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  1. #1
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Icefields Parkway Alberta Tour

    I managed to get in a 4 day tour before the weather turned in the Great White North.

    Loads of pics at http://www.vikram-banerjee.com

    I can highly recommend Hwy 93 between Jasper and Lake Louise for anyone wanting to tour Alberta Canada.
    safe riding - Vik
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  2. #2
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    Great pictures, and ideal weather!

  3. #3
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    I sure wish they would fix those cracks in the pavement on the shoulders. Did it both ways last fall. Has to be one of the top tours anywhere.
    Last edited by bccycleguy; 09-10-06 at 10:22 PM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing! The Icefield Parkway is on my shortlist for upcoming vacations.

  5. #5
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Mile for mile its the best

    Mile for Mile the icefields parkway has no match. Tow major passes, lakes, glaciers, a nice shoulder, camping and hostels, moose, bear; nice scenic towns like Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Love it and I encourage everyone to tour it.

    The Karakoram Highway can't hold a candle to it.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  6. #6
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bccycleguy
    I sure wish they would fix those cracks in the pavement on the shoulders. Did it both ways last fall. Has to be one of the top tours anywhere.
    One thing we noticed was that from Jasper to the Icefields Visitors Centre going south there was a narrow (8") repaved section of the shoulder due to a buried utility cable. If you rode on this section it got rid of the majority of the cracks. We also rode on the road a fair bit as it was repaved in a number of sections that had cracks on the shoulder.

    I can pretty much see myself making this an annual tour - I am sort of kicking myself for not doing it sooner!
    Last edited by vik; 09-11-06 at 03:05 PM.
    safe riding - Vik
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  7. #7
    Year-round cyclist
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    My bike down the icefields parkway was the pinnacle of my 2300 km trip this August. Great scenery, lots of great people and a great time altogether. It looks like you guys had a blast. Yes, the strip down the shoulder made biking much smoother in alt of places but the ride into Saskatchewan River Crossing was anything but smooth. I ended up breaking 5 spokes one day later in the middle of nowhere between the mountains and Red Deer. Those shoulders along the parkway are tough on bikes!
    All year baby! -40 to +40 riding weather.

  8. #8
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    Could the route between Jasper and Lake Louise be done as a credit card tour, i.e., without camping equipment?

  9. #9
    Year-round cyclist
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    There are a few hostels along the way if you wanted to credit card tour. I met a few people credit card touring while I was out there. The hostels are quite cheap (15/night) and from what I hear, quite nice.
    All year baby! -40 to +40 riding weather.

  10. #10
    Ian
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    Thanks for the fabulous pictures. Having driven though the area many times I don't think you could have had nicer weather.

    I'm planning on biking from Victoria to Edmonton and back through Jasper/Lake Louise area next year.

    Three weeks ago I purchased a 2007 Trek 520 for the trip and have started working on the hills already.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor
    Could the route between Jasper and Lake Louise be done as a credit card tour, i.e., without camping equipment?
    Yes, it could be ... but ...

    1) Jasper to Banff is only 180 miles (288 kms) so it could be done quite easily in one day if a person wanted to do it that way ... especially if you aren't carrying much gear. That would be the least expensive option.

    2) If you did want to break it up, there are places to stay along the way. There's a hotel at the Columbia Icefields, a collection of cabins at Saskatchewan River Crossing, a variety of accommodation choices at Lake Louise, and some between Lake Louise and Banff. And there are the hostels.

    3) If you went with the hotels and cabins, they are EXPENSIVE!!! $200+ per night is not uncommon. See Icefield Chalet info: http://www.brewster.ca/Columbia_Icefield/Chalet.asp

    4) If you opt to go with the less expensive option, hostels, book ahead ... do not count on being able to pull up to a hostel and get a room!! If you want to make use of the hostels between the end of May and the end of August, you will likely have to book a good 6 months to a year in advance (depending on the hostel). Outside of those dates, most of the hostels require at least a 5 day in advance reservation, and some may close for the season. You can check this site for further information:
    http://www.hihostels.ca/en/index.aspx?sortcode=2.3

  12. #12
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    The hostels are a great option, I've stayed in all of them and the Jasper one is the only one I would avoid (plus it's at the top of a big hill). Last year I made reservations 2 - 3 weeks in advance for a Sept. tour and most had lots of room. However try to find out when the weekly "Tours" are scheduled to come through and avoid those dates, i.e. the "Moose Tour" from Vancouver and the "North West Tour (?)" from Calgary which bring as many as couple of dozen 20 something year olds, mostly Aussies intent on drinking and partying as much as possible. They take the hostel over, make a mess, and are noisy late into the night. The Hostel managers hate them but they have become essential to the financial survival of the hostels.

    My favorites are Beauty Creek (too small for the Tours and they have an "all-you-can-eat-pancake-breakfast"), Rampart Creek is really nice with a sauna and Mosquito Creek which has a sauna also. Lake Louise is more of a "resort" than a hostel but is a nice base for a few days. I think that most people would have a much better time at the hostels than staying in a hotel.
    Last edited by bccycleguy; 09-11-06 at 09:56 PM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor
    Could the route between Jasper and Lake Louise be done as a credit card tour, i.e., without camping equipment?
    People doing the credit card tour mainly do it with a supported group ( a van carries all the gear and baggage). I saw maybe a 1/2 dozen groups on the Parkway over the week or so that I was there. Some were predictably comical, others looked keener than me, so pick your group.
    2006 Lemond Sarthe
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    I agree! The road between Jasper and Banff is my favorite of all the roads I've cycled - anywhere!!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka

    If you went with the hotels and cabins, they are EXPENSIVE!!! $200+ per night is not uncommon. See Icefield Chalet info: http://www.brewster.ca/Columbia_Icefield/Chalet.asp
    I took a long summer vacation years ago, visiting AZ, UT, WY, MT, AB/BC - stayed at nearly all the big parks.

    Banff-ll-jasper lodging (and dining) costs were ridiculously expensive.

    Low cost of my month long trip - Best Western in West Yellowstone, MT ~43 USD a night. I stayed there extra days due to the favorable rates.

    High cost - Something that looked just like a Best Western in Lake Louise, but actually a little dirtier and more worn out, $210 USD a night. Ditto Jasper, it was maybe ten bucks less. I felt like I was being extorted the whole time I was there. Fortunately I was distracted the whole time by endless mathematical conversions from gallons to liters, miles to kilometers, dollars to other dollars, lakes to lacs (you could save a ton of money right there on signage).

    This trip was planned and reserved more than 6 months in advance, and I got the best rates available at the time. It appears to me that there's no way to vacation in the canadian rockies on the cheap, except maybe sharing biker/hiker camping sites. A shame too, since it's the most gorgeous scenery of the entire rocky mtns. But maybe thats the goal - get the money, then move the tourists on out. Visiting the area gave me a whole new appreciation for Wal-mart and Wendys.

  16. #16
    Year-round cyclist
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    Quote Originally Posted by seeker333
    I took a long summer vacation years ago, visiting AZ, UT, WY, MT, AB/BC - stayed at nearly all the big parks.

    Banff-ll-jasper lodging (and dining) costs were ridiculously expensive.

    Low cost of my month long trip - Best Western in West Yellowstone, MT ~43 USD a night. I stayed there extra days due to the favorable rates.

    High cost - Something that looked just like a Best Western in Lake Louise, but actually a little dirtier and more worn out, $210 USD a night. Ditto Jasper, it was maybe ten bucks less. I felt like I was being extorted the whole time I was there. Fortunately I was distracted the whole time by endless mathematical conversions from gallons to liters, miles to kilometers, dollars to other dollars, lakes to lacs (you could save a ton of money right there on signage).

    This trip was planned and reserved more than 6 months in advance, and I got the best rates available at the time. It appears to me that there's no way to vacation in the canadian rockies on the cheap, except maybe sharing biker/hiker camping sites. A shame too, since it's the most gorgeous scenery of the entire rocky mtns. But maybe thats the goal - get the money, then move the tourists on out. Visiting the area gave me a whole new appreciation for Wal-mart and Wendys.
    I'm going to have to disagree with you on this. I camped my way through the parks this summer on my bike trip and my daily cost was around $25/day and that was without sharing a campsite with anyone. For people who don't want to camp/ haul camping gear there are hostels for around $15-$20/night but as other have said, need to be booked far in advance (6 months to 1 year). Add meals/ grocery store lunches you are looking at around $40-$55/ day for staying in hostels and buying meals at grocery stores/ restaraunts. If you stay away from the big centres in the national parks in this area (Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper) prices are much more reasonable.
    All year baby! -40 to +40 riding weather.

  17. #17
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riderfan_lee
    I'm going to have to disagree with you on this. I camped my way through the parks this summer on my bike trip and my daily cost was around $25/day and that was without sharing a campsite with anyone. For people who don't want to camp/ haul camping gear there are hostels for around $15-$20/night but as other have said, need to be booked far in advance (6 months to 1 year). Add meals/ grocery store lunches you are looking at around $40-$55/ day for staying in hostels and buying meals at grocery stores/ restaraunts. If you stay away from the big centres in the national parks in this area (Lake Louise, Banff, Jasper) prices are much more reasonable.
    +1 I think you can have a very reasonable trip in the Canadian Rockies as long as you stay away from the hotels and tourist restaurants. But, lets face it any really popular tourist destination in the world faces the same problem.

    Our daily budget was:
    - $10-15 for camp site
    - $40 for one expensive lunch (we could easily have skipped this and eaten groceries if we wanted)
    - $20 for drinks (free water is available along the whole route)
    - $0 freeze dried meals (we had some old freeze dried meals left over which we ate)
    - $0 energy bars (we had some almost out of date energy bars that needed eating)

    If you bring a hammock or bivy sack there are tons of places to free camp right off the road.
    safe riding - Vik
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