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Old 08-05-2017, 01:49 PM
 
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The OP is to be complimented for planning so far in advance. If you book in December 2017 for a summer 2018 trip than those who book in April and May, you will get better rates and more selection.

When we visited Banff (and the other parks), we stayed at the Stoney Nakota Resort in Kananaskis, AB. Sure, it was 15 miles further from Banff but the rooms were great as were the food options.

If you are going to Lake Louise, head there during the week and very early in the morning. They shut down the roads by mid-morning and require you to wait for a shuttle to get to the lake.
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:23 PM
 
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Banff is on our summer 2018 schedule, too, driving up from North Idaho. So I can't contribute with any travel experiences, but we're movie buffs, and love Westerns in particular, and location hunting is a hobby of ours. Banff has been a substitute for the American Northwest in numerous Westerns--just the other day I watched "The River of no Return" on TCM, and there was Banff again! There is a movie studio/movie town somewhere in the Banff area, but I don't know if they offer tours. Anyway, if you're interested in movies, do a bit of research into movies filmed in Banff, and watch a few of them before you go (or even better, bring the DVDs--that's what we do!).
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:08 PM
 
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Be aware that there are two different Banffs, the national park and the town. The town is not to my taste, because I can find the shops and high end restaurants most anywhere, but it might be your taste, and you should at least see it.
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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Originally Posted by GoCardinals View Post
Thanks.
Lake O'Hara, I will keep that in mind.

I also saw some online pics of Princess of Whales Hotel near Waterton that also looked very pretty. I think it's quite far from Banff?
It's "Prince of Wales" Hotel.

OP, you might look at staying a night or two in Canmore or Banff, then a night or two in Jasper. Drive the Icefields parkway, and pull over often to see the beautiful scenery. Stop at the Athabasca Glacier and take the tour in the bus that goes out on the glacier.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
OP, you might look at staying a night or two in Canmore or Banff, then a night or two in Jasper. Drive the Icefields parkway, and pull over often to see the beautiful scenery. Stop at the Athabasca Glacier and take the tour in the bus that goes out on the glacier.
It's about 200 miles, 4+ hours with no stops, between Canmore and Jasper. You suggest doing both parks in a 4-5 day trip? Have you been there? Is this what you did? Your suggestion is like advising someone to do an east coast US trip with one day each in Boston, NYC and DC. IOW, why bother? Spend 3 days in any one of them.

If the OP wants more than a bucket list trip (been there, done that), I suggest either taking much more time or concentrating on a smaller area. You don't want to spend one day out of five driving. I also strongly suggest you get out of the car a bit, since much of the beauty of the area is not seen from the road, or involves a drive away from the main road.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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Originally Posted by bigbear99 View Post
It's about 200 miles, 4+ hours with no stops, between Canmore and Jasper. You suggest doing both parks in a 4-5 day trip? Have you been there? Is this what you did? Your suggestion is like advising someone to do an east coast US trip with one day each in Boston, NYC and DC. IOW, why bother? Spend 3 days in any one of them.
Yes, I was there. We stayed in Lake Louise two nights, then drove the Icefields Parkway and stayed in Jasper two nights. Then we drove back to Lake Louise again before heading south. We made lots of stops along the way in both directions.

I was trying to give advice responding to the OP's request. If someone is there for a short time, they need to maximize their time.
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Old 08-09-2017, 02:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
Yes, I was there. We stayed in Lake Louise two nights, then drove the Icefields Parkway and stayed in Jasper two nights. Then we drove back to Lake Louise again before heading south. We made lots of stops along the way in both directions.
Wow! Did you have any time between drives?

How many miles in total do you estimate?

Where did you start? Calgary or somewhere else?
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Old 08-09-2017, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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Originally Posted by bigbear99 View Post
Wow! Did you have any time between drives?

How many miles in total do you estimate?

Where did you start? Calgary or somewhere else?
I don't understand the problem. Four hours to drive straight through from Canmore to Jasper. You leave at 9:00 a.m. and arrive in Jasper at 1:00 if you drive straight through. If you stop and do things on the way, like we did, you still have from 1:00 to 6:00 or so to do things. That's five hours. We did a whole lot of stuff in that time.

Okay, you want to know where we started -- in Denver. We drove through Wyoming and Montana to Waterton. Stayed there and then drove to Banff town, where we stopped at the visitor's center. Then on to Lake Louise where we set up our campsite. Still had plenty of time to walk around Lake Louise .

Next morning we went to Moraine Lake early to beat the crowds, did some hiking, then went back to Lake Louise. We hiked up to the Lake Agnes Tea House for a late lunch. Can't remember how we spent the rest of the day.

Next morning drove the Icefields Parkway, stopping frequently at the many scenic overlooks. Did the tour out on to the Athabasca Glacier, then on to Jasper. I think the next day we drove up to Maligne Lake and took a boat tour. Next day we drove back on the Icefields Parkway, stopping to hike up to Lake Edith and out to Athabasca Falls.

Next day set up camp again at Lake Louise. Drove to Lake Minnewanka outside of Banff, where we did some hiking, then back to Lake Louise on Highway 1A. I think the next day we went to Yoho National Park and did some hiking there.

Next morning packed up and started our drive back to Colorado. Stopped in Kootenay National Park for a little hiking. Drove to Kalispell Montana where we spent the night.

We ended up spending four nights at Lake Louise and two in Jasper. My point is that a person could drive from Banff to Jasper and back again and experience many of the things along the way. We didn't just drive from point A to point B and do nothing along the way.

Last edited by Dreaming of Hawaii; 08-09-2017 at 08:26 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 08-10-2017, 12:09 AM
 
Location: SoCal
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I've just been there for 6 nights in Banff downtown. I didn't go to Jasper, that's for another trip. I like to stay down town because there are variety of places to eat, I wouldn't want to just eat at the Fairmont. That said we're lazy bum, don't get out until 10am so we did notice the place was full, no parking. But there is a trick for Lake Louise, go eat at the restaurant at the Fairmont, you get the best view and free parking. You don't have to pay $20 a day, don't have to be up early either.
I wouldn't stay at Canmore, too far. Even Banff is an hour away from Lake Louise.
We saw 3 lakes, Lake Louise, Lake Emerald, and Lake Morraine. They are just beautiful.
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Old 08-10-2017, 07:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
Okay, you want to know where we started -- in Denver. We drove through Wyoming and Montana to Waterton. Stayed there and then drove to Banff town, where we stopped at the visitor's center. Then on to Lake Louise where we set up our campsite. Still had plenty of time to walk around Lake Louise .
Starting in Denver? Then Waterton makes much more sense. On both my visits, we flew into Calgary, and drove from there, adding a bit to the trip start. Calgary does have its own charms, too.

And I agree, many charms between Banff and Jasper.
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