My family is considering heading up to the Canadian Rockies after spending time in Glacier (the American one)/Waterton. We'd probably spend a night at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton and then head up to Banff.
I need more details from my dad, but I'm assuming we'd spend about two days in the area. If that's the case, what's the best way to spend two days? Is it best to just stay in Banff National Park since it's a short amount of time, or would visiting Jasper, Yoho, or Kootenay be a good idea?
What are some things that are must-see or must-do? No long, less-frequented trails because my dad freaks out about bears and refuses to allow it. Any shorter and more popular trails that we should take?
Anything worth our time in Calgary?
Sorry for all the questions. I'm pretty much researching this myself, and there is so much information to sort through.
With two days, definitely stay in Banff National Park; the things most worth seeing in the surrounding area are just a bit too far away for the time. I'd suggest heading to Lake Louise and/or Moraine Lake for one or even both of those days; lots of really nice (and popular) trails at both, depending on the difficulty level you're looking for (from just walking along the lakeshore up to heading to nearby passes).
This might fall under your definition of long, less-frequented (I still met some two dozen people on it, so I wouldn't personally call it such), but if not, and if you are up for a bit of a strenuous hike, the trail to Rockbound Lake at Castle Mountain was my surprise favorite; of all the hiking we did in two weeks in Banff, that's the one I most fondly remember. It's a 3-4 hour hike there (uphill all the way, so only 2-3 hours for the return), of which the first 2-3 hours are through less-inspiring forest (still nice, but kinda boring), but the last hour totally makes up for it; you'll really see how that mountain has been carved and molded by a glacier, and Rockbound Lake itself will be surrounded by snow (and probably covered by ice), dazzling you with its deep blue color.
Banff town probably makes most sense as a place to stay at, though if you do (and assuming you're doing this trip during high season), you'll have to make certain to head to Moraine Lake / Lake Louise before 11:00 in the morning, as parking space is very limited, and will fill up. Alternatively, you could consider staying there, though accommodation does not come cheaply.
As for Calgary: Nope, nothing there.
[ Edit: Edited on 11-May-2012, at 13:52 by Sander ]