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Western Canada in July for 3 weeks / itinerary

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I and my girlfriend are planning a trip to Western Canada in July for 3 weeks. We are renting a car, love landscape photography and hiking.
Could you please check my itinerary if it makes a sense to you? Something you would change in the itinerary? Do you have any tips what else to see or on contrary what to skip?
Many thanks for your help in advance!

6.7.2017 Vancouver sighseeing in the city
7.7.2017 Vancouver - - Kamloops? - Clearwater 4 h 41 min (478 km) – Wells Grey National Park 12 min (7.8 km) - Mount Robson 2 h 29 min (239 km) AM: car hire and travel PM: Kinney lake hike (2,5 h)
8.7.2017 Jasper NP - Pyramid Lake 1 h 11 min (92.9 km) - Athabasca Falls 35 min (37.4 km) AM:Cottonwood Creek/Pyramid Lake Loop (2h) PM: Cavell Meadows hike (3h) Lake Edith and Lake Annette; Miette Hot Springs
9.7.2017 Jasper NP (by car) Medicine Lake - Maligne Lake Parking -> Skyline Trail (20 km)
10.7.2017 Jasper NP Skyline Trail (24 km) -shuttle back to Parking / Dock area, boat cruise?
11.7.2017 Icefields parkway / Wilcox Pass 2 h (152 km) Goats and Glaciers Viewpoint; Athabasca falls?
Sunwapta Falls (1km) - priority:1; Tangle Falls; PM: Columbia Icefied - 13:30- 16:30 Athabasca glacier tour
Wilcox Pass (4km one way; 2h r.) - priority:1; Parker ridge (2,4km one way, 1h r.) - priority:1*
12.7.2017 Banff NP: Peyto Lake 1 h 13 min (80 km) Chephren Lake (3,5 km; 2 h r.); Peyto Lake lookout (1,4km); Peyto glacier viewpoint (3km) - priority:1; Bow Glacier Falls (4,3km one way; 2h r.); Crowfoot Glacier Viewpoint
13.7.2017 Yoho NP - town Field 44 min (59.7 km) / Golden 1 h 21 min (121 km)/ Rafting 8:45-14:00 or 14:00 – 18:30 (pref); Spiral Tunnels, Emerald lake, Lake O'Hara, Lake Oesa, Twin Falls,
14.7.2017 Banff NP - lake Lousie & Moraine 21 min (26.5 km) *AM: Larch Valley /Sentinel Pass hike (4h) OR Eiffel Lakes and Wenkchemna Pass; PM: Moraine Lake, chillout
15.7.2017 Banff NP - town Banff 36 min (56.6 km) AM: Mount Norquay - via ferrata tour: 8:30 - 12:30
PM: Corry Pass / Edith Pass trail (4h) /Johnston Canyon trail (1,5h),
16.7.2017 Banff / Kootenay NP - Mount Shark Helipad 1 h 26 min (67.8 km) AM: Two Jack Lake, chillout
PM: helicopter 12:00 to Assiniboine lodge
17.7.2017 Kootenay NP-Calgary 1 h 43 min (164 km) Wonder pass trail (26km; 9h)
18.7.2017 Calgary sighseeing in the city
19.7.2017 Calgary - Waterton Lakes NP - Waterton town 2 h 48 min (272 km) AM: Calgary
PM: Crandell Lake MTB?, chillout, Bertha falls?
20.7.2017 Glacier NP ("Logan Pass") 1 h 6 min (72.7 km) The Highline Loop - Swiftcurrent Pass hike (25km; 6,5h)
21.7.2017 Glacier NP via Grinell lake back to the Logan Pass (24 km; 6h)
22.7.2017 Spokane 5 h 26 min (489 km) - Winthrop 3 h 29 min (295 km) Grand Coulee Dam, Highway 20, North Casacades NP
23.7.2017 North Cascades National Park 1 h 34 min (118 km) - (? Seattle2 h 19 min (188 km)) Diablo Lake Overlook; Cascade Pass hike (4h)
24.7.2017 Seattle 2 h 19 min (188 km) sighseeing in the city
25.7.2017 Seattle - Mt. Rainier (2h) Mt. Rainier / sighseeing in the city
26.7.2017 Vancouver 2 h 34 min (229 km) sighseeing in the city

  • Report Abuse

    That is one jam-packed itinerary... I will be interested to hear what others' feedback tell you, but if I'm reading your schedule correctly, I think some days are not realistic. I'll kick things off with day one, Vancouver to Clearwater and on to Mt Robson. Are you stopping at Clearwater or Wells Grey? I doubt it but wonder why you listed them. All that driving, no stops for the many photo ops you are interested in, and a hike at Mt. Robson. Wow. That is too much, imo.
    Are you camping? Have you made reservations for campgrounds or other accommodations?

  • Report Abuse

    I agree - many of those days are just not realistic.

    First, have you booked accommodation? If not, you need to do that ASAP. You may well have a lot of difficulty finding accommodation in places like Jasper, especially if you are on a budget (hotel rooms average $300 per night in the summer). Your itinerary might well be dictated by where you can find a place to stay. I'd book now and build your itinerary around that.

    If you can find places to stay, I'd skip Clearwater. I'd focus on going via the TCH to the Rockies and giving yourself two full days to see the Icefields Parkway. Going to Clearwater in one day is heck of a lot of driving - you won't have any time for hiking, let along to go all the way to Mt. Robson Provincial Park and seeing anything else. From there, you'd have an hour plus drive back to any fixed accommodation.

    In Jasper, note that you will need a permit to drive on the Edith Cavell Road. These are only issue between 8-10am, and as they will be issue up to two days in advance, you will likely need to get them two days in advance. They are for a specific time, so no guarantees that you'd get the time you want.

    The Skyline Trails is usually done in two or three days - it is not a day hike unless you are an extremely fit trail runner. There's a LOT of elevation gain, exposure and one section can have snow until the end of July. You need good weather and several days to do it as a hike.

    For YOHO NP, rafting will pretty much take up your da by the time you get to Golden and back (lots of road construction and traffic). Day tickets to Lake O'Hara sold out last month and that's a full day trip. It would be a full day to see Emerald Lake, Takkakaw Falls adding a hike at one of those places. There's a lot of driving between those places and you have to find parking which can be a real challenge.

    Also no way you are going to see Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and do all that hiking. You need to be at Moraine Lake by 8:30 or even early to get parking. Sentinel Pass is a full day hike and for that or any of the Larch Valley hikes, you must be in a group of at least four people (bear safety).

    For July 16 - have you booked the helicopter? A bit confused - is this a short day sightseeing trip or an overnight trip? Generally the only helicopter trips to Assiniboine are if you've reserved lodge or hut space and are at least 2-3 days because the helicopter only flies a few days a week. And probably are booked up by now. Also, the Mt Shark helipad is way out in Kananaskis Country - not in Banff NP. It's over an hour drive from Banff, likely longer. And the flights don't work on a strict schedule - you likely need to be there well before noon and they take people and loads out one after the other as long as they need and as long as the weather holds. Some days they get everyone there, some days they do not.

    If you are hiking out the next day, that's a VERY full day and you'd likely need to arrange a car shuttle because you exit out well away from Mt. Shark. 9h is a long hike with an overnight pack, especially if there is bad weather or afternoon thunderstorms. You need to be very fit to make that work realistically.

    In general, I think this is not realistic at all. Your first thing needs to book accommodation and any tours/trips ASAP. If you haven't, you may well need to seriously rework your trip. And I think you need to look at hikes realistically - 20km is a very long distance when it comes to elevation gain/altitude/scrambling. To have time to chill and take photos, you maybe have time for half that. I would take out Glacier NP - Waterton will give you a taste of that area. Three weeks is really only enough time for Vancouver to Rockies to Vancouver loop without seeing any of the US - if you want time for the kind of hikes you are proposing.

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks guys! I have done some changes to the itinerary due to your advice.

    Re Cavell Road permit - ok, so I would need to pick up my permit on 7/6 in the morning. right? Maybe if I postopone this hike to Monday next day, it may work? Or it isnt worth the hassle and we should do another hike?

    Re 7/7 We will go straight to Mt Robson (should be 7 hours drive, if the traffic will be ok - dunno - its friday), we will do the hike, if not, we will do it in the morning next day.

    Re 7/9-10 Skyline trail - I had to drop it. Same with Lake O'Hara.

    Re Larch Valley hikes - how are those group formed? can we just stick with another couple for example?

    Re Mt Assiniboine - heli is still available, however I have changed the plan - I want to hike up via Sunshine route and return back via Wonder pass to Mount Sharke trailhead (in 4 days) - from there I have a shuttle which will drop me back in Sunshine village

    Re accommodation - we have booked campgrounds.

    Thanks again, your help is much appreciated!

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