How will you be getting from place to place ? It will make a difference in what people suggest.
I assume we will rent a car, once we fly in to the closest city.
www.janicestrong.com = get the third edition of her book, prior to making your decision.
Fly to Canadian Rockies International Airport; www.flycanadianrockies.com
Glacier is lovely, Banff and Jasper are magnificent and I would concentrate on those. With 10 days, you do have time to swing down to Glacier for a couple of days IMHO, as well.
Make sure each of you has your US Passport.
You might check with car rental companies to see if you can pick up your car in the US or Canada, and return to the other. Otherwise, it'll be a round trip - but, through lovely country either way.
In 10 days, you can enjoy all of the above. You don't say when your trip is, but you'll want to keep an eye on the Glacier NP website for weather conditions on Going to the Sun Hwy.
You could visit GNP, and some marvelous hikes, over 2 - 3 days, and the balance of your time in the Canadian NPs. Personally, I'd visit Waterton as a drive - through, given the truly incredible beauty of Glacier, Banff and Jasper.
I know you will bring cameras. You might consider bringing good binoculars.
FYI, MapQuest says:
Starting Location, East Glacier, MT
Ending Location, Banff, AB
Total Travel Estimates: 5 hours 30 minutes / 276.18 miles
So, with our very long summer days, this drive is a piece of cake. And you can see why you'll have plenty of time for all of the above.
Several TA posters have recommended a RT from Spokane, WA airport. Curious, I MapQuested and found this information.
Starting Location, Spokane, WA
Ending Location, Spokane, WA
Total Travel Estimates: 20 hours 37 minutes / 1066.83 miles
Perhaps too much driving, perhaps not even the best route, especially in Canada, but I'll leave that to you and to the experts up there. But this route sure has lots of beautiful and interesting sights and sites.
Another minus, it cuts 3 days more or less from your trip. A big however - some of the driving is through your goal areas, so you might not have really "lost time". I personally would do this, because it does take you to three excellent destinations, and once there, and given the long days, you'll find you have plenty of time for hiking and exploring.
With 10 days, IMO you don't have time to see it all. I would choose between either Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise OR Banff, Lake Louise, Waterton, GNP. Unless you are really avid hikers (ie: enjoy full-day hikes every day) I think 10 days is too much to spend just in the GNP/Waterton areas.
Also IMHO, Waterton is worthy of more than a simple drive through as someone else suggested!! I would at least spend one night there and take in the Shoreline Cruise on Upper Waterton Lake, at a minimum.
Thank you. I seem to be making a habit of choosing wrong geographical locations. Wonder what that says about me?