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Banff Canada to Kalispell or Whitefish, Montana

Banff Canada to Kalispell or Whitefish, Montana

Feb 6th, 2011, 11:40 AM
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Banff Canada to Kalispell or Whitefish, Montana

Would welcome suggestions/recommendations from all the experts out there. Just beginning to plan our 3 week Canadian Rockies/Pacific NW driving adventure in early Sept, 2011. My question is concerning recommendations as to where to stay (town/hotel) in between Banff and Montana. What interesting things/places can we expect to see in between and do you agree that it would be better to spend one night on the road instead of a direct drive. Thanks
lovingretirement is offline  
Feb 6th, 2011, 10:46 PM
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Hello lovingretirement,

I just answered your question on Vancouver to Banff as well. A suggestion to go from Banff into Montana would be to drive to Waterton National Park and spend your first night there. It would be approx 4.5 to 5 hours of driving to get there from Banff. Waterton National parks shares it's border with Glacier National park in Montana. Waterton is much, much smaller, but is just as beautiful.

The next day you could cross the border into Montana and drive on the spectacular "Going To the Sun Road" through Glacier National Park and then onto Kalispell.

Just thought I would mention that if you are coming in early September, the 3,4,5th is Labour Day weekend and all accommodation in Canada will be packed solid. You would need to book well in advance to make sure you have somewhere to stay in any of the Rocky Mountain areas such as Banff, Jasper, etc.

travelbug2007 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 02:56 AM
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thanks again travelbug2007. I saw your response as well on the Vancouver question. We are actually arriving on Sept 3, but flying into Seattle. We won't be arriving in Jasper until the 8th and that's been booked. Your suggestion on this drive was great and will follow it. Any suggestion on accommodation for the one night in Waterton NP? Also, since you live in Banff, we are planning to spend 3 nts in Jasper, 2 in Lake Louise, and 3 in Banff. Instead of actually staying in LL, do you think we could make daytrips from Banff and use that as our base instead. Any suggestions as to where to stay there would be appreciated as well. Considering the Rimrock Hotel and the Juniper. Are you familiar with either. Thanks
lovingretirement is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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The Going to the Sun Road will probably be closed when you arrive. Normally closes labor day weekend due to construction.
John is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 12:55 PM
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thanks John but we won't be traveling on this road until around Sept 15. Do you think it would have re-opened by then??
lovingretirement is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 02:58 PM
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Normally the road would be opened till approx. mid October, weather dependent. However we are in the fourth year of a six year project so the road will close early, labor day weekend, allowing consruction crews to work a few weeks without traffic and nasty weather.
A few miles on both the east side and west side should be open but travelling the whole length will not be possible.
For up to date information, go to
John is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 04:18 PM
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Any suggestions as to alternatives if the road is closed/?
lovingretirement is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 04:32 PM
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Drive one end as far as possible - from either East or West Glacier.
Turn around and drive back. Drive south on Hwy 2* to get to the other side of the park.
Go in that other entrance and drive as far as you can.

*stop and look at the goats from the bridge at the Salt Lick. Dusk is a great time to see them.
starrs is offline  
Feb 7th, 2011, 08:08 PM
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Hi lovingretirement,

You can certainly stay in Banff the entire time. It is only 40 minutes drive from Banff to Lake Louise. Accommodation in Lake Louise is very limited compared to Banff, and can be rather expensive. It depends on what your plans are for Lake Louise? If you would like to just go in for a day, see the lake, perhaps take a hike to Lake Agnes Tea House, stop by to see the nearby and as beautiful Moraine Lake then I would just stay in Banff as your base. If you planned to do a bunch of hiking in Lake Louise or wanted to use it as a base for doing some site seeing in nearby Yoho National Park then it might be a better decision to stay there.

The Rimrock is a wonderful hotel if it is in your budget. It is just slightly out of the main town area, but just a few minutes drive. I am not as familiar with the Juniper, I have been up at the hotel, but not inside it. It would be an older property than the Rimrock. It sits up on the other side of the highway looking back at Banff, again just a minute or two drive to get into town.

Waterton I have only camped, but perhaps something like the Bayshore Inn would be suitable? http://www.bayshoreinn.com/ I wouldn't recommend the Prince Of Wales hotel to stay at, I just don't think it is worth the money, but definitely stop at the property for a visit and enjoy the spectacular view.

travelbug2007 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2011, 10:41 AM
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FYI - If you want to travel direct the drive from Banff to Kalispell is an easy 5.5 hour drive. I make this trip quite frequently and I find it quite enjoyable and relaxing. Highway 93 South takes you direct to the Port of Roosville (the border crossing). I

While Waterton/Glacier is magnificent, but it kind of merits another holiday! If you decided to go there, one night is not going to give you any time to see the area. Waterton is also very small and the accommodation will still be at high season pricing.

For your time in Banff National Park: Banff is the perfect place to use as a base for your holiday! From Banff, you can visit the Lake Louise area, Yoho National Park and the Columbia Icefields. It's the slightly more affordable option, because there's much more variety of accommodation than in Lake Louise. Lake Louise is only 60km away on a relatively straight divided highway. Emerald Lake in Yoho is about 100km. (1 hour drive time) Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway is about 100km. (1 hour drive time). Plus, Banff is a thriving wonderful town to enjoy you downtime in the evening. Lots of great dining, the possibility of some evening entertainment or some evening relaxing in the hot springs.
banfflakelouise is offline  
Feb 17th, 2011, 07:57 PM
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From Banff I would go through Kootenay National Park and enjoy the hot springs just as you exit the park.
Michael is online now  
Mar 24th, 2012, 05:43 AM
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the recommendations banfflakelouise suggested sound wonderful. I recently learned about the potential to bike from banff to Jasper. We would only have a week and can't de cide. Could we do both? any suggestions appreciated.
stoweflake is offline  
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