Select one of the keywords
Banff, Jasper & Glacier National Parks: Lonely Planet    by Korina Miller, Susan Derby & David Lukas order for
Banff, Jasper & Glacier National Parks
by Korina Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Having relied on Lonely Planet shoestring guides during my BC (before children) travel years, I'm keen to take advantage of them again for family trips. And one of our must visit destinations is the 'UNESCO world heritage site' covered in this compact book. The guide's introduction speaks lyrically of the 'dramatic, untamed wilderness' of the Canadian Rockies, inhabited by 'elusive characters, like bears, elk, moose, marmots, wolves and bighorn sheep.'

Suggested itineraries range from half-a-day to four week trips to the area. Browse 'Highlights' for inspiring photos and descriptions of the parks, their wildlife and activities. The latter include hiking and backpacking (with important information on difficulty levels and safety in the backcountry), whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking, skiing, rock and ice climbing, horseback riding, wildlife watching (love the subtitle 'Elk Etiquette and Moose Manners'), fishing, golf, and even dogsledding. Helicopter rides are available, as are programs for kids, like Junior Naturalist and Junior Ranger, and overnight Glacier Institute theme camps. Handy tips include sites for those seeking solitude. Practical information for 'Planning a Trip' includes seasonal highs and lows, special events and festivals, suggestions for reading about the area, plus Internet resources, a useful checklist of 'What to Pack', and details on 'How to Get There'.

Major sections cover 'Experiencing Banff', 'Experiencing Icefields Parkway', 'Experiencing Jasper', and 'Experiencing Glacier/Waterton' - with information for each park on orientation and regulations, activities, places to stay and eat, entertainment and shopping. A chapter on 'History' includes a timeline for each park - and a fascinating box covering Hollywood movies featuring Jasper. 'Geology' explains the differences in formation of the Canadian and American Rockies, the types of mountains represented in the range, and 'Glaciers Today'. I especially enjoyed the discussion in 'Ecosystem' of 'Animals Great and Small' (have you ever heard of the 'pika'?), and of the best spots for wildlife viewing ('Bear Issues' suggests what to do if bears end up close to you). An appendix of resources is grouped into information relating to each park.

Whether you plan a summer or a winter trip to the Canadian Rockies, I recommend Lonely Planet's Banff, Jasper & Glacier National Parks guidebook to you as an excellent and comprehensive resource.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Travel books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews