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Suggestions to what to do and see

Warrenton, Oregon
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Suggestions to what to do and see

We are staying in Fairmont from 15th to 22nd September. We are driving from Portland area to Fairmont Hotsprings. I am wondering doing the Icefields Parkway drive to Jasper and spend a night over there and return next day. If it is same day return trip may be too much and too rushed? I have not booked a place in Jasper yet. Rest of the days planning to spend time around Banff area. We are first time visiting Canadian rockies.

Please any ideas and suggestions requested.

Thank you,

Ram

Ram

12 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

Have you seen this news?

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Fairmont+mudslide/6942756/story.html?cid=hot_photo

When you say "return next day" Do you mean returning to Fairmont or returning to Banff? It will take about 8-10 hours to get to Banff from Fairmont - depending on traffic and stops etc.

Rockies BC
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2. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

Actually, the drive from Fairmont to Banff is only about 2 hrs (1 way). You could make a day trip of it, certainly, but you definitely shouldn't make a day trip to Jasper from FHS, you'd miss far too much speeding by. I believe I've posted on here recently about things to do in the FHS/Radium/Invermere area, lots to see without heading into AB. If your plan is to be in the Jasper/Banff area, you might want to actually spend your holiday in those towns, rather than using FHS as a base - it's too far out of the way (unless maybe you have a time share or something? But if I wanted to spend 3 days in Banff, say, I would not stay in FHS & drive the 2 hrs to & 2 hrs back again each day).

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

I think staying in Fairmont HS for 7 nights will be somewhat disappointing to you if you are coming to see the Rockies. You will miss being in Banff, Lake Louise, and spending time in Jasper.

You don't mention your travel itinerary to Fairmont from Portland. How many more days do you have to travel to and from the Banff area.

Click on the blue print to see the route map for your trip. You can see the distances and driving times on the left side.

If you have a total of 7 days, I would suggest you consider the following for 9 days:

1 night on the way to Banff

3 nights Banff

2 nights Jasper

2 nights on the way to Portland

Rockies BC
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4. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

Agree with Mufti - altho FHS is pleasant enough, it's certainly not in the most spectacular part of the Rockies.......

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

Thanks, East. I clearly forgot to include the map link.

ramchander, click on this blue link:

http://goo.gl/maps/kgMO

Warrenton, Oregon
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6. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

Thanks Mufti, for your response and advice.

I have a time share and in a way forced to stay in Fairmont. If I can not do Ice field parkway, do you think I can do the Banff and Lake Louise area basing at Fairmont?

I will have all 7 days available in Fairmont, excluding my drive time from Portland. I was thinking of driving one day to Jasper, staying over night there and driving back next day to Fairmont. Is it possible? as I do not have much on offer in the Fairmont area.

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7. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

Hi ramchander ~

It takes 45 minutes to drive between LL and Banff. From Fairmont to Lake Louise i takes about 2.5 hours. From Fairmont to Banff it takes a little less than 2.5 hours, You can plan your day trips from knowing that.

From Fairmont to Jasper will take you about 5 - 5.5 hours if you drove constantly. But you will want to stop and look at many attractions, so even up to 8-9-10 hours to do the Icefields Parkway would not be unreasonable. That is why it would be a good idea to spend one night in Jasper.

www.icefieldsparkway.ca

pc.gc.ca/eng/…visit38.aspx <<< below the hard to read map is a PDF link. Click on that for a readable version of the map.

British Columbia
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8. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

I live in Fairmont HotSprings, and have to correct a couple things. First, hwy 93 from Radium comes out at Castle junction. It is almost equal distances from this junction to both Lake Louise and to the town of Banff. Speed limit in the park is 90kph(about 55mph). Google maps give the times at 2:25, but they are always on the high side. Considering you will be here in September and traffic volumes will be down, Driving direct from Fairmont will take you about 2 hours to either destination. Though the speed limit is 90kph, if you do the speed limit, you will be passed continuously. Most do 100kph to much more than that. Be very careful returning in the evening as Macleod meadows is known to have high volumes of wildlife on the roads, at dusk.

Second, the link to the mud slide is very unfair. The only damage left is that the Mountainside golf course is still closed, but will definitely be open by September. The only other damage of note, is the hiking trail behind the hot springs pool has eroded and is not passable at this time.

Not sure what you are planning to do in the park, but there is plenty of hiking in the Columbia valley. Consult "Hikes around Invermere" or "Mountain Footsteps". You can also make a forty minute journey and enjoy a natural hot spring at Lussier. Just be sure to bring some sandals and make sure to return to your condo for a shower asap. The hot springs are high sulphur. (rotten egg smell) You will usually meet some interesting people at these hot springs and it is usually very social. While you are in that area, consider a side trip to Premier Lake. Great place for a paddle.

While the Mountains around Fairmont are certainly not as spectacular as in the Park, it is beautiful none the less. Consider taking a hike to the top of the hoo doo's or drive up past Panorama mountain on the Toby creek road to see some spectacular waterfalls. There is also a hidden canyon on the Delphine glacier road, just past Panorama ski area.

You could also make a day trip to historic Fort Steele, near Cranbrook. Ride an old steam train and visit a restored North west mounted police fort.

The Columbia Valley, from Fairmont to Radium is mostly known for its 8 resort style golf courses and for the water recreation on Lake Windermere. The town of Invermere is the central service community with cafe's, restaurants and shopping. Fairmont itself has some shopping a small grocery store and some very nice places to eat. In addition, you are infinitely more likely to see big horn sheep around Radium, then you are, anywhere in Banff. It being September, you are very likely to see bears walking the streets around town. This is the time of year when the bears are filling up on berries and the area along the Columbia river is full of choke cherries and rose hips. You can also book whitewater rafting, or take a float down the Columbia river right past your condo and through the middle of Riverside golf course.

If you are planning to use Fairmont as a base to see the National Parks, well that makes for some long days, but consider the sites around Fairmont. Unless you really like driving, I would stick to a day trip and go to Lake Louise or book one night in Banff/Lake Louise and do both towns. If you want to do less driving but still see some sites, pick up a copy of Hikes around Invermere in the Fairmont village gift shop, and do a couple of the hikes listed. If you really are adventurous, hike up to the bugaboo's just north of Radium. Rent a kayak or canoe in Invermere and paddle the wetlands north of the town. There is a small marina that rents these, right on the river in Invermere,

Sorry, but there is more than a weeks worth of sightseeing in the area. I don't get the opinion that the only thing in the area worth seeing is contained in Banff.

Warrenton, Oregon
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9. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

Thanks Anita,

I appreciate the info about trips and options around Fairmont area.

British Columbia
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10. Re: Suggestions to what to do and see

Just an interesting side note, since you are from Portland. The Columbia river starts less than a mile from where you are staying.

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