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Banff marathon and hiking vacay

4 posts
Banff marathon and hiking vacay

Hi! I’ve been searching this forum on Banff and have found a lot of great information! So, thank you for all of the great questions and answers. I’m still not finding what all I need to know! A friend and I are planning to come to Calgary in June 2019 to run the Banff Marathon (well, the half because we have hiking plans). We plan to do some great hiking and sightseeing as well. We want to see Lakes Louise and Moraine, and if time allows, maybe go to Jasper. We are also interested in doing some sightseeing in Calgary.

Recommendations, please!! We don’t know how many days for sure at this time, but we are thinking around 6-7. Recommendations on lodging in Banff and possibly Jasper, and also Calgary. We don’t want anything super expensive because we are flying in, needing a rental car, running a race (registration fees) and we are traveling as friends who are splitting costs. We are thinking something with a cooking area so we can cut some cost there with cooking some of our meals. And, anyone have advice on what to do or rather what we must do? We think the race is on Sunday, so we would come in on Friday most likely and fly back out the following Wednesday or Thursday. Thanks so much!!

7 replies to this topic
Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
8,410 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Banff marathon and hiking vacay


We generally suggest at least 6-7 days for the Rockies alone. Given that part of your trip is going to be taken up with the marathon - presumably some down time before, running it and then recovery time - I'd say skip Calgary. With the marathon in the middle of the trip, you don't really have time to do Calgary. In fact, assuming you won't want to do too much on your feet prior to the race, you're going to be a bit crunched for sighteeing time.

I'd probably arrive on Friday or even earlier. Banff is at elevation, so if you're coming from sea-level, you'll want a bit of time to adjust before running a marathon. Maybe do the easy sightseeing stuff around Banff before the raise. You could do Moraine Lake or Lake Louise just as quick stops -- if this is very early in the month, they may still be frozen.

After the race, spend one more night in Banff, then headed to Jasper for two nights (bare minimum), then back to Banff/Lake Louise/Canmore for your last night before flying out.

You can see all accommodation in Banff at www.banfflakelouise.com Perhaps do a bit of research and come up with a short list based on price/amenities and we can provide tips from there.

4 posts
2. Re: Banff marathon and hiking vacay

Thank you so much! We are running the half marathon and assuming it’s the same time as this year, it will be mid June (this year it was June 17). I don’t really need too much off time on my feet as I’m not running for competition/time and I’ve run over 30 halves and 9 fulls! But you are right about getting somewhat acclimated as I’m traveling from Louisana and my friend is coming from Michigan.

We love hiking and would love to get in some good miles on trails!

4 posts
3. Re: Banff marathon and hiking vacay

Is Jasper a must or do you recommend us just staying in Banff area the majority of our stay since we have the race in the middle?

Alberta, Canada
Level Contributor
10,954 posts
330 reviews
4. Re: Banff marathon and hiking vacay

If you can fit in Jasper, it is definitely highly recommended. Plus there is the added bonus of travelling the Icefields Parkway which should be travelled in both directions as there is so much to see and do and the views are different.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
22,442 posts
132 reviews
5. Re: Banff marathon and hiking vacay

Mid June is still rather early for hiking the higher elevation trails, which are the prime ones. Many will still have significant snow patches. So decent hiking footwear is essential, and trekking poles are recommended. You'll need warm layers of clothing in case of chilly weather (essential also in full summer) and I suggest a pair of light gloves or mitts. I keep these in my hiking pack all summer long, and they get used quite often.

For accommodations, check the reviews section here on TA. Enquire/book directly with the hotels - they don't usually put much "inventory" on third-party booking sites in the busy season. Mid June is not quite peak season, but seems to be busier every year (seemed like July in terms of visitor numbers). The following directory sites have links to the individual accommodations ... all Banff NP accommodations (hotels, cabins, hostels, B&Bs) are listed at www.banfflakelouise.com . Jasper hotels & cabins are at www.jasper.travel . Jasper private home accommodations and B&Bs (some of which have cooking facilities) are listed at www.stayinjasper.com . You can get a full two-bedroom suite with kitchen at a PHA for less than you would pay for a standard hotel room (around C$250 per night). There will also be a brand new HI hostel opening here in Jasper townsite next May, which will have private rooms as well as dorms, and gives you access to cooking facilities.

If you decide not to add Jasper to your itinerary, at least spend one day driving part of the Icefields Parkway. The Wilcox Pass hike is is decent condition at that time of year - hike up Wilcox Ridge above the pass for amazing views!

4 posts
6. Re: Banff marathon and hiking vacay

Thank you so much for this great information! I’ll be referring back to it as we begin to plan. We are now contemplating coming in September instead of June. We aren’t sure yet. There is a recommended race to run in September! Do you have recommendations on which month is better? This is in terms of crowds, hikes and accommodations. Thanks!! And how far in advance is it recommended to book accommodations??

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
6,582 posts
22 reviews
7. Re: Banff marathon and hiking vacay

September is still a busy tourist time, accommodation should be booked by early 2019 for next September. Hiking could be better than June as all trails should still be open.

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