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What to include on trip from Canmore to Jasper and back

San Diego...
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What to include on trip from Canmore to Jasper and back

Hi! We are doing a trip with friends who are more physically active than we are. They may want to hike up to five miles. Due to hip and knee problems, my husband and I will just do one mile round trip (but can do so several times!). We'll have rental car so we could drop them off at a trail head and then come back to get them at specified times. Here are times and places we have reservations. There is so much to do and see, we cannot decide what to include and how to plan our time. Sorry that we prepaid for lodging at each place and are not real close to the beautiful Lake Louise sites.

Sat., Sept 6 - drive from hotel in Calgary to lodging in Canmore. Have that afternoon and all of next day to do things in area.

Mon., Sept 8 - drive from there to Jasper. Wonder about stops along the way (remember we will drive same route back to Banff). Have all day Tuesday and Wednesday in that area. Should we make a day trip from the Fairmont in Jasper to do Icefields excursion? Or stop there on either way there or back from Banff?

Thur., Sept 11 - drive to Banff. Again, at which spots should we stop? We have all day Friday to explore good things we missed on first part of trip.

Sat., Sept.13 - We fly back home. Boo-hoo - not long enough! Appreciate if you tell us what not to miss and how long to spend with various activities. Thanks!

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: What to include on trip from Canmore to Jasper and back

If you plan to do the sno-coach tour on the Athabasca Glacier, I would plan it for one of the days you are driving by. There are lots and lots of places to stop on the Icefields Parkway drive, to enjoy viewpoints, waterfalls, hiking trails, glacial lakes etc. but since you have two days, you'll have twice the time to do them all. There is a brochure available at the Parks Canada visitor centres that has a map with all the sites listed.... the main ones are (from south to north) - Bow Summit/Peyto Lake viewpoint, Mistaya Canyon, the Columbia Icefields/Athabasca Glacier, Tangle Falls, Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls. There are many other lakes and nice viewpoints that are worth a stop too - Herbert Lake, Bow Lake, Waterfowl Lake, Goat Look-Out etc. There are lots of picnic sites along the way - pack a lunch and beverages so you don't have to eat at either The Crossing or the Icefields Centre, which are busy, expensive and underwhelming.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "Lake Louise sites" - the main site is the lake itself, and the only accommodation right at the lake is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Deer Lodge and Paradise Bungalows are nearby, but not lakeside. The rest of the accommodation is 4 km away, in the valley near the highway. Lake Louise makes a good base for hard-core hikers who want to get out on trails early to beat the crowds, but for the vast majority of visitors, Lake Louise is either a stop during the day, or, if they stay in the immediate area, expensive accommodation with limited dining and other services nearby. From the description you have given of yourselves and your travel party, I think Canmore and Banff are good options for you.

The Grassi Lake hike near Canmore is a shorter, easier trail - especially if you go via the road rather than the steeper trail (thinking of your bad knees).

While in Jasper, visit the Maligne valley - stops include Athabasca Overlook, Maligne Canyon (short walk), the Medicine Lake viewpoint and Maligne Lake. At the lake, you can take the boat cruise or rent a canoe (both are pricey), make short or long hikes, and have coffee or a meal or afternoon tea. This might be a good option for splitting up for each couple to do their own thing - your friends could hike the Bald Hills or Opal Hills trail, while you could do the shorter Mary Schaeffer loop or the boat cruise, and then lounge at the day use chalet while you wait for them.

Mt. Edith Cavell is also a recommended stop here in Jasper National Park. There is a beautiful hike there, Cavell Meadows. Even if you don't do the hike, I would recommend driving up and walking the short "Path of the Glacier" trail. But if you are able, I would recommend hiking some of the Cavell Meadows trail - just turn around when you've had enough. Your friends could do the entire loop.

Banff, Canada
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2. Re: What to include on trip from Canmore to Jasper and back

When you're in Banff, the Local Walks page:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154911-c14522/Banff:…

should give you some ideas of walks that could be suitable for either couple.

This Parks Canada page about the Icefields Parkway should help you with your planning for your two days up and back:

pc.gc.ca/eng/…visit14.aspx

Edited: 16 August 2014, 19:38
San Diego...
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3. Re: What to include on trip from Canmore to Jasper and back

Thanks so much! I guess I mean the Yoho National Park area. I've heard about Emerald Lake, Kicking Horse Canyon, and Spiral Tunnels. You have given me many ideas. Would not mind if you narrowed the list down as to how to be more efficient time wise. Do not want to hurry from spot to spot, but do not want to miss some of the best sights either.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: What to include on trip from Canmore to Jasper and back

Hi there. We really enjoyed the Alpine Lights Dinner on top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff. I think it was only open Friday and Saturday nights when we were in Banff late May/June but I believe this varies from season to season. The views are spectacular and there are trails once you get to the summit so you need to allow plenty of time for exploring which we regret we didn't.

We also did the Rocky Mountain Raft Tour, a float trip down the Bow River at Banff. Tour goes for about an hour so leaves plenty of time for other activities.

Joe from the Jasper Tour Co. gave us a great time finding wildlife from the safety of his van. Leaves at 5pm but he does other tours also.

5. Re: What to include on trip from Canmore to Jasper and back

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