I have been pouring over the forums and reading my guidebook, trying to piece together an itinerary for our upcoming vacation. We will be in the Rockies July 31 to Aug. 12, and have three boys, ages 15, 13, and 11, so I'm trying to plan a variety of activities.
We have reservations at the Hidden RIdge Resort in Banff (6 nights), Patricia Lake in Jasper (4 nights), and the Fairmont Lake Louise (2 nights). Here is what I've come up with so far:
Day 1: arrive in Calgary at noon, drive to Banff (groceries in Canmore). Settle in, maybe a little exploring.
Day 2: Banff Village, gondola ride, Vermillion Lake (sunset?), Lake Minnewanka (maybe do the boat ride) and a drive around past Two Jake Lake and Johnson Lake.
Day 3: Sunshine Meadow (do not have bus reservations yet)
**is this enough to fill the day?
Day 4: White water rafting (Hydra River Guides) in the morning (drive to Field). Johnston Canyon in the afternoon, hike to upper falls
**should we switch these around so we can find parking at Johnston Canyon in the morning?
Day 5: Yoho National Park: Emerald Lake (canoe?), spiral tunnel, Takakkaw Falls, natural bridge
Day 6: around Banff: upper hot springs, Tunnel Mt. drive, hiking?
**what have I missed that I should add here?
Day 7: Drive the Icefields Parkway up to Jasper (I have a whole list of spots to stop and see along the way, including the Snocoach glacier trip--we also have the return trip to explore here)
Day 8: Maligne Canyon and Lake (boat ride?), Medicine Lake, hiking and driving tour
Day 9: Biking on the Athabasca River Valley loop, explore Jasper town, gondola ride??, Miette hot springs??
**what else should I add here?
Day 10: Athabaska Falls, Path of Glacier loop, Mt. Edith Cavell
Day 11: Drive the Icefields Parkway down to Lake Louise (again taking time to stop and explore), explore Lake Louise
Day 12: Moraine Lake (canoe?), gondola and hike, explore Lake Louise area
Day 13: Drive to Calgary for 2:30 pm flight home
First of all, do I have any major misses here? I like to have things pretty planned, but leave the option open to do whatever we feel like doing that day (I hate wasting time in the morning trying to decide what to do!).
We definitely want to do some great nature hikes, wildlife viewing would be great, and I've tried to plan several activities like biking, canoeing, and rafting.
Do these days all look do-able, or are some days too ambitious or don't have enough planned?
Since we will be spending two days driving the Icefields Parkway, should we concentrate on the upper half the first day, and the lower half the second time? We will be driving the Parkway on both a Sat. and a Wed. Which day would be less crowded to book the Snocoach trip?
I don't like that we have to drive from Banff all the way to Field for the rafting trip, and the next day drive back that way to Yoho Nat'l Park, but since we only have 2 nights in Lake Louise and there are things we want to see there, I think that's the best way to see Yoho. Thoughts??
There are three places to ride the gondolas, but since this gets pretty pricey, which one's are the must-sees? I'm thinking we could skip the Jasper gondola. Same for canoeing; if we could only canoe one time, which lake would you recommend?
Any other suggestions would be welcomed as well! Thanks in advance!