We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Banff vs Jasper Hike

Michigan
Level Contributor
10 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Banff vs Jasper Hike

Does anyone know weather the Larch Hike in Banff or the Valley of the Five Lakes Hike in Jasper is more scenic?

7 replies to this topic
Toronto
Destination Expert
for Algonquin Provincial Park
Level Contributor
4,026 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Banff vs Jasper Hike

Larch Valley.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
19,035 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Banff vs Jasper Hike

+1. Larch valley is MUCH more scenic. Valley of the Five Lakes is easier though - below treeline with very little elevation gain.

Michigan
Level Contributor
10 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Banff vs Jasper Hike

Thanks for the reply!

Is it worth going to Jasper for the Cavell Meadows Trail and Maligne 5 bridges or should I just stay in Banff. Any particular recommendations on short stops on the way to Jasper. I'd be doing the Larch Meadows hike in the morning, so don't want stops that would take too long.

Plan as of now:

Thurs: Lake Agnes Tea House

Fri: Johnston and Grotto Canyon

Sat: Sunshine Meadows

Sun: Kootenay National Park Hikes

Mon: Larch Valley

Tues: Cavell Meadows Trail

Wed: Maligne 5 Bridges

Thurs: Stanley Glacer

Fri: Plain of Six Glaciers

I'm going alone, so am sticking with guided hikes, except Lake Agnes Tea House which I heard was crowded enough to be safe.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
6,192 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Banff vs Jasper Hike

Be aware that Johnston Canyon and Grotto Canyon are probably a good hour apart. Johnston is between Lake Louise and Banff, while Grotto is east of Canmore. Grotto is nice, but I'm not sure it's worth all that driving.

Honestly, any of those hikes is fine to do alone. Johnston Canyon and Grotto Canyon will be very busy, as will be Sunshine Meadows, Maligne Canyon and Plain of SIx Glaciers and Larch Valley. Pretty much the most popular hikes in the parks. If you're OK with the hiking, I don't think there's any need to spend money on a guided hike. Edith Cavell would be the only one to do guided, and that's because you wouldn't have to worry about a permit.

One question - when are driving to and from Jasper. Depending on how far you go in Larch Valley, that's going to take up a chunk of time (driving up to Moraine Lake, getting parking, hiking, driving back down and to the parkway etc). You'd want to arrive quite early to ensure parking and have time for a relaxed drive to Jasper.

As to going to Jasper. It's not so much the hiking, but the sights between Banff and Jasper. The Icefields Parkway is one the most scenic drives in the world. I would actually be inclined to do less in Banff/Kootenay and allow more time to really enjoy the drive to and from Jasper. Kootenay is nice, but you could easily do Johnston Canyon (skip Grotto) and then see Marble Canyon/Paint Pots in the afternoon. Use the extra day to spend more time in Jasper and allow full days on the parkway.

Does depend on whether you can get accommodation though.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
19,035 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Banff vs Jasper Hike

As mentioned, the Cavell Meadows trail requires a permit this year - there is parking lot construction going on and only room for so many cars at a time, to allow the machinery and construction to be done. Permits are free and can be obtained up to two days in advance. I don't know what the odds are of getting a decent time slot "on the day of" i.e. showing up Tuesday morning, and getting a permit for the same day. So Tuesday, it might be better to line up and get a permit for Wednesday, and hike Maligne Canyon on Tuesday. It's not a long hike (unless you go down to Sixth Bridge and then back up, 8 km total) so you could also do the Valley of the Five Lakes or the Old Fort Point loop, depending on your interest and energy levels.

Just re-read your post and noted you mentioned guided hikes. I don't know if you will find any on these trails, other than Cavell Meadows. There is at least one company here in Jasper offering twice daily trips up to Mt. Edith Cavell, but only guiding a hike on the short "Path of the Glacier" trail. I think the going rate for a guided half-day hike, like Cavell Meadows, including transportation, would be around $90 or $100.

All three Jasper hikes - Maligne Canyon, Valley of the Five Lakes and Old Fort Point, are fairly busy trails - but that is no guarantee you won't encounter wildlife. As also mentioned, the big question is accommodation, especially Jasper - sounds like you need either two or three nights here, have you already booked something?

Edited: 11 July 2017, 05:00
Michigan
Level Contributor
10 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Banff vs Jasper Hike

Thanks for the help. I have hotels booked in Banff 19-23th, in Jasper 24-25th, and Banff again 26-29th. Just trying to decide what hikes to do what days. Already have hikes booked to Jasper Cavell meadows trail and Maligne Canyon 5 bridges with Walks and Talks Jasper. Just trying to decide how to schedule hikes in Banff still. What stops would you suggest along the Icefeild parkway. They would have to be busy areas since I don't want to encounter wildlife hiking alone. I want to stop at Athabasca falls. Any other recommendations?

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
Level Contributor
6,338 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Banff vs Jasper Hike

Here's TA's page on the Icefields Parkway, complete with a list of highlights: https:/…Icefields.Parkway.html

Don't worry, your chances of being alone in any of these places are minuscule.

Reply to: Banff vs Jasper Hike
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted