We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

March trip itinerary - is this reasonable?

Boston...
Level Contributor
149 posts
71 reviews
Save Topic
March trip itinerary - is this reasonable?

We are planning a trip next March with our kids, 10 and 12. We'll be starting out in Edmonton around 3/12, and I was hoping we could then:

drive to Jasper (stay one night), see Icefields

drive to Lake Louise (stay 2-3 nights, ski)

drive to Banff (1-2 nights, sightsee)

drive to Calgary and fly home

Is this reasonable in midMarch? I've read posts about the Icefields Parkway potentially closing, and I know weather is always unpredictable, but was wondering how often that happens in midMarch. We're from Boston, so snow doesn't bother us, though obviously we don't want to end up in a snowdrift. Other options would be skipping Jasper and the Icefields, which seems like a real pity, and just going straight to the Banff/LL area.

Any tips much appreciated!

Mentioned in this post
Edmonton
Edmonton
Alberta, Canada
Jasper
Jasper
Jasper National Park, Canada
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Banff
Banff
Banff National Park, Canada
Calgary
Calgary
Alberta, Canada
Boston
Boston
Massachusetts
Canmore, Alberta
Destination Expert
for Canmore
Level Contributor
1,175 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: March trip itinerary - is this reasonable?

March is still very much winter in the Rocky Mountains and unfortunately there is just no way to predict what the weather would be doing. That road needs to be accessed on a day to day basis. You would have to check the conditions prior to traveling it and make your decision at that time.

I lived in Lake Louise for a while, a few times we had to cancel trips up to Jasper at the very last minute. We would go to bed with the conditions being fine and have a dump of 2 feet or more over night.

Mentioned in this post
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Jasper
Jasper
Jasper National Park, Canada
Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
21,518 posts
126 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: March trip itinerary - is this reasonable?

Just to clarify, the Columbia Icefield is on the way to Lake Louise from Jasper (100 km from Jasper, about 1.25 hours' drive, or about 1.5 hours from LL). The highway between Jasper and Lake Louise is called the Icefields Parkway, and it is very beautiful - National Geographic has rated it one of "20 Drives of a Lifetime". It would be best to check road conditions and the weather forecast before setting out, and to plan on driving it only in daylight (not a problem in March). Also note that there is no mobile service along most of it (from about 30 km south of Jasper until almost Lake Louise),although there are some phone booths along the way, as well as some rest stops with toilet facilities. Also, there are absolutely no services open until almost Lake Louise (Num-ti-jah Lodge at Bow Lake is the only thing open between Jasper and LL at that time of year), so be sure to leave Jasper with enough gas in your car, and I would suggest a picnic lunch.

Edited: 30 October 2010, 03:53
Mentioned in this post
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Jasper
Jasper
Jasper National Park, Canada
Icefields Parkway
Icefields Parkway
1,559 Reviews
Banff National Park, Canada
Bow Lake
Bow Lake
418 Reviews
Banff National Park, Canada
Boston...
Level Contributor
149 posts
71 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: March trip itinerary - is this reasonable?

Thanks so much for your feedback! I think we'll go for it, but leave room to be flexible with the weather.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Lake Louise
Level Contributor
3,206 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: March trip itinerary - is this reasonable?

That's a great idea. Leaving a little room to be flexible is smart at this time of year. The scenery is beautiful year round, but there is potential for a less-than-fun-drive if the road is icy or snowy. Keep your eye on the weather and keep your plans flexible!

banfflakelouise

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
Level Contributor
6,790 posts
116 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: March trip itinerary - is this reasonable?

One way to keep your plans more flexible would be to arrive and leave through Calgary. Here's why ...

Right now, you are planning one night in Jasper, 3 - 5 nights in Banff-Lake Louise. If driving conditions are not great on the Parkway, your one night in Jasper turns into (let`s say) 3, your nights in Banff-Lake Louise turn into 1-3. You have pretty much reversed the intentions of your holiday, and you have no way of countering that other than making the 10-12 hour drive it would take to get to Banff without using the Parkway.

If you start out in Banff-Lake Louise and the conditions on the Parkway are lousy, you have your whole holiday to wait them out. You can be poised to drive up to Jasper on whatever days look like they will give you a solid 2-day weather break. Or, if the driving conditions don`t improve, you`ve missed only one night of your intended itinerary.

Yes, this would mean that you would drive the Parkway twice - once going north to Jasper, once coming south again. But the Parkway looks completely different in the two directions, and it is way, way more scenic than the 5-hour drive from Edmonton to Jasper. As well, your drive from the Calgary airport to Banff on your arrival day would be only two hours, and very scenic.

Mentioned in this post
Calgary
Calgary
Alberta, Canada
Jasper
Jasper
Jasper National Park, Canada
Banff
Banff
Banff National Park, Canada
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Banff National Park, Canada
Edmonton
Edmonton
Alberta, Canada
6. Re: March trip itinerary - is this reasonable?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 01 May 2011, 13:49