Alaska vs Canadian Rockies

Old Dec 1st, 2006, 12:20 PM
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Wow, did you see the size of that caldera?! It's beautiful, repete!

With no facilities, trails, etc; unpredictable weather, and a strong likelihood of meeting a few brown bears (those huge coastal grizzlies), I think I'll wait for your trip report (and usual great photos) on that park, Oleg.
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 12:30 PM
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Having just driven through the Canadian Rockies on my way to Alaska this summer, I would recommend the Icefields Parkway and Canadian Rockies highly. I loved Alaska but Banff & Jasper (not too mention the adjacent areas) are simply spectacular! I would rank the Icefields Parkway slightly above the Seward Highway. It is a 3 hour drive you can spend a week exploring. There are places to pull over for hikes - whether you just want a quick stroll or a real hike - every few miles.

There were more tour buses and the like in the Canadian Rockies, but they were relatively easy to avoid. I found the town of Banff offputting but I adored my stay at the hike-in Shadow Lake Lodge:

I also enjoyed the Deer Lodge, which is a quick stroll to Lake Louise and the Chateau Lake Louise restaurants. Other favorites included Lake Moraine, Sunwapta Falls, and Bow Lake (which has a pretty hotel, although I didn't stay there).

Good luck with your choice.
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Having just returned from a Canadian Rockies trip this summer at peak tourist season, I can comment on your concern re crowds that we noted. There is something like the "1000 foot" rule that applies to most areas. If you walk more than 1000 feet from the main location, you will leave 95%+ of the crowds behind. At Peyto Lake, for example, there were many people crowded around the vista points, but a hike of 15 minutes took us above the crowds where all we could see was the beauty of the lake and mountains. Similarly at Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Jasper area, etc. It had been 15 years since my last trip to Banff/Jasper and if anything the area seems more beautiful to me than before. If you haven't been there, you need to go. It has to be one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2006, 02:36 PM
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When I went to Alaska we flew to Calgary and then traveled through the Canadain Rockes to Vancouver and then on to Alaska. The Icefield Parkway has such spectacular view that at times I had tears running down my face.
Walking on the HUGE Athabasca Glacier
at the Columbia Ice Fields was a special treat.
We loved Jasper and Banff and all the other places that have been mentioned.
Driving along the Icefields Parkway and seeing the majestic mountains rise all around you is just overwhelmingly beautiful.
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 05:34 PM
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We've been all over the world and the Canadian Rockies are the most beautiful place we have been. We go in September. There's a chance of snowfall but the crowds are much sparser (we don't like crowds, either) and if it snows, so much the better, the mountains are beautiful with a dusting of snow. If you choose the Rockies, don't overlook Yoho National Park. We stayed at the Cathedral Mountain Lodge, it was just great-beautiful newish log cabins with fireplaces and a restaurant with the best soups you have ever eaten. (trust us, soup and bread are a MEAL there!- and you can get it to go and take to your cabin. They also provide firewood.) The lakes, especially Moraine Lake, are unbelievable. In Jasper we stayed at Becker's Roaring River Chalets-not too fancy but very clean and spacious and right on the Athabasca River. The river is gorgeous and roars all the time. Banff-maybe you'll spend a day there shopping but don't miss the Sulphur Mountain Gondola and go to the Banff Springs Hotel for a wonderful lunch or dinner and a look at Bow Falls. When in Banff, go to the golf course, the elk hang out there, they call it the "Banff Salad Bowl". The golfers are instructed to 'play through' the elk. Elk are there almost always near sundown. Be careful in September as the elk are in rut and the males can be aggressive. There's also a chair lift near Lake Louise that gives you great views (open chair) even in non-ski season. Back to Jasper, the boat to Spirit Island in Maligne Lake is a great trip and also the aerial tramway out of downtown Jasper proper. I agree with some of the previous posts that Alaska is wild and beautiful, but the Canadian Rockies are equally so and so much more in a compact area. The Icefields Parkway is only 143 miles long with so many side trips you can't count them. And the mountains are RIGHT THERE, looming over the highway.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 09:41 PM
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I am from Canada, I have been to both. They are both very beautiful, I am not sure it is fair to compare really. They are both very similar in terrain, wildlife and overall breathtaking beauty. The canadian rockies can be very touristy, much more so than parts of alaska. There are other parts of western canada other than the rockies. The mountains in Vancouver north of Vancouver and on the Island are the coastal mountains and are superb! Its a toss up really. Either way I don't think you will be disappointed, if you appreciate the beauty of the outdoors, nature and wildlife.
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