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Trip plans - suggested changes?

Athens, AL
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Trip plans - suggested changes?

We (6 members of family ages 17 to 67) will be in Banff July 18th. Note: distance for my "elderly" in-laws are not a problem They both hiked with us in Yosemite last year and their nicknames are "mountain goats" They both hiked to the base of Half-Dome, but decided not to go up the chains. The following are the plans so far:

Sat - pick up part of our party at airport at 1:35 drive to Field, BC (this will be our base for the week and is locked in). We will already have groceries and car before we pick them up at airport. Hoping to have time to visit Emerald Lake and possible Takakkaw Falls before dark.

Sun - Johnston Canyon and drive up Icefield Parkway. We won't get started until mid-morning so haven't planned any major hikes for this day. Could throw in an afternoon hike if there are any suggestions

Mon - Glacier Lake hike - afternoon ???

Tues -Some are doing Icefield Explorer trip and some are doing glacier walk. Should be finished by 2ish. Spend rest of day driving/stopping along the parkway.

Wed - Hike Bow Glacier Falls - afternoon ???

Thurs - Hike Plain of 6 Glacier/Lake Agnes - drive down to Morainne Lake when done for a look see

Fri - Cirque Lake - drive back to Calgary

Sat - drop part of party at airport (5am) and husband and I will either try to get to Waterton in time for hiker shuttle (two shuttles - 9 am and 10 am) for Crypt Lake or drive on to Glacier Nationa Park for a week of hiking and do Crypt Lake at the end of the week. Mapquest says it takes 3 hrs to drive from Calgary to Waterton. I would rather get this hike off my list on this day if at all possible, as I'm not sure we will have any miles left in us after our week in GNP.

We have never been to this area so don't know if what we have planned is the best use of our time. We are usually up and out by 7am at the latest, but can get out earlier if needed. We like to be back at our base by 7pm if possible, but have been known to take supper with us if we think we are going to be later. 9pm would be the latest we would want to be getting back.

Thanks for your suggestions and input.

San Antonio, Texas
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for San Antonio
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1. Re: Trip plans - suggested changes?

Sunday - Johnston Canyon & Icefields - not a good mix. You are driving from Field heading back to Banff and then turning around covering already driven roads back to the Icefield cutting down on time there. I would skip Johnston Canyon that day. Pick it up from the airport to Field. (Personally its not that great when compaired to the parkway and the hikes off of it and Yoho).

A great hike off the parkway is Parkers Ridge (if it open, I have been in July and its been closed). If you are driving up to Jasper another great short hike is Mt Edith Cavell it not all the way to Jasper but close.

The plain of 6 glaciers can be an all day hike depending on your route.

It will not get dark until very late, so your days will be long.

Another two tips, if you belong to Costco, there is one by the airport stock up. Gas up in LL before you start out on the Parkway, if you think gas is expensive there, just wait till you see the price on the parkway, there only one place to get it on the parkway and they know it.

Athens, AL
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2. Re: Trip plans - suggested changes?

Thanks for the tips. To clarify, after Johnson Canyon, we were just going to drive up the parkway and doing the typcial stop and see tourist stuff. We were not planning on driving all the way to the icefields.

I will do some research on your hike suggests. Thanks again!

Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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3. Re: Trip plans - suggested changes?

If you are going to be dropping your group off Sat morning at 5 am, I don't think you should have any problems making it to Waterton in time for the 10 am shuttle departure to Crypt Lake, and depending on traffic, you might even make the 9 am shuttle. Crypt Lake is a pretty demanding hike, but I'm sure you've done your research on it already. Stay in Waterton at the end of this day, you will be too tired for anymore driving, IMO.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Trip plans - suggested changes?

>>Mon - Glacier Lake hike - afternoon ???<<

Is there any reason you chose that hike? While the lake is nice enough, the hike there isn't particularly interesting.

Considering that you're staying in Yoho NP, you don't seem to be planning to do any of the beautiful hikes there such as the Iceline trail.

>>Sun - Johnston Canyon and drive up Icefield Parkway. We won't get started until mid-morning so haven't planned any major hikes for this day. Could throw in an afternoon hike if there are any suggestions<<

Maybe save the IP for a different day and do the Stanley Glacier hike in the afternoon. It's fairly close to Johnston Canyon--just inside Kootenay NP off of highway 93.

>>Fri - Cirque Lake - drive back to Calgary<<

Cirque Lake would be a bit out of your way. If it's a nice day, consider taking the shuttle to Sunshine Meadows and enjoying the flowery alpine meadows and great views on the way to Citadel Pass.

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Banff National Park
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5. Re: Trip plans - suggested changes?

Of all the possible hikes on the lower end of the Parkway, I would not choose Cirque Lake -- it's wet, rooty, entirely in the trees until you reach the lake. If you *really* want to drive up the parkway that day, then I'd recommend Helen Lake. But IMO a better alternative that would be actually on your way to Calgary would be Boulder Pass -- maybe continuing on to Baker Lake if you're feeling really energetic.

I totally agree with jerm - you're based in Yoho, and should really take a look at some of the great Yoho hikes, especially in the Lake O'Hara area. Less driving = more fun.

Calgary, Canada
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6. Re: Trip plans - suggested changes?

>>Of all the possible hikes on the lower end of the Parkway, I would not choose Cirque Lake -- it's wet, rooty, entirely in the trees until you reach the lake.<<

I knew there was a reason I haven't done that hike! :)

I was going to mention Lake O'Hara as well, but figured that it would be too late to book for 6 people in July. (It is a limited-access area, and you can make reservations for the bus 3 months in advance. It is also possible--but not a good use of your time--to hike in.) You can always try calling; I could be wrong or there may be cancellations, so you could get lucky. Booking details are here: pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/YOHO/activ/activ15a_E.asp

Banff, Canada
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7. Re: Trip plans - suggested changes?

LOL, jerm -- I had fond-ish memories of hiking it many years ago, so took the DH and #1 son there last summer, only to remember why I hadn't been there in so long ...

I agree, Lake O'Hara only if you can get the bus in. If you can, a whole world of wonderful day hikes is yours to explore. But there are other great hikes in Yoho -- the Burgess Shales-Yoho Pass circuit for example.

8. Re: Trip plans - suggested changes?

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