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Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

by cfencik Online Now Mar 13, 2013 at 3:59 PM

My husband and I are planning an anniversary trip to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper in mid-September. My husband wants to add a day to the trip. I'm willing to do so if necessary but 9 days away from my 2 year old is already a lot to ask! :) I've read a lot of posts on your Forum as well as Frommer's guide book. I've put together a potential itinerary but want to ensure that I'm not leaving something important out or that we aren't trying to do too much in one day. A little background...we are in our early 40's and pre-baby (3 years ago) we did a good amount of backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in TN and NC. We aren't in the shape we were then but from what I read I don't think I've picked any hikes that are out of our comfort zone. I would greatly appreciate any tips or insight you can offer. Thank you so much!

Sat arrive in Calgary ~ noon, drive to Banff / relax / Lodging in Banff

Sunday am leave early & drive to Lake Louise / hike Plain of 6 glaciers / Lake Moraine / Lodging in Banff

Monday am drive the Icefield Parkway to Jasper / Crowfoot Glacier / Bow Summit & Peto Lake / Sunwapta Pass / Athabasca Glacier (snow bus) / Tangle Falls / Lodging in Jasper

Tuesday am Wilcox Pass / Mt. Edith Cavell time permitting / Lodging in Jasper

Wednesday am Parker Ridge / Maline Lake / Lodging in jasper

Thursday am drive Icefield Parkway back to Banff / Johnston Canyon / Lake Minnewanka / Stewart Canyon / Lodging in Banff

Friday hit anything we missed around Banff / drive to Calgary for Lodging

Saturday depart Calgary for Tennessee

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9 Answers
  • GrumpyDiver's Profile Photo

    Re: Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

    by GrumpyDiver Online Now Mar 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    My husband and I are planning an anniversary trip to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper in mid-September. My husband wants to add a day to the trip. I'm willing to do so if necessary but 9 days away from my 2 year old is already a lot to ask! :) I've read a lot of posts on your Forum as well as Frommer's guide book. I've put together a potential itinerary but want to ensure that I'm not leaving something important out or that we aren't trying to do too much in one day. A little background...we are in our early 40's and pre-baby (3 years ago) we did a good amount of backpacking on the Appalachian Trail in TN and NC. We aren't in the shape we were then but from what I read I don't think I've picked any hikes that are out of our comfort zone. I would greatly appreciate any tips or insight you can offer. Thank you so much!
    Sat arrive in Calgary ~ noon, drive to Banff / relax / Lodging in Banff
    Sunday am leave early & drive to Lake Louise / hike Plain of 6 glaciers / Lake Moraine / Lodging in Banff
    Monday am drive the Icefield Parkway to Jasper / Crowfoot Glacier / Bow Summit & Peto Lake / Sunwapta Pass / Athabasca Glacier (snow bus) / Tangle Falls / Lodging in Jasper
    Tuesday am Wilcox Pass / Mt. Edith Cavell time permitting / Lodging in Jasper
    Wednesday am Parker Ridge / Maline Lake / Lodging in jasper
    Thursday am drive Icefield Parkway back to Banff / Johnston Canyon / Lake Minnewanka / Stewart Canyon / Lodging in Banff
    Friday hit anything we missed around Banff / drive to Calgary for Lodging
    Saturday depart Calgary for Tennessee
    My Banff NP page is: "Banff National Park" - Banff National Park by GrumpyDiver
    Sat – Drive from Calgary Airport to Town of Banff takes under two hours. You might want to consider relaxing in the Banff Hot Springs to get some of the stiffness of traveling out of your system. There are some nice spots around Lake Minnewanka
    Sun – This is a fairly easy schedule. I can’t remember exactly how long the hike took us to the Tea House and back; I think it took us 3 or 4 hours round trip. The drive from Banff to Lake Louise is around 45 minutes. Morraine Lake from Lake Louise is perhaps a 15 or 20 minute drive.
    Mon – that is a fairly full day. You are looking at a 4 to 4-1/2 hour drive, not counting any stops. The Columbia Icefield (Athabaska Glacier) is about an hour before Jasper.
    Tue – I haven’t hiked on Mt Edith Cavell in over 10 years, and that was in July. The wild flowers on the mountain meadows were beautiful, but I would expect that things will be a lot different in mid-September. We saw all kinds of signs of bear, so make sure you wear bear bells and have a can of bear spray along (you can pick those up in Banff or Jasper).

    Wed – Haven’t been to those places, so can’t comment. The Miette Hot Springs are about 45 minutes east of Jasper and might be a consideration too.
    Thu – doubling back through places you have already been.
    Friday – A few ideas Yoho and Kootnay National Parks are on the British Columbia side of the Rockies, so if you haven’t gotten tired of the mountain scenery, you might want to look at visiting these.
    Another alternative would be to head to Fort McLeod, which is a couple of hours south of Calgary. Just west of town is Smashed in Head Buffalo Jump, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Another alternative is about 90 minutes east of Calgary; Drumheller which has badlands, hoodoos and the dinosaur pits and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which has some of the best displayed dinosaur fossils I’ve ever seen. The drive takes you through the prairies.
    "Dinosaurs & Hoodoos in Drumheller" - Drumheller by GrumpyDiver

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  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Re: Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

    by Mikebb Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    We did most of what you have on your itinerary when we visited during 2005. We are from Perth Australia and took a flight NYC to Calgary , hired a car and drove to the Rockies immediately for 8 days. I have pages on most of your locations and some others such as a visit to Johnson Canyon / Gorge for hiking - must be on my Banff page, I thought it was special.

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  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Re: Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

    by Mikebb Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    Johnson Canyon link
    "Exciting Hike - Johnston Canyon" - Falls/mountains Tip by Mikebb

    We also drove to Jasper for an overnight stay.

    Our first night was at Canmore, a beautiful town which you will pass through on your way to Banff, Suggest you stop for a few hours in Canmore, it is only 20 minutes drive before you reach Banff. I have a small page on Canmore.

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  • RACCOON1's Profile Photo

    Re: Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

    by RACCOON1 Online Now Mar 15, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Nothing wrong in your plan but you have to realize that there may be a weather issue somewhere along the line.
    So you have to be flexible.
    The drive from LL to the Icefields , and any trip onto the icefields should be done on a sunny day.
    Make sure you bring a raincoat/poncho just in case.

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  • RACCOON1's Profile Photo

    Re: Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

    by RACCOON1 Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 6:12 AM

    You might consider Emerald Lake, The Burgess Shale, Takakkaw Falls and the Spiral Tunnel if time permits.
    Also. The hike up to Lake Agnes , is easy , and worth it.

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  • RACCOON1's Profile Photo

    Re: Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

    by RACCOON1 Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 6:12 AM

    You might consider Emerald Lake, The Burgess Shale, Takakkaw Falls and the Spiral Tunnel if time permits.
    Also. The hike up to Lake Agnes , is easy , and worth it.

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  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo

    Re: Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

    by Camping_Girl Online Now Mar 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I would add at least another day. Your return trip from Jasper with the drive on the Icefields Parkway isn't going to leave you a lot of time for the Banff areas you have scheduled in on that day. You may want another day to explore Johnston Canyon (including a hike to the Upper Falls), Lake Minnewanka, etc. Check out my Banff travel page if you want more suggestions of things to do in the Banff area.

    Hope you have a great vacation!

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  • la-lola's Profile Photo

    Re: Anniversary trip.....Itinerary guidance for Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper

    by la-lola Online Now Mar 18, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    you can also check kananaskis... it´s close to calgary...

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  • by cfencik Online Now Apr 29, 2013 at 5:34 AM

    Is it too ambitious to drive from Jasper and hike Parker Ridge and then drive back to Jasper in a day? I thought from my research it was doable but a co-worker who has been to Canada thought it might be too much to do as a day trip.

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