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Old 06-16-2022, 06:05 AM   #1
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Alaska, Banff and Jasper?

We are a week from heading to Alaska for a once in a lifetime visit. I am struggling with wether to include Banff and Jasper in the route. I don’t have any reservations there currently and it strikes me as a busy place. We have allowed 8 weeks for the trip up the Alaska Highway and return via the Cassiar Highway and back to Ohio. Gas prices and Covid be damned, we are going! Am I biting off too much? Thoughts?
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Old 06-16-2022, 07:02 AM   #2
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If you are healthy, have the finances, and the will to go, enjoy yourself. Take plenty of pictures going and coming. Next year, who knows what will happen?
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Old 06-16-2022, 07:22 AM   #3
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Iíd do it because the Canadian Rockies are so beautiful. Iíd set aside more time for the Jasper area and Kootenay, Yoho, and Mt Robson just because Banff is super crowded. Thatís just my opinion.
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Old 06-16-2022, 07:34 AM   #4
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Once you see the area you will understand why you went. It is one of my favorite places to go. As mentioned the Banff area will be crowded but less so the further north you go. And even with the crowds it still feels very wild and open. We were there about this time 5 years ago and had no trouble finding spots. Look for the smaller camping spots like Rampart CK cg. Enjoy!
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Old 06-16-2022, 07:37 AM   #5
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We spent four months up and back in 2018. The Canadian Rockies from Banff to Jasper presented the most beautiful scenery of the journey. On the other hand, the town of Banff was a zoo.
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Old 06-16-2022, 09:27 PM   #6
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We are a week from heading to Alaska for a once in a lifetime visit. I am struggling with wether to include Banff and Jasper in the route. I donít have any reservations there currently and it strikes me as a busy place. We have allowed 8 weeks for the trip up the Alaska Highway and return via the Cassiar Highway and back to Ohio. Gas prices and Covid be damned, we are going! Am I biting off too much? Thoughts?
Not at all. Go for it.

Banff-Jasper: don't miss the chance to visit there. We almost always don't bother with reservations but last year we thought that we'd better make reservations for Jasper. We saw lot's of empy sites, and I mean lot's. They'll try and fit you in. Actually we arrived a day early and they found us a spot.

Worse case: you have to use a Recreation Site. There are some just outside the West entrance to Jasper.

Cassiar Hwy.: Wish we hadn't skipped it on our way back from our first trip to Alaska. Here's a little secret hidden gem of an place to overnight.

Km 248, Mehan Lake rest stop. Nice place by the lake with picnic tables and room to park overnight. It's like a frontage road to the Hwy. but lower and not in view of the road.

There seemed to what looked like a driveway at the end of it so I walked the dog down it towards the lake. I was a little surprised to find a one-of-a-kind campsite there complete with a dock.

The road's a little steep, one of the few times I wondered if maybe I should have bought a 4WD but I did get back up OK.

Ron
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Old 06-17-2022, 08:44 AM   #7
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In Jasper National Park there is an overflow campground just beside Snaring Campground a short distance east of Jasper townsite. We have used the overflow campground several times with our Escape as it does not require a reservation and is rarely full. It is pretty basic but some of the sites along the perimeter are actually quite nice.
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Old 06-17-2022, 10:02 AM   #8
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Iíd do it because the Canadian Rockies are so beautiful. Iíd set aside more time for the Jasper area and Kootenay, Yoho, and Mt Robson just because Banff is super crowded. Thatís just my opinion.
This is our back yard and I would have to agree with you. The parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper is an absolute must do though.
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Old 06-17-2022, 11:34 AM   #9
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Another beautiful spot to camp along the Cassiar highway is called Sawmill Point recreation site. It is a free site a little way north of the town of Dease Lake. Watch for the small sign and then a narrow winding road in, but so worth it! We camped right on the shore and ended up staying an extra 2 days because it was such a beautiful spot. A delicious meal of fresh caught Lake trout was a bonus!
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Old 06-17-2022, 11:54 AM   #10
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If you are going by Hyder on the Cassiar Highway at the right time of the summer, check the Fish Creek Observation Platform. A good place to watch bears chasing salmon as well as eagles.

More photos from our visit.
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Old 06-17-2022, 12:10 PM   #11
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Boya Lake on the north end of the Cassiar is nice, especially if you have a kayak or small sailboat. TaChila Provincial park. Itís about 50 miles to Watson Lake IF I remember correctly. We havenít been able to go back since 2012.
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Old 06-17-2022, 02:57 PM   #12
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We enjoyed both very much and would not bypass either one if time permits. Liard hot springs is also on our must stop list when on the AK highway.

The icefields parkway between Banff and Jasper is amazing.
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Old 06-17-2022, 08:18 PM   #13
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Banff has a hot spring that's open to the public.


Lake Louise has great hiking and canoeing in summer time.
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Old 06-17-2022, 09:20 PM   #14
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Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park is tranquil, off the beaten path and less busy than Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Kananaskis Country is beautiful. It's near Banff, off the Trans Canada Highway. Not nearly as touristy, with great hiking and scenery. Canmore, just outside of the Banff National Park boundaries, has better supermarkets than Banff, decent hardware and sporting goods stores and some good restaurants. Again, not as busy.

I've lived most of my life in Alberta so I'm biased. The Canadian Rockies are spectacular and I miss them.
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Old 06-18-2022, 10:47 AM   #15
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Excellent info! Keep it coming. You guys are awesome!
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Old 06-18-2022, 12:37 PM   #16
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You're very welcome. Here's another thought. Bow Lake is a beautiful stop along the Icefields Parkway (93 N). The lodge is not open this year, but the lake is incredible.
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Old 06-19-2022, 09:24 AM   #17
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I think Banff - Jasper are awesome.



Another possible option would be to drive Banff to Prince Rupert, take Alaska Ferry to Skagway, drive to Whitehorse via White Pass highway then Haines Junction and on into Alaska or get off the ferry in Haines and then drive on to Haines Junction bypassing the White Pass and Whitehorse.

This would access SE Alaska and the inland waterway with access to some villages and small towns. It is beautiful country and you could add side trip to Glacier Bay National Park by tour boat or plane.

Return from Alaska via Cassiar or Alaska Highway.
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Old 06-19-2022, 10:42 AM   #18
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I think Banff - Jasper are awesome.



Another possible option would be to drive Banff to Prince Rupert, take Alaska Ferry to Skagway, drive to Whitehorse via White Pass highway then Haines Junction and on into Alaska or get off the ferry in Haines and then drive on to Haines Junction bypassing the White Pass and Whitehorse.

This would access SE Alaska and the inland waterway with access to some villages and small towns. It is beautiful country and you could add side trip to Glacier Bay National Park by tour boat or plane.

Return from Alaska via Cassiar or Alaska Highway.
That's the problem. 3 great routes and you can only take 2 of them.

I've done all 3 but in two trips and I'd be hard pressed to give up one of them if I knew that I'd never be back that way again.

Ron
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Old 06-19-2022, 02:10 PM   #19
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Yep all 3 are great. Iíd do SE for sure and then either the AlCan or Cassiar. The next trip Iíd fill in the one missed. A trailer on the ferry in SE is expensive. Maybe drive both ways but leave the trailer in Haines or Skagway and loop the SE. Maybe make the 8 week trip 12 weeks
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Old 06-21-2022, 09:01 PM   #20
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Just returned from a three week trip from Missoula up to the Cassier Highway and then north to Whitehorse in Yukon, then down the East side to Montana via Jasper and the Icefields Parkway. Great trip. Cassier highway was closed down due to high water a week after we drove it. Lots of high water along the roadsides especially around the lakes. Road construction and fast heavy trucks and sometimes not significant shoulder so be very careful ! Fuel was from $2.00 Canadian a liter to $2.40 or so a liter. Probably an average of 2.25 per liter at least.
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