincity Grill' nearby the restaurant was superb (cheap at lunchtime, dearer at dinnertime - we are serious foodies) give the bay-front restaurants a miss....'Cordero' over the other side of the city on the marina was wonderfully atmospheric and the mussels were fab...great experience...enjoy!
Supermum is offline  

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