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How to tour Jasper to Calgary

Melbourne, Australia
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How to tour Jasper to Calgary

Having read multiple postings, I am still non the wiser as how to do this and would therefore appreciate some help. We plan to train mid August 2013 Vancouver to Jasper. We then have about 7 days to get to Calgary and then fly out to Anchorage to do a cruise. How best to do the Jasper, Lake Louse, Banff and then to Calgary bit? We thought of hiring a car at Jasper but then found out it costs double to drop it off at Calgary. Any other options? Thanks

Maligne Adventures
Sightseeing Tours, Walking Tours, River Rafting & Tubing, Hiking & Camping Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Brewster Sightseeing
Sightseeing Tours, Bus Tours
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

Hi hajijohn ~

The car would indeed involve a one way drop fee.

One option would be to take a Brewster Sightseeing Tour down from Jasper to LL to Banff. Have a look here, with links in the first paragraph.

http://www.explorerockies.com/

Also on that website in the top navigation bar you will see Airport Shuttle. That one is run by SunDog Tours whose own website is here and who run a Jasper-Banff sightseeing tour, among other tours:

http://www.sundogtours.com/sightseeing.php

A shuttle from the Rockies to Calgary airport is easy.

The drive from Jasper to Calgary is about 5 hours. Are you considering about 3 nights in Jasper, then 3 nights in Banff? Are you taking VIA Rail to Jasper or the Rocky Mountaineer?

Getting around the Parks without a car might be problematic. One possibility, although not totally efficient, would be to rent a car in Jasper, stay 2 nights, drive one full day down the Icefields Parkway to LL and Banff, stay 3 nights. Drive north on the Icefields Parkway for a full day to Jasper which is deffo not a bad thing, stay 1 night. Return the car and take SunDog shuttle to Calgary Airport in ~6 hours. That 3rd run down the IP is where things get questionably inefficient. I'm not sure many people do the spectacular IP 3 times in one trip. But that would avoid any one way drop fee.

If you are riding the Rocky Mountaineer, then you could head for Banff, which would be much more efficient. Rent a car, 3 nights Banff, drive up the IP in one long day to enjoy all the attractions and viewpoints, 3 nights Jasper, drive down the IP to Banff, return the car. No one way drop fee and the shuttle to YYC is easy.

The car would give you the best flexibility. The tour busses would give you controlled touring. You could take a selection of coach tours out of Jasper, out of Banff and between the two.

Edited: 5:17 am, November 03, 2012
Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

Hello MuftiMixandMatch,

What helpful info, thanks very much. We rather like the idea of the Rocky Mountaineer to Banff, then going up north to Jasper and return by rental car. Will try to cover different things each way and probably have a night at LL too. Now we can plan in detail as to how many nights and where and what to see before finally ending in Calgary. The RM Tours website has a combined train and self drive package, but with the rental car being possible one way, it still to us looks quite restrictive.

Thanks again and cheers. Hajijohn

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3. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

One other lead which you may wish to check into: Other visitors have noted that if they arrange their car rentals through Canadian Affair, there is no one-way fee.

Burlington, Canada
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4. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

I did this trip a few years back (Jasper to Calgary) and here's what we did. We did have a car though....we toured Jasper (spent one night), took the icefields parkway to Banff (but along the way stopped off at Mt. Edith Cavell glacier, the Athabasca Falls and climbed Parker Ridge).

Then from Banff we backtracked along the Bow River Parkway (very scenic) and back down to again to Banff along the Trans Canada (doing the Bow River Parkway and then back down the Trans Canada is doing a cirlcle/loop). You don't have to do this part but the drive is really nice. Along the Bow River Parkway there were some lovely cabins for rent and we didn't stay there but wished we did...for one night anyway. Next time!

We spent 3 nights in Banff. Then from Banff we proceeded towards Calgary but made a detour near Canmore to the Kannanaskis region and spent the night. Very lovely area. Then the next day off to Calgary.

Edited: 10:53 am, November 03, 2012
Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

GyPSy Guide information, for rent:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g154911-d1…

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

Thank you to all for the very helpful suggestions which have now set us well and trully in the planning mode. We would appreciate further assistance.

We are a couple in the mid 60s, who like to take things a bit easy. We won't rush to see everything. Generally we would set out after breakfast and after lunch would start to slow down for a shorter afternoon of sight seeing and would plan to rest in the evening. We love beautiful sceneries and don't mind walking.

So it looks like we will plan to board the Rocky Mountaineer in Vancouver on Mon 19 Aug 2013 and end up at Calgary late Tuesday night and pick up hire car on Wed 21 Aug. From here, I would appreciate some input.

Wed - still Calgary

Thurs - off to Banff and overnight Banff

Friday - around Banff and overnight Banff

Sat. - off to Lake Louise and overnight Lake Louise

Sun - off on the IP and Ice Explorer and overnight Jasper

Mon - All day Jasper and overnight Jasper

Tues - All day Jasper and overnight Jasper

Wed - Long drive back to Calgary and return hire car.

Thurs - Fly out to Anchorage to begin our cruise on Friday.

The question is would the above be a reasonable itinerary to fit in the usual must sees. Also wondering whether we should get back to Calgary one day earlier so as not to miss Thur's flight to Anchorage and then miss the Friday cruise; for example, any possible mishaps or unforeseen circumstances on the way back that time of the year?

This is a lot to ask but thanks for any help.

Cheers from Haji John

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

It looks good, hajijohn.

To alleviate that last drive from Jasper to YYC for 5 hours or so, consider doing Banff > Jasper > LL. From LL, you would only have a 2 hour drive to YYC and you would then have an unrushed drive south on the IP the second time. LL and Banff are only 45 min apart so not a big deal to drive Banff to Jasper.

Flight between C and V go every hour, either Air Canada or WestJet. If you didn't want to change your itinerary, you could simply leave Jasper early, allow 2-3 hours to return the car and check in/eat, and take a later flight to Van. I'm like you, I prefer to make it as easy as poss to get to the airport on time.

Greater Sydney...
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8. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

G'day hajijohn,

With your interests, why are you spending Wed in Calgary? Even Calgary residents would readily concede that more time in the Rockies the better. Calgary does have some attractions as a large modern city, but your your stated interests do not include large modern cities. I would recommend that you take that day and use it for an extra day in Banff.

I like the suggestion by Mufti that you travel back from Jasper to LL to o/night and then travel on to Calgary from there. Therefore you could consider the following:

Wed - pick up car and off to Banff.

Thur & Fri - Banff.

Sat - Icefields Parkway to Jasper.

Sun & Mon - Jasper

Tue - Back down IP to LL

Wed - to Calgary and fly to Vancouver.

Mufti has missed the fact that you are not cruising from Vancouver, but on a one-way from Seward as it would appear that you are sailing on Radiance 30/8/13. Have you booked this cruise yet? If not I would highly recommend that you consider Sapphire Princess sailing S/B from Whittier on Sat 31/8/13 as it has a better itinerary - but that discussion is not for this forum.

You could easily spend another day in the Rockies to get you to Vancouver on Thur, but I would recommend that you spend at least a day extra in Alaska rather than just jumping on a flight to Anchorage and then tripping the 200kms from Anchorage to Seward to board the ship. A day in Seward would be very rewarding with your interests, here is just a sample of one very popular trip:

tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g60873-…

Another point comes to mind. Nearly all flights from Vancouver to Anchorage involve a stop in Seattle. Have you considered taking the Amtrak, which I have read is a very comfortable scenic trip, between those cities as spend a day in Seattle? (I would prefer Seward though). You may find that flights from SEA to ANC are quite a lot cheaper, being US to US than connecting from YVR.

Just a few thoughts from me.

Greater Sydney...
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9. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

(Ran out of edit time)

Although off topic for this forum, my justification for stating that Sapphire is on a better itinerary than Radiance is that the former cruises in the very beautiful Glacier Bay National Park, with all other calls being the same, whereas Radiance does not have a permit for that. Only two ships per day are allowed into GBNP with HAL and Princess having those permits pretty well locked in to the exclusion of all others. Also, I think port time with Sapphire is better than that for Radiance. I have never sailed with either of those lines as I prefer HAL for their smaller ships.

An Alaska cruise is not about the line you choose, it is about the itinerary.

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10. Re: How to tour Jasper to Calgary

Don't want to give Seward the flick in the discussion, now!! :-D

But hajijohn, Frommy's cut your time at LL by a day. Something to think about, as LL has some very nice ways to spend a full day, including getting the feel of the place at sunrise and at sunset, especially before and after the crowd.

I have mistakenly thought you were flying to Vancouver even though you have clearly mentioned ANC. I'm not sure if you have looked into flights to Anchorage yet, but you will have to make one connection and it's usually Seattle. And anywhere from 6.5 to 8 hours overall travel time. You will not fly to Vancouver unless you want a 2 connection flight to AK.

Unless you have some particular reason for spending the day in Calgary, leaving for Banff on the Wednesday is a good idea, as mentioned.

I like the itinerary Frommy has laid down, with the adjustment of getting to YYC on Thursday.

Oy, and the lad's gone completely off topic! :-)