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Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, Alberta

Quantum82
Explorer
Explorer
We are planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies this summer. How many nights do we need to book in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper to comfortably see the highlights of the Rockies? I'm thinking 3 nights in each area would give us 2 full days to explore. Would that be sufficient?

We are travelling in a 32ft travel trailer, so I'm trying to book Canada Parks with electric.

Any tips for what else to see in Alberta would be appreciated. We're driving from Ontario.
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35 REPLIES 35

jensenst
Explorer
Explorer
You need to be on their website the day it starts. Jasper is Apr 9th and Banff Apr 12 8am mountain standard time, I would spend at least 5 days in both parks. Johnson Canyon is a great hike no problem for 10 and 12 year old. These are our favorite parks in all of the places we have been. We hope to go there this year. We plan on flying to Calgary and re
nting a truck camper for 3 weeks

Let_s_Go_Explor
Explorer
Explorer
We have been there multiple times thru the years. For us, the best time to go is late May / early June or in September. Fewer people and more animals running about. Give yourself at least a week between Banff and Jasper. Enjoy!
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Pipeman
Explorer
Explorer
Look up Waterton Lakes National Park. Not as many people you have to elbow your way around.Cameron Lake rivals Lake Louise in our opinion. Red Rock Canyon is great also. You can Hike around the lake area as well as the canyon. There is all kinds of wildlife if you take the time to look for it. There are other hiking trails if you do your homework to find them on the web site. From the park you can travel into BC on a day trip. The scenery is absolutely beautiful and you are right in the mountains. Take a ride on the boat that goes from Waterton town site into Montana and back. The Townsite campground has full hookups and that's what we have used. For fun I looked up reservation at the townsite campground last week and to my surprise I found a lot of sites were available for the times that I put in. Usually the dates that we would be there when going out west. I say odd because those sites are usually gone within minutes of the park opening up the reservation site for the season and that is in January. Just another place that you might be interested in touring. Check it out. We have traveled to Alberta many times over the last 41 years or so and we've stayed in full hook up places from southern Alberta to north of Edmonton, to Jasper, Banff, etc and boondocked in the Rockies for up to 3 weeks with the rest of our family who live out there. Just make darn sure that the provinces you have to travel through and the campgrounds on the way there are open to"outsiders". We cancelled out of going out west last season because of COVID and also here in Ontario at the Pinery for the same reason. We do have a site booked at the Pinery for May. Good luck and have fun if you are able to go.
Pipeman
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StirCrazy
Nomad III
Nomad III
trigley wrote:
StirCrazy wrote:
StirCrazy wrote:
Quantum82 wrote:
We are planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies this summer. How many nights do we need to book in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper to comfortably see the highlights of the Rockies? I'm thinking 3 nights in each area would give us 2 full days to explore. Would that be sufficient?

We are travelling in a 32ft travel trailer, so I'm trying to book Canada Parks with electric.

Any tips for what else to see in Alberta would be appreciated. We're driving from Ontario.


I dont know if I would actualy book a campground in lake Louise. just stay and extra day in Banff and take the bus from the campsite to lake louise. a day there is enough to see the resort, rent a canoe and paddle around in the lake and take pictures. banff three or four days, you'll want one just to be a tourist in town, one to do things like the gondola and sulpher mountian hot springs, one for a trip to Lake Louise, plus another for any other atractions in the area. of course if you are into hiking and such then the sky is the limit, you could spend a month there with different adventures every day. Jasper I find a little more quante as in not as much to do in town, so one day being a tourist in town, and another for the other tourist traps. but like banff you can do a lot more depending how adventurous you are. the trip inbetween jasper and banff you could plan for a whole day, even camping at one of the places inbetween and streaching that 3 hour drive into two days. some of the most beautifull sceanery of the whole area and many little side stops to see this and that.

so if you were thinking three nights in each I would do 3 nights in jasper and 4 or 5 nights in Banff.

Steve

Steve


one thing I forgot to mention parking at Lake Louise in the last few years has got horendous. last time I was there it took 3 hours to get a parking spot. I guess if you are in there campground you could catch the shuttle, but there campground isnt normal as it has bear fences around it and it is closed in. by staying in banff you catch the city buss right to lake louise. you can chech out the scheduals here

Steve
And for me the Lake Louise, Morraine Lake, Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake areas deserve more than a one day bus ride out of Banff. Stop for a view of the Spiral Tunnel, hopefully a train will be going through. Also I prefer the Jasper Sky Tram to the Banff Gondola as it is open up top with good trails and views.
Great we see it differently or the lineups would be real long.


I was only taking about lake Louise, the other ones parking isn't a nightmare and they can easily drive from banff to either and explore.
just add more nights, I just cant stand the lake louise cmpground, its like camping in a storage lot with the fencing and such.

having worked for the railroad, trains done realy interest me anymore but to each his own. the trams are both good for different reasone, but the problem i have is how expensive they are now. not to long ago it was 10 bucks for an adult to go to the top of the banff one (nice restuarant up top, but expensive) now it is upwards of 60-100 bucks depnding on time and date.

Steve
2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
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1991 Slumberqueen WS100

trigley
Explorer
Explorer
StirCrazy wrote:
StirCrazy wrote:
Quantum82 wrote:
We are planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies this summer. How many nights do we need to book in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper to comfortably see the highlights of the Rockies? I'm thinking 3 nights in each area would give us 2 full days to explore. Would that be sufficient?

We are travelling in a 32ft travel trailer, so I'm trying to book Canada Parks with electric.

Any tips for what else to see in Alberta would be appreciated. We're driving from Ontario.


I dont know if I would actualy book a campground in lake Louise. just stay and extra day in Banff and take the bus from the campsite to lake louise. a day there is enough to see the resort, rent a canoe and paddle around in the lake and take pictures. banff three or four days, you'll want one just to be a tourist in town, one to do things like the gondola and sulpher mountian hot springs, one for a trip to Lake Louise, plus another for any other atractions in the area. of course if you are into hiking and such then the sky is the limit, you could spend a month there with different adventures every day. Jasper I find a little more quante as in not as much to do in town, so one day being a tourist in town, and another for the other tourist traps. but like banff you can do a lot more depending how adventurous you are. the trip inbetween jasper and banff you could plan for a whole day, even camping at one of the places inbetween and streaching that 3 hour drive into two days. some of the most beautifull sceanery of the whole area and many little side stops to see this and that.

so if you were thinking three nights in each I would do 3 nights in jasper and 4 or 5 nights in Banff.

Steve

Steve


one thing I forgot to mention parking at Lake Louise in the last few years has got horendous. last time I was there it took 3 hours to get a parking spot. I guess if you are in there campground you could catch the shuttle, but there campground isnt normal as it has bear fences around it and it is closed in. by staying in banff you catch the city buss right to lake louise. you can chech out the scheduals here

Steve
And for me the Lake Louise, Morraine Lake, Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake areas deserve more than a one day bus ride out of Banff. Stop for a view of the Spiral Tunnel, hopefully a train will be going through. Also I prefer the Jasper Sky Tram to the Banff Gondola as it is open up top with good trails and views.
Great we see it differently or the lineups would be real long.

StirCrazy
Nomad III
Nomad III
StirCrazy wrote:
Quantum82 wrote:
We are planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies this summer. How many nights do we need to book in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper to comfortably see the highlights of the Rockies? I'm thinking 3 nights in each area would give us 2 full days to explore. Would that be sufficient?

We are travelling in a 32ft travel trailer, so I'm trying to book Canada Parks with electric.

Any tips for what else to see in Alberta would be appreciated. We're driving from Ontario.


I dont know if I would actualy book a campground in lake Louise. just stay and extra day in Banff and take the bus from the campsite to lake louise. a day there is enough to see the resort, rent a canoe and paddle around in the lake and take pictures. banff three or four days, you'll want one just to be a tourist in town, one to do things like the gondola and sulpher mountian hot springs, one for a trip to Lake Louise, plus another for any other atractions in the area. of course if you are into hiking and such then the sky is the limit, you could spend a month there with different adventures every day. Jasper I find a little more quante as in not as much to do in town, so one day being a tourist in town, and another for the other tourist traps. but like banff you can do a lot more depending how adventurous you are. the trip inbetween jasper and banff you could plan for a whole day, even camping at one of the places inbetween and streaching that 3 hour drive into two days. some of the most beautifull sceanery of the whole area and many little side stops to see this and that.

so if you were thinking three nights in each I would do 3 nights in jasper and 4 or 5 nights in Banff.

Steve

Steve


one thing I forgot to mention parking at Lake Louise in the last few years has got horendous. last time I was there it took 3 hours to get a parking spot. I guess if you are in there campground you could catch the shuttle, but there campground isnt normal as it has bear fences around it and it is closed in. by staying in banff you catch the city buss right to lake louise. you can chech out the scheduals here

Steve
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2016 Cougar 330RBK
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ReneeG
Explorer
Explorer
folivier wrote:
Near Lake Louise try to also see Moraine Lake, somewhat smaller lake with less development and less crowds.


Agree. There are several hiking trails around Moraine Lake.
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folivier
Explorer
Explorer
Near Lake Louise try to also see Moraine Lake, somewhat smaller lake with less development and less crowds.

Quantum82
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks for all the great feedback. This is really helpful.

We want to do some hiking, but we are not avid hikers, so I could see us setting aside 1 day for hiking in each area. Our kids are 10-13yrs old, so hardcore hiking is out of the question, but they definitely would enjoy being active.

A lot of this will come down to which reservations we can make as well. I'm going to bet that the booking system will be pushed to the limit this year.
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StirCrazy
Nomad III
Nomad III
Quantum82 wrote:
We are planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies this summer. How many nights do we need to book in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper to comfortably see the highlights of the Rockies? I'm thinking 3 nights in each area would give us 2 full days to explore. Would that be sufficient?

We are travelling in a 32ft travel trailer, so I'm trying to book Canada Parks with electric.

Any tips for what else to see in Alberta would be appreciated. We're driving from Ontario.


I dont know if I would actualy book a campground in lake Louise. just stay and extra day in Banff and take the bus from the campsite to lake louise. a day there is enough to see the resort, rent a canoe and paddle around in the lake and take pictures. banff three or four days, you'll want one just to be a tourist in town, one to do things like the gondola and sulpher mountian hot springs, one for a trip to Lake Louise, plus another for any other atractions in the area. of course if you are into hiking and such then the sky is the limit, you could spend a month there with different adventures every day. Jasper I find a little more quante as in not as much to do in town, so one day being a tourist in town, and another for the other tourist traps. but like banff you can do a lot more depending how adventurous you are. the trip inbetween jasper and banff you could plan for a whole day, even camping at one of the places inbetween and streaching that 3 hour drive into two days. some of the most beautifull sceanery of the whole area and many little side stops to see this and that.

so if you were thinking three nights in each I would do 3 nights in jasper and 4 or 5 nights in Banff.

Steve

Steve
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2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

Beverley_Ken
Explorer
Explorer
Look into the Badlands area at Drumheller AB. We found that quite interesting. I would also consider doing the big loop. Trans Canada #1 across the the Prairies to Calgary and the Rockies up the Icefields Parkway to Jaspar and then east on 16 through Edmonton to Manitoba, west of Portage La Prairie.
Also do a stop at the Columbia Icefields.

Ken
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trigley
Explorer
Explorer
What you are proposing is adequate for driving around to the various sights. If you want to get out and enjoy some of the trails I would add a bit of time, particularly in the Lake Louise and Jasper areas.
While at Lake Louise the east part of Yoho National Park is a must. Particularly the Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake areas. There is also the option of a drive through Kootenay N. P.
The badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park and around Drumheller are interesting. Visit the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller.
If in the southern part of the Province Writing on Stone P P, Head Smashed In, and Waterton N.P.
Peter Lougheed P.P. in the Kananaskis is very nice and if you drive up the Highwood Pass you get to a higher elevation than the roads in the National Parks. Ptarmigan Cirque near the summit is a neat trail at high elevation that is not difficult.

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
Best view of the Rockies is heading West from Edmonton to Jasper.

On your touring, try to keep the sun out of your eyes. Plan it so the sun is behind you/to one side and on the snow-topped mountains.
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Quantum82
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks for the feedback so far. This is very helpful. Please keep the information coming!
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SideHillSoup
Explorer
Explorer
If things are anywhere like they were last summer the mountains of Alberta and BC will be nuts with tourists. Book your sites / campgrounds ASAP.
The regular campgrounds we use around here were full as soon as reservations opened and we didn’t get in to places that we have never had an issue with before.
We were lucky in the fact that we do a lot of bush camping and even out there there were tons of people.
One sick downside of all those people out in the bush was that a lot of them don’t give a “hoot” about the environment and left garbage and **** everywhere. We packed large amount of garbage out of the bush every time we went camping.
There are lots of things to see and do in Alberta to many to list, best to contact the Alberta Tourism people, they have a lot of great info.
Enjoy
Soup.
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