Jasper/ Banff vacation recommendations
February 17, 2018 5:36 PM   Subscribe

I’ll be traveling to the Jasper area in late June with a 6 and a 2 yo. Can anyone recommend some really good hikes that would be doable for us?

Last year, the 6 yo could do between 5-7 miles per day on a hiking trip.

Any other family friendly recommendations in the area are welcome too, restaurants, ranger-led activities, anything really.

And lastly, is bear spray easy enough to find once we get there? Thanks for any help!
posted by burlsube to Travel & Transportation around Banff, AB (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bear spray is easy to find (usually cheapest at the hardware store) and will set you back about $30. Maligne Canyon is super kid friendly in that it’s engaging the whole time and downhill for most of it although if you are travelling with more than one vehicle having one parked in th lower area will save you a hike back up. I haven’t hiked much else in Jasper but have been living in Banff for 10 years and have an 8 yo so if you want Banff hiking advice I’ve got tons of suggestions. Finally, book your hotel now, most weekend and all long weekends in Banff are already filled up.
posted by furtive at 6:35 PM on February 17, 2018

Jasper and Banff aren't exactly close, but I spent some time in Banff if you'll be more towards that area at any point. I was surprised at how good the food was at various lodges there. They bring in some top talent to little places where you wouldn't expect to find it. We ate at Storm Mountain Lodge one night and it was one of the best meals I've had. Granted it was maybe 9 years ago, but it still appears to be impressing in recent years. It doesn't really have a street address, but here are directions from Banff just as a point of reference. So I guess do some research to see if it's still up to snuff but
posted by Askr at 8:32 PM on February 17, 2018

For a hiking guidebook, I'd recommend Kathy and Craig Copeland's books - the magnum opus is Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, but they have smaller/cheaper dayhike books for both Jasper and Banff that probably provide what you need.

For maps, the local standard is GemTrek; they make seriously terrific maps.

If you need to buy gear (including bear spray), the most popular retailer is Mountain Equipment Coop; they have locations in both Calgary and Edmonton -- the Calgary location has a competitor across the street who sometimes has a few deals. You do need to buy a $5 lifetime membership, but they historically have as good gear as anybody for as cheap a price as anybody.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:21 AM on February 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Both Jasper and Banff have excellent hot springs which make for a relaxing post-hike soak. There were heaps of kids, including toddlers there when I went so I'd say it's family friendly.
posted by pianissimo at 6:25 AM on February 18, 2018

The hike up to the Athabasca Glacier was easy and very fun for my then-5yo. It's a fairly short, steep hill, then a huge flat area he could run around (with lots of rocks to stack, if one doesn't care about thrilling views).

There are two options to get to parts of the glacier, both of which we did and loved: that hike, which is human powered; and a ride in a huge-tire vehicle (built to safely go up and down very steep slopes) that takes you along mountain dirt roads to a higher but also fully solid surface of the glacier, where you can fill your bottles with glacier water and see one of the most majestic views I've ever seen.
posted by kalapierson at 1:29 PM on February 19, 2018

The other thing he most loved was the Banff Gondola ride that takes you to a stunning hike (you choose how much to do as it's all easy, wide wooden steps and walkways) along an unbelievably cool mountain range. If your kids care about animals, we saw many awesome marmots and pine martens.
posted by kalapierson at 1:33 PM on February 19, 2018

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