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Active 10 Days Driving from Vancouver to Calgary

Active 10 Days Driving from Vancouver to Calgary

Old May 12th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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Active 10 Days Driving from Vancouver to Calgary

I know that there have been numerous posts on this topic, but I would love just a bit of personalized advice.
My wife and I are avid hikers, love exploring national parks, but also enjoy a few days in the city. We are planning to fly into Vancouver on August 3rd and depart from Calgary on August 12. In between we would like to do a couple of days in Vancouver and devote the remainder to the Canadian Parks. Any advice on itinerary, time allotment, recommended hikes and lodgings would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 07:46 AM
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I took a tour with www.moosenetwork.com two years ago from Vancouver to Jasper and back. Really enjoyed it. You may want to check out their website to get ideas where they stop.

Be sure to spend a few days at Whistler. There is hiking, river rapids, showboarding, hiking, biking, bunging jumping and just about everything.

Grouse Mountain is just outside Vancouver. I always hike up the mountain and take the gondola back down. I climbed it in just under one hour last year. You can use the public bus system to get out to Grouse Mountain.

I would avoid having a car in Vancouver. It really isn't necessary.

If you do the bus tour, you will have more time and energy to climb and more time to rest.

BTW, there are some great Greek restaurants in the Davie Street area of Vancouver.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 07:59 AM
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Thanks for the referral but we definitely want to drive ourselves, even if that means picking up a car as we leave Vancouver.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Hello hermbo,

Here are my suggestions.

Aug 3 – Arrive in Vancouver.

4 – Explore Vancouver’s centrally located attractions (Stanley Park, Granville Island Market, Yaletown and, if you have time, Robson Street).

5 – Visit Vancouver’s "North Shore," which is across Burrard Inlet from downtown. The usual North Shore attractions include Capilano Canyon and Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. You have to pay to walk across the suspension bridge at Capilano Canyon, and the place has more of a theme park atmosphere. If you want a free and more natural experience, you can go to Lynn Canyon, where there also is a nice forest in which you can walk.

Note that this will be a public holiday long weekend, as Monday 7th will be B.C. Day in British Columbia and Heritage Day in Alberta.

The Vancouver page of my website has links to excellent websites about Vancouver that Vancouverites have created:


6 - Drive east towards the Rockies. On your schedule, I recommend against taking the popular detour through the Okanagan Valley. If you had just one more day, I would suggest you include the Okanagan. As it is, I suggest you take one of these two routes:

(i) Vancouver – Hope – Kamloops – Revelstoke. Spend the night at Three Valley Gap (recommended) or the town of Revelstoke. This drive is quite scenic, and takes 6.5 hours.

(ii) Vanouver – Whistler – Kamloops – Revelstoke. The route via Whistler is more scenic. However, if you try to make it to Revelstoke by that night, you’ll have 9.5 hours of driving (not counting stops). You could make it a 6.5 hour drive (not counting stops) if you were less ambitious, and drove only as far as Kamloops on this day. There would be merit in doing that. If you stopped in Kamloops, however, you’d have more of a full day’s drive on the 7th, and you wouldn’t have enough time left over for a hike in the vicinity of Moraine Lake on the afternoon of the 7th.

7 - Drive to Lake Louise.

Between Revelstoke and Golden you’ll drive over the impressive Rogers Pass. Between Golden and LL you’ll drive through Yoho National Park. Just before you reach the hamlet of Field, turn off and see Emerald Lake. Just after Field, turn off and visit Takakkaw Falls.

You should reach LL around lunch time. Spend the afternoon at Moraine Lake. You’ll probably have time to do the hike to Lower Consolation Lake or perhaps even enough time to do the Larch Valley hike.

You will lose an hour on this day as you cross from the Pacific to the Mountain Time Zone between Revelstoke and Golden.

8 - Do the Lake Agnes – Beehives – Plain of Six Glaciers hiking circuit behind Lake Louise.

9 - Drive up the Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93) to Jasper. Stop at Peyto Lake, Columbia Icefields, Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls. Consider doing the hike to Bow Glacier Falls or the shorter one to Parker Ridge.

10 – Spend half a day doing the Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows hike, and spend half a day in Maligne Canyon.

11 - Drive back down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. At LL turn east onto the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy #1A), and visit Johnston Canyon. It’s a popular spot, and the parking lot is very full during the summer, so may the force be with you. Walk at least to the Lower Falls. Visit the Banff townsite and have dinner there.

Whether you can spend your last night in the mountains (in Banff or Canmore) depends on the time of your flight out of Calgary the next day. If you have a morning flight, you need to drive on to Calgary after dinner. I recommend spending the night in the northeast quadrant of Calgary, which is where the airport is located. The hotels in that quadrant can be recognized by the fact that they often have the word “airport” in their names, and their street addresses always end in NE.

If you’ll be flying out of Calgary around noon or later on the 12th, you can spend your last night in Canmore or Banff.

This page of my website describes the logistics of Calgary Airport:


The TIPS section of my website has links to practical information like weather, what to pack, national park entry fees, driving distances and times, maps, other informative websites, etc.


When it comes to accommodation, what’s your price range? Do you like large hotels, small inns, self-catering chalets or B&Bs?
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Old May 12th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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Wow! Thank you so much for the incredibly comprehensive reply. In response to your question about lodging, we love nice B&B's and don't need fancy places (just clean and convenient), but would also splurge if there is some place that is so unique and special that it is not to be missed.
We don't leave Calgary until 3:45pm, so I would anticipate spending that last night in the mountains.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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Two other things, Judy: First, I have looked at your website and it is truly amazing. Second, we arrive pretty early into Vancouver on the 3d. After reading your advice, I think we will probably leave the morning of the 5th, hopefully enabling us to take the Okanagan detour. What does that entail?
Thanks again.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Hi hermbo,

Glad you've found the information to be useful. Here's a suggested tweak.

Aug 5 – Take the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1) from Vancouver to Hope. At Hope turn onto Hwy #3, and drive through beautiful Manning Provincial Park to Princeton. At Princeton, turn north and drive on scenic Hwy #5A. When Hwy #5A hits Hwy #97C, turn east. This is a less scenic stretch of road, but it’s a price worth paying for the sake of seeing the scenery along Hwy #5A.

When you reach Hwy #97, turn north to Kelowna on the shores of Okanagan Lake.

Aug 6 - You could spend this day exploring the Okanagan Valley from Kelowna (or from whichever Okanagan town you'd chosen as your base).

The Okanagan area has wineries, golf courses, and pleasant lakes, amongst other things.

Another option would be to spend the morning in the Okanagan area, but press on to Revelstoke by that night. That would preserve for you the ability to hike in the Moraine Lake area on the afternoon of the 7th.

That said, I do think there is merit in trying to arrange more 2-night stops and fewer 1-night stops.

Aug 7 – Drive from the Kelowna area to Vernon. Stop there to see the colour of Lake Kalamalka.

Drive on to Salmon Arm or Sicamous. Sicamous would be the shorter, more direct way. Salmon Arm would be longer and less direct. However, if you went to Salmon Arm, you'd catch glimpses of the Shuswap Lake while you drove on to Sicamous.

Between Sicamous and Revelstoke is Craigellachie, where the last spike was driven into the trans-continental railway. The site is to Canada what Promontory, Utah is to the USA.

Revelstoke is an interesting place, for several reasons. One of the things that fascinates me about it is that it’s situated in an old growth inland temperate rainforest. British Columbia’s inland temperate rainforests are unique. All of the world’s other temperate rainforests are along coastlines.

If you choose the option that gives you a bit more time in the Revelstoke area, you could drive the Meadows in the Sky Parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park, just outside the town of Revelstoke.

From here, you could carry on with the previously suggested itinerary.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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I recommend:

Vancouver - Whistler (1 day)
Whistler - Wells Gray PP (1 day)
Wells Gray PP (Clearwater)- Jasper (1 day)
Jasper - Banff (1 day)
Banff - Calgary (1 day)

This route will give you 5 days spare days and you can deceide for yourself, how to spend the days.

I recommend the BC approved accommodation guide 2006 (available free of charge via "hellobc"). The booklet will give a good overview about the different accommodations and price level. I strongley recommend reservations for Banff and Jasper in August.

We love cabins and remote lodges, but there are also all other types of accommodations available.
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Old May 12th, 2006, 02:02 PM
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I am surprised nobody recommends the hike to Lake O'Hara, It is certainly one of the most beautiful spots.

Check out these webshots

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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:45 AM
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If you want a series of spectacular hikes, let me suggest you obtain a copy of the Canadian Rockes Trail Guide by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson. The guide is not in its 7th edition. I find it to be excellent it give distances, elevation changes, and trail descriptions.

Although I have walked many miles of trails in the Rockies, I have just scratched the surface.

My all time favorite one is the Whaleback Trail in Yoho. To do that in one day takes a strong hiker because it is quite a long walk, but unsurpassed in beauty.

The approach is a little unspectacular because it involves about a 6 mile walk up the Yoho River Valley and and an ascent of the valley side near Twin Falls.

If you want to get started a little sooner, take the Iceline Trail which goes up the valley side near Whiskey Jack Hostel close to the Takkakaw Falls parking area.

It soon takes you up to the shelf along the side of the valley and after a few miles you are skirting the thin ice sheet remains of the Emerald Glacier.

You can take a cutoff from the Iceline at the high point on the trail, descend to a small lake, cross the Little Yoho, and pickup the steep ascent of the Whaleback.

Otherwise, perhaps you can get lucky and find a seat on the bus to Lake O'Hara and start off with anyone of many routes around the vicinity of the lake.

If you want a scramble, take the trailto Opabin Lake and then walk the route from there known as the Yuckness Ledge over to Lake Oesa. From Oesa, you can reteurn to O'Hara.

Then, if you have some steam left, take the highline trail to Lake McArthur.

In Glacier National Park there are several steep, ambitious ascents.
Perley Rock is one of them.
It was too much for me when I finally got out there!

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