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  1. Default Glacier/Canadian Rockies Question...

    I'm planning a three-week solo road trip from Buffalo, New York (Early September 2008) and the highlight would be Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies where I have allocated ten days/nights of the trip. Last year, I did a similar trip camping for a week in GrandTeton/Yellowstone (September 2007) and it worked out great!!!

    I've never been in Glacier, so my question for those who have visited is whether I should split the ten days between Glacier and Banff (which are must-sees according to those I've talked to) or include Jasper National Park in Canada as well. It would then be like Glacier - 4 days, Banff - 3 days, Jasper - 3 days. Is Jasper worth adding to the trip???

    I'll be tent camping (as I did at Jenny Lake, Grand Teton and Slough Creek, Yellowstone a few months ago) and my initial targets are Avalanche or Sprague Creek in Glacier and Johnston Canyon or Two Jack Lakeside at Banff...any comments on these or other tent camping sites in the parks would also be appreciated....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Glacier is pretty darn amazing

    Quote Originally Posted by toddnick View Post
    I'm planning a three-week solo road trip from Buffalo, New York (Early September 2008) and the highlight would be Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies where I have allocated ten days/nights of the trip.
    Obviously, you are an experienced camper and road tripper and so will dispense with our usual caveats about traveling too far and etc. Glacier can be very tricky with respect to unseasonal road closures and just about any trip after mid-August could be challenging. Plus, in past years, wildfires have played havoc with access to certain parts of the park. All that said, it is well worth the effort to explore. Personally I really like Waterton Lakes NP and despite my intent not to warn about trying to do too much in the time frame -- I am going to do it anyway. Jasper and Banff are too gorgeous to be believed, but I don't see how you have time to travel the length of the Canadian Rockies from Glacier NP (USA) to Jasper NP (CN) and still get back to Buffalo in your three week period. You almost need three weeks in this region to see a tiny portion and you will need 8 days minimum to drive both directions from your home.
    I'll be tent camping
    In the last decade, I have not tent camped in this area -- always on too tight deadlines to get to the next assignment -- but I will ask some of my colleagues who live and work in the area.

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Absolutely Worth It

    If you are going to be in that neck of the woods for 10 days, then by all means plan on seeing Banff. My wife and I were last there a couple of years ago in May, so the weather would be comparable to what you might expect in September, crisp but wonderful. Just some random thoughts and suggestions to pass on:

    We stayed in Canmore, a small town south of Banff, and loved it. It's much less touristy than the town of Banff itself; food, bar and restaurant prices seemed much more reasonable for example. There is also a wonderful dirt road from Kananaskis to Canmore along Spray Lakes Reservoir that will probably be deserted even if the main roads are bumper to bumper.

    Take at least one lunch at the Fairmont Chateau on Lake Louise. It's their cheapest meal of the day and the scenery is worth every penny. You will have to clean up a bit from camping attire, however.

    Rather than go on up to Jasper, consider a loop across the mountains through Glacier National Park (the Canadian park, not the U.S. Park - the Canadian park across the border from the U.S. Glacier Park is Waterton Lakes), Mt. Revelstoke National Park, and then down BC-23, BC-6, BC-31A, BC-3A, BC-3 and BC-93. This route will let you see a few different areas, and includes a couple of very scenic ferry rides and a stretch of the Crowsnest Highway

    AZBuck

  4. Default Here are the Details

    FYI, the first trip listed below is the trip that I just completed about a month ago (I probably should write a trip report)...it worked out perfectly....I thought a nice balance of traveling and enjoying....spent a week in Grand Teton/Yellowstone hiking 5-10 miles a day....

    So, the trip I have listed second is my first shot at next year. I love the September weather (hate camping in heat and don't mind 30 or so degrees in the evening), the lack of crowds, and the color in the mountains. Anyway, I tried to pattern it after my successful trip this year. Total mileage is almost the same, three of the first four days will be brutal, but after that it seems very manageable. This would be the trip including Jasper, Banff, Glacier, Upper Peninsula of Michigan, cool Canadian cities, etc. Let me know if anyone has suggestions or sees problems with the plan!!! Thanks!!!

    Thanks for the input so far!!! I will definitely try to check out the Fairmont Chateau....and I'll take a look into Glacier Park Canada....thought I have heard more about Jasper....anyone else care to chime in??



    Friday, September 7th (1) Buffalo to Cincinnati - Ramada Inn Downtown (vs. Milwaukee 7:10PM) 440 miles
    Saturday, September 8th (2) Cincinnati to Nashville to Jackson, Tennessee (Knight's Inn) 400 miles
    Sunday, September 9th (3) Jackson, Tennessee to Memphis (Sleep Inn at Court Square) 90 miles
    Monday, September 10th (4) Memphis to St. Louis (Crowne Plaza Riverfront) 280 miles
    Tuesday, September 11th (5) St. Louis (Crowne Plaza Riverfront) 0 miles
    Wednesday, Setember 12th (6) St. Louis to Colby, Kansas 620 miles
    Thursday, September 13th (7) Colby, Kansas to Pike's Peak, Colorado (Mueller State Park) 250 miles
    Friday, September 14th (8) Mueller State Park to Breckenridge to Leadville to Twin Lakes Colorado (Twin Peaks Campground) 175 miles
    Saturday, September 15th (9) Twin Lakes, Colorado to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah (Goose Island Campground) 265 miles
    Sunday, September 16th (10) Moab, Utah to Nephi, Utah (Ponderosa Campground) 220 miles
    Monday, September 17th (11) Nephi to Salt Lake City to Antler Inn - Jackson, Wyoming 360 miles
    Tuesday, September 18th (12) Jackson to Grand Teton (Jenny Lake Campground) 20 miles
    Wednesday, September 19th (13) Grand Teton (Jenny Lake Campground) 0 miles
    Thursday, September 20th (14) Grand Teton (Signal Mountain Campground) 0 miles
    Friday, September 21st (15) Grand Teton to Yellowstone (Slough Creek Campground) 140 miles
    Saturday, September, 22nd (16) Yellowstone (Slough Creek Campground) 0 miles
    Sunday, September 23rd (17) Yellowstone (Slough Creek Campground) 0 miles
    Monday, September 24th (18) Yellowstone to Newcastle, Wyoming 420 miles
    Tuesday, September 25th (19) Newcastle to Mount Rushmore to Badlands (Badlands White River KOA) 170 miles
    Wednesday, September 26th (20) Badlands to Minneapolis (Best Western Normandy Inn) 510 miles
    Thursday, September 27th (21) Minneapolis (Best Western Normandy Inn) 0 miles
    Friday, September 28th (22) Minneapolis to Madison, Wisconsin (Ryan Adams Concert) 270 miles
    Saturday, September 29th (23) Madison, Wisconsin to Pokagon State Park, Indiana 310 miles
    Sunday, September 30th (24) Indiana to Buffalo 380 miles

    5300 miles




    Friday, August 29th (1) Buffalo to Rock Cut State Park, Illinois 620 miles
    Saturday, August 30th (2) Rock Cut to Minneapolis, Minnesota 330 miles
    Sunday, August 31st (3) Minneapolis to Lake Sakakanea State Park, North Dakota 490 miles
    Monday, September 1st (4) Lake Sakakanea to Great Falls, Montana 560 miles
    Tuesday, September 2nd (5) Great Falls to Glacier National Park (Avalanche Campground) 210 miles
    Wednesday, Setember 3rd (6) Glacier National Park (Sprague Creek Campground) 0 miles
    Thursday, September 4th (7) Glacier National Park (Sprague Creek Campground) 0 miles
    Friday, September 5th (8) Glacier National Park (Sprague Creek Campground) 0 miles
    Saturday, September 6th (9) Glacier National Park to Calgary, Alberta 210 miles
    Sunday, September 7th (10) Calgery to Banff National Park 90 miles
    Monday, September 8th (11) Banff National Park 0 miles
    Tuesday, September 9th (12) Banff National Park 0 miles
    Wednesday, September 10th (13) Banff to Jasper National Park 180 miles
    Thursday, September 11th (14) Jasper National Park 0 miles
    Friday, September 12th (15) Jasper National Park 0 miles
    Saturday, September, 13th (16) Jasper to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 550 miles
    Sunday, September 14th (17) Saskatoon to Moon Lake Campground (Riding Mountain National Park), Manitoba 400 miles
    Monday, September 15th (18) Monn Lake to Winnipeg, Manitoba 190 miles
    Tuesday, September 16th (19) Winnipeg to Bear Head Lake State Park, Minnesota 350 miles
    Wednesday, September 17th (20) Bear Head to Craig Lake State Park, Michigan 320 miles
    Thursday, September 18th (21) Craig Lake to Wilderness State Park (Sturgeon Bay Cabin), Michigan 215 miles
    Friday, September 19th (22) Wilderness State Park (Sturgeon Bay Cabin) 0 miles
    Saturday, September 20th (23) Wilderness State Park to Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio 370 miles
    Sunday, September 21st (24) Maumee Bay to Buffalo 300 miles

    Total = 5500 miles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default I stand corrected

    Yeah, those are great route legs -- on both the 2007 and 2008 trip. Like AZBuck, I have really enjoyed Canmore over the years. The Grizzle Paw Brewery Pub is a nice place to unwind from the rigors of camping....

    Mark

  6. Default

    Rather than go on up to Jasper, consider a loop across the mountains through Glacier National Park (the Canadian park, not the U.S. Park - the Canadian park across the border from the U.S. Glacier Park is Waterton Lakes), Mt. Revelstoke National Park, and then down BC-23, BC-6, BC-31A, BC-3A, BC-3 and BC-93.
    I just took a look at this route and it could be an interesting alternative to three days in Jasper National Park. The ferry trips intrigue me, is this through the mountains?? Scenic?? I am all about the scenery, beautiful camping spots, and great hikes. Instead of exiting Glacier up towards Calgary, I would exit Glacier heading West and loop around these smaller roads/routes up into Mt. Revelstroke and Glacier (Canadian Park) and then enter Banff from the West and do Calgary on my first leg headed back home to the East. Hmmm....any pros/cons of these two choices??

    1. Three Days in Jasper National Park.

    2. Three Days wandering on scenic small highways/roads and taking in Revelstroke and Glacier (Canadian Version).
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-30-2007 at 01:32 PM. Reason: format

  7. Default

    Hello Toddnick,

    I did sort of the Kamloops/ Revelstoke/ Banff/ Japser loop last summer. My road trip report is at link

    This was a bit of a flying trip -- several hundred miles a day, average. I came up from the Vancouver area, then east through Revelstoke/ Golden to Banff, and then up to Jasper before circling back by way of Whistler.

    I think you could spend 3 days in Jasper/ Banff and the region pretty easily -- I spent 2 nights and was moving pretty fast. Good camping areas -- the Parks Canada campgrounds are pretty well set up and maintained. And there is certainly enough to see and do in the Banff/ Jasper area along to spend at least 2 full days looking around just along Icefields Parkway if you like hiking and scenery.

  8. #8

    Default Avalanche is Wonderful

    I have never been to Jasper, so unfortunately I can't help you there. However I have been to Banff/Lake Louise and Glacier National Park - both are spectacular.

    I have tent camped at the Avalanche Creek camp site in Glacier. It is - in my humble opinion - one of the best sites. It provides easy access to the Going to the Sun Road and is not too far from the Apgar Visitor Center where you can pick up supplies or film or that one thing you forgot at home. It is also right next to the Trail of the Cedars (an easy, lovely walk). I also highly recommend hiking up the trail to Avalanche Lake - it is amazing! The campsite itself has lots of trees for shade and beauty - unlike some of the campsites closer to the continental divide. The hike up to Hidden Lake at the top of the Going to the Sun Road is also well-worth the climb (don't quit until you run out of trail!).

    Here is a pic shot from the Going to the Sun road:


    Avalanche Creek on the trail to Avalanche Lake:


    Cedar trees on the trail to Avalanche Lake:

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Rather than go on up to Jasper, consider a loop across the mountains through Glacier National Park (the Canadian park, not the U.S. Park - the Canadian park across the border from the U.S. Glacier Park is Waterton Lakes), Mt. Revelstoke National Park, and then down BC-23, BC-6, BC-31A, BC-3A, BC-3 and BC-93. This route will let you see a few different areas, and includes a couple of very scenic ferry rides and a stretch of the Crowsnest Highway
    AZBuck
    This is a very good suggestion. I have been on this stretch of highway and it is indeed very scenic. In fact, I have made the drive up 3A and across the Kootenai Lake on the ferry (which is free) no less than six times in my young life. It is a lovely stretch of road. If you go this way be sure to stop off at the Ainsworth Hot Springs on the West side of Kootenai Lake, just north of the Balfour ferry crossing.

    Whatever you decide, don't drive to Banff via Hwy 2 and Calgary - it is mostly flat farmland. Take the 95/93 route to Banff, the views are spectacular.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Going to the Sun Road

    Traveling along this route is a given (if it is open). Here is a field report I filed a couple of years ago.


    Great photographs above too!

    Mark

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