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Plans for my trip

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denver co
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Plans for my trip

Ok, I think I know what I'm doing but want to get some different opinions and suggestions on what I should definately see.

Note, I'm not into shopping or crowds, so I don't really need to see the downtown parts of Banff or Jasper. I get up early and don't spend alot of time on meals...usually a sandwich in the car....

Flying into Calgary 9/2, arriving 11am. Renting car and driving out to Johnson Canyon Resort. Would like to stop at Olympic Park. Upon arrival in Johnson Canyon, check in and then hike the Canyon

9/3-get up early and go to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Spend the day around this area

9/4-get up early and drive the Icefield Parkway. Drive up to Jasper and check out the Athabasca Glacier. Then take my time coming back....

9/5-Take the Lake Minnewanka boat tour. Hike around in Banff Park

Drive to Banff, hike up to the gondola, then take it back. Drive back to Calgary that nite.

9/6-Fly home. Flight leaves 11:15am.

Thank you

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Plans for my trip

If you are planning to take the snow coaches out onto the glacier, (you will be disappointed)your time is better spent taking the boat cruise on Maligne lake outside of Jasper. It is ashame that you don't have more time because I also highly recomend Lake Ohara in Yoho. I have been to the Canadian Rockies 3 times now. The last being August of 05. By far Lake Ohara has been my favorite but it is a full day and you have to reserve the bus (limited access) about 90 days in advance. Your plan sounds spectacular and I am sure you will enjoy it. Long day though driving the Parkway up and down in same day. Take your time and enjoy it. Drive slow don't hit the animals. I am not familiar with the actual Lake Minnewanka boat cruise , but the surrounding area and scenery doesn't even come close to Banff, Yoho, and Jasper Parks. Might be happier going to Takkakaw falls, Natural Bridge and Emerald Lake. Or if you have not made all of your reservations spending the extra day in Jasper, way more wildlife, last August saw 10 bears in same day 5 Grizzlies and 5 black bears. Even 2 Grizzlie cubs wrestling with one another. Bull Elk starting the rut already Fighting for the girls 1 a 20 pointer definitely the king of the area didn't mind letting everybody know it. and Mt. Edith Cavelle is beautiful There is also 2 natural salt licks outside of Jasper that you can't help but see bighorn sheep, they come right to the road. Also saw Female moose and her calf on the road to Mt. Edith Cavelle. I hope I was some help. I know i rambled on, but I am very passionate about the area. I travel alot Kauai, Bora Bora , Tahiti , but in my eyes nothing touches the beauty of The Canadian Rockies. Whatever you choose it will be great and a trip of a lifetime.

Have a great trip.

denver co
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2. Re: Plans for my trip

Thanks

I have reservations to stay in johnson canyon sept 2-sept 5. Maybe I can do the ice fields the first day, the second day do the other lakes you mentioned, then spend the last day at lake louise then drive to calgary. i don't care what time i get to calgary.

I wish i had an extra day, but i can always go back!

Calgary, Alberta...
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3. Re: Plans for my trip

Hello denvergator,

With the research you already seem to have done and leavingplainfield's assistance, you seem to be on the right track.

If I were you, I would not spend any time in Calgary other than what was necessary to enter and exit the Canadian Rockies. I believe your time in the area is too short for you to spend any of it in Calgary. This city in any case is just a smaller version of Denver (a bit of an over-simplification, I know, but adequate as a thumbnail sketch).

Stopping at Canada Olympic Park would be okay in the sense that it's on the TransCanada Highway leading to Banff National Park, so it would not take you out of your way. Yet, if it was my trip, I would not stop at COP.

It'll take you about 1 hour to clear immigration and customs. That will bring you to about 12 noon. You say you're happy to eat a sandwich in a car. Depending on how much they have or have not fed you on the plane, buy a sandwich before you leave the airport. I suggest you refrain from eating it while you're navigating city traffic and getting clear of Calgary. However, once you reach the city limits and are on the open highway, you can eat your sandwich.

You'll get to Banff around 2.00 p.m. You said you were not interested in the Town of Banff. You could hike up the route of the Sulphur Mountain gondola. You would be forced to drive through the Town of Banff to get to the base of Sulphur Mountain, but that's not a bad thing. Banff townsite is situated in a scenic position, ringed by mountains. After hiking up Sulphur Mountain and catching the gondola down the mountain, you would have time to drive to Johnston Canyon and hike into the canyon at least till the Lower Falls.

Note, you would not have time to visit Canada Olympic Park AND do both Sulphur Mountain and Johnston Canyon. My vote goes to Sulphur Mountain and Johnston Canyon any day of the week.

More in next post ....................

Calgary, Alberta...
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4. Re: Plans for my trip

SEPTEMBER 3RD

If you want to catch the bus to Lake O'Hara on September 4th, you must phone Lake O'Hara at EXACTLY 8.00 a.m. on September 3rd. As leavingplainfield said, they cut off reservations for day trippers 3 months in advance. However, they hold back a SMALL number of seats that can be reserved 24 hours in advance. Those seats usually are taken within 10 minutes of 8.00 a.m.

The number to call is (250) 343-6433. Have your credit card ready when you call. More details about that process are available here:

pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/activ15a_e.asp

Then set out for the Icefields Parkway, the road that leads towards Jasper.

As leavingplainfield said, an active person would find the Snocoach ride onto the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefields lame. However, you could do the guided ice walk onto the Athabasca Glacier if you liked.

This being Sunday, they would be offering their 5 - 6 hour guided walk rather than their 3 hour walk. The walk begins at 10.40 a.m., and you have to arrive BEFORE the start of the walk, so that they can issue you with equipment and assess your fitness and experience levels.

It will be a challenge for you to get there in time if you've been forced to wait till 8.00 a.m. to phone the reservations number for the Lake O'Hara bus. I suggest that you get your car all packed and ready, before you dial the O'Hara number. Climb into your car the minute you put the phone down. You should be done with the phone call by 8.10 a.m.

Once you're in your car, I suggest you proceed as follows:

* Johnston Canyon is located on the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy #1A). Drive northwest on Hwy #1A as if you're going to Lake Louise.

* In about 10 minutes you'll come to an intersection that will give you an opportunity to turn west to Castle Junction and the TransCanad Highway (Hwy #1). Take that turn. The reason for getting off Hwy #1A is that it has a 60 km/h (38 MPH) speed limit. If you could get onto Hwy #1, you'd be on a road that had a 90 km/h (56 MPH) speed limit. At this point you need all the help you can get, speed-wise.

* At Castle Junction turn onto Hwy #1, and follow the signs to Lake Louise.

* Just beyond Lake Louise, turn onto the Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93) and keep going till you reach the Columbia Icefields.

* I estimate that, if all goes well, you will reach the Columbia Icefields within 125 minutes of setting out from Johnston Canyon (10 minutes to get to Castle Junction, 25 minutes to get to Lake Louise, and 90 minutes to get to the Columbia Icefields). That should get you there for 10.15 a.m. or so. Hopefully that will be enough time for you to go through the preliminary procedures with the ice walk guide.

The above-mentioned schedule would make for a tight day, as it would get you back to Johnston Canyon at about 6.40 p.m. - 7.00 p.m. (if you did not make any stops along the way). But you could break up the return journey by stopping for dinner in Lake Louise village.

If there is any way you could find the time to stop and see Peyto Lake on the return journey, it would be very worthwhile. You'd reach it half an hour before you got to Lake Louise.

You sound like an active person, so I have surmised that the above scheme might appeal to you. If you don't want to do the ice walk after all, there are plenty of scenic lookout points and short and medium hikes that would make your day along the Icefields Parkway enjoyable.

More in next post .............................

Calgary, Alberta...
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5. Re: Plans for my trip

Oh shoot, now that I've read the Lake O'Hara website a little more (via the link that I provided in the previous post), I see that there are restrictions with respect to a couple of the trails in the area. If there is any way you can call ahead of time (like around now) the phone numbers they provide and discuss with the wardens what your options will be, I believe it would be a good idea. Or perhaps someone around here knows enough to give you advice.

One thing I do recommend is that you purchase from Lake O'Hara Lodge a topographic map of the area in which you want to hike. Either that or use a hiking guidebook that has good maps. I'm sure you will have gathered from the fact that there is restricted access to the area that it is isolated. You don't want to get lost. Here is a TripAdvisor page that lists hiking guidebooks for the area:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154910-c13638/Banff-…

More in next post ..............

Calgary, Alberta...
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6. Re: Plans for my trip

Okay, if you've read the web page on Lake O'Hara, you know how long in advance of the bus's departure time you have to be there, waiting in the parking lot, etc. So I'm going to move on to:

SEPTEMBER 5TH

If you were not going to do one of the half-day hikes in the Lake Louise / Moraine Lake area, you would have time to visit Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake.

You could then drive to Calgary. Sunset in Calgary will be around 8.15 p.m. It'll take you about 2 hours to get from Banff townsite to your Calgary accommodation.

If you want to be sure of reaching your accommodation in daylight, you'd be better off driving all the way to Calgary and having dinner here.

If you're comfortable with the idea of leaving the mountains in daylight but arriving in Calgary in the dark, you could stop off in Banff townsite and have dinner there.

If you want to do one of the hikes in the Moraine Lake / Lake Louise area, you might be willing to sacrifice Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake.

I personally would vote for seeing less but seeing it in more depth.

Of the lakes in the Canadian Rockies that are easily accessible to the sedentary motorist, Moraine Lake is the most beautiful one, to my taste.

More in next post ................

Calgary, Alberta...
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7. Re: Plans for my trip

The TIPS section of my website has lots of information that would help you -- what documents you need to travel to Canada, driver's license requirements (your DL will be okay), Canadian money, medical insurance, metric equivalents (for distances and temperatures), driving distances and times, national park entry fees, and on and on.

…msn.com/CalgaryandCanadianRockiesTravelTips

In addition to that, TripAdvisor's "Inside Pages" are in the process of being populated with information. If you search TripAdvisor for Inside Canada, Inside Calgary, Inside Banff National Park, and so on, you will find quite a bit of information.

Well, denvergator, I hope that has helped you.

denver co
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8. Re: Plans for my trip

Judy, all I can say is WOW!!!!

You have given such great information. You are awesome.

Thank you so much for your help. Sounds like there's so much to do, I may have to come back :>)

Sounds like whatever I do, will be wonderful and beautiful.

I think I will bypass Olympic Park and Calgary for the lakes and mts.

Thank you again!

denver co
12 posts
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9. Re: Plans for my trip

Yeah! I was able to get a seat on the Sept 3 bus!!!! I'm so glad!!

So I'll have to rearrange my plans a little bit, but that's ok.

I can't wait for my trip. I'm so excited I can't focus on work :>)

Thanks to all.

Calgary,Alberta,Cana...
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10. Re: Plans for my trip

Also in Jasper Maligne lake has a great boat tour that goes out to spirit Island and back just another option to the Minnawanka boat trip