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Best route from Vancouver to Banff, Best town for overnight stay

Best route from Vancouver to Banff, Best town for overnight stay

May 6th, 2009, 05:21 AM
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Best route from Vancouver to Banff, Best town for overnight stay

We are planning to take two days to drive from Vancouver to Banff. Which route would be the most scenic. Hwy 99, #1 or #5?

Also, which is the best town for an overnight stay - Kamloops, Salmon Arm?
UnderTheStars is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 06:49 AM
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They are all quite scenic in different ways. 99 will be the slowest route.

My preference would be to take the Coquihalla (5) as far as Merritt and then cross on 97C to Kelowna and up to Salmon Arm for an overnight. You won't have quite the choice of accommodation as Kamloops, but its location on Shuswap Lake makes it much more attractive.
laverendrye is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 09:53 AM
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Thanks laverendrye! Do you know about how long that route will take - Vancouver to Salmon Arm?

Also, is that the most scenic route? With only an overnight stay, I am more interested in the most scenic route vs the most scenic accommodation...if that makes sense.
UnderTheStars is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 10:49 AM
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If you want the most scenic route you should take the Hope Princeton Hwy. That is Highway 3. You pick that up just after Hope (Highway 5 Coquilla branches off from that) The drive through Manning Park is very scenic but the road is not 4 lanes and not a lot of passing lanes - typical mountain drive. Then when you get to Princeton you follow the river on flatter terrain which is very pretty - a few nice campgrounds etc along the way.At Keremeous take5A towards Penticton. Then you travel along Skaha Lake until you get to Penticton and you follow Okanagan Lake to Kelowna. It is definitely the most scenic drive. From Vancouver to Kelowna via that route is approx 6 hours. If you overnight there it is approx 6 1/2 hours to Banff. This route takes you through Vernon again a very pretty drive then on up 97C to Sicamous where you will meet up with Highway 1. If you have a good map of BC you can see the route. We drive this way often and it is my favourite way. The Coquihalla and connector to Kelowna is a quicker way but you are mainly travelling through forest.
traveller69 is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 07:23 PM
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I still think the #1 all the way is very scenic. The drive through the Hell's Gate area is pretty spectacular.
Salmon Arm's a pretty good mid-way stop as is Revelstoke.
taggie is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 06:35 AM
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Thank you traveller69 and taggie for your input. I do have a map of the area and have looked at the routes.

We will probably travel #1.
UnderTheStars is offline  
May 7th, 2009, 08:36 AM
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I endorse traveller69's suggestion for Hwy 3 to the Okanagan. The scenery is interesting and varied. It will take longer than the Coquihalla, but you can certainly get to Kelowna or even Salmon Arm comfortably in a day.

I've always found Hwy 1 through the Fraser Canyon and then on to Kamloops a bit tedious, but the Canyon certainly is quite scenic.

Vancouver to Kamloops via Whistler and Lilooet is undoubtedly very scenic, but from Whistler to Cache Creek the highway is narrow and winding.

Whichever way you choose to go, the last part of your journey, from Revelstoke to Banf, is to my mind the most spectacular.
laverendrye is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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When you say "tedious" travel on Hwy 1 through Fraser Canyon - do you mean narrow, twisty road and the feeling you will fall off a the side of a mountain?

I have looked at the map again and have one question for traveller69. "Keremeous take5A towards Penticton" - do you mean 3A that crosses over to Kaleden (the bottom part of Skaha Lake?)?
UnderTheStars is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Hi Underthestars - sorry about that - yes I meant 3A. Laverendrye is right about Hwy 1 - there is a very scenic part but it gets tedious after that. The route that offers a little bit of everything and is more scenic is the one I recommended. I have lived in BC all of my life and travelled Hwy 1 before there was an option and Hell's Gate is very scenic but the rest of the drive to Kamloops in not so inspiring. Also as Laverendre said the section from Revelstoke to Banff is spectacular. We drive between Penticton and Kelowna at least 2 or 3 times a month and we never get tired of that route. It is gorgeous driving along the lake. I think the route I recommended gives you a better cross section of BC.
traveller69 is offline  
May 9th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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Thank you traveller69 for your reply. After that great explanation, we are taking your route. Thanks again!
UnderTheStars is offline  
May 9th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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UndeTheStars. I think that traveller69 has explained the "tedious" nature of the Canyon route well. I don't think that you will be disappointed by the route through Manning Park and the Okanagan.
laverendrye is offline  
May 9th, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Underthestars - I am glad you are going to take the route I suggested. What time of the year are you planning on visiting? As I mentioned in an earlier post the Manning Park Lodge is a perfect stopping spot just to stretch your legs and have a coffee or meal. I would also suggest Kelowna as the overnight stop - plenty of accommodation and restaurants there.
traveller69 is offline  
May 9th, 2009, 07:08 PM
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Thanks laverendrye and traveller69. We are traveling the 4th week of June and have booked a hotel reservation in Kelowna.

Thanks again!
UnderTheStars is offline  
Apr 12th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Have read all your replies with interest. Just new to this forum. Have just learned that Rocky Mountaineer ceases Oct 1 and we wish to travel Banff to Vancouver Oct 3. Thinking of driving. Will the conditions be ok for that this time of year> Thanks folks.
DeeDeeWood is offline  
May 13th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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Dear Under The Stars,

As this post was exactly the question that I had in my family vacation plan, I checked your previous posts as well and learned you have been already in all places that I plan to visit. I am planning to have a family vacation (a week to celebrate our 5th year anniversary) in Canada (I live near Chicago) including Vancouver, British Columbia, and driving Vancouver to Banff.

Instead of posting new forums with lots of questions, I just wonder if you can share your itinerary or experiences with me. We my husband and I, 2 year old son) arrive on May 20 in Vancouver and we are very flexible at this point where to go , stay, visit and what to do. We will rent a car and stay a couple of days in Vancouver and will drive out to Banff for the rest of days. My email is [email protected]

(Sorry for other readers...that I am new to this forum and could not find a way to communicate directly with members)
I would really appreciate any comments or supports
HaveASunnyDay is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 12:48 AM
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We would like to either drive catch a bus or train from Banff to Vancouver
Which is better and appropriate for a retired couple and not too expensive
soljay19 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2013, 02:56 AM
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we (seniors) intend to travel from vancouver to calgary in September. We have already been in Banff, Lake Louise and near Hope and Kelowna. We now plan to stay at Kamloops for 2 nights, then Golden, (2 nights) and then go up to Jasper (2 nights). I understand that we had better change Kamloops to Salmon Arm. Any suggestions for not too expensive b&bs/hotels and the most scenic routes?
dedreu is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2013, 10:42 AM
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soljay, the only train service from Banff to Vancouver is the luxury tour train, the Rocky Mountaineer. www.rockymountaineer.com Scheduled passenger rail service on VIA Rail is only available from Jasper to Vancouver, not Banff. Bus service is via Greyhound www.greyhound.ca ... probably not recommeneded, unless you are budget/backpacker travellers.

dedreu, all of the routes are scenic, but to get to Jasper from Vancouver, I would give the edge to the TransCanada highway #1 and the Icefields Parkway over the alternate route from Kamloops (highways #5 and 16). You can't go wrong either way, though. You can find B&B listings for all over Canada at www.bbcanada.com . For the Jasper area, we have a lot of "private home accommodations" (like B&B, only without breakfast) and a few B&Bs - you'll find many of them listed on the Jasper page of the site above, or can use the search options on www.stayinjasper.com . Banff's B&Bs are all listed, along with all hotels etc., at www.banfflakelouise.com .
krp329 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 02:30 AM
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Hi everyone

We are coming from sydney australia and will be spendng 5 days to get from vancouver to Banff to see this beautiful national park in september this year. As we have no idea of the routes and tarrain and its beauty which is the nicest, and if possible, shortest route to take? Also any recommendations of towns to stay overnight and best places to see in and around Banff would be a most welcomed feedback. Thank you
Aussietravellers6 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2013, 05:33 AM
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Is that 5 days just to make the trip between Vancouver and Banff, or 5 days including seeing Banff? No matter how you dice it, you are looking at about 12 hours "car time" unless you want to make this a scenic trip through BC with some detours and stopovers.

We break this up into two days. It's doable in 1 day, but you can run into traffic delays (a lot of mountain roads, 1 lane each direction and no passing), or weather delays.

There are several scenic options, as you see from the posts above. In addition to those suggestions, we have also gone from the Okanagan to Nelson for a day, then up to Revelstoke (including an inland ferry) and onto Banff. Scenic, but slower. Or, from Nelson, you could take the Kootenay Lake Ferry, along through Kimberley and up 93 a la Hello BC's Hot Springs Route.

If you do in fact have 5 days to actually get from Vancouver to Banff, check out some of the driving routes here for ideas:
sludick is offline  
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