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Banff, lake Louise and canoe, while water rafting in Golden

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I need some advice for a great itinerary please.
Arrive in Calgary 7/22 depart either Saturday or Sunday 7/30. I'm taking my teenager son and we want to try out the white water rafting in Golden for 1/2 day that starts at Noon. What else is to see in Golden? Should we spend a night there? So, not sure how to place that with checking out, town of Banff, Lake Louise along with canoeing..with some suggest hikes and how long to stay over, with suggestions for lunch etc then I would like to check out Jasper with the tour on the glaciers and falls.

Should we book a one day tour from Lake Louise to Jasper or TRy to find a place in jasper mid week? How many nights? And besides the ice park and falls what else is a bucket list must to see there?

I saw in another post it was more like an open valley and not as beautiful as Banff.

Any itinerary suggestions is greatly appreciated!

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    You need to book your accommodation ASAP. It's getting very tricky to find bookings, especially on weekends and for anything close to budget. Average hotel rooms are easily $300 per night or more.

    If you have a week, we would suggest 3-4 nights in Banff/Lake Louise/Canmore and 2-3 nights in Jasper. You can't do a day tour to Jasper from Lake Louise - it's flat out 3.5 hrs driving and most people take a full day to the drive as it's one of the most scenic in the world.

    For whitewater rafting, there are options in Jasper, Kananaskis Country and near Golden. If you want to do it near Golden, it's fine to stay in Banff or Lake Louise. I don't think it's worth staying in Golden. I think some tour companies can arrange transport, otherwise it's a pleasant drive.

    Jasper is stunning in it's own right - the valley in which the townsite itself is located is no more or less narrow than around Banff. The valley does tend to be a bit wider towards Jasper, but that makes no difference as to the scenery -- still gorgerous, with mountains beyond mountains beyond mountains and pretty lakes. I would allow at least 2 nights, preferably 3. For one, your best chance at finding a place to stay is at a private home accommodation (B&B more or less) and they usually have at least a two night minimum. Look at www.stayinjasper.com
    In the area, the top sights are Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon, Edith Cavell (if you can get a permit for the road), perhaps a half day trip to Mt. Robson, the sky tram, perhaps Miette Hot Springs.

    You can do the glacier tour either going to or from Jasper. The tour is fine, but skip the skywalk. If you want something more interesting, book ahead and do one of the IceWalks (led by a certified mountain/alpine guide and 3 or 5 hrs on the glacier).

    Anyway, you need to start with finding accommodation. No use making plans until you can find a place to stay. Start with Jasper as that will be the hardest. Then schedule Banff/Lake Louise/Canmore around that - you'll want at least a night there when you arrive and at least a night before your flight home. But 3-4 nights total, so say one to start, 3 in Jasper, then 3 in Banff.

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    We did rafting out of both Golden and Jasper with our then teen boys. The Kicking Horse river trip out of Golden was much better with bigger and more continuous rapids. No experience with rafting out Kananaskis. We actually stayed a couple of nights outside of Golden at the Kicking Horse resort, but only because the boys wanted to mountain bike. It is a ski resort that runs the gondola to the top so you can take bikes up then ride downhill. If it wasn’t for that I would have stayed in Lake Louise, drive isn’t bad and very scenic with several possible stops.

    We really like Jasper, but lodging our last trip in August 2014 was difficult to come by. We did finally get a place at Becker's Chalets just outside of town and were happy with it. Previous trips we had stayed at Patricia Lake Bungalows, but they book up way in advance.

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    I know Golden well and there is much to recommend an overnight stay there. However, I don't think you have time for that. Most rafting companies from Golden will pick up and drop off their customers in Banff and Lake Louise, and this would be the best for your itinerary.

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