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Calgary-Vancouver-Calgary 12-day road trip

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My husband and I are doing a 12 day road trip from Calgary to Vancouver and back at the end of August/early September. Can't wait to finally see the Rockies up close! We arrive in Calgary on the afternoon of day 1 and leave Calgary on day 12, mid-morning. We'd like to drive through Banff and Jasper (day hikes, possibly do some guided river rafting) and visit some other parks as we drive through the region and into BC and towards Vancouver. We'd like to spend a few days in Calgary and Vancouver. Ideally, we'd be circling our drive along different routes between Calgary and Vancouver as opposed to doubling back along the same route. Also, I've always wanted to visit Haida Gwaii but I don't think time will allow. Any thoughts on the best use of our time / suggested itineraries and basic accommodations?

Many thanks!!!!

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    First, if you haven't booked accommodation yet, then you need to do that ASAP. You may or may not be able to find places to stay - especially in Jasper. It's been a record breaking summer here in terms of tourist numbers, with some hotels long since booked up for the whole summer. And there's a holiday weekend in early September. You need to look ASAP, be flexible and not be fussy about budget. Average hotel room is going to be $250 or so, likely more at this late a juncture. All places in Banff & Lake Louise are listed at www.banfflakelouise.com In Jasper, you can try PHAs - www.stayinjasper.com, though you have to call/e-mail each one individually.

    Chances are, availability of rooms will dictate your itinerary - places like Jasper and Lake Louise have been nearly booked out for many weeks.

    Second, 12 days is the absolute bare minimum to drive round trip from Calgary to Vancouver and back, and that's not counting time in Calgary or Vancouver. And you actually really have 10 days. Certainly don't have time for Haida Gwaii which is to the far north in BC. Nowhere near your road trip. I would also scratch any time in Calgary - not worth spending time there on an average time, let alone when you have so little time.

    With your time frame, I would strongly suggest a ONE WAY trip and fly back to Calgary. You are going to struggle as it is to find places to stay at this late a date, and you don't have time for the round trip.

    I would suggest getting out of Calgary on Day 1. Plan to either do one day in Lake Louise/Banff/Canmore, then to Jasper for 2-3 nights, then back to LL/Banff/Canmore for 3-4 more nights. Or do longer in LL etc first - Jasper will be the hardest to find accommodation, so you may need a lot of flexibility. Then 2-3 nights across BC, then your last nights in Vancouver.

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