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Old 01-18-2019, 09:20 PM   #1
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Las Vegas to Banff and Jasper - Need suggestion

We are in the planning stage of our one and only 2019 road trip. Las Vegas, NV to Alberta, Canada area. Due to our very limited time off, we have decided to see at least Banff and Jasper National Parks. And see the most we can with the 7-8 days we can camp in Canada. We have not been in that area. We already visited Ontario are in the East and Vancouver/Victoria BC in the West.

Based in my driving estimate, (approx. 1,450 miles), it will take me 4 days of driving to that area via US 15 North. Maybe 4.5 days. That leaves us 7-8 camping days to see as much as we can around that area.

We want to see/stay around Banff and Jasper National Parks.

Questions:
1. Is it better to just stay in one campground and just drive to the other park? If so, which area would you suggest to camp at? Banff or Jasper?
2. How far is Banff from Jasper?
3. What are the "must-do" activities or places to see around those 2 areas?
4. Any highways or areas to avoid when driving a 32ft Class C with a towed car on a dolly?

Any suggestion on which full hook-up campground to use? We want to see the mountains and lakes, but not too far from old towns where we can also walk around. We prefer inside National Park. But based on what I have read in this forum, Canada National/Provincial Parks do not have full hook-up?

Travelling in a 32 ft Class C and a towed car. 4 adults. No pets.


Thank you for any suggestions.
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Old 01-19-2019, 09:14 AM   #2
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2) Banff to Jasper is just under 4 hours of drive time. Your first time up that highway you will stop. Plan for a full day.

3) Banff is very touristy, Lake Louise is far more outdoorsy. Things to do include:
- visit Moraine Lake,
- horse back riding up the mountain to a coffee house,
- hiking galore,
- canoeing/kayaking/rafting
- shopping in Banff
- visit Columbia ice fields

One of the most beautiful parts of this country, wish I lived closer.
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:24 AM   #3
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Weíre planning a similar trip for August of this year. We are camping four nights in Banff and four nights at Lake Louise and four nights in Jasper. Our Reservations were made January 8th and 9th when the reservation system opened for the summer. Reservations may be very hard to get at this point. Use the Parks Canada online reservation service and make your reservations as soon as possible.
In Banff you best bet is Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court campground. Full hookups and a much nIcer campground than it sounds. In Jasper try for Wapiti or Wabasso. For Lake Louise it would be Lake Louise campground.
Good Luck, see you on the road!
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Old 01-20-2019, 09:30 AM   #4
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I will 2nd Tunnel Mountain, lots of full hook ups and almost all drive through. But as previous poster said, reservations opened up a cpl weeks ago, and they fill up fast in summer, so you want to get on that asap. Jasper has more treed in sites and some can be a bit tougher manoeuvring into. Elk, elk and more elk in Jasper...they come right into the campground.
All depends what your preferences are, but we preferred Banff. Jasper is much quieter, less shops, campground is more rustic. Both are nice and both are worth seeing. Parking in Banff in summer can be tough but we always managed to get a spot, sometimes a couple streets over from the main strip. There is a bus shuttle that will take you from the campground into town.
Can't stress enough to make your bookings now!!
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:06 PM   #5
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Thank you both for your suggestions. I have been looking on-line reservation at Parkas Canada and even called this morning. Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court is fully booked.

There are few spots available at Tunnel Montain Vilage 2. However, only Electric hook up. I am tempted ti book for 6 nights now just to be safe and have a park to stay.

I have never used Canada Park Reservation. If I book for 6 nights now for the Village 2, will the on-line system still let me make another reservation at the Full Hook Up area at the Trailer Court (should something come up)? Or once you have an existing resevation, the in-line system will block you from making a second reservation for the EXACT same dates at a different Campground?
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:33 PM   #6
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We live in British Columbia and have been to both Banff and Jasper numerous times. We travel with a 34 foot travel trailer.
If you are flexible on your dates, we would recommend June rather than July or August. The parks are less busy, attractions are all open, campground availability is much better.
At the park gate ask for the brochures on things to do and see.
Lake Louise and Moraine Lake get extremely busy on weekends and all summer to the point that access is limited.
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:37 PM   #7
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I think the online system will only block you out for a specific site thatís already booked for those particular days. You can book the same time period if itís a different site even in the same campground if itís available.
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:46 PM   #8
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It would be a real shame to drive that far and miss the Icefield Parkway. Arguably the most spectacular roadway in North America. The glaciers run right down to the road, Big Horn sheep are a traffic problem and elk absolutely everywhere. There are several outfits that run Monster School bus tours out onto the glaciers. Lots of places that can accommodate RV's. Friendly folks, magnificent scenery and a favorable exchange rate. I would be sure to leave any/all firearms at home. Lake Louise is pretty but the drive up to Jasper is beyond beautiful.
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:46 PM   #9
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Being raised in that area, you will love it. Hwy 97 starts in Weed California and goes right up to Osooyos on the border which is a wonderful scenic road. This puts you in the Okanagan, which again is one of Canada's nicest area. Keep on 97 to Kamloops, you can then either go on #5 to Jasper or Hwy 1 The trans Canada to Banff and make the loop back to Jasper, Then work your way back home. I suggest you stop in Field B.C. and do some sightseeing there as well. It is in the Yoho National Park, just down the hill from Lake Louise.
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:52 PM   #10
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I would try to make the additional reservations by phone so that the operator can make a switch for you. Probably run into problems on the online site. Both my wife and I opened accounts so that we could book more than one campsite with overlapping dates. We will then cancel overlapping days early so that others can get a site. Thatís probably how others do it as well and why some sites open up after the first day sells out quickly. We do the same thing at the US national parks. Good Luck!
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:53 PM   #11
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We are in the long term planning stages for a summer trip in 2020 to calgary, banff, lake louise jasper, Alberta. We'll leave early June 2020 and drive tandem from Portland OR area to Flathead Lake, MT towing our Catalina 22 sailboat, leave her there then hook up the car behind our new Forester Class C and continue on to Canada. We'd like to figure some idea for how much time to budget for the Canada loop which is about 1300 miles RT from Flathead Lake. We are not super physical anymore and will not be doing any serious hiking or kayaking/canoeing (sailing is our primary outdoor sport any more) but we'll do some bicycling and sightseeing and just wonder how much time to budget to see the sights and do some fun stuff. We want to be back at Flathead nlt mid July to spend 6 weeks sailing there out of BIG ARM RESORT & MARINA. Any input welcome!
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Old 01-20-2019, 01:56 PM   #12
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I use the Parks Canada reservation system a lot...yes it will allow you to make changes to your reservation, for a minimal fee of course. Also, check the site often for cancellations. With people booking so far out, there will surely be cancellations but most times once the cancelled site returns to inventory, it gets scooped up pretty fast, so it's really just a matter of good timing. The suggestion by someone to go in June is an excellent one if you can do it. Will be much quieter as school in still in. Weather wise....be prepared for anything and everything...in those areas you can get snow in pretty much any month, doesn't stick around too long in summer time but it happens....Enjoy and take it all in, it's breathtaking!
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:18 PM   #13
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Unfortunately, our travel dates are not flexible at all.
We were not able to make travel plans early on because my wife and I are both waiting for our 2019 vacation request approval from work. Hence, the late booking.

I will book at the Village 2 tonight for 6 nights. I will check the Canada Park reservation system everyday for any cancellations. I don’t mind paying a cancellation fee for Village 2 as long as I can book for the full hook up.

Thanks for all the tips. Appreciate your time.
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Old 01-20-2019, 08:13 PM   #14
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The suggestions to make reservations as soon as possible are extremely important. A few years ago we waited til we were on the road. We found nothing anywhere near Banff, and the closest we could get to Jasper was 50 miles east. We only saw Banff while driving through, and spent a wonderful week at Jasper, except for the 100 mile round trip each day.
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:27 PM   #15
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Banff - I was able to reserve 6 nights at Tunnel Mountain Village 2 (Electric Only). It is better than not having anything reserved. I will continue on checking Parks Canada Reservation Service for any cancellation for the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court (Full Hook-up).


Jasper - NO luck. Nothing is available at this time, either Electric ONLY or Full Hook-up. I will keep on checking the website for cancellations. Is there any other RV campground you can recommend, (other than Wapiti or Wabasso)? We need 4 nights after Banff, before we head back to Las Vegas.


Thanks again for your suggestions.
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:59 AM   #16
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In the past (two years ago) when we were in Jasper for a week we decided to stay 3 more days. Section AA at Wapiti has been used as first come first serve. It is an old parking lot but they did put in some 30 Amp service. They give sites away at 11:00. We were staying at Whistler campground so I did the manly thing and sent the wife with a lawn chair at 10:00 while I hooked up trailer to vacate our site across road. Mount Robson one hour west of Jasper, no services, is awesome. If you stay at Pocahontas 45 minutes east of Jasper have bug spray(lots). Redstreak campground in Radium is also nice.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:36 AM   #17
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Bruin, thank you for your suggestions on alternative CG. Do you remember if any of the sites at Wapiti or Wabasso have at least ELECTRIC hook-up and SHOWER? (We really would like to have Full Hook-up). But if not possible, ELECTRIC and SHOWER at least. When I searched the reservation website (using whatever dates just to see type of services), nothing is coming up when I check "ELECTRIC".

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Mount Robson one hour west of Jasper, no services, is awesome. If you stay at Pocahontas 45 minutes east of Jasper have bug spray(lots). Redstreak campground in Radium is also nice.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:57 AM   #18
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Redstreak Campground

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Bruin, thank you for your suggestions on alternative CG. Do you remember if any of the sites at Wapiti or Wabasso have at least ELECTRIC hook-up and SHOWER? (We really would like to have Full Hook-up). But if not possible, ELECTRIC and SHOWER at least. When I searched the reservation website (using whatever dates just to see type of services), nothing is coming up when I check "ELECTRIC".
Just a word of caution, Redstreak Campground has a pretty steep climb with some narrow and twisting spots on the climb up to the campground. All dependent on your tow vehicle and camper!
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Old 01-23-2019, 02:46 PM   #19
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When we took our Alaska trip in 2017, we were online with Parks Canada the minute that reservations opened, me on one computer for Banff reservations and my wife on another for Jasper. We were able to get the dates and sites that we wanted but we could watch the sites being reserved and becoming unavailable in a flash. If you go on line to the Canadian government website and register for a gc key, your reservation quest will be smoother. We stayed in Banff for a week and Jasper for 5 days. Great campgrounds and we camped among a herd of elk in Jasper. The Icefield Parkway and Lake Louise were magnificent.
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:42 PM   #20
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curious as to how early Parks.Canada allows you to book... we're thinking about 2020. All these members saying how fast things booked up but I don't see much about when they were trying... when have people been successful getting their places in banff, jasper, etc? 6 months ahead? 9 months? a year? looking for some clues about reserving 2020. thanks in advance!
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