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Summer 2013 planning!

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newark ohio
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Summer 2013 planning!

We are interested in flying into Calgary for a few days then head to Banff, Lake Loiuse, Jasper then back to Calgary for flight home to Ohio.

How many days at each locattion?

Must do hikes in each area? 10 mile limit per day and 1600 gain or so.

Calgary during stampede?

We vacationed in Glacier and Waterton this July and loved it! I will do months of research and ask tons of questions but I thought I might need to book hotels ect this fall like I did with other national parks I should get a general idea of time per location.

I don't see any Lodges in the parks similar to Many Glacier is that correct?

Best time in either July or August for weather, wildflower peak, trails opening?

Thanks in advance to all the experts on this site in helping plann another great adventure!

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

The best hiking is from mid-July to mid-September. The subalpine and alpine flowers are usually at their best from about mid-July to mid-August. I would recommend August and September as the best time to avoid mosquitoes and biting flies. July is mosquito season.

I think you are jumping it a bit to book accommodations this autumn - unless you are wanting to book in at Lake O'Hara Lodge. It's an off-the-grid luxury lodge in the backcountry of Yoho National Park, just over the continental divide from Lake Louise, in fact. Even starting after New Years is a good early start (except for Lake O'H Lodge, which will already be fully booked).

My favourite hikes in Jasper National Park (you can use the "search" to pull up past posts about these): Wilcox Pass, Opal Hills, Bald Hills, Sulphur Skyline (above your elevation gain limit, at 2300 ft, but SO worth it!) and Cavell Meadows. Shorter & easier, lower elevation but still very worthwhile: Old Fort Point and the Valley of the Five Lakes.

newark ohio
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2. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

Thanks for the information about not needing to book accommodations yet! We travel to a National park very year and we have to book the lodges in the fall to have the most selections. I waited till December to book Yosemite and had to change dates and was unable to book a family room anywhere! I booked our Glacier trip in September and had limited choices and only 1 night available at Prince of Wales so I am worried but will chill if it is not necessary to book in the fall!

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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3. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

I haven't been to very many American national parks, but both Banff and Jasper National Parks have resort towns right in the middle of them (much larger than Waterton, which is more of a summer village - Banff has a population of about 8000, and Jasper about 4500), so there are lots of choices for accommodations. If you book between January and March, you will still be the "early bird" and have lots of selection. Of course, if you have specific needs or are looking to book a longer stay, it's always best to book earlier.

Here in Jasper, one of the better options for families is "private home accommodations" - rooms or a suite within a resident's home. www.stayinjasper.com Booking really early can go both ways - some homes are in higher demand than others and book earlier than others (suites with full kitchen, for instance). I know some PHA operators who already have some bookings for next summer. But I also know a few who don't take summer bookings until February, because they don't know until then when their own holidays will be (their employer doesn't assign them until then). If you are booking a fairly "standard" stay, say two or three nights, there is no advantage to them taking a booking really far in advance, since they may wind up turning away another longer booking, so some prefer to only book long stays early on. There are also some PHA operators who hardly take any bookings at all - maybe they have irregular shifts or work hours that make it hard to know in advance what their own schedules will be - and they either book a few days in advance, or rely on the vacancy list at the information centre and pick up bookings day by day.

Generally, tourism here in Jasper is not quite as busy as a few years ago (we seem to be getting about the same number of visitors, but slightly more spread out through the year, I think, rather than a "crush" through the summer, like it used to be) and other than really busy times like long weekends, I have not noticed too many hotel "no vacancy" signs this summer, except for this last week or so, which seems to have really picked up and gotten busier. There is another thread running on the Banff forum about tourism, and that also seems to be the same pattern happening there.

Watford,UK
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4. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

I'm in the same situation. Starting in Calgary and driving to Vancouver and unable to decide how many nights at each place before we head down to Whistler and Vancouver . With only 2 weeks it is not easy and I can see that there are not many small up-scale inns and bed and breakfasts . Big tourist hotels seem very expensive by UK standards .

We also went to Yosemite 2 years ago and found that loads of the good places were fully booked for July 1 year ahead , which makes me wary .

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Lake Louise
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5. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

10 days is the perfect amount of holiday for enjoying time in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.

It takes a day to visit Banff. Enjoy the town, visit the landmarks of Bow Falls and the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Take a stroll. Enjoy the shops of Banff Avenue. Must Do: The Banff Gondola. Budget 2.5 hours to enjoy the Gondola.

Banff area.

It's easy to take a day to enjoy the surrounding scenery around Banff. A half day to enjoy Lake Minnewanka and Lake Minnewanka Road and a half day to enjoy Johnston Canyon are just a few possibilities. Also possible - a Nature Float on the Bow River, a Voyageur Canoe trip or the boat cruise on Lake Minnewanka. Enjoy short drives to Mount Norquay, Vermillion Lakes, Surprise Corner and the Hoodoos.

Lake Louise and Yoho

It's hard to do Lake Louise and Yoho in a day, but you can have fun trying. Many visitors will take 1 day just to enjoy Lake Louise and to go for a hike. But, you will also want to visit Moraine Lake (in the Lake Louise area) and the nearby Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake. Try and squeeze it all in.

roadtrip and sightseeing on the amazing Icefields Parkway

On this day, you enjoy a drive further afield on the Icefields Parkway. Pack a picnic, start early and make sure to stop at Bow Lake and Peyto Lake. Num-Ti-Jah Lodge on the shoreline of Bow Lake is a great lunch stop or coffee stop. There are inumerable viewpoints along the way as you make the slow and enjoyable drive to the Columbia Icefields Centre. At the Centre, take the tour and go for a short walk. The tour is designed as a "drop-in" tour and is a must-do. The Toe of the Glacier hike is short, sweet and free.

Enjoy your choice of activities (hike, white water rafting, canoeing?) It takes time to enjoy this amazing place and it takes time to enjoy a trip, a hike or an excursion. You'll want and need a day to do your choice of fun things. OR - want a day off to just enjoy? Pack a picnic and head out to Johnson Lake, Two Jack Lake or drive to Storm Mountain Lodge.

And Early August will be a good time for wildflowers peak.

July and August are the busiest months in the Park National park.

You can have a look at Banfflakelouise.com to know more about prices and vacancies in the accommodation section.

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6. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

Hi. We have just done this very same trip and are now heading home from Calgary. I booked most hotels back in January but notice that plenty of decent hotels in Banff still have vacancies. personally I would spend more time in Banff than Jasper as Banff has more variety and quality of places to stay and eat and has many great trips and hikes to set off on. Three days there and a couple in Jasper would be my choice. Lake Louise is only about 45 minutes drive from Banff and you can spend a few hours there and the nearby Moraine Lake without having to plan to stay. We drove up to jasper on the Ice fields parkway stopping at tithe Athabasca glacier and took the trip onto the glacier which was very interesting and is a two hour break in the journey. The views from the highway are breathtaking and traffic non existent even in August. Allow several hours for the trip from Banff to Jasper including the glacier. In jasper we did some rafting but this can also be done most places so choose your level of severity. We then drove to Vancouver travelling back down the highway one and picking up the trans Canada highway five at Lake Louise and would recommend breaking the journey for a night at Revelstoke. We then travelled a few hours to Salmon Arm and stayed two nights in a great B&B (Destination Spa). Nice historic building museum in the area and some great wineries to visit. We then took another short drive to Kelowna a resort town on a spectacular lake and spent the day there but you could just use it as a way point and press onto Vancouver. You could easily spend five days in Vancouver and the sourounding area as there is so much to do there. We took a whale watch trip from Stevenston and saw killer ways hunting! Weather is likely to be cooler than in The interior where it is likely to be 30 degrees. If you travel up to Whistathetoid can then loop back to the trans Canada highway for the return to Calgary. We found TomTom Routeplanner and google maps great for planning journey times and identifying route options. We then spent two days on the Rockymountaineer train travelling back to Calgary which was fabulous but to be honest the views from the train were not much different from those we saw from the highway but if a classic train experience is on your list of things to do, this is it. The one way drop off fees for car hire are extortionate! So making the return journey via slightly different route via whistler is a good option. Two weeks for this trip is certainly doable and a great experience. Ope this helps.

Ohio
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7. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

We love this area and actually never get to stay as long as we wish. We like to go the first week in September when the crowds die down. That is beyond peak wildflower season. We've never had mosquitoes.

Since you like to hike, you should purchase Brian Patton's The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide.

We like to stay in Lake Louise rather than Banff because it is closer to the hikes we like. Lots and lots of great hikes. It's also closer to Moraine and Emerald Lake. 3 nights is the minimum here. There is no town so if you want the town atmosphere, you would want to stay in Banff. We stayed in Banff our last night and we also stayed there when we skiied in the winter.

If not staying at Lake O'Hara, try to schedule a seat on the bus to Lake O'Hara for dayhiking. You need to call ahead 3 months to the day you want to hike.

You will send an entire day driving to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway and the drive is spectacular. Lots of stops. My favorite hike is Parker Ridge.

We have only been able to spend 2 nts. in Jasper but I could easily spend longer.

Our last too short visit:

Day 1: Flight to Calgary-late arrival--airport hotel

Day 2: Drive to Banff, walk around Banff, pick up wine/beer, lunch,drive to Lake Louise, hike Plain of Six Glaciers, stay Paradise Lodge

Day 3: Moraine Lake, rockpile, lake path and hike to Consolation Lakes, drive to Emerald Lake for lunch, lake path, stop at Takakkaw Falls

Day 4: Lake O'Hara--our only day of rain, a downpour, we think we saw a mountain---boooooooo. Got to Banff for dinner, stop in Banff Springs Hotel

Day 5: Drive Icefields Parkway---Love it!!! Lots of stops, hike Parker Ridge, stay at Patricia Lake

Day 6; Hike Maligne Canyon from the 5th bridge, Maligne Lake, lake path. head to Mt Edith Cavell, walk the Path of the Glacier and part of the Meadows

Day 7: Icefields Parkway, hike Wilcox Pass, many stops--we did the waterfalls, spend night at the Rimrock in Banff

Day 8 fly home

Watford,UK
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8. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

Well, I've pretty much done all my booking now for our Summer 2013 trip. Only one hotel turned us away as being too early , the others were only too pleased to accept the reservation and one was already completely booked out for June 2013 .

There is no harm in asking ! We are keen to get things sorted while we have the time to do it and we are also fussy about where we stay . We were not keen on the basement studio apartments in Jasper , for instance . Or the expensive poor review motels . My budget was $190 or less for each night , 7 locations each for 2 nights in total , and we achieved that with room to spare . Odd how some towns have several pretty inns / band bs and others have very little choice in our price bracket .

It has been a fun project for me as usual and I can relax now and put it all away until next summer .

9. Re: Summer 2013 planning!

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