The Brewster family has long been a fixture in Banff, and as such, they've become one of the titans of the local tourist trade. Brewster operates the park system's principal tour bus operation, as well as the specialized vehicles that clamber up the mountainside to the Athabasca Glacier along the Icefields Parkway.
Brewster Transportation and Tours (100 Gopher St., Banff; tel. 866/606-6700 or 403/762-6767; www.brewster.ca) can take you to most of the main attractions in both parks, either as a package tour or one-off trios to single attractions. Their local Rockies-based adventures are operated under the brand Explore Rockies (tel. 800/760-6934; www.explorerockies.com). Call for a full brochure or ask the concierge at your hotel to arrange a trip. Sample packages include:
- Banff to Jasper (or vice versa): Some 9 1/2 hours through unrivaled scenery, this tour takes in Lake Louise and a view of the ice field along the parkway. (The return trip requires an overnight stay, not included in the price.) In summer, the one-way fare is C$172 adults, C$82 children. If you don't want the tour, there's also a daily express bus between Banff and Jasper for C$79 one-way; kids under 15 pay half price.
- Columbia Icefields: On this 9-hour tour from Banff, you stop at the Icefields Centre and get time off for lunch and a Snocoach ride up the glacier. Adults pay C$151 and children pay C$75; tour prices include a trip up onto the glacier in the massive Explorer -- essentially a bus on steroids with wheels the height of a pickup truck. It's open from mid-April through mid-October only.
Another local tour company offering smaller-sized tours is Discover Banff Tours (tel. 877/565-9372 or 403/760-5007; www.banfftours.com). They'll help you set up a self-guided driving tour with a personalized GPS, and they also have excellent wildlife-viewing safaris in the evenings.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.