Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Another question about Banff to Jasper
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 > Another question about Banff to Jasper

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Pensacola Beach

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Posted: 01/03/19 07:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi all.

I've gone back through the posts in this forum for a year gleening all the information I can. I have a 12 page word document with the advice I've cut and pasted, mostly from your answers to the post K_and_I made. I've read, and bookmarked Profdant139's blog.

But with only a few days before the reservations open for Jasper and Banff NPs,I'm beginning to panic because I still don't know how to divide our time.

We'll have 10 days (11 nights) and could probably stretch that by a couple more. I think we want to spend one (maybe 2?) nights in the parking lot at the Icefields VC just the for experience of sleeping next to - and hopefully listening to - a glacier.

We have dry camped before, but never for more than 4 nights. So hook-ups aren't necessary, but electric is always welcome. We prefer public over private campgrounds.

We're avid amateur photographers. We love day hiking through beautiful scenery, interesting geologic features, and using the Jeep to drive lesser traveled roads - especially when those roads take us to the other things we enjoy doing.

We are obligated to go to the aviation museum in Calgary on one of days when in that area. Other than that, we can divide our days/nights as we please.

Should we spend our time for Banff and Lake Louise areas somewhere between the 2? Then go up to the Icefields before preceding on up to Jasper?

Also, will we need more days for the Banff/Lake Louise part, than for Jasper area? Or about the same number of days for each? I just haven't been able to get a feel for how long the various hikes/drives/"things" will take. We're get up before dawn and stay out until dark people, if that helps.

I've been working working part time since before Halloween to help a friend, which has put a real dent in my trip planning time. I normally spend most of a year researching for a trip. But the chance to include this area that I've hoped to visit "one day" popped up unexpectedly. I talked my husband into going. Now I have to make the most of it.

Thank you so much for any advice you can give me.

Safe travels.

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North Florida

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Posted: 01/03/19 07:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well Lake Louise is a photographers paradise. Getting there for the morning light always helps, We didn't make it further north than a day trip out of Banff but that would be where I spent most of my time. And if you can come back on the west side of the mountains to get a look at Yoho NP. It was raining when we went thru but that's another photogenic area.

My photos are on a drive that I have attached right now or I could post some shots. As for the town of Banff...if you've seen one tourist town then you've seen Banff. Except for the prices.

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South Eastern British Columbia

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Posted: 01/03/19 09:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If your making a side trip to Calgary to see an aviation display, you should take a longer side trip ( not sure how your getting to Banff ,so...unsure on your routes to an from Banff area) however... check out the Nanton Bomber Command Museum... in Nanton Alberta. There are roads you can easily take to bypass Calgary. ( Hwy 20 at Jct with Hwy 1 west of Calgary) then ( 533 between Longview and Black Diamond)

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Central Alberta

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Posted: 01/04/19 12:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you want to stay between Banff and Lake Louise the only campground accepting reservations is Johnston Canyon. That would be great but according to their website they suggest a maximum length of 27 feet. It will take you about 40 minutes to drive from Banff to Lake Louise turn off, without stopping. It will be longer on 1A which you will want to take at least once.
I prefer the Lake Louise area, the downside is the campground is adjacent to the Main transcontinental line of the Canadian Pacific Railway and it is busy. There are an abundance of hiking trails all over but again I like the ones in the Lake Louise area.
As far as day trips for your Jeep consider a drive down Highway 40 to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. There are some very nice hiking trails in that area. Highway 93 to Radium, and for sure a drive into Yoho, Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake. There are also trails there.
You might consider a Burgess Shale Hike in Yoho. This is a fossil area, only guided tours, which must be booked well in advance.
The Morraine Lake area near Lake Louise is a must and the Larch Valley trail starting there is my favorite but you may need a group of 6. If you stay at Banff you might drive to the overflow camping east of Lake Louise and take the shuttle up. (Lake Louise & Morraine).
If you do stay a couple of nights at the Icefields you could take a drive on Highway 11 to Nordegg, a former coal mining town. There are also Helecopter tours of the Icefields.
The Jasper area is very nice, less busy than Banff and more open. Again many trails, often with much less elevation gains.
Drives, one day to Maligne Lake with a visit to Maligne Canyon, one day around Mount Edith Cavell with a possible trip up the cable car on Whistlers. Maybe 16 west to Mount Robson depending on which way you plan to leave.
Camping at Jasper may be an issue as Whistlers is closed and Wapiti is much smaller. I like Wabasso but again they suggest 27 feet.
I would suggest 6 nights Banff / Lake Louise, 1-2 in between and 3-4
I don't know if you will hear much from the Glacier but in the Morraine Lake, Larch valley you are pretty sure to hear avalanches.
Late June there is almost 19 hours daylight then it slowly recedes so you shouldn't need to be up in the dark.
If you would like some information on some of the drives or hiking trails let me know.


South Dakota/Indiana

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Posted: 01/04/19 05:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we went to Alaska in '13, we planned to boondock for one night in the parking lot for the Columbia Icefields Glacier. It was quite cold and the winter was blowing very strong. There are no hookups, and we probably could have stayed warm, but I think our batteries would have drained keeping the furnace going. We decided to move on. It was very beautiful and a lot to photograph!


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British Columbia

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Posted: 01/04/19 07:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with those who suggest the Lake Louise area has a greater number of spectacular things to see but we prefer Jasper to Banff townsites. Be sure to take your toad up the paved road to Takakaw falls in Yoho park while camped at Lake Louise(power available here) or perhaps while camped in Yoho park itself (no power) and be sure to walk to one of the teahouses at Lake Louise (Agnes lake teahouse is an easier hike while the Plain of Six glaciers teahouse offers broader views) as well as doing the walk along Morraine lake. Both the Morraine lake and the Lake Louise parking fill up early so plan for that.

While at the Icefields the Parker's ridge trail is nearby and offers spectacular scenery as does the Wilcox pass trail.

From Jasper (assuming you get a camp site here) the drive to Mount Edith Cavell and a walk along the trail there is worthwhile as is the drive to Maligne lake.


Green Cove Springs, FL

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Posted: 01/04/19 07:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You may want to take a look at our blogs for 2015 and 2009 when we visited the area. The 2015 trip is probably more pertinent and the Banff portions starts here. The 2009 trip we saw the area on the way back from Alaska and started at Jasper which starts here. You will see that we take a boatload of pictures and post a good many of them.

While in Banff, make sure to hike the Johnston Canyon and while in Jasper, the Maligne Canyon. In addition to a lots of other hikes in the area, those are two not to be missed.

If you are in the area in mid to late September, the elk rutting at Waterton is another do not miss event. There are also some nice trails there.

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west coast

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Posted: 01/04/19 09:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We did a summer trip to Banff and Jasper this year and to be Honest we found more activities and sites at Banff and Lake Louise area plus Yoho and Kootenay are very close and offer spectacular sites to visit.
the Icefields are a must and you would need an entire day just there.

Jasper for us was more of a hikers paradise and we felt like there was way more to do in Banff and Lake Louise with more to do. Don't get me wrong, the nature and views are spectacular at either park but we found Banff Town area to be our choice.
make sure to take a canoe ride on one of the may lakes in the area


Coldstream, BC

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Posted: 01/04/19 12:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Views from Mt. Wilcox above Icefields tourist centre. You would be camping in that little square spot on the lower left part of the photo.

Can't add much more than what has been posted but trying to drive into Morraine Lake in July and August is almost impossible unless you get there before 6:00AM. Try the RV overflow overnight parking south of Lake Louise where the shuttle to Morraine Lake and Lake Louise are marshalled. No services and there are no reservations but a very convenient place that is centrally located. The Ice Fields Visitors Centre is a great place to stop overnight. Lots of room and the back drop of the ice covered mountains should not be missed, especially if you like photography and hiking.

Mt. Edith Cavell road was closed last year for upgrading. Check online on its status before going there.


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Pensacola Beach

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Posted: 01/04/19 04:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Y'all are the best.

I've added all this to the word doc I mentioned in my question. I've begun looking up the various hikes and drives you mentioned. After skimming through it, I bookmarked the blog accsys gave me links to so I can go back and give it a more thorough read.

tringley, I would love more information on the drives and hiking trails. You can send me a private message or post here.

crosscheck, aka Dave, that photo is a perfect example of why I've been wanting to get up to that area.

SideHillSoup, thanks for the info on the N B C Museum. The reason we're going to the Hanger Flight Museum in Calgary is because it houses one of the few remaining Barkley-Grow THP-1 aircraft my husband's father's company built back in the 30s. There's another at the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton. But I'll look into going to the museum in Nanton since we'll be driving through there.

agesilaus, I live "in" a tourist town so I totally understand your comment. If we actually go into Banff once, that will probably be enough for us.

classictioga73, I'm not the most comfortable person on the water in something as small as a canoe, but I'm willing to at least consider it. [emoticon]

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