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Comments on planned 9/5-9/13 itinerary, please?

Birmingham, AL
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Comments on planned 9/5-9/13 itinerary, please?

TA friends,

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.

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Comments on planned 9/5-9/13 itinerary, please?

Hi, I plan to visit similar period with yours during Sep4-Sep9.

Sep4 9:00 am YYC Drive to Japser through Ice park way. Stay in Jasper

Sep5 Japser

Sep6 Japser Then dive back to Lake louise. Stay in Fairmont Lake louise From Sep6-8th

Sep7 Lake louise area

Sep 8 Yoho national park. Then Drive back Banff in afternoon Stary in Banff Spring

Sep 9 Banff Dive back YYC at 10pm 11:30 flight leave YYC

Calgary, Canada
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for Canadian Rockies
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2. Re: Comments on planned 9/5-9/13 itinerary, please?

Sounds like a great trip. A few comments...

On your first day, I suspect you won't have time to do anything in Banff. It's likely to be 2:30 by the time you leave the airport and I would get out of the city before late afternoon rush hour. Banff is actually about 30 minutes past Canmore on the Trans Canada, so it would be around 3:30 by the time you get to Canmore.

I would stay in Canmore and use that time to do your grocery shopping. There are two big grocery stores and a health food store right off the main road. For the cooler, head to Canadian Tire which is right next door - they should have a decent selection. If you have more time, you can walk around downtown and along the river - very pretty walks. Or even head out to Grotto Canyon or walk up Cougar Canyon.

Day 2 - if you do your groceries on Day 1, you have all day for your fun stuff. You will want the time since you are driving from Canmore, so it's 30+ minutes to Minnewanka and then to Johnston Canyon. I'd suggest going via 1A up to Johnston Canyon as it's good for wildlife spotting. At Johnston Canyon, there's not point in going if you don't do the basic walk to the lower falls. I'd continue up to the upper falls - it's not far and very pretty walk (not really a hike) in the canyon. I don't think you will have time for Moraine Canyon

Day 3/4 (Sept 7/8) -

I would do one day at Moraine Lake/Lake Louise and one day in Yoho. There's plenty at each to fill out a day.

Best to do Moraine Canyon first thing before it gets busy or you could encounter delays getting up/down the road and parking. Then spend the rest of the day at Lake Louise. Do the teahouses - these are not very challenging hikes and the scenery is spectacular. You could always just go to Lake Agnes or along the lake, then sit on a bench to read & enjoy the view while your husband goes farther. Or walk around the Chateau and grab a bit to eat there.

As far as I know there is no fishing at Lake Louise - I've never seen people fishing there and I suspect the lake is too cold for much in the way of fish. It's essentially just warm enough not be frozen :o) For any fishing, you will have to buy a license and get informed on seasons and limits. You can do that at the Parks Canada Centre.

Be aware that there is only one tiny market in Lake Louise and prices are high. I would try to buy any non perishables in Canmore.

In Yoho, you can drive up to Takkakaw Falls. It's a short walk to the falls, and a reasonable hike up to further falls. The tunnels are on the road before you turn off for Emerald Lake or Takkakaw. Emerald Lake is up a separate road, and there is a nice walk around the lake. You could do the paved bit and enjoy the view while your husband goes all the way around and/or explores the glacial moraine.

Your Japser plans sound fine. Allow lots of time on the Icefields Parkway. I don't think you'll have time to do something in Calgary - and the airport is north of the city so one tends to take a bypass around the city anyway. If you do have time, stop for late lunch or early dinner in Canmore and enjoy your last bit of time in the mountains.

Make sure to pack rain jackets and lots of layers. Nights are starting to be very chilly with temps down near freezing and fresh snow on the mountain tops. Days could well be pleasantly warm, but it's likely to start cold. I would have hats & mitts/gloves, plus several layers. And solid hiking shoes since you could encounter some damp/icy bits, especially at Lake Louise.

As a note, your husband is probably familiar with the precautions, but if he's getting up early to walk and/or hiking alone, he should have bear spray and be very alert. Bears are still very active in the parks and in the townsites including Canmore and Banff. It's packing on the pounds time before the winter, so they are where the berries are... which is very often where the humans are.. Personally, I avoid walking alone on the trails in Canmore at dawn and dusk, and always carry bear spray when walking on any trail that isn't very open (i.e. you can see quite far) or mountain biking.

Birmingham, AL
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3. Re: Comments on planned 9/5-9/13 itinerary, please?

ksneds, I just printed off all your feedback. Thank you so much! I've also printed off what krp329 told me back in January when I posted my first draft of my plans. Anyone else? Many thanks to you who are local, especially. I appreciate the time you take to help us tourists have a good experience in your amazing area. Other visitors' trip reports have been critical in our planning, too. Can't wait to experience it!

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Comments on planned 9/5-9/13 itinerary, please?

+1 for the advice to just go as far as Canmore that first afternoon. Often the advice on here is for people to do their provisioning in Calgary, so that's something else to consider: Stop soon after you get out of the airport to pick up your cooler and basic supplies.

Milford, Ohio
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5. Re: Comments on planned 9/5-9/13 itinerary, please?

My husband and I spent 11 glorious days in the Canadian Rockies in July, My best advice is to fit in as many hikes as possible, especially in the Lake Louise/Moraine Lake area. It is absolutely the best way to get away from the crowds and see the spectacular scenery! Someone mentioned the teahouse hikes. Though you can do both in one long hike, I would suggest just doing one, since your time is limited. Moraine Lake, to me, is more beautiful than Lake Louise and I would definitely recommend one of the hikes in that area, i.e.Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass, or Eiffel Lake. (The Valley of the Ten Peaks is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest places in the Canadian Rockies, or anywhere, for that matter! )

We did just one tram ride, the one at Lake Louise, because it is a good area to spot grizzlies (we chose the chairlift over the gondola for that reason.) Unfortunately, we did not see any bears, even though they had a record day of bear spotting! The view was worth the trip, however. You could fit in the gondola after either day of hiking.You will not need much shopping time at Lake Louise Village-there is just a small shopping area with a few tiny shops. (Banff, on the other hand, is a shopper's mecca!)

The trails we did in Yoho were in the Lake O'Hara region, which requires reservations, but other forum writers have suggested things there. You could probably do a teahouse hike in the morning and maybe fit Yoho in the same afternoon, depending on what you plan to do there. It is not far from Lake Louise. That would leave you a full day for Moraine Lake, as those hikes are longer.

Another trail we enjoyed was Parker Ridge, just south of the Icefields Center. It is relativley short, but the view at the top is outstanding! We did this trail on our last day in the Rockies, driving from Jasper to Calgary. It was great way to break up the drive and get in one more beautiful hike! You can find more information on these trails and others online, including trip advisor reviews.

If you want to avoid crowds, then definitely skip the Skywalk and the glacier bus/snowcoach tour. (The Icefields Center is also packed during business hours with tours and people buying tickets.) Another company conducts guided Icewalks that takes small groups, but I doubt that would fit into your schedule. (They last several hours and mostly leave in the morning.) You can just walk out to the tip of the glacier, and maybe tour the museum in the Icefields Center, if it is not too crowded.

I know the frustration of reading about things and not being able to visualize the layout. The visitors center in Banff has lots of information and maps. (But maybe you can look at some on-line before you go, just to get oriented.) After all, planning is half the fun!!!

6. Re: Comments on planned 9/5-9/13 itinerary, please?

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