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Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

San Francisco...
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Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

I made the Summer plan for my family, plan to fly there in July. We have a 6 year old kid. I am now wondering if it is necessary to stay in Jasper for 5 days? Can someone give some suggestions on my itinerary? Appreciate!

And which horseback riding is recommended? We may have a few hours to kill on the 2nd day at Banff.

Day1(Banff): Reach Calgary. Drive to Banff and go to Bow Fall / Banff upper hot springs

Day2(Banff): Sulphur Mtn gondola / Johnson Canyon / Horseback riding around Fairmont Banff

Day3(Banff/Lake Louise): Lake Minnewaka then drive to Lake Louise / lake louise

Day4(Lake Louise): Morain lake

Day5(Lake Louise): Yoho NP /lake Ohara

Day6(Jasper): Icefiled parkway drive to Jasper

Day7(Jasper): Jasper tramway/Mt Edith Cavell

Day8(Jasper): Five Lakes

Day9(Jasper): Maligne Valley Road(Maligne Lake,Medicine Lake,Maligne Canyon, maligne lake cruise)

Day10(Jasper): Mount Robson Park (Overlander Falls/Rearguard Falls)-Whistler tram

Day11(Jasper --> Calgary): Icefiled parkway drive to Banff Town/Calgary, Stay there

Day12: Calgory, fly back

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Jasper
Jasper
Jasper National Park, Canada
Banff
Banff
Banff National Park, Canada
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Mt. Edith Cavell
Mt. Edith Cavell
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Jasper National Park, Canada
San Francisco...
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11. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

wow, great inputs! Thank you all! Will re-consider my plan :-)

Holland
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12. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

I would not change a bit to your existing plan! Well spread and also spread out activities, which will allow for some free time, especially when the 6 year old won't take part in long hikes. Although at that age they can already do quiet some hiking. My kids got rewards after a long hike (5 km or longer), they could choose a pin for their hats, which they were wearing with proud (as tons of people looked at all their pins and they could tell people which hike they did for what pin). Also the found hiking much more enjoyable if there was something to hike to, like a fall or lake or teahouse.

Staying in Lake Louise does not have to mean staying at the Chateau, there are a few other accommodations, although not a lot. And if you can afford to stay at the Chateau you really want to consider as it is really nice.

You don't have to do a big breakfast every morning although my kids would loooooove to have a buffet style breakfast with egg-station each morning. We did that it a few times in places like the Westin, Disneyresort and they are still talking about those breakfast. To have some easy low(er) budget breakfast you can pick up bagels, muffins and yoghurt from the Deli or go into "town" and have breakfast at the bakery (don't know the name but there is just one bakery at the "mall"). For a casual dinner I can highly recommend the restaurant at the Hi-hostel. Great food, great ambiance and very friendly people.

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Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Calgary, Canada
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13. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

I think your itinerary sounds great! I agree with the others about Lake Louise - I would recommend though getting a private room at the Hi hostel in Lake Louise. We've stayed there with our 8 and 10 year old a number of times and its great. And it has a kitchen so you have the option of preparing your own food when you get tired of restaurant food. Make sure you book the bus tickets to Lake O'Hara from the LOH parking lot as much in advance as possible because otherwise it is impossible to get out there! The seats go like wildfire, but do try and get up there because it is breathtaking. I've always found this to be a great resource when I was brainstorming what to do with the kids: http://www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com/

There are great ideas for kids in the 4-10 age range. Don't underestimate the power of having a bike to keep kids entertained, you may want to do that one day in Jasper! there are great flat trails for biking with kids. I would urge you to reconsider Valley of the Five Lakes unless you plan on carrying your kid around. We just did it for the first time last year with our 8 year old, and the last part was a real slog with her. The net elevation gain is low, but its constant rolling steep hills for most of the way.

At Moraine Lake, make sure to do the Consolation Lakes trail. Its short, but stunning and kids love climbing all over the rocks at consolation lakes.

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Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Jasper
Jasper
Jasper National Park, Canada
Jasper, Canada
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14. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

If your child is a normally active child, an easy hike like the Valley of Five Lakes (the shortest loop) or Old Fort Point should not be an issue. The pace of the hike will be slow, of course, and in my experience, hiking with kids requires a fair bit of work from the adults, since kids are not usually motivated by wanting to be physically fit, enjoying the fresh mountain air, or the scenery. So you have to work to keep them interested and motivated... we played word games and pretending (to be a moose, or a bird etc.) and would stop along the trail so they could do things like clamber on boulders, balance on fallen trees or throw rocks in water. I always found picnicking and special treats to be an especially good motivator .... my kids (now grown) were not normally allowed junk food, but would happily hike knowing there was a special treat to be had at our destination. On our first family backpacking trip, our 3.5 and 6.5 year olds hiked two 7 km days in a row, and the next summer, at 4.5 and 7.5, we did day hikes like Cavell Meadows and we also did a 3-day trip to Berg Lake, 10 km, 15 km, 10 km, with major elevation gain/loss on the 15 km day.

San Francisco...
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15. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

Thanks DutchWhistlerite, speric and krp329!

San Francisco...
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16. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

I am trying to book the bus tour. Seems I can only book it by calling their phone number?

Following is their operation hours. So should I spend a day there? Say take the bus at 8:30am and then come back at 4:30pm or 6:30pm?

mid-June - September

8:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

3:30 p.m. *

5:30 p.m. *

*overnight guests

Out-going

9:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m.

2 :30 p.m.

4 :30 p.m.

6:30 p.m.

Thanks!

Jasper, Canada
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17. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

Do you mean the bus to Lake O'Hara? It is not a tour; it is a school bus ride up a fire road to the end of the road near the lake, from where you can hike. The phone line does not open until April, and you can only book three calendar months in advance of when you want to come. There is only one phone line, staffed by one person. A couple of years ago, I tried to book for late July, and spent four hours re-dialling, and never got through. Others have reported getting through more quickly. But be prepared.

Philadelphia...
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18. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

This will be our 13th consecutive trip to Banff/Jasper parks. We stay 10-13 days. I'm not a big fan of Banff proper due to the congestion and nature of the townsite. Jasper is a "mountain town" and it's where we spend most of our time.

Lake Louise area highlights: Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, YOHO and Bow Lake (40 minutes north of LL). You can easily spend three days in this area.

The Icefields Parkway drive is something you need to experience. Stop often, drink in the scenery and take it slow. Stop at Bow Lake and the Icefield center (about 1 1/2 hours south of Jasper). At the Icefield I heartily recommend the "bus" trip on to the glacier. They built a new overlook, something I will avoid like the plague. The traditional bus ride puts you on the glacier, not above it on a walkway over rubble! Chili and burgers at the Icefield center fill you up.

Jasper Must Do's:

Go up to Edith Cavell as soon as possible. It's a place you can return to any evening after supper. The meadows is a hike but worth the effort.

Ride the Jasper tram and add a few feet of elevation by hiking up past the landing...I go to the top and over the other side for several hours at least once a year. The view is worth it. Last year a Golden Eagle soared overhead for about 10 minutes. Tram burgers are my annual reward!

Drive to Maligne Lake. Take your time, take the boat ride, eat some chili and look for goats and sheep on the ride back. Osprey and eagles nest on Medicine Lake. Ask in town for other sightings.

Mt. Robson is another worthwhile adventure but you have to hike a bit to get the best views.

Elk abound and so do bears (black and grizzlies). The Pyramid lake road is a good place to view wildlife during early morning or evening.

There are plenty of hiking opportunities, depending on ability. Ask locals for advice.

Have a great trip.

PS

You can comfortably drive from Jasper to the Calgary airport in a day. We leave around 8:00 a.m., take our sweet time and arrive at the airport around 7:00 p.m.

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Banff
Banff
Banff National Park, Canada
Jasper
Jasper
Jasper National Park, Canada
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Maligne Lake
Maligne Lake
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Jasper National Park, Canada
Medicine Lake
Medicine Lake
312 Reviews
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19. Re: Itinerary in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper - 5 nights too long?

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