2 to 3 weeks in BC/Alberta in April

Old Mar 29th, 2012, 08:09 PM
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2 to 3 weeks in BC/Alberta in April

Hi
My boyfriend and I have 2 to 3 weeks in BC/Alberta this month. We are planning on going skiing for 1 week (Big White). We are going to rent a car in Vancouver and drive to Big White, then we were planning on visiting Kelowna, (perhaps other places in the Okanagan valley, maybe wine tour??), Banff, Lake Louise, and possibly Jasper. We are on a budget and we've been looking online, there is some good accomodation deals at the moment which suits us!

We are just wondering whether it's possible to do much hiking/mountain biking at the moment or is it only skiing etc beause of the weather?? Also will the roads be ok up around Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper?

When back in Vancouver we plan to go to Vancouver Island for a night or two. Any suggestions at this time of year of good places to go?

We are still a little vague, and this is all a bit last minute. But any advice would be great!

Thanks.
Sinead_Joyce is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2012, 02:57 PM
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You know, April in Canada, especially the mountains, is a complete turkey-shoot.We have actually had a very mild winter in western Canada this year, and if it stays that way, you should be ok for hiking, and roads.But you can definately get snowstorms throughout the whole month, and there is just no way to predict. Best to just prepare for both-bring good hiking boots, and winter gear just in case. And make sure your rental car is equipped with snow tires, or at least all season radials. If you plan on staying on the main highways you should have no problem, they are well maintained, and if it does snow they are plowed very quickly- but, as I say, you never know. And it just seems to be one of lifes general principles, that if you come completetly prepared for a snow storm, it'll never happen, and you will probably get gorgeous spring weather.
As for Vancouver and the Island, the climate is much gentler there, and April is well into spring-it should be green and pleasant, although it is the "wet" season (April showers and all that) so you may get some rain. If you are just going to the Island for a night or two, you should take the ferry from Tsawaassen (I have no idea if I spelled that right) to Sidney and spend the time in Victoria. It should be in full bloom and beautiful, and it is well worth spending time there.I recommend staying downtown (the Royal Scott Hotel is nice for a decent price) and spend a whole day exploring the various shops and restaurants, pubs etc.And definately check out the Empress Hotel- its a very beattiful building.If time allows, check out Craigdarroch castle (yes, there really is a castle in Victoria!), and the Butchart gardens, which should be really nice at that time. If you do go to the Gardens, go in the afternoon and stick around till after dark- thier night lites turn it into a fairyland you will never forget!
Enjoy!
jimmoi is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2012, 04:15 PM
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There's fresh snow up on the local mountains in Vancouver, but here in the city the streets are awash in pink cherry blossoms. April's too early for alpine hiking, that's for sure - but closer to sea level, especially along the coast, it'll be perfect, just perhaps a little muddy.

April in the Rockies is still winter. Late winter, mind you. The roads will be clear, but the famous turquoise lakes will be still frozen and covered in snow.

Also, I'm not sure about the Okanagan - it's a beautiful place and you can certainly tour the wineries, but summer and autumn is when that region totally shines (in my opinion).

My suggestion?

Focus on the coast (Vancouver Island, Vancouver & Lower Mainland) for hiking and nature walks. Visit the Gulf Islands.

Drive around the rest of BC knowing full well it will be the late season of winter activities and winter sightseeing.
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Old Mar 31st, 2012, 04:18 PM
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Oh, and if you can, spend 3 full days in and around the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island. It's well worth it, and it's spectacular any time of the year. Think: large, ancient rainforests.

For mountain biking, you'll want to contact Tourism Squamish (in Squamish, north of Vancouver, south of Whistler) and North Shore Tourism (North Vancouver) to see what the conditions are like. Those two places are famous for mountain biking. Whistler is still getting dumps of snow - no mountain biking there.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 10:04 PM
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Thank you both very much for your replies.

I will definitely ask the car rental company for the right tyres. Vancouver Island sounds lovely so we will some time there and do hiking.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 10:23 PM
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You won't be doing any hiking in April in the Rockies but it's still good cross-country and snow-shoeing conditions if you are interested in those activities. Here's a link to the trail reports in Banff National Park.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 10:23 PM
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Oops, here's the link: http://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/tcond/cond_e.asp?oPark=100092
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