I'm new to travellerspoint but have some questions for all you rocky mountain/Alberta experts. I'm from Toronto, and plan on travelling to Alberta in April for a couple weeks, to see some friends and also to see the beautiful mountains! I was thinking of flying into Edmonton, renting a car, and going through Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff, then leaving through Calgary. Does this sound reasonable? Do you have any tips for me? I'm hoping that because I'm going in April I can do some rock climbing and also some snowboarding.
Any tips or advice you could give me on good hostels, ski resorts that will be open, novice rock climbing places, anything really, would be very much appreciated!!! This will be my first semi backpacker-ish trip I'm planning solo, so I need some help!!
Check drop off rates for a car rented in one place and left in another.
Also note that April is winter in the mountains-everything will still be frozen-scenic but stupid cold.
Great trip idea. The route you are thinking of is a great one.
Here are a few tips that may come in handy:
1.) check out Rent-a-wreck. I haven't used them myself, but I've heard they have some decent rates compared to the other major ones.
2.) You will need to get park passes for both Jasper National Park and Banff National Park.
3.) The columbia icefields are amazing. If I were you, I'd look into some hikes out onto the glacier. I would avoid the bus tours. Mount Edith Caval (spelling?) is also a great hike.
3.) The mountains should still have snow for boarding. There are hills near Jasper and then two or three major ones near Banff. Sunshine Ski Resort is my favourite. It's near Banff. It's not the best for snowboarding because there are quite a few flat areas, but if you keep your speed up you can get across them.
4.) Rat's nest cave is a great caving experience. It is near Canmore, AB.
I hope that is some use to you.
Thanks guys! Very helpful! I'm going to see what kind of a discount I get at work through rental car companies, but I like the sounds of rent-a-wreck. Do I get the parking pass through the parks people/website? Do you know if I'll still need one even if I'm staying at a hostel IN the park?
Thanks again for the tips, and let me know if anything else pops into your head!!
The best place to buy the park passes are right as you enter the parks. As you enter you will come to a bunch of toll-booths where you can buy your pass. Even if you are staying in a hostel you need to get a pass. It's a good idea to buy the passes because (1) you may get a ticket if you don't, and (2) the money helps fund the parks!