We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

Neutral Bay...
posts: 197
reviews: 139
Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

Hello,

We are travelling through the Canadian Rockies in early October & need some help! We are a couple 25 & 30 we like to do scenic driving we are not so much into hiking however happy to do short walks, lookouts etc. We are short on time as we are in the US/Canada doing a 3 week trip & this is our 5th trip to the states & 2nd to Canada (last time we did East Coast) we are used to moving quite quick from destination to destination. Basically we like to see the main sights & move on.

We are undecided whether we should stay in Lake Louise & Banff or whether we should substitute Banff for Calgary which would make the day we drive to Glacier National Park - Kalispell shorter by 90 mins which is the next day. Wondering if we will miss out on anything by not staying at the Fairmont Banff, we are flexible we can drive from Banff straight through to GNP however it would be an easier drive if we went through to Calgary instead of overnighting in Banff.

Our proposed itinerary is below:

29 Sep 2014 Afternoon drive from Vancouver to Kamloops (3.5 hrs) & Overnight: Holiday Inn

Kamloops

30 Sep 2014 Early Morning Drive from Kamloops to Jasper (5 hrs)

Afternoon – Jasper

Overnight: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

1 Oct 2014 Morning Drive from Jasper to Lake Louise via Icefields Parkway (3 hrs)

Athabasca Glacier

Overnight: Fairmont Lake Louise

2 Oct 2014 Drive to Banff (40 mins)

Gondola & Boat Ride

Overnight: Fairmont Banff Springs or Calgary?

Look forward to your replies!

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 40,364
reviews: 54
1. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

This is indeed a quick trip through some spectacular areas. Will you miss out on anything? Indeed you will. The Icefields Parkway is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and most people take up to 10 hours to explore the numerous attractions along the way. So a morning drive will be a shame. At the beginning of October, you will find 12 hours of daylight, sunup at about 7h45 am and sunset about 7h20.

I think as well, you might want to enquire about what will still be open at the end of September in Banff/Jasper and in GNP.

Icefields Parkway attractions. Open the PDF link below the image:

pc.gc.ca/eng/…Parkway.aspx

Weather stats: www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3…

Neutral Bay...
posts: 197
reviews: 139
2. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

Thanks for your reply when I said morning drive from Jasper to Lake Louise I meant that I would be leaving in the morning but the whole day will be dedicated to the attractions between Jasper & Lake Louise.

Thanks for the links, I will look into them

I guess my main question was whether we should stay in both Lake Louise & Banff or skip staying in Banff and continue onto Calgary to make the trip to GNP easier.

Cheers

Greater Sydney...
posts: 10,370
reviews: 62
3. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

I would skip LL and go to Banff.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,775
reviews: 75
4. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

Why the fixation on the Fairmont hotels? You do know that there are many charming alternatives at half the price, right?

Neutral Bay...
posts: 197
reviews: 139
5. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

I have always wanted to stay at the Fairmont Hotels in this region & as I work in the Travel Industry I can get them for approx $100 a Night so very cheap.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,775
reviews: 75
6. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

wow -- great price! Good for you!

Neutral Bay...
posts: 197
reviews: 139
7. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

Yeah great prices am very lucky!

We are still torn between staying in Banff or Calgary at the end though not sure if we should spend the morning in Banff & head to Calgary in the afternoon to make the journey shorter the next day to GNP & we haven't seen Calgary. Or wether we stay in Banff & bypass Calgary making the drive to GNP direct from Banff.

Any feedback would be appreciated!

seattle
Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 16,142
reviews: 87
8. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

I've done both leaving Calgary and going directly to Glacier. Its far more scenic to (sorry I'm not looking at a map) to drive thru from Banff. I recall turning at Castle Mountain Junction and driving south. Its very nice. When you leave Calgary its nice but rolling farms and pretty prairie like. I prefer the route from near Banff.

Neutral Bay...
posts: 197
reviews: 139
9. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

Thanks for your advice.

We will still drive from Lake Louise to Banff and then on to GNP if we go the more direct option or go Lake Louise, Banff, Calgary.

Doing either of these routes they don't seem to differ to much so I am a little confused where the change of scenery/route would be?

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 24,539
reviews: 67
10. Re: Quick trip through the Canadian Rockies - Help Needed

I believe Davidgmg's "via Banff" option is to take Hwy 93S through Kootenay National park and Radium Hot Springs, then head south to Crowsnest Pass and from the Pass, head east to Waterton-Glacier. That's mostly through the province of British Columbia. Here's that route on Google Maps:

https://goo.gl/maps/HJg2H

If you take the more direct route from Calgary, you have three options:

1. Hwy 40 through the Rocky Mountains SE of Banff, in Kananaskis Country, then connecting up with Hwy 22 (Cowboy Trail) to go to Waterton-Glacier. This is the most scenic Alberta route, in my opinion, as it goes through the mountains and then goes close to the foothills, in very pretty ranching country. (One section of the Hwy 40 route through K-Country is closed every year from Dec 15 to June 15 for wildlife.) Here's that route on Mapquest - I'd prefer to use Google Maps but they won't show the route properly as that part of Hwy 40 is currently closed:

http://mapq.st/1pFzJmr:

2. Hwy 8 from Calgary west to Bragg Creek, then Hwy 22 south from Bragg Creek to Waterton-Glacier; this doesn't go through the mountains but it does take you closer to the foothills:

https://goo.gl/maps/Hh6Ur

2A: Skip Bragg Creek and head straight for Hwy 22, with a possible stop at the Okotoks Rock:

https://goo.gl/maps/ymcwT

3A. Quickest but most boring. Take Highway 2 south from Calgary all the way to Hwy 3 (Crowsnest Hwy) then head for Waterton. This route is the furthest from the mountains, but the road is 4-lane divided expressway for much of its length.

https://goo.gl/maps/7dJLB