I am planning our 30th wedding anniversary trip for next year. My husband and I would like to fly into Calgary (from Washington, DC), rent a car, and drive through the Banff and Jasper Parks areas without missing any of the important sights since this might be our only visit ever to the Canadian Rockies. This needs to be completed in one week as we will then fly on from Calgary to Vancouver and do the highlights of British Columbia and Seattle in the following two weeks. I need help with the following:
1) I assume it's best to fly into Calgary to start and end the loop, but if there is some compelling reason to change this portion of our trip to a fly into Edmonton and fly out of Calgary (or the opposite) please let me know.
2) We are currently thinking of starting the trip on Saturday, June 28 and leaving the Rockies on Saturday, July 5, then moving on to points west. But if there is an advantage to pushing the trip back a week or so and arriving later in July (perhaps the weather is more reliable? perhaps there is less likelihood of snow on higher trails? perhaps there is better wildlife viewing?) then please let me know.
3) We are both in our early-mid fifties and in good shape for our age, but I am carrying around enough extra weight at this stage of my life that extreme or advanced hiking is not for me. However, I do enjoy hikes with moderate elevation gain, so would love to know what trails are recommended that can be done in less than 3-4 hours round trip and involve no more than 1000 feet of elevation gain.
4) We have the money to spend top prices for lodging but will be very annoyed to spend that money and have a sub-par experience. Also, we prefer quiet places where there will not be a lot of families. We have nothing against children and have two grown ones of our own, but this is supposed to be a romantic interlude and would love any lodging suggestions that might meet our needs.
5) Any advice about the best dining and other tips will be much appreciated!
Thanks to all for taking the time to read this and respond!