Trip to Rockies

Old May 23rd, 2013, 08:22 AM
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Trip to Rockies

We plan to visit rockies in 2nd week of August for 9 days . We are flying out of Dallas, reaching Calgary in the afternoon, we plan to rent a car and drive next day
Our dilemma is whether drive to Jasper directly spend 2 days over there then drive back to Banff and stay there for the rest of 6 days or should we stay the whole trip in and around Banff and lake louise and Calgary. We like to do minimal to moderate hiking, floats/ water rafting, wild life watching etc.we also plan to take icefield parkway explorer trip as well
If we exclude Jasper from our itinerary will we be missing a lot or should we concentrate on Banff
mom1967 is offline  
Old May 25th, 2013, 06:44 PM
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We also have visited for about the same amount of time. I love Jasper and love taking my time on the Icefields Parkway so I would suggest you include Jasper.

Here is how we split our time last visit.

http://www.fodors.com/community/cana...-report.cfm?27
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Old May 25th, 2013, 06:46 PM
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I would also pick up your rental car and head right to Banff/Lake Louise rather than waiting until the next day.
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Old May 26th, 2013, 09:00 AM
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Since you have 9 days, that's a lot of time and gives you many different ways to plan your stay in the Rockies - no rushing!!!

As Linda mentioned, you could always drive directly to the mountains instead of spending your first night in Calgary, but it all depends on when you arrive (early afternoon vs late afternoon), and whether you are going only as far as Banff or all the way to Jasper.
From Calgary airport to Banff will take you about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the traffic (if it's rush hour during mid-week, may be slower, longer).
From Banff to Lake Louise is another 45 minute drive, and then the Icefield Parkway is about 2.5 to 3 hours if you don't make any stops along the way (it's 230 km or 145 miles, but with many areas of low speed limits, winding mountainous roads, plus spectacular scenery).
So - if you arrive in Calgary at 1 pm, you could drive all the way to Jasper, but if you arrive at 5 pm, I would recommend spending the night in Calgary and driving the next day.
Do not miss Jasper. It has a completely different ambience than Banff, less touristy and more relaxing. From Jasper (the town) you could do some white water rafting on the Athabasca River, drive to scenic Maligne Lake and take the "cruise" to Spirit Island, walk Maligne Canyon, visit Athabasca Falls, take the Tramway up to the top of Whistler's (not to be confused with Whistler's near Vancouver), canoe on Pyramid Lake, go golfing at Jasper Park Lodge, drink local microbrewery beer (!!), and just relax.
Jasper is also about an hour's drive from Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. While there you can walk to Rearguard Falls and see the headwaters of the Fraser River (flows all the way to Vancouver) where the salmon come to spawn.

When you drive back south(east) to Banff, you'll want to take an entire day so that you can make many stops at all the viewpoints, and take several hours at the Columbia Icefields. We were there last weekend (we're lucky enough not to live far !) and just north of the glaciers saw a big black bear nosing around a trailhead. Stayed in the vehicle, needless to say!!

Enjoy your visit. And make accommodation reservations soon - they are busiest during July and August.
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Old Jul 4th, 2013, 08:28 PM
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I live in the area and would drive directly to Banff. Daylight will last until 10 pm. Spend a few days in the area, then drive to Jasper for a few days, then back to Banff. Stop at some places on the way north and different places on the way south. The Icefields Parkway drive is spectacular, so set aside a full day for each drive.
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