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First Time Jasper/Banff--How do we have a memorable visit?

C R
Anchorage, Alaska
2 posts
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First Time Jasper/Banff--How do we have a memorable visit?

I'm in the military and my family and I will be driving from Anchorage to California in a few weeks. We want to spend 4 nights between Jasper and Banff. I've never been to either location and I don't know anything about the area. I have two children ages 10 and 12. We enjoy nice hotels, but not overly expensive. Rooms with two living areas would be great. We also enjoy great views and half-day hikes--they can be difficult if they take us to someplace scenic. If you were us, how would you build your itinerary between those areas? What are some must-see sights and places to eat? I'm being a little lazy by not browsing all the forum posts, but I dont have a lot of time. Thank you!

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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20,713 posts
124 reviews
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1. Re: First Time Jasper/Banff--How do we have a memorable visit?

Hi, and welcome to the TripAdvisor forums! (although I thought I saw another similar post from you the other day ??)

The Canadian Rockies are a spectacular area; I would certainly call them "memorable". The best way to use the forums is to do some research and set up an itinerary, and then to post it asking for assistance. Reading trip reports from past visitors will give you a lot of information to help you start a draft - I would suggest checking out the link in the "Top Questions" (top right of the page) on the Canadian Rockies forum - here is a link to the forum: tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g659487-i11598-Cana…

The obvious route, since it appears you are coming from the north, is Jasper first, and then Banff. The route between the two is via the Icefields Parkway, highway #93N, rated by National Geographic magazine as one of the most scenic drives on the planet.

For information about the area, you can check out the various resources here on TripAdvisor - the Top Questions, Traveller Articles etc. These differ with each forum (Jasper, Jasper NP, Banff, Banff NP, Cdn Rockies etc.) - don't be shy about using the various menus on the site. Here are links to the official national park websites: www.pc.gc.ca/banff www.pc.gc.ca/jasper www.pc.gc/yoho and here are links to the official tourism pages for the two areas: www.banfflakelouise.com and www.jasper.travel . The first one has a listing of all the accommodation available in Banff and Lake Louise; the Jasper one has hotels, hostels and cabins listed, and for private home accommodations, go to www.stayinjasper.com . This will be your less expensive option for accommodation, especially if you want a suite.... you will probably be able to get a two bedroom suite with a sitting area for about $150 - $180 per night, or one bedroom with a pull-out couch in the sitting room for $100 to $150 a night - and no additional 11% taxes like the hotels have to charge.

Edited: 24 May 2013, 19:42
C R
Anchorage, Alaska
2 posts
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2. Re: First Time Jasper/Banff--How do we have a memorable visit?

Thank you for the great info--we will likely stay in a PHA. Another question: on the website, there are listing for North, South, and West Jasper townsites. Can anyone help me understand pros/cons of the different areas? Are there distinct differences and what are they? Thank you!

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
20,713 posts
124 reviews
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3. Re: First Time Jasper/Banff--How do we have a memorable visit?

Unfortunately there is no longer a map on the site ... a couple of years ago, Jasper went through some street name and addressing adjustments. Google maps is not accurate either, since it still has the old street names and numbers. North is the area from the north/east entry to town down to what is now Pyramid Lake Road (Pyramid Avenue on Google maps). South is the area from there to Willow Street, and West is the remainder of town (basically just the Cabin Creek West neighbourhood, since PHAs are not allowed in the other neighbourhoods in that part of town). There aren't really distinct differences; it is just one way of dividing up the huge number of listings. Do let me know if you have further questions, or are looking for a specific location and I will help if I can.

Jasper is not that big a town - it takes about 20 minutes to walk from the very end of town (in either direction) to downtown, or less than 5 minutes to drive, but if you want to be closer to downtown, pick a home accommodation with a number closer to 500 or 600, since those are the two blocks where the downtown area is. The addresses start at 100 at the north/east end of town and go up to 1200 at the south/west end. For your family, I would suggest using the "number of guests = 4" search, as well as any other amenities on the search page that you want to narrow down the listings to the ones that are suitable for your family.

I'm not sure when you are planning to come through Jasper, since all you said was "in a few weeks" but I hope it's not over the Canada Day long weekend (June 28 to July 1) since it seems that is already getting really booked up... if that is when you will be here, you really should book something ASAP. That will also be a very busy time in Banff National Park.

Otherwise, if you wind up not planning too far ahead, you can use the vacancy report that is on the website (it shows ten days into the future) ... if you click on any of the PHA names, it will open up their listing page for more info on what they offer. There is also a PHA vacancy list posted each day at the Visitor Information Centre, and there are courtesy (free) phones there for people to call around to find something.

Edited: 31 May 2013, 16:42
4. Re: First Time Jasper/Banff--How do we have a memorable visit?

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