a VirtualTourist member from Englewood
I am interested in a 4 night say in the Canadian Rockies. Fly into Calgary, then spend 4 nights in the mountains, then return to Calgary for a day at the Calgary Stampede. Traveling the first weekend in July. I am uncertain on how to spread out my 4 nights. I am interested in visiting Banff, Lake Louise, Banff, and all the attractions and sights in between. With 4 nights, where should we stay to maximize our visit? i.e. one night Banff, one night Jasper, one night Lake Lousie, one night back at one of the previous locations? Basically just doing a sighteseeing roadtrip, but want to be sure to see all the sights. What's the best itinerary to place ourselves each night in order to maximize our short visit and see as much as possible? Thanks for your itinerary suggestions.
To add, though I am not sure which areas to stay during my short visit, I am thinking I might want to spend my 4th night in either Lake Lousie, or Banff, as the next morning will be driving to Calgary for the Calgary Stampede, therefore staying in Jasper that 4th night would not be practical. Again, thanks for your suggestions for an itinerary that allows for the best manner in visiting the Canadian Rockies in 4 nights.
Hi, I did exactly most of that, from Vancouver on The Rocky Mountaineer to Jasper 2 nights, Lake Louise 2 nights,Banff 2 nights then to Calgary. The Stampede is a full day and night, make sure your tickets include the night show.
In each place I arrived one day looked around, next day took a usually a half day bus trip, then the next day took the bus BREWSTER( which I had prebooked) this took our luggage but also stopped in between towns.
For example we went on The Columbia Icefield which is an icefield located in the Canadian Rockies, astride the Continental Divide of North America. The icefield lies partly in the northwestern tip of Banff National Park and the southern end of Jasper National Park.(this was between Jasper & Banff) It is about 325 km² in area, 100 to 365 metres (328 to 1,197 ft) in depth and receives up to seven metres (275 in) of snowfall per year.Went to The Athabasca Glacier. Another stop we had with Brewsters was Natural Bridge in The Yoho National Park, Kicking Horse Pass, Emerald Lake.
In Calgary the lead up to The Stampede, theres lots going on, we also went to the CN Tower when they put a horse in the lift and rode around the top floor, collecting for Make A Wish.
Lake Louise and Banff are about 45 minuters apart by road, and the hamlet at Lake Louise is tiny, you are far better off to stay in the Town of Banff. Jasper to Banff is about a 4 hour drive on a very good road, so spending a night or two in each town would work out. You are going to end up doubling back from Jasper to Banff to get back to Calgary.
If you want to stay somewhere else on one of the nights, have a look at Kananaskis, which is south of Banff and outside of the National Parks, but quite nice too. The drive back to Calgary is about an hour.
Another option is to spend a night in Drumheller and visit the badlands and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which is located in the fossil beds and the nicest collection of dinosaur skeletons anywhere in the world. It is just over 1-1/2 hours out of Calgary, to the north-east and that way you get to see a bit of the Prairies as well.
that will be a very busy weekend. monday, july 1 is a holiday so alot of people take that week off. secondly, before or after the stampede is always busy. so, make your reservations now.
i love jasper but unless you want to spend most of your 4 days in a car, getting places, i'd consider dropping jasper. you don't say what time your flight arrives. if it's early in the day, i'd consider driving to lake louise and staying one night there. daylight hours are long then so you could enjoy the area in the afternoon. the next day, i'd take the icefield parkway towards jasper for a couple of hours and then turn around and go back to banff for your last 3 nights. at some point, be sure to take highway 1A between lake louise and banff. much more scenic then the main highway. do a stop at johnsons canyon.
if you are set on including jasper...i'd stay the first night in lake louise, 2 nights in jasper, leave very early and take the parkway back and stay in banff for your last night. by leaving jasper early, you'll have some time to explore the banff area.
Whis is the prime area for things to see and do, Jasper or Banff? Or, is there more to see and do in one location than another?
Banff is much more the tourist area than Jasper (which is a lot more of a real working town), although it does cater to tourism as well. If you want to see the main sights, then the furthest point north would be the Columbia Icefield on the Athabaska Glacier, as you head on the Icefield Parkway in the direction of Jasper (well actually most of the way to Jasper), it is about 2-1/2 hours north of Banff and about 1 hour south of Jasper.
Lake Louise, Moraine Lake (near Lake Louise) and Peyto Lake are pretty well on everybody's "must see list". The town of Banff, and the hot springs there are very popular. There are day hikes in a number of places.
Thanks for the information. I appreciate the replies and all of everyone's help. I have 4 certificates for lodging at Fairmont properties I obtained by getting the Fairmont credit card. The purpose of getting the card was to stay in the Canadian Rockies which is why I've been trying to figure out where to stay, or basically where to use my Fairmont hotel certificates, assuming the properties are available. So maybe now I am thinking of spending 2 nights at Lake Louise, and 2 nights at Banff? My 4 night stay might be considered a short visit, but what am I missing by not staying longer that I can't see and do say 4 nights between a Thursday through Sunday night? Thanks.
It depends on if you want to get out and hike. They run day tours to hit all of the major points that I've focused on on my previous post. If you want to get a bit further afield and hike up to the teahouse at the Plain of the Six Glaciers (Lake Louise) or hike to some of the alpine meadows on Mt Edith Cavell (Jasper) it will take you longer.
What you're missing by not staying longer is Jasper and it's surroundings. This is a very beautiful part of the area in its own right. But with 4 days you don't have time to include it - on the long weekend you are going to spend a whole day getting there (with stops) and a whole day returning to Calgary. You will have no shortage of things to see and do in the Banff/LL area in four days, so don't sweat it. Check out my Banff page if you want more ideas of things to see and do in the Banff/LL area.
Enjoy your vacation!