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Visiting canadian rockies:Banff, jasper, Lake Louise July 4th weekend

Visiting canadian rockies:Banff, jasper, Lake Louise July 4th weekend

Old Jun 14th, 2005, 12:07 AM
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Visiting canadian rockies:Banff, jasper, Lake Louise July 4th weekend


we are planning to visit canadian rockies this july 4th weekend for 8 or 9 days ( from July 2nd to July 10th). We want to visit the following places.

Mount Revelstoke National Park
-Meadows in the Sky Parkway
- rogers pass
Yoho National Park
-Emerald Lake
-Takkakaw Falls

Lake Louise
- Moraine Lake
- Lake Louise
- Banff townsite
- Johnston Canyon.
- gondola up Sulphur Mountain

-Mount Robson Provincial Park
-Mount Edith Cavell
- Angel Glacier
- Cavell Meadows
- Maligne Lake

Kootenay National Park
Radium Hot Springs

we are not sure if we can cover all these places if we drive all the way from vancouer to Banff. Can any one tell us if its better to fly in and out of calgary and then go to each of these places. We have seen vancouver and victoria before. so we dont have any plans of visiting vancouver again.

What's your thought, can we visit all the places in 9 days? should we remove some sights? It would be nice if you can help us with our itinerary.

Also can you give us some recommnedations on the hotels in and around Lake Louise/Banff area? since this is a long weekend I guess it will be hard to get hotel rooms now?


wanderlust125 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2005, 02:48 AM
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It would help to know what kind of experience you're looking for. For example, when you visit Lake Louise, you can park, hop out of the car and walk along next to the Chateau Lake Louise -- maybe buy an ice cream -- and limit your visit to perhaps 30 mins or so. Then, back in your vehicle and off to the next site.

The other approach would be to stop for a couple of hours, perhaps have lunch at the Chateau, and then take a hike along the lake. That would take a couple of hours -- but you might find it a bit more fun.

Driving from Vancouver to Calgary along the TransCanada you'll go through each place mentioned except for Jasper and Radium ... if you're looking to expedite your travels.
grizzlysquirrel is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2005, 03:30 AM
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Estimated travel times:

Driving Time KM/Miles To Jasper
9 1/2 hrs 863 km (518 mi.) northeast of Vancouver
3 1/2 hrs 362 km (220 mi.) west of Edmonton
4 1/2 hrs 414 km (248 mi.) northwest of Calgary
3 1/2 hrs 287 km (172 mi.) north of Banff
3 hrs 232 km (139 mi.) north of Lake Louise
5 hrs 443 km (265 mi.) northeast of Kamloops
tom22 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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Hello wanderlust125,

I am a great fan of Vancouver but, given that you have visited it already, I think you would be better off flying in and out of Calgary, simply from the point of view of time. The added benefit of beginning and ending in the same city is that you won’t incur a one-way drop off fee on a rental car. To take in the places you want to see, you could do a counter-clockwise route something like this:

Sat, July 2 – Land in Calgary. Drive to Canmore or Banff. Getting through immigration and customs should take no more than an hour. Say it takes half an hour to do a couple of transactions at the airport (getting Canadian money from an ATM and picking up your rental car). The drive will take 2 hours max, even taking into account the time that it takes to get across Calgary to reach the Calgary - Banff highway. Canmore and Banff are bigger than Lake Louise is, and they have a larger stock of accommodation. At this stage I think you’ll have a better chance of finding vacancies in Canmore and Banff.

Sun, July 3 - Explore the Moraine Lake / Lake Louise area. Go to Moraine Lake first, as its parking lot fills up. If you do one of the lovely half-day hikes in this area, you won’t have time for much more than this. If, however, you pay relatively short visits to these places, you could fit in visits to Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake as well. Even if you wanted to visit Tak Falls and Emerald Lake on this day, you would have time to walk to the top of the pile of rocks at the north end of Moraine Lake, walk the lakeshore path at Moraine Lake, and do the Fairview Lookout hike (1 mile in each direction) from the boat dock at Lake Louise. Overnight in your Canmore / Banff base again.

Mon, July 4 – Drive the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. Although the drive nominally takes 3 hours, it easily could take 6, 7 or even more hours, depending on how many scenic lookout spots catch your attention and whether or not you include a hike. At a minimum do stop to see Peyto Lake Lookout, Columbia Icefields, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls

Tue, July 5 – Explore Jasper’s environs. In addition to Mount Edith Cavell and Maligne Lake, do try to fit in a walk in Maligne Canyon. Overnight in Jasper again.

Wed, July 6 – Drive to Kamloops, visiting Mount Robson Provincial Park and Wells Gray Provincial Park (Helmcken Falls) on the way. Jasper to Kamloops is 5-1/2 hours without stops, but the detour into Wells Gray will add to your driving time.

Thu, July 7 – Drive to Revelstoke (3 hours). Visit the railway museum if you think it would interest you. Do the Meadows in the Sky Parkway.

Fri, July 8 – Drive from Revelstoke to Golden (2 hours). You will drive over Rogers Pass on the way. At Golden turn south to Radium Hot Springs (1 hour). Overnight in Radium. By stopping in Radium after only half a day’s driving you’ll have time to relax and enjoy the hot springs if you like. If you don’t feel like bathing in the hot springs, you could drive down the road to Invermere and Fairmont Hot Springs, and return to Radium for the night.

Sat, July 9 – Drive through Kootenay National Park to Castle Junction. At Castle Junction, turn east onto the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy #1A) and drive to Johnston Canyon. (Radium to Johnston Canyon will take about 2 hours.) Walk into the canyon at least till the Lower Falls. It takes about an hour to walk there and back. Better still, walk till the Upper Falls, which will take about 2-1/2 hours altogether. Then drive to Banff and do any other activities for which you still have time (gondola up Sulphur Mountain or whatever). If your flight the next day takes off at noon or later, you could spend this night in Banff or Canmore. If you have a morning flight, you would be well advised to have dinner in Banff and then drive to Calgary for the night.

Sun, July 10 – Fly home. If you want to fill your rental car just before dropping it off, there is a gas station just as you approach the airport complex. If you'll be catching a U.S.-bound flight, you'll need to check in 2 hours before departure. You will clear U.S. immigration and customs at Calgary Airport. If you'll be driving from Banff, you'll need to leave at least 4 hours before your flight.

If you won't be driving to a Calgary hotel but going straight to the airport, you can avoid quite a bit of traffic by turning north onto Stoney Trail when you reach the first set of traffic lights at the edge of the city. Turn east at the T-junction with Country Hills Blvd. Country Hills Blvd. will take you all the way to the airport.

When you look for accommodation in the mountains, look out for minimum stay requirements (sometimes 2 or 3 nights) and stringent cancellation policies (anywhere from 48 hours to 14 days!). In order to recommend accommodation, it would help to know your price range.

Although it will be summer, you could experience temperatures from the mid 90s F down to freezing. Bring layers so that you’re prepared for summer as well as spring/fall weather and both dry and wet weather. Bring hiking boots or, at the very least, running shoes. All mountain restaurants are casual at lunchtime. Moderately priced restaurants are casual at dinnertime too. Upscale restaurants are smart casual in the evening.

Hope you have a good trip.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2005, 02:50 PM
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Wow, Judy!!! You've got me re-thinking OUR whole trip, after reading this wonderful itinerary you came up w/for Wanderlust.
Just incredible!

We're driving from Calif so won't be able to do quite the loop you have here, but...
hmmmm. Need to re-think things.

Just wanted to extend my compliments to you, Judy, for such a fabulously helpful post!!
WanderingRose is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2005, 03:06 PM
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Thanks for all your feedback. Just last week we decided to make a trip to canadian rockies. So we just started planning our trip a little late and this forum has been of great help in our trip planning as we have very less time to plan our trip and book tickets and make hotel reservations. We hope its not too late to get decent accomodations at Banff, jasper, revelstoke/kamloops area. We are looking at accomodations ranging from $80 to Max $100 USD.

We both enjoy nature and we are mainly coming for sight seeing and will be aiming to do small hikes along the way.

Thanks Judy for the itinerary help. we have already been to vancouver twice and seen victoria too, though we dont mind going back to victoria again, but not on this trip. we prefer flying in and out of calgary, that way we dont have to drive all the way from Oregon to Vancouver to start our roadtrip.

I had a couple of questions regarding accomodations and driving distances and where to stay overnight.

--You mention that we can fit in a trip to Emerald Lake /Takkakaw Falls on the same day we visit Moraine Lake / Lake Louise. Is it possible to see all four places Moriane Lake/ LL/Emerald Lake /Tak Falls in one day without leaving out any major scenic spots?

- where would you recommend us to stay when we visit Kamloops/revelstoke area? which is closer to Meadows in the Sky Parkway?. Since we will be going there within the next 15 days, where do you think can we get nice accomodations within our range ($80-$100)? can anyone familiar with this area give us some tips here?

-To see places around Banff/LL area, do you think we can get hotel accomondations at Banff/canmore now? or do you think we can only get hotels in calgary now as its too close to July 4th weekend?. If we stay in calgary then we will be adding extra 4 hours driving everyday from Banff to calgary just to get back to the hotel.
we prefer banff/canmore area to be our base while visiting Lake Louise and Banff area .we are looking at accomodations ranging from $80 to Max $100 USD.

- I have read a lot of good things about drive from Icefields Parkway to Jasper. Every one makes a note about Peyto Lake Lookout, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls. Do you think we can cover all these spots and also fit in Snocoach ride on the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefields.

- Can you suggest some places we can stay Overnight in Jasper area?

- Also I have read that Okanagan Valley is a pretty nice location to visit. but I dont think we can fit in Kelowna into our short trip to rocikes? what do you say? Do you think we should skip hot springs and visit Okanagan valley?

At this point our itinerary looks something like this:

1 – July 2nd : arrive in calgary and then drive to Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise. stay in one of the towns i.e. where ever we get decent accomodations for our budget and make it as our base for visiting all the scenic area in and around all these places.

2 – July 3rd :Canmore / Banff / Lake Louise. Stay in the same base as day 1

Day 3, 4 - Overnight stay in Jasper

Day 5, 6 – July 6th and July 7th

Day 7 -July 8th: Hot springs, overnight in Radium or any near by place? what do you suggest?
Day 8 - Drive to Johnston Canyon and back to Banff/ calgary. Stay at Banff/calgary
Day 9 - fly out of calgary

I was looking at bbcanada.com for some B&B. Can anyone familar with this area provide some links to nice, freindly accomodations and links to maps?

I have read a lot about locals renting their homes/rooms? any suggestions on that and how to book them?

Thanks again
wanderlust125 is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2005, 06:53 PM
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Instead of staying in Lake Louise,there are less expensive accommodations in Field, British Columbia. It is about 20 minutes to a half hour away from Lake Louise but the drive is beautiful.
That puts you really close to Emerald Lake, Yoho, Takkakaw Falls. We stayed at Emerald Lake Lodge and thoroughly enjoyed driving this road.

Here is our schedule--maybe it will help you as you plan.
When we visited the area last year, we arrived in Calgary very late, overnighted in Calgary, stopped in Banff for lunch, bought my husband some hiking boots ( he forgot to pack his), stopped at the visitors center, walked Johnston Canyon, drove to Lake Louise, walked the lakeside trail, and drove out to Emerald Lake Lodge on our first day, arriving before dinner.

Day 2, we stopped at Takakkaw Falls, hiked to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, Big Beehive, and Plain of Six Glaciers--long hike.

Day 3 Moraine Lake--the Larch Valley Trail and Consolation Lake hikes have grizzly warnings--want to hike these when we return from Jasper. Start driving the Icefields Parkway at about 11:00.
Walk to Bow Summit(Peyto Lake)
Hike up to Parker Ridge(WOW)
Stop at Columbia Icefields Center--then to Jasper

Day 4 (Very rainy, cloudy day)Maligne Canyon, Drive to Maligne Lake, drive Edith Cavell Road, walk to Angel Glacier and Meadows hike.

Day 5 Jasper Park Lodge, Patricia Lake, Icefields Parkway stopping at Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls--skipped hike at Wilcox Pass--too rainy

Day 6 Planned to do the Moraine Lake hikes but still raining and we can't gather of group of 6 to do the hikes--I even asked at the lodge if we could join one of their groups---drove into Banff(we weren't even going into Banff this trip, but good place to go when it rains)spent a nice afternoon in the Irish bar in Banff,stopped at the Banff Springs Hotel.

We left the next day.

Other thoughts:
The hostel in LL is supposed to be wonderful, but I imagine it is booked.

If you want to leave something out---We did not enjoy hiking Johnston Canyon---it was too crowded and we only did it because it was raining---the trail is paved. Since you are going to Jasper, the Maligne Canyon hike is much better. We started at the fifth bridge--very few people, short hike.

There are a lot of room rentals in Jasper. I would think you might be able to find one in your price range.

Hope this helps.
Have a great time. We would love to return.
LindainOhio is offline  
Old Jun 14th, 2005, 08:29 PM
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The Johnston Canyon hike is really nice if you continue past the falls and get on the real dirt trail. Head up to the ink pots, they are beautiful.
Fodorite018 is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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We will be visiting kamloops/Revelstoke area on July 6 and 7. Doesn any one have suggestions for accommodations in this area?

Also I was looking for accommodations in Banff and Jasper area. I checked with few hotels/B&B. we don’t know much about these places. It would be nice if anyone who has stayed here or lives in this area can tell if these are good accommodations. We are not looking for hotels with spa/resort like feel so I guess we are ok with small, clean friendly hotels/rooms as we will be out most of the day and will return to the room only to sleep.

Banff: GatewayInn, RiverSide B&B
Jasper: Holiday Inn Valemount Hotel and suites, Holiday Inn Hinton

Looked at the following accommodations in Radium hot springs area, any idea about these places? Any other suggestions for 1 night stay at radium?

Radium Hot springs: Majestic Hotel resort spa, Radium resort

wanderlust125 is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2005, 02:24 PM
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Neither Valemount nor Hinton is in Jasper National Park. Neither of them is a convenient base for seeing the attractions that are around Jasper townsite.

Also beware of places that describe themselves as being in Jasper East. They are close to Jasper National Park's east gate, and I consider them to be too far from Jasper townsite to be convenient.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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can you recommend some other hotels or cabins with kitchen in Jasper National park or closer to jasper townsite?

wanderlust125 is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2005, 04:21 PM
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Hello wanderlust125,

Although I've never stayed in any of them, Becker's Chalets, Pine Bungalows and Jasper House Bungalows each has a loyal following amongst the people who post on travel discussion forums.

After having heard so much about the property on this forum, and having heard about it from "real life" friends as well, my husband and I have booked 3 nights at Becker's Chalets this coming August.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2005, 04:28 PM
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By the way, wanderlust125, Hana, one of our fellow Fodorites recently posted a favourable review of a home accommodation called 105 Patricia Street, which is right in Jasper townsite.

"Home accommodation" is similar to a B&B, except that it doesn't serve breakfast. But several of the home accommodations in Jasper have kitchens or kitchenettes so that you can prepare your own breakfast.

105 Patricia Street already was booked for the dates we wanted. The reason we tried 105 Patricia Street, as opposed to Crayston's, was that my husband and I were going to be travelling with another adult, and we liked the fact that 105 Patricia Street had two suites.

But for people who are travelling as a couple or as a family, Crayston's sounds nice. Laurafromtexas stayed there in August 2004 and gave it a glowing review. The limitation of Crayston's, from the point of view of unrelated people travelling together, is that everyone apparently sleeps in one room.
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