I've read most everything I could find on this forum and came up with the following for our arrival late next week. We are reasonably fit people in our 50's. My husband is an avid outdoorsman and very, very active. I struggle to keep up, so I'm hoping to spend some time enjoying a book near some beautiful vistas. We have done seven national parks in the western U.S., where he typically rises before dawn to walk. He'll also do some fishing whenever possible. Here are our plans. All comments/advice/cautions welcome. We are especially keen on seeing wildlife and standing in awe of natural beauty. We are not fond of crowds. And if you have fishing advice beyond the information online concerning permits, etc. which he has already accessed, that would make him very happy.
9/5: Arrive YYC 1:15pm. Get rental car. Drive to Banff. If before 5pm, visit Info Centre or Whyte Museum. Stroll through Fairmont Banff Spring Hotel. Check into reserved room in Canmore.
9/6: Buy cooler (where is best place?) and breakfast/picnic-type groceries in Canmore, filling up car. Finish touring Banff townsite (Whyte? Sulphur Mountain, if clear day?) Not sure if we'll do Upper Hot Spring and Cave and Basin, as we've done lots of hot springs elsewhere.
Drive Lake Minnewanka Loop. Maybe Johnson Lake hike or Cascade Mountain Waterfall hike? Picnic lunch at some point. Then drive up Bow Valley Parkway, visiting Johnston Canyon en route. Might hike to lower falls.
We have reservations 9/6, 9/7 and 9/8 at Lake Louise. If time allows 9/6 afternoon or after check-in, considering visiting Moraine Lake? Or maybe just exploring the shops, etc.
9/7: Visit Lake Louise early, before crowds arrive. Walk through hotel. Should we do a gondola ride here? Unsure how all that "fits," but I guess we'll figure it out? After it gets busy, head to Yoho National Park with picnic. Walk around Emerald Lake, the natural bridge over the Kicking Horse Ricer, Takkakaw Falls? Spiral Tunnels viewing point? (I've just written all this down. I don't know where any of that is!)
9/8: Finish up what we haven't seen around Lake Louise, and maybe do some fishing or walk to the tea house. Perhaps drive a few miles on the Icefields Parkway, as a preview of what we'll do the next day. Restock cooler, fill up car.
9/9: Spend all day driving to Jasper, stopping at a long list of viewpoints. Tour the Columbia Icefields. Thinking we might skip the Glacier Skywalk. Wind up in Jasper, where we have three nights of reservations.
9/10 and 9/11: On 9/10, check into the information centre, get oriented. Spend this day and the next seeing Mt. Edith Cavell, Maligne Canyon and lake, Mount Robson Provincial Park and maybe the Jasper Tramway.
9/12: Drive back to Calgary the way we came. Reservations near the airport. If we get there at a decent time, is there something we could see quickly? The Calgary Tower? Something else?
9/13: Depart early morning, via YYC.
Thanks in advance for any and all advice. I can't change reservations, but I can definitely change touring plans.