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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska

 > Glacier NP, banff and Lake louise

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zwicky

illinois

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Posted: 02/17/12 09:32pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

planning our summer trip to Glacier NP, banff and lake louise, traveling from Chicago. We have 19 days total and trying to figure out how much time to spend in each area. I know most of you would tell me I need more time but this is all the time I have to work with. I would like to go to east glacier first travel up to banff and lake louise then go down to west glacier. also it looks like we will be in banff during the stampede in Calgery so probably will take a day trip there.
Any suggestions for each area would be much appreciated too. Would like to take a whitewater rafting trip. Thank you

Jennifer

garym114

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Posted: 02/17/12 11:21pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Only post in one forum. No double posts!


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trigley

Central Alberta

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Posted: 02/17/12 11:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The 19 days includes travel time? If so how much time do you expect to have for the areas identified?
You have not mentioned your rig, do you have a truck or toad which makes it easier for you to park & get around. Some areas are not accesable to RV's.
You did not mention Jasper. A drive up the Icefield Parkway is almost a must. A little more info & we will make some suggestions.

Powder pig

British Columbia

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Posted: 02/18/12 07:09am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jennifer; Your time will be pretty limited and you don't really mention speficic interests in the parks but here are a couple of suggestions:
1. If you head to Lake Louise via HWY 95 there is white water rafting in Kimberley BC and in Golden BC though the Golden route is not as nice in my opinion as is Lake Louise via Kootenay National Park. Kimberley has a very nice campground/RV park as well and a ride on a train into a replica of a part of the old Sullivan mine. Interesting. Fort Steele is interesting as well if you like history.
2. I would stay in Lake Louise rather than Banff as it puts you closer to Columbia Icefields which, given your time constraints, can be done as a day trip. Don't miss this one. Banff is a zoo in the summer so I would keep my time there to a minimum but, if you like the tourist scene and curio shops, stop into Banff to say you have been there. The Sulphur mtn gondola ride out of Banff is worthwhile while the gondola ride up the Lake Louise ski area is not in my opinion.
3. The Stampede also can be done as a day trip from either Lake Louise or Banff or you could shift your base to a place like Cochrane and do the Stampeded from there.
4. From Lake Louise a trip to Yoho National Park and Takakaw falls is well worthwhile as is a trip up to Morraine lake and a walk along the trail to the end of the lake. The info. centers in Field BC, Lake Louise, and at the Columbia icefields are all worth a visit for their displays.
5. If you are physically active there are no end of day hikes which are spectacular but I need more information here.

Hope your trip works out well for you.

ReneeG

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Posted: 02/18/12 11:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here are some pictures of various campgrounds, RV parks we stayed at when we traveled to Canada and the RV (TT) we had at the time. Pictures of campgrounds and RV parks in Canada.


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Lauren

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Posted: 02/18/12 12:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Been those places "a few" times; first time was before RVing back in the early 80's with the children.

Best places to stay are the KOA's on both east and west side of Glacier. If you do not need all the KOA amenities stay at North American on the west side. Tunnel Mountain is the place to stay at Banff if you can get in - they might be booked.

Glacier - of course the Going To The Sun Road (whole thing) is a must. We prefer to drive it as we can then stop when, where and how long we want (I do photo work). Go up to the lodge on the east side and even if you don't hike walk around the lake there. There are several boat rides to take. And so much more - we are hikers so our time was spent there as well.

Banff and Lake Louise. Make sure you stop at Moraine Lake as well and one place many skip is Peyto Lake up the Icefields Parkway. Going to Jasper is ok I guess but that is a long way and you really need your time in other places. I would not suggest you go further than Peyto. First time we were to that view we had to go up a not so good path and stay on the rocks; now you can drive almost up to the overlook and there is a viewing platform and all.

These are spectacular places. See www.LaurenBarbara.com Wanderings and look at the pix.

BTW, Barbara and I grew up in Geneva, IL - 40 miles west of Chicago.

Email or PM me if I can help further.

Be safe - enjoy.


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trigley

Central Alberta

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Posted: 02/18/12 03:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jennifer
The reason I asked what you were travelling in is that unless you are in a motorhome without toad I suggest you reduce time by visiting West Glacier in a day trip from East Glacier. You are going to want to do the Going to the Sun Highway anyway.
Then move to Cochrane and visit the Stampede. From Cochrane you can drive into Calgary on 1A (Crowchild Trail). The C train (light rail transit) runs adjacent to Crowchild and would take you to the Stampede grounds. The biggest problem may be finding parking in one of their lots. Alternatively there will be some form of transport from Cochrane to the Stampede grounds.
The same would be true from Canmore or Banff. It is just that your travel time will cut into your Stampede time.
From there on the info provided by Powder Pig is excellent. The day trip as far as the Icefields would be great. Takakkaw falls is a must but again it is not an RV road.
I second the suggestion to travel through Kootenay National Park to Kimberley and doing your whitewater rafting
From Cranbrook take Highway 3 (Crowsnest Pass) to Lethbridge then south through Coutts|Sweetgrass border crossing.
From another thread it appears you cannot reserve at Banff this year. If you do want to spend time there consider a private campground at Canmore. Book early at Lake Louise.

zwicky

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Posted: 02/18/12 05:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So sorry i doubled posted, didn't know where to post my questions. Thank you everyone who gave my some insights on what to do, i'm overwhelmed! i dont know where to begin but please keep giving me more info, i'll get it all sorted out!
thanks

jennifer

paulj

Seattle

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Posted: 02/18/12 06:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could ask about different portions of your trip on this board and on Roads and Routes. That is one would focus on the Canadian parks, the other on the drive across the Dakotas and Montana. There are also a lot of threads about both parts. A lot of people drive from Chicago (and points to the east) to the Black Hills, Yellowstone and Glacier. US2 is well covered as an alternative to I90. And almost every Alaska route thread talks about visiting the Canadian Rockies.

rexlion

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Posted: 02/18/12 09:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will be fine with 19 days, you'll be able to see a lot and enjoy things. 8-9 days of brisk driving will allow 10-11 days of relaxed sightseeing, hiking, whatever. I would say to figure 3 or maybe 4 days around Glacier NP, and the rest of the time in Canada. You will enjoy Glacier (good to go there first), but after being in the Canadian Rockies you may be a bit jaded and not find a return to Glacier so stimulating any more.

The wildlife in Glacier NP is very used to people and you will have opportunities to photograph critters close up. This deer wandered right through my campsite at Many Glacier.


Lake Louise is nice of course (we rented a canoe and paddled out on the lake), but a bit touristy. Check out Takkakaw Falls and Emerald Lake. Everyone raves about the Icefield Parkway, I hope to get up there someday.


Mike G.
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former owner of Starcraft popup, 23' Rockwood TT, 17' Burro TT, 16' KZ TT

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