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Old 05-26-2015, 05:37 PM   #21
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Omg, Koogie, I actually got to stay there at the Fairmont in Banff. Had a cool room up at the very top and everything.

It was for a client meeting and my boss covered it. Was a WAY different visit than when we went in the school bus, that's for sure!

We ate like kings on that first trip! And then like savages on the second, except for an elk burger splurge in town one night.
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:21 AM   #22
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Omg, Koogie, I actually got to stay there at the Fairmont in Banff. Had a cool room up at the very top and everything.
It was for a client meeting and my boss covered it. Was a WAY different visit than when we went in the school bus, that's for sure!
We ate like kings on that first trip! And then like savages on the second, except for an elk burger splurge in town one night.
And I paid for one night there for me and DW like an idiot !!
Amazing place though, isn't it. And IIRC, they included the brunch. So that was something... lol

Also, for the OP. If you aren't faint of heart, take the cablecar in Banff up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Stunning views. If you at all don't like heights though, don't do it. DW and I were stuck suspended in midair for about 5 minutes on the way up while they did something. She insisted on walking back down...
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Old 05-27-2015, 11:34 AM   #23
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Ooh, that was a good tip, we also took the cable car on our first trip there, despite my fear of heights. I just didn't look down on the way up/down. The walk up to the observation platform was worth it for the view. It is a spectacular place.

Yeah, we drove the bus over to get a photo in front of the hotel, and I reminded my scruffy traveling companions that I don't always have to live under bridges when traveling!
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Old 05-27-2015, 01:46 PM   #24
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I can confirm the Grizzlies issue. Last time we were there they would not allow parties of less than 3 to hike. So this meant DW and I had to wait at the trail head until some others showed up to hike. Lucky us, we got paired with some very fit 25 year olds and almost died trying to keep up
For the ultimate in protection from bear attacks, I recommend finding hiking buddies that are s-l-o-w-e-r than you...
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Old 05-27-2015, 02:22 PM   #25
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But bears can outrun Usain Bolt so are they always going to go after the slowest human?
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:15 PM   #26
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I wouldn't worry too much about bears. Have lived in Canmore since 2007 and only have seen 2-3 I think. Best Hotels are The Rimrock in Banff, the Post in Lake Louise, Emerald Lake Lodge is nice but rustic, Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper is the best there is but poor value in my view. Not sure about the $250 limit at that time of year. Canmore is indeed a charming place. Hotels not as nice as Banff though. Great food at the Bison and the Maple Leaf in Banff. The Post is amazing for an elegant dining experience. Crazy Weed is probably our favourite restaurant in Canmore.
The weather can be quite iffy in June. Good luck.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:37 AM   #27
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In 2012, we stayed for a week in a timeshare condo about 2 miles outside of Banff, and got it via RCI exchange. So, do not know about the hotel rate, regarding the $250/night that the OP is willing to pay.

We actually got 2 condos, each with one bedroom, as our two children flew up to Calgary to join us, as we drove our RV up there.

All the usual sites, lakes, glaciers, etc..., mentioned by previous posters are beautiful sights. One does not have to stay in the Fairmont , but he has to take the gondola up the Sulphur Mt. And one should walk the entire boardwalk to see all the view. I was there in June, so it was a bit chilly, but not too bad.

Following is a photo that I took. Of course my lousy photography does not do it justice.


With the timeshare as the base, we did day trips to other locations including the ice field, but we did not go all the way to Jasper.

And of animals, I saw no bear, but mountain goats were a dime a dozen, and I took plenty of photos of them. They were standing right by the side of the road by the Lake Minnewanka.

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Old 06-02-2015, 01:31 AM   #28
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In 2012, we stayed for a week in a timeshare condo about 2 miles outside of Banff, and got it via RCI exchange. So, do not know about the hotel rate, regarding the $250/night that the OP is willing to pay.

We actually got 2 condos, each with one bedroom, as our two children flew up to Calgary to join us, as we drove our RV up there.

All the usual sites, lakes, glaciers, etc..., mentioned by previous posters are beautiful sights. One does not have to stay in the Fairmont , but he has to take the gondola up the Sulphur Mt. And one should walk the entire boardwalk to see all the view. I was there in June, so it was a bit chilly, but not too bad.

Following is a photo that I took. Of course my lousy photography does not do it justice.


With the timeshare as the base, we did day trips to other locations including the ice field, but we did not go all the way to Jasper.

And of animals, I saw no bear, but mountain goats were a dime a dozen, and I took plenty of photos of them. They were standing right by the side of the road by the Lake Minnewanka.


I think you mean bighorn sheep , not mountain goat


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Old 06-02-2015, 01:54 AM   #29
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Yes, you are correct.

I did see what I believe now was a mountain goat which was on an impossible mountainside near the ice field.
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Old 06-02-2015, 02:06 AM   #30
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Ah hah! I looked and found that shot that I took too. This time it is a real mountain goat on that incredible cliff across the highway from the Columbia Icefield. Look at the vertical pine trees.

It was so high up there, and the 14x zoom lens of my pocket camera only captured this bitty picture.

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Old 06-02-2015, 08:26 AM   #31
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Couple more things to do: Sulphur Mountain Gondola in Banff is spectacular on a clear day
Lake Minnewanka, hiking or boat cruise
Biking along the Bow Valley Parkway between Lake Loise and Banff
Lake Ohara lodge
Moraine Lake is a must but will be very crowded
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:18 PM   #32
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Ah hah! I looked and found that shot that I took too. This time it is a real mountain goat on that incredible cliff across the highway from the Columbia Icefield. Look at the vertical pine trees.

It was so high up there, and the 14x zoom lens of my pocket camera only captured this bitty picture.


Yay ! mountain goat!


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Old 06-03-2015, 11:34 AM   #33
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We live in the area. Unless we have visitors, we avoid late June, July, and August. Too crowded, too expensive. We like mid June and Sept. Many visitors miss the Kananaskis area. It too is worth a visit.
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Old 04-20-2016, 03:59 PM   #34
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Just got an email from AAA which includes train travel from Seattle to Vancouver and then on to Calgary and Banff:

www.aaa.com

Kind of pricey but seems to be a neat way to travel.

However I'd probably just fly to Calgary from CA, rather than fly up to Seattle to take the train.

One big concern are bears but apparently there are guided hikes available. Presumably they'll take care of the bells and the bear spray:

Guided Hiking in Banff and Lake Louise. Hire a guide, join a group hike
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Old 04-20-2016, 04:48 PM   #35
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We did it last year, but on a Tauck tour. It was very pricey, but it included Vancouver, Victoria, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. I have attached the story of our trip
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Old 04-22-2016, 06:54 AM   #36
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BTW..you do not need a 4WD! Not unless you are going in the back country.
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:42 AM   #37
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We are past the timing of the original post, but DW and I had a fantastic trip through the parks a couple years ago. I can share details if anyone would like.

This is Moraine Lake.
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:33 AM   #38
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Are there snow-capped mountains around the lakes like that in the summer too?

Also, best to go there before later June when the summer crowds arrive but how early in the spring are the parks walkable?

Maybe early spring there's still snow in the hiking paths?
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:51 AM   #39
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Are there snow-capped mountains around the lakes like that in the summer too?

Also, best to go there before later June when the summer crowds arrive but how early in the spring are the parks walkable?

Maybe early spring there's still snow in the hiking paths?
Snow lasts on most peaks into August but it has been very warm this spring, so not sure. Usually spring comes late to the Rockies so June can be cold and wet, although so far this year it has been fabulous. Mountain weather is very unpredictable and it can snow in any month. My experience is later is better than sooner, ie Aug/Sept better than June/July but this year maybe different. It is definately busier this year because of the weak CDN dollar.

This area provides one of the most beautiful mountain experiences in the world. Highly recommended.
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Old 04-22-2016, 11:34 AM   #40
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Thanks, I have other travel plans this summer so it would be in the future.

I went to the Dolomites a few years ago in early June and they didn't quite have all the services open, particularly a lot of cable cars from the valley floor up to higher plateaus.

Then I went towards Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) and services there were closed because of avalanche hazard.
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