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Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper vs Glacier NP

Little Rock...
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16 posts
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Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper vs Glacier NP

Okay, I am starting to get pretty confused and conflicted. My husband and I want to take an anniversary trip next summer (August/Sept) to Glacier NP and/or the Canadian Rockies. We love to hike, but also don't mind long scenic drives. We only have 9 days to spend (not including travel days). This is our first trip to the area...who knows if we'll be able to return. Flying into Calgary is probably not an option. It will either be Spokane or Kalispell.

We were originally planning to stick with Glacier National Park, incorporating one or both Chalet hikes into the week. This is still an option, but we're starting to realize what we'll be missing up in Canada if we do that! Not sure it's wise to try to spend time in GNP and also drive up into the Banff/Jasper area, although we are willing to give it a go. Or perhaps we should spend all our time at Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper. The only problem is we're using airline rewards and really need to fly into Spokane or Kalispell.

Help!!!! We would love to spend 2 weeks and see it all be we just can't be gone that long. I know I'm posting on the Banff NP forum so the advice might be skewed toward that. I'll also copy and paste to GNP forum and see what I get from those guys.

Love to see an ideal 9-day itinerary for the Lake Louise/Jasper area including travel from Spokane or Kalispell.

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Banff National Park
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1. Re: Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper vs Glacier NP

I would agree that you do not want to try to do both in 9 days. Either would be lovely. If you choose Glacier, be sure to bring along your passports so that you can add in time in Waterton Lakes NP on the Canadian side. A Waterton-Glacier combo would be great for 9 days.

Re your question about a 9-day itinerary for the Banff/Jasper area: here is the link for the relevant itineraries page on TA:

tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g154910-c14636/Banff-N…

On that page, you'll find a 7-day Calgary to Calgary itinerary. Assuming you spend a long day at either end driving to/from your chosen airport, this would be a possible itinerary for your time in the Canadian Rockies.

Milford, Ohio
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2. Re: Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper vs Glacier NP

Wow-that is a tough decision, since I agree there is not enough time for both. I LOVE GNP (have not done Waterton)-stayed at Sperry Chalet (very special) and hiked the Highline Trail to Granite. There are many other fabulous hikes in Glacier as well as in Waterton, and of course the Going-to-the-Sun road is an experience in itself.

But after just returning from 11 days in the Canadian Rockies, I was totally taken by this amazing area! There is probably more variety there-it is a much bigger area, with several parks clustered together and the town of Banff, so you have more in the way of restaurants and shops-a little more "civilization" if you want it-or for a rainy day. There are also more lodging options. (We stayed in a condo in Banff, which wasn't too bad, but even groceries are super expensive in Alberta.)

With 9 days, I would not even go all the way to Jasper- you could easily spend that time just in Banff, Lake Louise, Yoho, and up to the Athabasca Glacier. Some favorites were Morraine Lake (spectacular hiking), Peyto Lake, and Parker's Ridge hike, to name a few. Lake O'Hara, in Yoho,is also a beautiful area. (It is limited access, but you would have time to reserve at the 3 month window.)

One minor disappointment was the lack of wildlife, other than a few black bears. In my experience, you will see much more in Glacier-especially Bighorn sheep and mountain goats (all over at Sperry)- and they are up close and personal!

Now that I've confused you even more, I would say you can't go wrong with either. If you can't fly into Calgary, then I would say fly into Kalispell, go to Glacier/Waterton, and don't waste 2 days driving. If you do go to Glacier, be sure you get lodging in the area where you plan to hike; the different areas of the park are fairly far apart, connected by winding roads, so you don't want to do a lot of back-tracking. And I think after seeing either of beautiful places, you will find a way to go back and visit the other!

Little Rock...
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3. Re: Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper vs Glacier NP

Thank you so much for the insight. Leaning towards sticking with Glacier/Waterton this trip, although it's very tempting to spend all of our time in/around Banff. Might do a little more research into airlines that fly into Calgary...

Newmarket, Canada
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4. Re: Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper vs Glacier NP

Many major airlines fly into YYC (see below)...

yyc.com/en-us/…airlineinformation.aspx

Perhaps one of them will work with your frequent flier miles, though you didn't mention which program they're with.

Little Rock...
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16 posts
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5. Re: Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper vs Glacier NP

We have a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass and loads of points with them. They don't fly to Kalispell either, so we were looking at Spokane and a drive. Or paying for a connecting flight from somewhere Southwest flies into. Guess we could do the same for Calgary. Just did a quick search and it looks like RT from Seattle is around $300. We could swing it....still hard to decide between the two options!

6. Re: Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper vs Glacier NP

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