Glacier and Banff

Old May 1st, 2005, 06:35 PM
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Glacier and Banff

We are considering flying in (where's best?) and spending 8 days (not including 2 days flying). Where would be the best place to fly to from San Francisco and is it probable that we could do all the parks in the area? We are also looking for interesting places to stay ( 2 in their 50's and a 15 year old). We love nature and have done ecovacations the last 2 years,
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Old May 1st, 2005, 07:42 PM
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Fly to Calgary.
Visit the Banff Park area.
Go to Glacier if you have time.
Around Glacier the better places to stay are in Canada.
If you drive into the States in a Canadian car, have a document that says you have permission to leave Canada.

Take your passports for re-entry into the States. The process can be a nuisance these days.

I think you will have time to drive all the way up to Jasper and see the Icefields Parkway.

If you do, see Waterton-Glacier first because it pales in comparison with the sights farther north -- at least I think so.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 11:08 AM
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no question fly to calgary, car rental will be in canadian dollars too.

I think you should consider doing banff/lake louise and Jasper rather than glacier. this is because of your time factor.

but if you really want to do glacier (which is a spectacular park and the hiking is fantastic!!!!) stay on the east side to make things more convenient.

even though it is a tourist trap, do the athabasca glacier bus tour off of icefields parkway. i also did rafting on the athabasca river out of jasper.

rented canoe and canoed on lake louise,

hike to the tea huts at lake louise, make sure you have a little cash so you can pay for tea.

Hike Wilcox Pass off the icefields parkway, short hike with a big payoff. you will really understand what a mountain range pass is!

I stayed at pine bungalow cabins in jasper, they are still there and right along the river outside of town.

I stayed at castle mountain rather than lake louise or banff because i prefer cabins rentals and this place fit the bill. banff and lake louise can be pricey.

if you decide on glacier, try glacier trailside cabins (no tv) or go to saint mary's lodge.

waterton may be more desireable and has more choices to stay, and the town is really quaint. waterton has shops and restaurants etc.

St. Mary's and Babb in mountana are really just places to stay while visiting glacier

enjoy one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 05:05 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like Jasper and Banff are must sees. Airfare from California is quite a bit less to Montana than to Calgary. Lodging ideas sound right up alley!
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 05:40 PM
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Well. Not so fast. Look at car rental prices out of Kalispell, if that is one of the destinations you are considering.
I did that one year, and the best I could do was a car from Rent a Wreck that had a 150 mile a day average cap on it. I paid a big chunk of change in extra miles.
It looked like a good deal before I realized just how far I needed to drive to see what I wanted to see.


So before acting on tickets, compare total cost: air fare plus car rental costs.

In Calgary, Enterprise has the best rates. It is however, off airport.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 05:42 PM
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Thanks Bob, After more research Calgary looks like a good choice! I've been told Banff is pretty commercial and touristy, and our time would be better spent in Jasper? Is that true, or can we find some off the beaten path to explore. I'm thinking of 2 days in Glacier, 3 in Banff and 3 in Jasper. Definately want to see Icefields and go canoeing somewhere. Might need to do a horse back trip for the 15 year old. Any suggestions or comments on the itenerary?
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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I'd definitely vote for 2 or 3 days around Banff, then 3 or 4 days around the Jasper area. Banff caters to tourists but you can find good food and shops there. Definitely visit Lake Louise in the early morning (unless you can afford to stay at the Fairmont Lake Louise which is a very nice hotel). and the drive up to Jasper is nice. Jasper is beautiful and not as crowded as Banff area.

Also, if you are looking for a family hotel, you may want to check out Camden - which is just outside the entrance to Banff NP. Nice littel town with nice/cheaper hotels.

have fun!
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:30 PM
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If you are planning on renting a car in Canada and driving it into the U.S.A., you may want to check with the proper authorities. I live in Northwest Montana and I THOUGHT I just read in the local paper that they are not allowing American drivers with Canadian cars to cross the border. Could have mis-read the article but you may want to check.
Have a great trip.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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First on Banff.
It is a huge park. Don't confuse Banff townsite with this huge, wonderful park with the same name.

Lake Louise for example in in Banff National Park.

It has been a couple of years now, but on two occasions I drove a Canadian rental car into the States. Both times I was grilled extensively by the TSA joker at the gate.

The conversation began to get testy.
I figured such questions as "Why did you fly to Calgary?" to be none of his business. The conversation ended with him telling me all about insurance coverage, i.e. that my insurance wasn't any good in the US. He told me that he knew more about insurance than my son does, and my son is a Senior Property Claims Specialist for his company and holds several certifications including the CPCU. But the border guy was a total authority on the subject.

So be prepared for any kind of mishmash if you do try to drive a Canadian rental into the US.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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my trip to glacier banff and jasper was before 9/11 so things may have tightened up a bit, but i had no problem with the calgary car except it only had k/hr, no miles on it...

crossing the border last sept. between waterton and glacier, no problems, the most intrusive question was how long are you staying (you got me why it matters) maybe it's just where you cross the border. i was back and forth a couple of times. that was with an american car tho.

while in banff, walk along the bow river, and canoe on lake louise if open hike valley of the ten peaks trail, it can be closed often because of bear activity. enjoy
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