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Jasper to Banff (or vice versa) over 3 days

Old 06-24-19, 02:23 PM
  #1  
riceowls
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Jasper to Banff (or vice versa) over 3 days

I may be going to Banff for a conference end-of-July and contemplating at 3-day Jasper to Banff (or if logistically better) tour before (or correspondingly) after the meeting.
For Jasper->Banff option, the plan would be to fly to Edmonton (YEA), take a shuttle to jasper, stay overnight, assemble the bike, ship the case and then start the tour next morning. I plan to ride ~100km a day a bit more on the downhill days and bit less on the climbing days. Will be staying in the hostels. If the other way is easier or better logistically, I will be happy to do it in reverse.
If someone did this recently, I would really appreciate the help with the logistical questions below:

1) Is 3-day tour too ambitious for the route? I've done 60-miles days on prior tours, and often do 50-60 miles on my road bike before noon on weekends (unloaded and there are little hills where I live). What are the good overnight stop for the 3-day tour?
2) Hostels - How far in-advance do I need to reserve these? I assume I would not need a sleeping bag - linens are provided at most? Is there water/food available in the hostels or other locations on the way to avoid carrying anything but a few snack bars with me?
3) What are the options for bike-case shipping in Jasper?
4) Park entrance fees: this is where I am really confused. Shuttle service claims the ticket includes park entrance. If I take the shuttle into and out of the park - do I need to buy any passes as I cycle in/out of the park?
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Old 06-24-19, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
I may be going to Banff for a conference end-of-July and contemplating at 3-day Jasper to Banff (or if logistically better) tour before (or correspondingly) after the meeting.
For Jasper->Banff option, the plan would be to fly to Edmonton (YEA), take a shuttle to jasper, stay overnight, assemble the bike, ship the case and then start the tour next morning. I plan to ride ~100km a day a bit more on the downhill days and bit less on the climbing days. Will be staying in the hostels. If the other way is easier or better logistically, I will be happy to do it in reverse.
If someone did this recently, I would really appreciate the help with the logistical questions below:

1) Is 3-day tour too ambitious for the route? I've done 60-miles days on prior tours, and often do 50-60 miles on my road bike before noon on weekends (unloaded and there are little hills where I live). What are the good overnight stop for the 3-day tour?
2) Hostels - How far in-advance do I need to reserve these? I assume I would not need a sleeping bag - linens are provided at most? Is there water/food available in the hostels or other locations on the way to avoid carrying anything but a few snack bars with me?
3) What are the options for bike-case shipping in Jasper?
4) Park entrance fees: this is where I am really confused. Shuttle service claims the ticket includes park entrance. If I take the shuttle into and out of the park - do I need to buy any passes as I cycle in/out of the park?
In 2016, I rode Jasper to Banff in three days: Banff, Icefields Parkway - A bicycle ride across the Americas I stayed at Hilda Creek Hostel and Mosquito Creek Hostel. There was some climbing and they were full days - but it wasn't extreme. You'll know your fitness best on how well they worked.

In summer 2016 it was a busy time and all campgrounds were booked up. I was able to get the hostels a few days in advance, but not sure how often they might fill up. I was on a longer tour so had sleeping bag (and tent) with me, but believe there were at least linens at Mosquito Creek. Not sure on Hilda Creek as I decided to camp outside on the deck.

There was a running map with elevation profile and services. I believe this might be a copy: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/...ccessible.ashx

Last edited by mev; 06-24-19 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 06-24-19, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
In 2016, I rode Jasper to Banff in three days
Thanks for the info and links - great write-up and very useful brochure. From the sounds of it -- no water/food in the hostels. How much water did you carry?
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Old 06-24-19, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
Thanks for the info and links - great write-up and very useful brochure. From the sounds of it -- no water/food in the hostels. How much water did you carry?
The hostels were somewhat different.

Hilda Creek was a remote (unattended) hostel. There was a combination lock on the door and we received the combo with our reservation. I went down to a nearby stream to filter water.

Mosquito Creek was a staffed and drive up hostel. There was a sink and running water.

I don't remember exactly how much I was carrying, but seem to recall there were several instances each day I could have topped up on some additional water. For example, Hilda Creek wasn't too far past thew pass, and on other side was a large visitor center.
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Old 06-24-19, 10:16 PM
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I used the same map when I did my run in 2017. If you look it shows that the south to north route has less elevation gain though I don't think it matters too much.

There is a center with cafeteria at the Icefield summit, a store and cafeteria at Saskatchewan Crossing and a cafe at Bow Summit (Num ti jah Lodge).

Rampart Creek also has a nice hostel. No food but water. You will want an annual Hostel International membership which winds up saving you money on fees. For one or two the chains usually have some room but Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise book up so you need to reserve during high season.

Bring a camera. It's amazing.







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Old 06-24-19, 11:49 PM
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I was about to leave for Vancouver but apparently the weather in the Rockies is not favourable for touring at the moment. A mixture of rain and heavy snow. Hope july may be different for a trip like that.

For my hostels, I will be planning a week ahead because the weather will eventually stop being crappy and vacancies will fill up like crazy.
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Old 06-25-19, 12:16 AM
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I did Banff to Jasper last August, 3 days was all it took us, despite some serious rain!

There are only a couple of considerable ups, as I recall... and then some really long swooping downs that will absolutely eat up the miles!

Enjoy!
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Old 06-25-19, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
I may be going to Banff for a conference end-of-July and contemplating at 3-day Jasper to Banff (or if logistically better) tour before (or correspondingly) after the meeting.
For Jasper->Banff option, the plan would be to fly to Edmonton (YEA), take a shuttle to jasper, stay overnight, assemble the bike, ship the case and then start the tour next morning. I plan to ride ~100km a day a bit more on the downhill days and bit less on the climbing days. Will be staying in the hostels. If the other way is easier or better logistically, I will be happy to do it in reverse.
If someone did this recently, I would really appreciate the help with the logistical questions below:

1) Is 3-day tour too ambitious for the route? I've done 60-miles days on prior tours, and often do 50-60 miles on my road bike before noon on weekends (unloaded and there are little hills where I live). What are the good overnight stop for the 3-day tour?
2) Hostels - How far in-advance do I need to reserve these? I assume I would not need a sleeping bag - linens are provided at most? Is there water/food available in the hostels or other locations on the way to avoid carrying anything but a few snack bars with me?
3) What are the options for bike-case shipping in Jasper?
4) Park entrance fees: this is where I am really confused. Shuttle service claims the ticket includes park entrance. If I take the shuttle into and out of the park - do I need to buy any passes as I cycle in/out of the park?
1) I've done it in one day and I've done it in three days. Three days is quite comfortable.

2) Are you planning this for end-of-July 2020? If so, that should work.
Look the hostels up to see what's provided. Check here: https://www.wilderness.hihostels.ca:...ailability.asp

Beauty Creek would probably be the first one you'd use ...
HI Beauty Creek Hostel
2 sleeping cabins with 6 or 14 dorm beds.

Rustic Hostel
No running water, No showers, No flush toilets.
Purified drinking water available for cooking.
Check-in 5pm-10pm

And then maybe Mosquito Creek ...
HI Mosquito Creek Hostel
2 sleeping cabins with 12 beds in each cabin.
1 family cabin with 2 private rooms.

Rustic Hostel
No running water, No showers, No flush toilets.
Purified drinking water available for cooking.
Check-in 5pm-10pm

3) Bike case shipping?

4) If the shuttle claims to pay for the pass, you shouldn't need to I wouldn't think. What do you mean about cycling in/out of the park?
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Old 06-25-19, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
In 2016, I rode Jasper to Banff in three days: Banff, Icefields Parkway - A bicycle ride across the Americas

There was a running map with elevation profile and services. I believe this might be a copy: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/...ccessible.ashx
In your journal your write that the temperature was 4C in the morning. What time of the year again? July summer or September summer?

[Thanks for your post. Great info.]
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Old 06-25-19, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
In your journal your write that the temperature was 4C in the morning. What time of the year again? July summer or September summer?
Mid-August.
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Old 06-25-19, 08:50 AM
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Temps in Banff and Lake Louise are usually not too bad but plan for the odd cool weather. Jasper is a little cooler overall. Along the Icefield parkway anything can go although mid July/August is usually stable.

If you cycle into the parks you do not need a park pass. The shuttle charges you because as a motor vehicle it had to pay.

However. It's a full days ride to Banff from Calgary (135km) and 3-4 from Edmonton to Jasper so the fee/shuttle pays if you are on a tight schedule.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 06-25-19 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 06-25-19, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Temps in Banff and Lake Louise are usually not too bad but plan for the odd cool weather. Jasper is a little cooler overall. Along the Icefield parkway anything can go although mid July/August is usually stable.

If you cycle into the parks you do not need a park pass. The shuttle charges you because as a motor vehicle it had to pay.

However. It's a full days ride to Banff from Calgary (135km) and 3-4 from Edmonton to Jasper so the fee/shuttle pays if you are on a tight schedule.
You do need to purchase a pass if you cycle into the park. You can sneak by if you coming from Canmore on the legacy trail, but we did have to show a pass entering Jasper from the west on highway 16 a couple of years ago.

If you entered by a shuttle you don't have to worry about it, its included in your shuttle fee. I have seen them checking vehicles for passes on the Icefields Parkway, but I don't think they generally check cyclists.

I would bring a sleeping bag for the hostels, they are pretty minimal and nights can be cold.

Also bring lots of money, the tourist season is short and they need to make hay while the sun shines.
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Old 06-25-19, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by skookum View Post
You do need to purchase a pass if you cycle into the park. You can sneak by if you coming from Canmore on the legacy trail, but we did have to show a pass entering Jasper from the west on highway 16 a couple of years ago.

If you entered by a shuttle you don't have to worry about it, its included in your shuttle fee. I have seen them checking vehicles for passes on the Icefields Parkway, but I don't think they generally check cyclists.

I would bring a sleeping bag for the hostels, they are pretty minimal and nights can be cold.

Also bring lots of money, the tourist season is short and they need to make hay while the sun shines.
Curious.

I have never purchased a pass in all the years I've been there non motorized (35 years) though I have not entered Jasper from the west. Perhaps you got caught in some sort of ticket blitz? Did you ride up to the booth intentionally and ask if you should buy a pass? I can see them selling one then.

As a cyclist I don't sneak and camp in designated campsites. I just ride by and have never gotten questioned or stopped. Hundreds ride the legacy trail every day in summer and it is now the default cycle route for that section so one can hardly call it sneaking. If they wanted a cyclist to pay they would probably advertise somewhere. Otherwise you need to cross the east bound lanes of the Trans Can on foot to get to the west bound ticket booth. No one is expected to do that.

Also did not require one for Hwy 93.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 06-25-19 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 06-25-19, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Curious.

I have never purchased a pass in all the years I've been there non motorized (35 years) though I have not entered Jasper from the west. Perhaps you got caught in some sort of ticket blitz? Did you ride up to the booth intentionally and ask if you should buy a pass? I can see them selling one then.

As a cyclist I don't sneak and camp in designated campsites. I just ride by and have never gotten questioned or stopped. Hundreds ride the legacy trail every day in summer and it is now the default cycle route for that section so one can hardly call it sneaking. If they wanted a cyclist to pay they would probably advertise somewhere. Otherwise you need to cross the east bound lanes of the Trans Can on foot to get to the west bound ticket booth. No one is expected to do that.

Also did not require one for Hwy 93.
I almost always have a pass being a pseudo-local, although it is usually in my car. People ride in from Canmore to Banff on the legacy trail and nobody cares, and I agree it would be hazardous to stop and try and buy one there.

Before our tour, one of the members contacted Parks and was told we needed to have a pass, so they brought their group pass from their vehicle. As we approached Jasper we were riding with another couple of people, and they were prepared to argue that because of their low carbon footprint and the effects of climate change on glaciers in the park, they should be allowed in for free. As we approached there was somebody in the booth and somebody outside that directed us to the booth. It turned out they were training seasonal park staff that day so there were extra people around. We spent a few minutes as the supervisor was looking at our pass and making sure the new employee entered everything properly in the computer. We snuck the others in on our permit, and went on our way.

I have never seen them check cyclists or ask them for permits inside the park, or even heard of it happening, but thems the rules.
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Old 06-25-19, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Temps in Banff and Lake Louise are usually not too bad but plan for the odd cool weather. Jasper is a little cooler overall. Along the Icefield parkway anything can go although mid July/August is usually stable.

If you cycle into the parks you do not need a park pass. The shuttle charges you because as a motor vehicle it had to pay.

However. It's a full days ride to Banff from Calgary (135km) and 3-4 from Edmonton to Jasper so the fee/shuttle pays if you are on a tight schedule.
Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Curious.

I have never purchased a pass in all the years I've been there non motorized (35 years) though I have not entered Jasper from the west. Perhaps you got caught in some sort of ticket blitz? Did you ride up to the booth intentionally and ask if you should buy a pass? I can see them selling one then.

As a cyclist I don't sneak and camp in designated campsites. I just ride by and have never gotten questioned or stopped. Hundreds ride the legacy trail every day in summer and it is now the default cycle route for that section so one can hardly call it sneaking. If they wanted a cyclist to pay they would probably advertise somewhere. Otherwise you need to cross the east bound lanes of the Trans Can on foot to get to the west bound ticket booth. No one is expected to do that.

Also did not require one for Hwy 93.
We rode it 2 years ago, and didn't need a pass.

While I agree with you about not sneaking into a place and using their facilities, we did use a campground that was closed. We had planned on camping there, and it was late in the day. We didn't have a lot of options.

,
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Old 06-25-19, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Bring a camera. It's amazing.



Beryl Lake from Campus Pass trail, Jasper NP ^

That was taken on a hike from Mt Edith Cavell Hostel (now rebuilt), a side trip off Icefields Parkway, 8 miles from junction with route 93A...


Mount Edith Cavell Hostel 1983 ^

Last edited by BobG; 08-05-19 at 07:32 AM. Reason: mileage correction
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Old 06-25-19, 05:17 PM
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Interesting exchange.

I tried to find out what the rules are wrt entry pass. Seems to apply specifically to motor vehicles. Pedestrians (hikers) do not have to pay, when entering on foot. There is no mention, however, of entry on bicycles.

I've sent an email a few days ago. Still waiting for an answer.
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Old 06-25-19, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Interesting exchange.

I tried to find out what the rules are wrt entry pass. Seems to apply specifically to motor vehicles. Pedestrians (hikers) do not have to pay, when entering on foot. There is no mention, however, of entry on bicycles.

I've sent an email a few days ago. Still waiting for an answer.
Yeah I looked today and couldn't find anything mentioning cyclists. Personally I wouldn't sweat it, but we did have to show a pass on that day.
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Old 06-25-19, 09:10 PM
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Okay I found this:

If you are motorcycling or bicycling through a national park, you must produce your pass at the gate or upon request by a Parks Canada staff member.
https://www.commandesparcs-parksorde.../parksb2c/FAQs
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Old 06-25-19, 10:34 PM
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Thanks.
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Old 06-25-19, 11:28 PM
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Interesting. It may be a thing on paper though I have never seen it in practice. Technically, if you are passing through a park on a hwy without an alternate route (like the Banff/Jasper corridor) you do not need a pass. That's why there is a lane that bypasses the west bound entrance at Canmore. Coming east there isn't even a kiosk on the road itself (you have to pull off with minimal signage). I suspect a cyclist could be thought of as thru traffic like cars and trucks (which they are), just a little slower.

I have also arrived in Jasper twice now by train with my bike to start tours southward and there was no mention of passes. You might think if it were a real policy they'd have some form of collection at the station. It might be a case of a rule on paper but not practically enforced aka don't ask don't tell.
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Old 06-26-19, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post

I have also arrived in Jasper twice now by train with my bike to start tours southward and there was no mention of passes.
That's how we plan to start our trip. Our (very tentative for now) plan is to leave from Québec City, where we live, on a Canrail pass (carbon footprint + it is part of our history) and stop here and there to stretch our legs until we reach Jasper. It will be more expensive than flying, and will take several days, but might be fun. Or so we hope

Are there requirements to partially disassemble bikes (pedals, handlebars) or we simply roll on?
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Old 06-26-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
That's how we plan to start our trip. Our (very tentative for now) plan is to leave from Québec City, where we live, on a Canrail pass (carbon footprint + it is part of our history) and stop here and there to stretch our legs until we reach Jasper. It will be more expensive than flying, and will take several days, but might be fun. Or so we hope

Are there requirements to partially disassemble bikes (pedals, handlebars) or we simply roll on?
Last time I took my bike on the train, 3 years ago, I just rolled it on, panniers and all.

The train is a really relaxing way to travel especially if you are not in a hurry, but be aware the western VIA rail service
can be pretty mediocre. Not what you are used to in the east.
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Old 06-26-19, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Interesting. It may be a thing on paper though I have never seen it in practice. Technically, if you are passing through a park on a hwy without an alternate route (like the Banff/Jasper corridor) you do not need a pass. That's why there is a lane that bypasses the west bound entrance at Canmore. Coming east there isn't even a kiosk on the road itself (you have to pull off with minimal signage). I suspect a cyclist could be thought of as thru traffic like cars and trucks (which they are), just a little slower.

I have also arrived in Jasper twice now by train with my bike to start tours southward and there was no mention of passes. You might think if it were a real policy they'd have some form of collection at the station. It might be a case of a rule on paper but not practically enforced aka don't ask don't tell.
I think that is close to the truth.

Speaking of park rules, every little stop on highway 93 in Kootenay park has a sign telling you not to pick morels. After a couple years of wildfires close to the road, there are lots of morels. Just don't pick them!
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Old 06-26-19, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Are there requirements to partially disassemble bikes (pedals, handlebars) or we simply roll on?
VIA Rail spells out the details at their web site. If I read it correctly it sounds like the "Canadian" has a rack that accomodates up to 12 bikes without a box. It also states that "A box must be used if the journey includes a transfer". If you board at Quebec City that will likely require a transfer.

https://www.viarail.ca/en/travel-inf...standard-items

Back in the '80s the bike policy was fairly casual for short hops. One year I boarded at Revelstoke to avoid cycling the Trans-Canada Highway. I got off at Lake Louise. I just handed the bike up to baggage car handler and off again at Lake Louise. That route does not exist any more. At the trip's completion at Jasper I bought the big box for the long haul back to Montreal.

Last edited by BobG; 06-26-19 at 11:34 AM.
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