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how does this plan look?

uk
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how does this plan look?

hi all

been reading this site for a few days and was wondering if people would mind checking out my plan. couple of us will be driving up from calgary end of april :)

1 - calgary

2 - canmore - accomodation booked

3 - canmore - accomodation booked

4 - banff - accomodation booked

5 - banff - accomodation booked

6 - banff - accomodation booked

7 - jasper

8 - jasper

9 - kamloops << anywhere else we should stay instead of kamloops?

10-13 - vancouver

5 nights between canmore and banff should really give us plenty of time to explore everything, unless anyone disagrees?

thanks. been to vancouver before so know what to expect there. very excited about driving over the rockies :)

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: how does this plan look?

The only real concern with your plan is the timing. Late April is late winter/very early spring in the mountains. All the lakes will be frozen, and all three Banff ski areas will be in operation. Almost all hiking trails will be covered with snow or ice. The Moraine Lake access road will be closed until late May. I also would not recommend driving to Jasper or to Vancouver from Banff at this time of the year, because you will be driving in the mountains with winter driving conditions.

uk
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2. Re: how does this plan look?

really? so it won't be possible to drive from Banff to Jasper? we arrive in Canmore on April 22

I'd posted on a few forums before finding this place and everyone said it would be OK in a standard hire car...now im pretty concerned :/

Edited: 24 January 2010, 15:50
Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: how does this plan look?

You can get from Banff to Jasper, but I would recommend using the shuttle service between the two centers available through Brewster or Sundog Tours. I can't comment on replies given to you on other forums, except to say that a diversity of opinions is what the internet is all about. And perhaps those responding didn't realize you'd be in winter driving conditions?

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Banff National Park
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4. Re: how does this plan look?

I'm also wondering about Canmore and Banff, because they are 23 minutes' driving apart. Maybe 3-4 nights in Canmore *or* Banff, then 1-2 nights in Lake Louise?

uk
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5. Re: how does this plan look?

thanks for all the help.

re the driving - if we went for a 4x4 i guess it would be possible? i really dont want to miss out on the icefields drive up to jasper. i was hoping the end of april would be ok but maybe not then :/

also so 5 nights around the same area could be a mistake?

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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6. Re: how does this plan look?

Unless you are driving during a snowstorm, or right afterwards, the roads are likely to be just fine. April days can get quite nice and road conditions should be mostly bare and dry (especially by late April), unless there's been recent snow. If the higher spots along the Icefields Parkway are not bare and dry, just slow down. It's always a good idea to check the weather and road reports before setting out, either online or at the Travel Alberta visitor centre in Canmore, of the Parks Canada ones in Banff or Lake Louise.

What puzzles me is why you are staying in both Canmore and Banff, especially if you have a car? They are less than 20 km apart. You can use either Banff, Canmore or Lake Louise (45 minutes from Banff) as a base to see all areas of Banff (and Yoho and Kootenay) National Parks. I may be showing my own prejudice - I prefer as few transfers (check-outs & check-ins) as possible.

For accommodation in Jasper, check Jasper Tourism's site: www.jaspercanadianrockies.com and the Jasper Home Accommodation Association site: www.stayinjasper.com (as well as the accommodation reviews section, here at TripAdvisor.)

As already mentioned, late April isn't an ideal time for hiking - expect either ice or mud (or likely both). Check with the Parks Canada trail office - there will be some trails that are do-able. In Jasper, one of the first trails to dry out is Trail #7 from the Old Fort Point parking lot, along the river to Jasper Park Lodge.... it's mostly flat. One of the nice things about hiking at that time of year is the great visibility when you are in the forest, because the deciduous trees and shrubs have not yet leafed out, so it's a lot more open and you can see more than usual

Late April to mid-May is very much "between seasons" in Jasper - after the ski season and before the tourist season. There are some attractions in the Jasper area that will not be open. The ski hill at Jasper (Marmot Basin) will probably have *just* closed - they usually close the 3rd weekend in April, no matter how good conditions are, because there just aren't enough skiers coming here by then to keep it open. Maligne Lake will still be frozen, so no boat tours (they usually open during the first week of June, when the ice comes off the lake). However, it is still worth driving up the Maligne Road to see the canyon and the lake - it is a pleasant drive. Miette Hot Springs will still be closed, as well as the road there. Ditto for the Mt. Edith Cavell road, which doesn't usually open until sometime after mid-June. The Jasper Tramway usually opens in April, however, the trail at the top of the mountain will still be very snowy (as in 6 feet + of snow - quite an impressive sight actually, to exit the upper terminal and see the huge pile of snow at the end of the deck. (It is very early spring in the valleys, but still very much winter on the mountaintops.) There are great views of the surrounding area from the decks - be sure to bring an extra layer or two so you can bundle up and enjoy them.

One good thing about when you will be driving from Banff to Jasper (compared to just a week or two earlier) is that the Icefields Chalet will be open at the Columbia Icefields, and the sno-coach tour operating. Even if you don't want to take the tour, have a look at the interpretive exhibit in the chalet - it's quite informative about the area's wildlife, and about glaciers.

Hope this helps - please let us know if you have more questions!

uk
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7. Re: how does this plan look?

Wow, thanks for that reply.

You guys have persuaded me and I've now booked an additional night in Banff and cancel the Canmore rooms. My plan now looks like below:

21 - calgary

22 - calgary

23 - banff

24 - banff

25 - banff

26 - banff

27 - jasper

28 - jasper

29 - kamloops

30-3 vancouver

this will also shorten our car hire by a day which is good. im sure we can find something to do in calgary for the extra night.

is kamloops the best spot to stay in on the way from jasper to vancouver?

thanks :)

Sherwood Park...
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8. Re: how does this plan look?

I'm not a big fan of Kamloops. I think Kelowna is a better option. Lots of good restaurants/pubs/clubs.

Driving isn't bad that time of year and you don't even need to pay a fee to drive the ice fields parkway (or at least I didn't last April). Just takes extra windshield wiper fluid because it is usually sloppy that time of year.

uk
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9. Re: how does this plan look?

ok thanks. we want to make the most of our trip so maybe we will head there instead.

is it worth pre booking accomodation in jasper?

Sherwood Park...
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10. Re: how does this plan look?

Unless you really wanted to see Jasper, or the ice fields parkway, then I would personally skip the trip up north to Jasper and either spend more time in Banff/Lake Louis, Kelowna, or better yet Vancouver.

Jasper is a dull version of Banff. There really isn't much to do or see once the sun goes down, and at that time of the year the sun goes down around 5-6pm.