We're planning our first Banff/Jasper trip this mid September (4 nights only), and would appreciate all the experts here to chip in some advice on our proposed itinerary. (sorry this is long, been reading lots of TA post to come up with this)
We are a couple from the city, no experience in hiking, mainly would like to do some sightseeing, take some awesome pictures, and hopefully bump into as much wild life as possible.
Day 1 - arrive in Calgary at night
stay in a hotel nearby the airport
Day 2 - Banff area
- we will rent a car with GPS, where can we get the gps/map code for all the major places?
- we would like to do some grocery shopping, is it better to do it in calgary or when we arrive in canmore/banff? Any big grocery stores near the airport?
We booked 2 nights in canmore, assume we arrive around noon, do we have time to do the below before the sun goes down.
a. Banff Gondola (if weather is nice and clear, or can move to day 6)
b. Grassi Lake in Canmore (spoiled by all the great lakes we will see in the next few days, worth to have a look since it's near our hotel?)
c. Johnston Canyon
d. drive to banff springs
e. dinner in Banff town (or canmore, depends when we can check in)
Day 3 - Banff /Lake Louise area
Do we need a full day in Lake Louise area? we would like to do some easy short hike during our trip, if we could only do one, should we pick the tea house hike in lake louise? We want one that has the best scenery yet not too difficult for beginners.
a. Lake Louise (worth to do the Gondola as well since we will do the banff or Jasper one?)
b. Morraine Lake
Day 4 - Canmore to Jasper
We booked 1 night in Jasper Town.
a. Peyto Lake
b. Icefield Centre , take the ice explorer
c. read there is a location call Tangle Hill/ Fall? Or Kerkeslin Goat Lick. We wanted to see the goat. Possible in mid September? Where is this place exactly? can't locate it in google map
c. Anything else we can squeeze in?
Day 5 - Jasper to Banff
We booked our final night in Banff.
Assume we need to be back to banff around 8pm, we can only stay in Jasper until 3-4pm. We know we don't have time in Jasper really, but we wanted to experience the full icefield parkway drive, so what is the one/two "must do" in Jasper given our time constraint?
a. Jasper Tramway? or
b. Maligne Lake (we decided not to do boat ride) or
c. Athabasca Falls? or
d. Mt Edith Cavell ( is it a safe and easy drive up? we're new to all these), but we don't have time for a hike. anything to see if we just "stop by"?
Day 6 - Banff to Calgary
We have a flight at 3pm, so guess we have to leave at 11pm.
Morning drive to Lake Minnewanka (is early morning to best time to see wild life here?) and Vermillion Lakes.
Any drive thru in banff we can take our breakfast with us to Lake Minnewanka?
Anything we should add/remove from the list above? Any fall colors in Banff/Jasper in mid september? any place we can see some nice wild flowers?