Trip to Banff/Glacier/Yellowstone??

Old Feb 5th, 2007, 02:16 PM
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Trip to Banff/Glacier/Yellowstone??

Would appreciate any feedback on the following itinerary and any recommendations on places to stay and especially on some unique experiences for the following trip:

We have 2-3 weeks to take our kids (18,16,13) to visit some of the parks in Canada and Northwest US. First 2-3 weeks of July. All of us love the outdoors, hiking, bikes, rafting, wildlife watching, etc.

First thought would to to train from Toronto to Calgary. Then to drive to Banff. Since there are 5 of us, we'd be looking to spend 3-4 days in the Banff/Lake Louise area at a place that can accomodate all of us in one space..cabin, suite at a hotel...any thoughts? We have gotten used to the prices at summer destinations...we'd like a place that is comfortable, clean, close to alot of activities.

Are we missing out by not trying to get up to Jasper??

After Banff, we thought about driving to Glacier...so, any recommendations on accomodations, unique things to do, etc would be appreciated. I would imagine 3-4 days in this area

Finally.....MAYBE continue to Yelowstone. Again....any recommendations would be appreciated.

From Yellowstone, we fly home.

Too ambitious of a trip? Changes?
THANKS!
peterl43 is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2007, 02:38 PM
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People have posted here about the charms of the train trip from Toronto to the Rockies. However, given such a short time frame in which to tour the Rockies, I think the train trip might consume precious time. Also, if you look at what 5 train fares will cost you, I think you will find it’s more expensive than you perhaps anticipate.

Picking up a car in Jasper and dropping it off elsewhere probably will involve a hefty one-way drop off fee. Picking up a car in Alberta and dropping it off in Wyoming (supposing you can even find a company that will let you do that) will not merely involve a hefty one-way drop off fee. You’ll have to sell a kidney to finance the venture.

A more cost effective way of doing this would be to fly in and out of one place and pick up and drop off a rental car in that place.

With 2 weeks at your disposal, you could do a circuit of Calgary – Jasper – Banff – Montana’s Glacier National Park – Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park – Calgary. (Calgary is only one entry-exit point that could be used. There are others, such as Kalispell, Montana and Edmonton, Alberta.)

With 3 weeks at your disposal, you could add Yellowstone to that circuit.

Yes, if you have the time, it would be a real shame to skip Jasper. The national park of that name is beautiful, and the Icefields Parkway, the road that connects Lake Louise and Jasper townsite, is reputed to be one of the most scenic routes in the world. (Of course Glacier National Park’s Going to the Sun Road is highly scenic too.)

You may find my website useful:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...kiesTravelTips

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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There is no train from Toronto to Calgary. The train from Toronto goes to Edmonton and on to Jasper.

If you really want to take the train, I recommend Vancouver to Jasper instead, much shorter, and much more scenic!

Where are you from? The US or the UK? If you are from the UK I would avoid going into the US, especially on this trip. Too many hassles.

With the time you have, you can do a great tour of the Canadian Rockies. Think about a loop flying into Edmonton and out of Calgary (or vice versa) to cut out backtracking.
saltymuffin is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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>>>>>>There is no train from Toronto to Calgary.<<<<<<

Thanks, saltymuffin. I missed that in peterl43's post.
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Old Feb 5th, 2007, 07:52 PM
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If you have 17 to 18 days in which to travel, you can do Yellowstone, but it will take a full day to drive it.
Distances are great!!

I have done a similar trip, but I did not include Jasper. Because of the difficulties of dropping a rental car in the US, I suggest a circle trip from Calgary.

I suggest that you focus on the Canadian beauties this time and save Yellowstone for another caper.

However, if you decided you do want to drive to Yellowstone, doing it in one day is quite a chore. It is 600 miles, but I have done it in one day. There is not much traffic and you can cruise along at a good rate of speed.

If you decide you want to take this excursion, be SURE you have an entry in your rental contract that says you can take the car into the US.

If you DO NOT have the required entry, be prepared for a first class grilling at the US border.

IF you go to Yellowstone, allow at least 3 full days, preferably 4. And if you go that far, you might as well add a 5th day and visit the Tetons because they are so close.

Then you can return to Canada. Whether or not you want to visit the US Glacier National Park is a good question. I have been there and enjoyed it, and I think you can see the major sights in 2 days.

From there you can drive to Banff via Highway 41 by taking the route through Pincher Creek from Waterton.

If you don't mind doing the driving, I say go for it.

In Canada, my first love is Yoho National Park. I don't know your budget, but I will make a wild assmption that you can stand the cost of spending 2 nights at Twin Falls Chalet, which is NOT cheap but very rustic!

From TFC you can explore the Whaleback Trail which is one of the glories of the Rockies. Also, off that same excursion, you can venture off trail and into Waterfall Valley, which is so quiet you can hear your heart beat. We went up there and had total solitude except for a couple of deer.

Also, if you are in Yoho, my favorit place on the planet is that hard rock with my name on it that overlooks Lake McArthur. It takes some planning and doing to get there, but the experience alone is almost worth the trip.

You have a lot of planning to do. Let me suggest two books that for me are indispensible for the Canadian Rockies:

1. the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson.
It is THE best hiking guide in English, surpassing even those jewels on the Alps by Kev Reynolds. (Which is a bold assertion.)

2. The Handbook of the Canadian Rockies by Benn Gadd. Mr. Gadd's book is another masterpiece that has incredibile detail on geology, climate, flora, fauna, weather, etc. I did not buy a copy until after my 4th trip to the Rockies and I was instantly glad I had it in hand and instantly sorry I had not acquired it sooner. Perhaps by waiting, I appreciated it more.

Given the amount of time you have, let me sugges that you not exclude the Canadian Glacier National Park. It is a park of wildness and steep trails and jagged peaks in the Selkirk and Purcell Ranges.

Once you settle in on just Canada, you might decide that Yellowstone and the Tetons are objectives for another trip.

Alberta and BC have so much to offer that it is mind boggling.

And no, I am not Canadian,but that does not prevent me from dearly loving every visit out there I have ever taken.

I will sign off with an anecdote on my older grandson. The whole mob (6) went to Twin Falls Chalet for 2 nights. Jordan fell in love 3 times in one day.
First he, his Dad and his Mom hiked the Whaleback while granddad struggled along to the top of the falls.

Then Jordan returned to the chalet where there was a cute blond his age from Edmonton. I thought the blond was making some progress when Fran, who runs the place, served chocolate cake for dessert. I thought the young lady was making a comeback, at least to second place, when Fran served seconds to the boys and girls. Not even girls can compete with Fran's chocolate cake!!

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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 01:57 AM
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