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Help with itinerary

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Kuala Lumpur
posts: 237
Help with itinerary

Hello,

We seek advice on our itinerary.

Our schedule is as follows:-

1st April 2014 - Lake Louise (arriving at 8.00 am on 1st and departing late evening on 2nd)

2nd & 3rd April - Banff

4th - 10th April - Fairmont

11th - 15th April - Panorama

What should we not miss at each of the above places? Please note we love walking/hiking and photography. We will rely on public transport.to move around so this is a constraint.

Thank you

14 replies to this topic
Banff, Canada
posts: 152
reviews: 60
1. Re: Help with itinerary

Transport between Banff and Lake Louise is easy. There is a shuttle from BAnff to Panorama. Nothing to Fairmont that I know of.

www.panoramaresort.com/airport-transfers/

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 12,211
reviews: 80
2. Re: Help with itinerary

You won't be able to do much walking at Lake Louise unless you use snowshoes - early April is still very definitely winter at that elevation. The ski area across the valley is usually open until the first week or May, and the lake usually thaws in late May or early June (although possibly by April, the ice conditions are not good for skating either.)

The town of Banff is 1000 feet lower than Lake Louise, so spring will be a bit more advanced there. Still, I would expect to see some snow in the townsite. Trails will be icy. April and early May is probably the worst time of year for hiking, with most trails either still snowbound, or else, on the lower elevation ones, things are melting, but shady areas don't dry up and re-freeze overnight resulting in a very slick trail.

I am not as familiar with Fairmont and Panorama, but I think they are quite a bit lower than Banff townsite, so you can expect them to be a bit more spring-like.

Edited: 12:27 am, January 05, 2014
Kuala Lumpur
posts: 237
3. Re: Help with itinerary

Hi folks,

We did some homework on the public transport thingy and would like to share the outcome.

We noted on the Greyhound website that they have buses plying from Banff to Windermere and also to Invermere. The one trip per day to Windermere departs Banff in early evening and arrives Windermere at 10.30 pm on the same day. That to Invermere departs Banff after midnight and arrives in Invermere at 9.00 am the next day. The second option is better.

The resort that we're going to in Fairmont, advise there is a better chance to get a taxi in Invermere. We're waiting for an answer from the taxi company in Invermere.

We didn't know about Lake Louise being wintry in early April. We thought that it would be Spring already in April! Thank you for enlightening us. Since we come from a tropical country we'd certainly feel colder than normal for you guys!

Thank you again for your comments and advice. Cheers!

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 12,211
reviews: 80
4. Re: Help with itinerary

That bus itinerary has you connecting in Golden, where you'll be sitting from 2:30 to 7:30 am. However it does say that there are "meals/rest stop available", so I am guessing it must be at a truck stop (restaurant) or similar. (Click on the "details" on the Greyhound site for the specifics.)

Curiosity got the better of me, so I googled it:

https:/… and here is a streetview of it: http://goo.gl/maps/DHYC4 I notice there is a motel next door, a Ramada, in case you want to try and get a few hours' sleep. However, I don't know what the on-time record is for the bus on that route... it would be a shame to reserve a room and then not need to use it (if your connection winds up being only an hour or two). I suppose it could be argued that sitting in a truck stop restaurant overnight and watching the truckers come and go could be a unique cultural experience .... it's kind of one of those quintessential moments of the classic Canadian road trip! ;-)

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,381
reviews: 71
5. Re: Help with itinerary

The bus stop in Golden is at the Husky station, which has a sizeable restaurant that (I think) stays open all night. It's quite a lively spot whenever I've been there, with truckers and motorists coming and going. And the food is basic diner but not bad. However, I don't think I would want to spend five hours there!

Kuala Lumpur
posts: 237
6. Re: Help with itinerary

Still looking for other options. Skipping the splendour of the Rockies is not an option. We will survive!!

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 12,211
reviews: 80
7. Re: Help with itinerary

A lot of people seem to have a mistaken idea that all of the mountains in western Canada are 'the Rockies" when actually, the Rockies are a very narrow chain of mountains on the BC/Alberta border. If you want to maximize your time in the Rockies, spend more time at Lake Louise and Banff, which are in the Canadian Rockies. Panorama is in the Purcell Mountains (part of the Columbia Ranges), not the Rockies. Fairmont Hot Springs is in a valley called the "Rocky Mountain Trench", which is considered by geologists to be the dividing line between the Rockies from the Columbias. Your holiday has 3 days in the Rockies.

If you have a look at this satellite map, you will see the inland mountains of BC and Alberta. (The Coast Mountains are yet another range.) http://goo.gl/maps/mZ2Xk The very obvious valley which is labelled with highways 16, 1 and 95 is the Rocky Mountain Trench. (Or if you zoom in, you'll see, from north to south: Valemount, Kinbasket Lake, Golden, Invermere, Kimberley and Cranbrook) The mountains east of that valley are the Rockies, west are the Columbias (which include the Purcells, Monashees, Selkirks etc.) What differentiates the Rockies from the Columbias is their geology (types of rocks, geological formations etc. as well as the geological processes that formed them).

Edited: 5:56 pm, January 07, 2014
Kuala Lumpur
posts: 237
8. Re: Help with itinerary

Hi krp329,

Wow! Thank you for the details. I found it to be very informative.

Kuala Lumpur
posts: 237
9. Re: Help with itinerary

Hi folks,

About the 5-hour connection in Golden, I really must check further on this.

We were mad enough to use Greyhound buses right across Canada, from Vancouver to Montreal, in Sept 2009 (stopping 2 nights in Winnipeg to sleep on a flat bed!!). The stops along the way, primarily at uninteresting Tim Horton sites, were short ones. So 5 hours does seem extreme. Sigh! Even if it is a 5-hour stop, arriving in a new place at 9.00 in the morning is better than arriving at 10.30 at night. We'll have to see how it goes.

Thanks again.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 14,555
reviews: 42
10. Re: Help with itinerary

Golden is a railway town, so it's probably better set up for 24 hr operations than a non-railway town might be.

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