Best national parks: Avoid the crowds

Get outdoors and skip the lines during the high season

Kootenay, southeast B.C.
Photo by John Clark; written by Darren Davidson

Kootenay, southeast B.C.

Where is it? The park is 200 miles north of Sandpoint, Idaho, and about two hours from Calgary International Airport. The trailhead for the Stanley Glacier Trail, featured here, is off Highway 93 in the park, 10 minutes south of better-known Banff.

Where to pitch a tent: In a subalpine spruce forest, 61 sites at Marble Canyon Campground (from $22 U.S.) are a five-minute drive from the trailhead.

Where to book a room: Your best bet for bed, bath—and hot tub—is in Banff. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (from $408 U.S.; fairmont.com) is the luxe—and large—option. Kootenay Park Lodge log cabins (from $132 U.S.; kootenayparklodge.com) are an intimate, affordable alternative, as is the Banff Boutique Inn (from $205 U.S.; banffboutiqueinn.com).

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