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Old 12-24-2018, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,744 posts, read 3,264,926 times
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This is early in the works but I am thinking of planning a trip to Calgary sometime later in the year, perhaps in September. I was wondering if anyone has ever stayed in Calgary and traveled to Banff National Park for a day trip so they can see both. Would this be feasible? I plan to devote an entire day for Calgary but how many days ought I put aside for Banff NP? Also is September a good time to visit your part of Canada? We're city folk really, not avid hikers and not into camping so would prefer to do some simple but good sightseeing on the road for a day or two.

As my screen name suggests, I am a city dweller so navigating Calgary ought not be a problem but I really am not familiar with wilderness or what to expect in such a vast park as Banff. What should we do if we encounter bears or other predatory wildlife? Do these creatures stray onto major roadways in the park? I have been to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Quebec City, Vancouver, and Victoria but never to a national park in Canada before.
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Old 12-24-2018, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Alberta, Canada
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September is a great time of year to visit Banff. It is still warm and summery, but there are fewer tourists (the kids are back in school, after all). It will be busy, but not as busy as it would be in, say, July or August.

Banff can suit everybody, so don't worry about being unfamiliar with wilderness. Yes, there is wilderness, but there doesn't have to be if you don't want it. There is a pleasant little town with places to stay and restaurants that suit all budgets, and there are campsites. Some trails are for experienced hikers, others are for those who have done little to no hiking in the mountains. Attractions such as the Cave and Basin, Johnson Canyon, Sulphur Mountain, Lake Louise, and so on, tend to have plenty of parking.

You probably won't encounter any predatory wildlife; at least not up close and personal. I've seen bears and elk in Banff before, but always from the safety of my car, or from a good distance away. The elk in particular have an annoying habit of walking into the townsite occasionally. But if you do encounter a wild animal, stay away from it. It is often said that the animals are more afraid of you, and will look to get away from you, and you don't want to be in their way. There are plenty of harmless small animals (chipmunks, for example) and birds--you are far more likely to see these on hiking trails than bears and elk and cougars.

I've lived in Calgary and been to Banff many, many times; and in all seasons. If you have any further questions, just ask.
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Old 12-25-2018, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Knob Hill
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September is a great time of year, you can see a lot in a couple of days. Book a night or two at a hotel in Lake Louise or so you have a base to work from. Banff is a good place to stop for lunch and wander around.

That said, Banff is actually a much better town to stay in than Lake Louis but Lake Louis is better situated for an Icefield Parkway drive. The best way to do it might be a night in Banff and a night in Jasper but the drive back to Calgary from Jasper is five hours. If it were me, I'd devote three nights in the parks. You wont need much time in Calgary. Recommend the Moose Hotel in Banff.

Just past Banff stop in at Sunshine Village. In Sept the gondola may have stopped running for the summer but there is a bus that will take you to the village where you can take a chairlift to some of the best "easy" and scenic hikes you can do. You can have lunch there too. I recommend this over Sulpher Mountain.

After that, back track a km or so and take the Bow Valley Parkway from Banff to Lake Louis, its the scenic route. Along the way you can stop in at Johnson Canyon but its only worth a visit of its not busy. Unless you're there first thing in the morning, it will be busy.

In Lake Louis to beat the crowds (yep, in Sept too esp during Larch season) visit Moraine Lake and Lake Louis (quite close to each other) after dinner, 8:30 or so.

The next day pack a lunch and drive up the icefield parkway. The drive alone is worth the time but there's so much to see. Stop at Peyto Lake, the view point is a short walk. Note the lake is not signed on the highway, turn at Bow Summit. Continue up the parkway, stop in at Mistaya Canyon. Also, you may not be a hiker but Parker Ridge is very doable and worth the time. Wilcox Pass is great too, you don't have to go all the way to get the views.

The Icefield Discovery center is a short drive up from Parker Ridge trail head and just up from there is the skywalk.

If you going on to Jasper, there's Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls, maybe not as good as early summer though.

Jasper is another whole world of scenic stops and short hikes. Check out Mt Robson visitor center, worth the extra drive.

Oh, and wear warm clothes, at the very least a good mid layer, a shell, gloves and a warm hat. You need those in mid-summer in the mountains, in September there will be snow on the ground and while it could be warm, it could also be quite cold. And wear proper shoes.

Have fun!
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,744 posts, read 3,264,926 times
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Thanks for the responses! I am much relieved to hear that I don't have to worry about wildlife and that there is a modicum of civilization in the park. Again, this potential trip, if happening, is far into next year but reading your responses does make the trip sound very exciting. I've never been to that part of Canada before.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:02 PM
 
Location: MN
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Has anyone been to Icefall Canyon to see Cerberus Falls? I see gravel roads going towards it from Arnold, but have read of wash outs...
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Old Today, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
7,993 posts, read 10,548,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wamer27 View Post
Has anyone been to Icefall Canyon to see Cerberus Falls? I see gravel roads going towards it from Arnold, but have read of wash outs...
That's a hell of a trek. 90+KM of forestry service road, before a 10KM stretch which is washed out, then a 5km hike, on no marked trail to get to be 4km away.


I'm going to reckon, no. For the record FSM roads are not maintained, or intended as regular use roads. They're built by lumber companies to access their forestry leases. Once the area is logged out, the road is left as is, and will degrade accordingly.


https://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.c...rus-Falls-1638
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Old Today, 01:59 PM
 
Location: MN
2,835 posts, read 2,668,869 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
That's a hell of a trek. 90+KM of forestry service road, before a 10KM stretch which is washed out, then a 5km hike, on no marked trail to get to be 4km away.


I'm going to reckon, no. For the record FSM roads are not maintained, or intended as regular use roads. They're built by lumber companies to access their forestry leases. Once the area is logged out, the road is left as is, and will degrade accordingly.


https://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.c...rus-Falls-1638
I've used that site and others for more detail oriented ways to get to it, figured I'd ask. If or when I'd ever attempt it, I'd suv/truck camp it. I see there isn't really ever a low water season as later in summer season means more glacier melt.

This is honestly the one of the best videos I've ever seen. Be great to see it all in person, looks like gigantic hidden off the charts gem! Oh and we'd bring a drone too.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP1wvBHWu2g
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Old Today, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Knob Hill
2,056 posts, read 3,144,170 times
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Well, based on this thread I just put it on my list , hopefully 2019 but may be 2020 as summer plans already well advanced. Air down and pack extra fuel, no worries!
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