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Old 04-06-2024, 07:31 PM
182 posts, read 448,780 times
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We are flying into YYC 4/30/24 and departing 5/4/24.

We are staying in Banff but driving to Jasper, Lake Louise and Lake Minniewaka.

Is our best option just to get the big pass rather than day passes?

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Old 04-06-2024, 09:35 PM
Location: Alberta, Canada
3,624 posts, read 3,405,054 times
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Daily park passes tend to expire at 4:00 pm the next day. This creates a challenge: to get another day's pass, you'll have to leave the park, and re-enter, before your day pass expires. I don't believe that passes can be bought within a park; you have to go through the entrance again.

Note that a lot of the parks bump up against each other. Banff bumps up against Jasper and Yoho, the latter of which bumps up against Revelstoke. You can enter the park chain in Banff, and not leave it until you exit Revelstoke, well into British Columbia, a day or so later. Similarly, you can enter Banff, head up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, and never leave a national park. You can be quite a distance from a gate where you can buy another day's pass.

I'd suggest getting the big pass. That way, no matter how deep you go into the parks and/or how far from a park gate you are, you'll be fine, and you won't have to backtrack outside of them to get another day's pass. You should know that one national park pass is good for all national parks, so you'll be fine, no matter where you go with the big pass.

Note that there are random checkstops to make sure that you have a valid pass. Not on the main through roads (Hwys 1 and 16), but outside of the towns of Banff and Jasper, and a few others, anytime you want to pull over to see something interesting (Cave and Basin, Bankhead, Takkakkaw Falls in Yoho, etc.) you might encounter a checkstop to make sure you have a valid pass. If you do, it will be nothing more than a "Thanks, have a nice day." If you don't, some sort of fine will be issued. You may never encounter a checkstop at all, but still, the big pass may be your best and safest bet.

You said that you're flying into YYC. Are you leaving from YYC too? That may prove challenging, if you're heading to Banff, then Jasper, up the Icefields Parkway. Jasper is a long distance from YYC. Heck, it's a long distance from YEG (Edmonton International). Have you come up with an itinerary you plan to follow? Given your three-day visit, I'd rather have you admiring the scenery instead of spending a lot of time driving.

But the good news? Lake Louise and Lake Minnewanka are within Banff park, and an easy drive from Banff townsite. Lake Louise is about a half-hour, and Lake Minnewanka is ten minutes, tops. And on your way to or from Lake Louise, don't miss the turnoff for the Valley of the Ten Peaks and Moraine Lake. The Valley adorned the back of our $20 bill for many years.

Hope I helped. Any further questions (and I am sure that you will have some), just ask.
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