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Icefield's Parkway [Alberta] Long Weekend Tour?

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Icefield's Parkway [Alberta] Long Weekend Tour?

Old 06-25-08, 10:30 AM
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Icefield's Parkway [Alberta] Long Weekend Tour?

I'm thinking about riding from Jasper to Lake Louise and then back to Jasper over the long weekend. A call to the Park's Office was fairly unhelpful. It seems the campgrounds along the parkway don't accept reservations and the ones that do at LL for example are full.

I don't think these campground have anything like the hiker/biker spots that some US parks do. Anyone from Canada know what happens if we show up and the campgrounds are full? Will somebody freak if we camp in an unofficial spot as long as it isn't doing any serious damage to the environment? We'll just have a small tent and two bikes. I don't mind paying for use of the facilities even if we don't have a real spot.

The lady at the Park's Office gave the usual reply that if the campground was full we'd have to go down the road to try the next one - not really practical on bicycles - especially if the next one is likely to be just as full.
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Old 06-25-08, 11:35 AM
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Vik -

I'm a Gringo, but have biked the parks about a half dozen times. I have never faced the situation, but have been told that they will never turn away cyclists - i.e. let them use a picnic area of the campground, etc. I've written a few times about lack of hiker/biker campsites, but haven't received any response - again, I'm not Canadian so I think my letters get filed in File 13. There are big fines for illegal camping. I would guess that no parks enforce this more than the four Rocky Mountain parks.

There is one options if you want reserved spots - Alberta Hostels. They have seven or eight hostels in Banff/Jasper at regular intervals. It may be too late, but I'd call them and see. Most are very simple - no running water - but you meet great people and have the security of knowing you have a place.

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Old 06-25-08, 12:06 PM
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Good points....I think I'll just go for it and work out something when I am on the ground at a campsite...perhaps I'll be able to find some other cyclists who might be willing to share their spot if I pay the campsite fee.

You gotta love rules!
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Old 06-25-08, 02:49 PM
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I managed to get a reservation for the first night [of 3] at a campground near Jasper for 1 backpacking tent and two people = $38. That seems like a lot of $$$ - if I was doing a long tour I'd be forced to stealth camp or otherwise circumvent the system if throwing my tent on the ground was nearly a $40 hit per night in addition to the $7/day Park entrance fee.

Interestingly I went back and tried to reserve a spot for a 24' RV with full hook ups and the cost was $49!

Anyways enough ranting....
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Old 06-25-08, 03:38 PM
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If all else faiis, you can just ride around and ask people if they will share, and offer to split tlne fee. Worked for me.
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Old 06-25-08, 04:18 PM
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I have done this tour a few times.
I have never been turned away at any camp site.
Just ride and you will find someplace to sleep.
Just don't leave it until late to do so. We have always asked around 5pm or so. In Lake Louise you can camp in many places with permission.
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Old 06-25-08, 06:07 PM
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There's a campground just south of Saskatchewan River Crossing, on the right side of the road, if you are heading south, that has a hiker/biker section complete with a bear-proof pulley system to store your stuff.

I believe it is the Waterfowl Lakes campground.

Rowan and I stayed there a few years ago, and it was quite nice.
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Old 06-26-08, 02:24 AM
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Hi

you really have pray that the campsite is full!

Last year:
In Jasper a got a site about 35$ per night.
On the Icefield parkway I arrived at a campground that was full. Some swiss guys shared the site with me. Free of charge, nice talking, a lot of alcohol... great
In Lake Louise the campground also was full. I could go in and search some cyclists to share the site with. Worked without problem. Met nice people - and it was free of charge.

Summary:
It's no problem if a campground is full - you just have to ask. Some people refuse to share their site but you'll find someone - and these are nice guys

Thomas
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Old 06-26-08, 09:36 AM
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Thanks for all the positive replies. I agree that we just need to hit the road and work out the camping situation when we are at a campground. I hope all the Canadians enjoy their long weekend in a couple days...and the US members do the same next weekend.
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Old 07-01-08, 11:12 PM
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Just an update - got back from the tour this weekend...will post pics and a report separately, but wanted to follow up on this thread just for completeness. Camping was not an issue at all. Even though I showed up at 9pm on the holiday Saturday I had my choice of 4 walk in campsites. The next day I arrived at my destination by 4pm and had several spots free. The final night we ended up back at Saturday's campsite [did the route both ways] and had even more spots to choose from.

Had the spots all been filled there were lots of nice people that would have shared their sites.

The morale of the story is go anyways and figure stuff out on the road.....thanks for all the advice - it was spot on....
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