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3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

Camden, Australia
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3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

My husband and I are planning a trip to the Rockies after Alaksa, we only have 3 full days once you take out travel. Below was our plan but would love advice/tips.

Wed - Arrive Calgary 7pm - Calgary accommodation

Thurs - Pick up car early - Visit the Wolfdog Sanctuary - Drive to LL,Lake Agnes Tea House and Hike - Accommodation in LL

Fri - Drive to Jasper - Columbian Glacier Walk - Accommodation in Jasper

Sat - Drive from Jasper to Banff - Banff Gondola, Horse Ride along Bow River - Accommodation in Banff

Sun - Drive to Calgary drop off car Fly to Toronoto 12pm Flight.

Any suggestions, should we give something a miss? spend more time somewhere?

Thanks

seattle
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1. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

your time is so ltd but apparently hiking is your thing. With only 3 days I question your priorities however it is your vacation. Never been to the Wolfdog sactuary so can't comment. Lk Louise is spectacular but your right next to Moraine Lk which I don't see on your 'to do list'. The drive to Jasper is spectacular and you could easily spend all day. Spending a few hrs on an 'ice walk' may not be the best choice vs more sightseeing and enjoying the drive. You basiclly have NO time in Jasper so question why even go there. Just turn around and go to Banff. Some of the nicest scenery is to the Icefield so you'd be ahead of the game by not continuing onto Jasper. Your missing quite a bit but its YOUR vacation. Its not how I'd prioritize my time but with only 3 days something has got to go. Hope this helps.

Jasper, Canada
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2. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

G'day, meic. It's a busy three days, not exactly what I would choose to do, but it is do-able. Action packed, and lots of great scenery. You will only get a chance to see "just a bit" but it should be lots of fun. No doubt, you'll be planning a return before you've even left, to see "more". :)

To answer david's question as to why even go to Jasper ... is to be able to enjoy the Icefields Parkway drive. Do the various stops, maybe a hike. You can even do more stops, or re-visit, on the way back down to Banff.

What are you referring to when you say "Columbian Glacier Walk"? Are you doing an ice walk (hike) on the glacier with a guide, or taking the sno-coach "Glacier Discovery" tour?

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

Agree with David. Day 2 drive up to the Columbia Glacier, then back to Banff. I think that would give you Saturday free to plan more activities around Banff.

Greater Sydney...
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4. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

While I liked Jasper a lot more than Banff, I too agree with David and Mufti. By turning back at the Icefield Centre, or just a little further at Tangle Falls, you will miss some things, but in your time frame you need to accept that you need to do this.

Also, only take a gondola trip if the weather is OK as if you can't see the top station from the ground, then you would see nothing from the top. It is not a good idea to lock this in for any particular day or time.

krp, the other thread refers to the Icefield Explorer, not the walk and there would be no time available to do the latter.

Edited: 1:01 am, February 05, 2014
Camden, Australia
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5. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

Hi Krp,

I am getting a little confused i thought the snow coach thing takes you out onto the glacier for the walk?

It is a shotgun visit in only 3 days but I think it is worth it than to not see it at all. I am really open to all ideas as nothing is really set in place. I have friends who tell me not to stay at LL and just stay in Banff. I really would like to go up to Lk Agnes and the teahouse, I am a huge animal lover so the wolfdog visit is a must to be honest I just want to see all the wildlife i can.

Thanks for the tip about the Gondola will keep that in mind.

Greater Sydney...
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6. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

What used to be known as the 'snow coach' is now the Icefield Explorer. It does take you onto a graded area on the glacier for a walk around, but not off the graded area because glaciers can be quite unsafe. There is a very separate 'ice walk' which is a guided hike on the glacier but that takes quite a few hours. The confusion exists in the wording of your original post referring to "ice walk".

www.explorerockies.com/columbia-icefield/

Jasper, Canada
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7. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

Yes, just to be clear - the safe area where the Ice Explorer tour (sno-coach) lets you out is rather like a parking lot on the glacier. They have designated the limits of the safe zone with pilons/traffic cones, and it has been graded and levelled so that you can easily walk around. They usually give you ten or fifteen minutes to snap pictures etc. The views are great! But don't mistake it as "a walk" on the glacier. When I was there in May of one year (still quiet in tourist season), there were about four sno-coaches stopped there at once, so a hundred + people there. In full summer, when I've been hiking across the valley at Wilcox Pass, I have sometimes seen 6 or 8 coaches there at once, and several others heading to and fro on the access road.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

All above descriptions are true, but I still thought it was just fantastic to be on the glacier and none of those things spoiled it for me.

As for your plan, I would actually get going from Calgary and head directly to Jasper for a night, then return down the Parkway to Banff for two nights. Visit the wolf dogs on your way back to Calgary at the end of your trip. If you get going early, it should be doable.

Calgary, Canada
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9. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

Also, if you are driving all the way back from Jasper on Saturday, that doesn't leave a lot of time for the horses & the gondola unless you leave Jasper at the crack of dawn & drive non-stop. Even then I don't think you'd get both in that day. Remember that the speed limits range from 50 to 90 kph between Jasper and Lake Louise, so you would probably have at least 4.5 to 5 hours of driving if you go the limit, there's no construction or back ups and you don't stop. Then you have to get to Banff.

I agree that you'd be much better off to only go the Icefields Centre (for the Icefields Explorer) and back, rather than to Jasper. See the sights, not just drive past them!!

If this is what is being referred to (http://www.explorerockies.com/columbia-icefield/, see Intrepretive Walk), the hike does not go on the glacier, only to the toe of the glacier (and maybe a few steps on to the glacier if conditions allow). I cannot imagine they would be able to do a proper glacier walk - that takes boots, crampons, harnesses, other gear and roping up - and that's not something that can be done by novices on a short hike, and it would require trained mountain guides. That's not what the Icefields Centre offers. If you want to do that, you have to do a longer trip through a permitted guiding company. The only way you can walk on the glacier is in the very limited area the coaches drive to.

Jasper, Canada
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10. Re: 3 days Candian Rockies Help !!

Driving time from Jasper to Banff with no stops, and assuming there are no long, slow line-ups behind RVs on the Icefields Parkway (where there are limited passing lanes) is about 3.5 hours (about 3 hours, or slightly less, to Lake Louise). If you leave early in the morning, there is less likelihood of getting stuck behind slow-moving traffic.