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donnawho Mar 9th, 2011 06:23 PM

Banff -Vancouver roadtrip: Please comment on our itinerary:
Here is the preliminary plan for our 40th anniversary trip to Alberta & B.C. in July 2011. It's not cast in stone, but we want to do so soon, as things fill up. Would appreciate comments from seasoned travelers to this area.We're not big on organized group tours.
Day 1: Fly to Calgary from the states, arriving 8pm. Rent car at airport and stay nearby.
Day 2-3-4-5: Rent a condo in Canmore or Banff area and spend those days sightseeing, Icefields, Lake Louise, Bow River, light hiking,etc.
Day 6: Depart in car via HWY 1,stay in Kamloops, sightseeing along the way.
Days 7-8: Drive( via Cache Creek and Lillooet) to Whistler. (2-nite hotel stay there--any suggestions in midprice range ?
Day9-10: Drive up Rt. 101 to Halfmoon Bay, stay 2 nites at Rockwater Secret Cove Resort in one of the "glamping" tents. Kayak and lite hiking.
Day 11: Vancouver (we were just there 3 yrs ago, so don't need to do much touring there.) Want to stay at a "splurge" hotel but it doesn't have to be downtown.
Day 12: Drop car at Vancouver airport, fly back to states on 11am flight.

tomfuller Mar 10th, 2011 07:09 AM

Have you priced what the drop off fee is renting in Calgary and dropping off in Vancouver?
Consider a Brewster tour that covers the Icefield Highway. Rent a car in Jasper and see anything you missed and then return that car in Jasper. Ride the Canadian (ViaRail) as far as Kamloops and then rent a car there. You can get to Whistler on your Kamloops rental. Catch the train from Kamloops to Vancouver 4-5 days after arriving in Kamloops.
I have ridden this train several times and enjoy it.
Since the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics there should be lots of newish hotel rooms in Vancouver.

globall Mar 16th, 2011 12:04 PM

I can only comment on the first part of your trip as we did Calgary to Jasper last summer. Driving the Icefields Pkwy is glorious. Last year we went to the Columbia Icefield Centre to visit the glacier, something I had done 15 years ago. I must say, that we were very disappointed this time round, after having been awestruck years ago! Our 2 teenagers were very 'underwhelmed' too. We paid a great deal of money just to stand on a patch of slush and ice. Many more portions of the glacier are off-bounds compared to 15 years ago. Brewster does not offer an interesting outing anymore!

AdventureSpecialist Mar 24th, 2011 01:59 PM

Renting a car in the Rockies can give you the freedom and flexibility to see the sights on your terms. When you use a travel company sometimes you only get 20 minutes at a beautiful spot, why leave when you've found a favorite place!
There is SO much to see in the rockies and they are spread out between the national parks, make sure to check out Moraine Lake, the Banff gondola up to Sulpher Mountain (hike it if you're up for it!) and if you have time hike or horse back ride to the Little Beehive or Plain of Six glaiciers tea house along Lake Louise.

While you're in Canmore check out The Grizzly Paw Brewery for locally brewed beer and pop with delicious food.

When you're on your drive from Banff to Kamploops make sure to stop in Revelstoke for a bite to eat, it's a beautiful town!

The Opus is a small hotel in Vancouver that is always worth the splurge. It is located near the skytrain line that will take you right to the airport.

Hope you enjoy your trip!

LindainOhio Mar 26th, 2011 03:50 AM

The Canadian Rockies is one of our favorite places to visit. It is one of the few places I would like to return to every year. If you click on my name, I have a trip report here from our last visit a couple years ago. We have yet to get to Vancouver but it is on our list.

You don't mention if you have already made your plane reservations. If there is a large one way drop off charge for your car rental, perhaps you could take a short flight from Calgary to Vancouver.

The drive from Lake Louise to Jasper is so fabulous on the Icefields Parkway. I would hate to have you miss it---and Jasper. We also really enjoyed Jasper. But you would then miss out on Vancouver.

I'm sure you will be happy with your original plan. We are hikers so with your 10 days that you have in the area, I would stay in either Banff or Lake Louise or even Yoho (we stayed at Emerald Lake Lodge one year on a last minute special)and then Jasper.

leeleelew Mar 27th, 2011 11:26 AM

We are planning an almost identical trip in May, with the exception that we are going from Calgary to Banff starting May 11th. Day 2 is Banff to Jasper (with stops at Icefield, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake). Day 3 Jasper to Kamloops via Rts/ 16/1 then Rt. 5. Then Kamloops into Vancouver for 3 days before catching a cruise to Alaska. Are there any particular things to not miss in these places and are we going to have any trouble with icy/snowy roads that might be closed? Thanks.

ShelliDawn Mar 27th, 2011 07:16 PM


Are you planning your trip in early or late May? Most major roads should be open, but Moraine Lake Road may still be closed. It depends on snow conditions and avalanche risk.

Hiking season often doesn't start until June (sometimes mid to late June). Again, it depends on weather conditions. Considering it still looks like winter in Calgary this week, unless we get an extremely warm April/May, I think it will be a late hiking season start this year as well.

brianwatts99 Mar 29th, 2011 06:35 PM

Tomfuller asked

Have you priced what the drop off fee is renting in Calgary and dropping off in Vancouver?

I think that you'll find that both the Calgary to Vancouver and Vancouver to Calgary car rental market is very competitive and with many people going one way (in both directions), rental companies have no trouble returning cars and therefore one way rentals have very little, if any, surcharge for the one way trip.

JennyBTravel Mar 30th, 2011 10:03 AM

I have lived in AB and know your itinerary well.

Brian is right in that many car companies do not have large drop-off fees. Personally The drive from Calgary through Canmore/Banff to Jasper is the nicest part of the trip. I would suggest driving into Kelowna and dropping the car off there and hopping on a Westjet flight into Vancouver. Vancouver can be a mess to drive through and parking can be expensive. Skip the Banff hot springs as it is a large, hot swimming pool and not worth the money.

What types of activities do you enjoy? I can suggest some activities and a route that would suit your liking! Let me know.

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