Thank you for subscribing!
Got it! Thank you!

We're upgrading the Forums!

You can now add or change a profile photo. Simply click on your username above and upload an image. User blogs will be added back very soon.

advertisement

Forums » Alberta & the Canadian Rockies » Canada / Montana trip

Avatar
Ssophier

Canada / Montana trip

by Ssophier »

Hey all,

My wife, daughter ( 2 and a half  ) and I will be taking a trip to Montana / Calgary area from Sep 14-28.  We are flying in and out of Kalispell.  I'm looking for an itinerary that starts in Montana, goes up into Canada, and back to Montana for this time period.  The first and last days are a wash due to flight times.  We love the outdoors to hike, bike, etc. but must be mindful that our daughter can't go all too far.  Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated.  Thanks. 

Avatar
drfumblefinger

RE: Canada / Montana trip

by drfumblefinger »

If your daughter is small and light enough, and you're physically able, consider buying a backpack-type of child carrier.  It will open up trails and venues to you you won't otherwise be able to explore.

You're getting to Montana towards the end of Glacier N.P. tourist season (most restaurants, etc will be closing around then), so make sure this is your first stop.  Be sure you drive the Going to the Sun Highway.  Count on a day to visit West Glacier area and driving the Going to the Sun Highway.  Spend another day discovering the east side of the park, including the Many Glaciers area.

From here you have an option of going to Yellowstone.  It's a full day's drive and like Glacier is getting to the end of it's trip, but consider it an option if you've never been.  It's quite high altitude and expect it to be cold.

Later, head up towards Calgary.  Consider stopping at the Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump UNESCO World Heritage Site near Ft. MacLeod on your way there.  

Calgary for a few nights, with optional day trip to Drumheller to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum's great collection of dinosaur bones (truly fascinating! -- your child especially might enjoy), then head to Banff.  Stay either in Canmore or Banff, maybe 4 nights total.  Include day trip to Lake Louise.  Then head up to Jasper for maybe 3 nights, over to Edmonton for one hight, then back down to Kalispel (full day's drive to get there).

Does that sound about right?  We can flesh out the details if I know more about what you want to see and do.

Avatar
Ssophier

RE: Canada / Montana trip

by Ssophier »

That sounds pretty accurate.  I figured that the first night we'd stay in Whitefish or Kalispell and then get food and baby stuff during the next day.  I want to see as much of Glacier NP as we can before heading into Canada.  I just don't know logistically what makes the most sense in terms of our travels around Glacier knowing that we will head north afterwards...  In Canada I'm looking to do Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.  I don't know if we should go from Glacier all the way to Jasper and then start making our way back south for our eventual flight home, or if we should do Banff first and go north from there.... So these are my basic thoughts.  My daughter is too big for a carrier so we can start the lighter trails but may not finish them.   No problem.  Scenic drives, boat rides, etc. are always nice too.  Any thoughts are much appreciated!  Thanks.  Scott

Avatar
drfumblefinger

RE: Canada / Montana trip

by drfumblefinger »

That helps a lot, actually.

After your arrival, count on 3 days in Glacier N.P, longer if you have specific hikes in mind.  One day for West Glacier area, one day for the going to the Sun Highway including its many stops and viewpoints, one day for East Glacier (esp the Many Glaciers region).  You'll be heading into Canada using the road on East Glacier, which takes you to Waterton National Park.  Consider spending another night here.  It's small, but very beautiful. 

It's smart to do Jasper before Banff as it's further north and will get cool sooner.  So a full day's drive north through Calgary towards Edmonton.  Might be a bit of a stretch to make it all the way to Jasper that night, especially with a child.  Next day in Jasper.  I'd say 3 nights here, before heading down towards Banff/Canmore.  I prefer Canmore over Banff, as Banff is a town for tourists and Canmore is where the Canadians live, shop and eat.  Include day trip Lake Louise as part of your stay here (it's about a one hour drive).  You'll need to research what you want to do here.  Parks Canada website has lots of good info.  I'd recommend buying one good guidebook to take with you to help you prioritize

You might enjoy a day in Calgary, and from there you need to head back to Kalispel.  This is a full day's drive.   Be ready for an alternate route because the Going to the Sun Highway might have snow on it by then.  You can access Kalispel through highway 3, through the Crowsnest Pass, then south from BC into Montana.   Or you can drive through East Glacier, take High way 2, and then head north to Kalispell as a third option.

You will be here in the fall so be prepared for all kinds of weather.  Usually fall is still pretty nice, but make sure you have warm and waterproof jackets and hiking shoes with good traction.  I actually love the mountains this time of year as the crowds are nearly gone and you'll have the place to yourself.  Remember to buy a can of bear spray for your backcountry hiking.  Not sure if you can pack this into your checked in luggage, or not, but it certainly wouldn't be allowed onto the plane because it is a weapon.

Have fun.  I'll keep an eye on the thread if you have more questions.

Avatar
Ssophier

RE: Canada / Montana trip

by Ssophier »

Well you have been incredibly helpful!  Here's what I came up with as a sample itinerary;  It can be tinkered with if we need to.  The thing I'm considering right now is how many different times on this trip we'll need to pack and re-pack our stuff to stay in new places, especially with our daughter.  The fewer times the better, but that's something to figure out after the basic plan is figured out.  Any recommendations on lodging?  Normally I just rent a place on HomeAway or VRBO so I can BBQ at night and make breakfasts in the mornings... Also, we only need the 3 days you mentioned in Glacier to see the main highlights??  I really hope you don't mind all of my questions but you've been great!

DAY 1: Travel day - Fly into Kalispell - Stay in Whitefish or Kalispell

DAY 2: Day in Whitefish - Get some food and supplies - Check out the town

DAY 3: Glacier NP

DAY 4: Glacier NP

DAY 5: Glacier NP

DAY 6: Drive to/Stay around Waterton Lake NP (About 70 miles, 1.5 hours)

DAY 7: Drive to/Stay in Jasper (423 miles, 8 hours)

DAY 8: Jasper

DAY 9: Jasper

DAY 10: Drive to/Stay around Banff/Canmore (194 miles, 4 hours)

DAY 11: Banff/Canmore

DAY 12: Banff/Canmore

DAY 13: Banff/Canmore

DAY 14: Drive back to Kalispell (311 miles, 6 hours)

DAY 15: Fly home

Avatar
drfumblefinger

RE: Canada / Montana trip

by drfumblefinger »

In Response to Re: Canada / Montana trip:[QUOTE]

Well you have been incredibly helpful!  Here's what I came up with as a sample itinerary;  It can be tinkered with if we need to.  The thing I'm considering right now is how many different times on this trip we'll need to pack and re-pack our stuff to stay in new places, especially with our daughter.  The fewer times the better, but that's something to figure out after the basic plan is figured out.  Any recommendations on lodging?  Normally I just rent a place on HomeAway or VRBO so I can BBQ at night and make breakfasts in the mornings... Also, we only need the 3 days you mentioned in Glacier to see the main highlights??  I really hope you don't mind all of my questions but you've been great!

DAY 1: Travel day - Fly into Kalispell - Stay in Whitefish or Kalispell

DAY 2: Day in Whitefish - Get some food and supplies - Check out the town

DAY 3: Glacier NP

DAY 4: Glacier NP

DAY 5: Glacier NP

DAY 6: Drive to/Stay around Waterton Lake NP (About 70 miles, 1.5 hours)

DAY 7: Drive to/Stay in Jasper (423 miles, 8 hours)

DAY 8: Jasper

DAY 9: Jasper

DAY 10: Drive to/Stay around Banff/Canmore (194 miles, 4 hours)

DAY 11: Banff/Canmore

DAY 12: Banff/Canmore

DAY 13: Banff/Canmore

DAY 14: Drive back to Kalispell (311 miles, 6 hours)

DAY 15: Fly home


Posted by Ssophier[/QUOTE]

I think the above itinerary will work pretty well for you.  Instead of staying in Kalispell or Whitefish, consider staying in West Glacier nights 1,2,3.  Night 4 consider the lodge at St. Mary's or if open, the Many Glacier Lodge is charming.  Waterton has limited accomodation.  Consider overnight at Fort MacLeod if you can't find anything here.

You can settle in at Jasper for several nights, and in Canmore (which I recommend over staying in Banff, but see where you get the best deal.

Now you just need to fill in details and you'll have a wonderful time!  Good luck with everything.

By the way, my blog has a bunch of posts and lots of photosincluding a decent one of Glacier N.P. and highlights of some of the hikes around Banff N.P.   Give it a look as you do your research.  www.drfumblefinger.com

advertisement