Calgary to Vancouver routes

Old May 3rd, 2005, 07:18 AM
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Calgary to Vancouver routes

We are looking for some advice please on a car route, and suggestions for accommodation on the way, for a 48 hour trip (midday to midday) from Calgary to Vancouver. We will already have spent 8 days in the Rockies National Parks and may have been as far west as Golden and Radium but don't mind if we have to retrace some of our steps.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 10:30 AM
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Let me suggest that you drive along the Trans Canada through Golden and over Rodgers Pass. A stop in Glacier NP is well worth it on a clear day. The peaks in the Selkirks are extremely jagged and daunting. Some of the steepist hiking trails around are in Glacier.

Mount Revelstoke NP is also on that route.
In Revelstoke, turn south and drive along the Columbia to the vicinity of Nakusp.

Then, cross the river on a ferry, and continue on to the Okanagan Valley around Vernon. All of the towns of the Okanagan are pretty places to me.

Kelowna is the largest of the group, and the most "citified".

From there, take Route 3 through
Manning Park. There is a good place to spend the night there in the motel units. We had a very nice room. The then head on to Hope and take the Trans Canada to Vancouver.

On this route, depending on how long you stop in Glacier, you might call it a day in Vernon, BC.

I kid you now, Glacier NP is a beautiful place. I know, it is more mountains, but they are different. By the time you get to Rodgers Pass, you will have left the North American Plate, crossed the Rocky Mountain Trench, which is full of the Columbia River, and ascended onto one of several terraines that joined the North American Plate a few million years ago. Geologically that area is different, and it all came from someplace else.

You can see a decided shift in the type of rocks. From sedimentary you shift to crystalline, and the spires becomes much more jagged, and the rock faces more smooth and vertical.


Even if you don't spend the night at the lodge in Manning Park, there is a very nice mountain drive heading north off the main road.

If you elect not to do this route, a good substitute is to take the Trans Canada through the canyon of the Fraser River. The usual route is to take the toll road, known as the Coquihalla Freeway. It is a little faster, but not as scenic as the Fraser Canyon route.

The route is full of things to see, and the drive between Revelstoke and Nakusp is pretty.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 10:32 AM
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OOPS I meant to say, I kid you NOT.
I am NOT trying to mislead you by what I said. I miswhacked again.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 04:44 AM
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Thanks for the very detailed reply Bob. Does anyone else have a diferent route to suggest or alternative stopovers?
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:35 AM
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Hello allank,

I like the route Bob has given you.

In theory you also could drive Lake Louise in a roughly southerly direction to Radium, Fairmont, and Cranbrook, and then in a roughly westerly direction through Princeton and Hope to Vancouver.

However, while that more southerly route also is attractive, it is longer.

I really do like Rogers Pass between Golden and Revelstoke, and you would see that if you followed Bob's suggested route. In addition to that, Manning Provincial Park between Princeton and Hope is very scenic.

In theory you could drive from Jasper to Kamloops and then to Hope and Vancouver. However, that route is not quite as scenic as the one Bob has suggested.

One thing that mystifies me a bit is why , after having spent 8 days in the mountain national parks, you need to go to Calgary before continuing to Vancouver. But maybe I'm missing something. My question assumes you would have accessed the mountains from Calgary in the first place, so I'm wondering why you would need to return there. But then perhaps you intend to turn in your RV (mentioned in another thread) before continuing to Vancouver.

Which brings me to another question. When you asked for accommodation suggestions between Calgary and Vancouver, were you asking about hotels or campgrounds?
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Old May 4th, 2005, 07:12 AM
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I cannot really help on the places to stay between Vancouver and Banff.

The drive through Kooteney Park is pretty. Then Route 3 winds through the hills to Hope. That route can be very slow.

The times we have driven between Victoria and Lake Louise/Field, we have stayed in Manning Park, Vernon, and Chilliwack. Last year we stayed in Manning before driving eastward to Field.

Other times we have wandered around the Kokanee Glacier area and spent the night in Nakusp, and once in Revelstoke.

Other than the lodge at Manning Park, the places were average motels of no particular outstanding features.

I do remember one motel in Nakusp where my room had been sold to someone else even though I had given my credit card number as a guarantee. I had even called two days before and said, "I will be late in arriving." The term late was defined as near dark. The manager greeted me when I came in and said she was sorry, but I was late and she had sold my room to someone else.

Her explanation: She had called my home (in Athens Georgia) and nobody answered.
Late in this case was 8 pm. I am still trying to figure why she would call my residence about 2,500 miles away and expect to find someone at home when I was on a trip in British Columbia.

In the end, I stayed that night at a bed and breakfast run by two sisters. I think I got a better place. Nice people.

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Old May 4th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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Thanks again Bob.

Also, thanks to you Judy. Yes, you guessed right, we have to return our rv to Calgary. We couldn't get a drop-off in Vancouver, unfortunately. So we will be travelling to Vancouver by car and it is hotel/lodge accommodation(mid-price)that we're looking for.

Allan
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Old May 4th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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Hello allank,

In following Bob's suggested route, perhaps you can spend your first night in Revelstoke. That's about 5 hours from Calgary (not counting stops). I say that because you'll leave Calgary at midday, so will have only half a day in which to drive. (But your day will have an hour added to it, because you'll cross from the Mountain to the Pacific Time Zone between Golden and Revelstoke.)

I've never spent a night in Revelstoke, but it's a town of some 8,000 people and does have a few hotels and motels.

You could consider spending the next night in Kelowna, which has a population of 150,000 and quite a large stock of accommodation. I've never stayed in commercial accommodation there either, because we've stayed with friends in nearby Vernon and Oliver. We did rent a furnished cabin at Woods Lake, but rentals were by the week, so that wouldn't help you. However, if you do a word search for Kelowna here at Fodor's, you'll find information stored in previous discussion threads.

It would take you 6+ hours (not counting stops) to drive Revelstoke - Nakusp - Vernon - Kelowna. You would need to catch the Fauquier-Needles ferry across Lower Arrow Lake. Waiting for the ferry might add half an hour to your journey.

A nice way to drive from Kelowna to Vancouver is as follows:

Take Hwy #97 south from Kelowna. Before you reach Peachland, turn west on Hwy #97C.

At Aspen Grove turn south on Hwy #5A to Princeton. That road goes through lovely alpine scenery.

At Princeton, turn west onto Hwy #3. The road dips down through Manning Provincial Park and then back up to Hope.

At Hope turn west on Hwy #1 to Vancouver.

That is essentially the way that Bob suggested to you, but I wanted to be sure you knew about Hwy #5A, which is very scenic.

That drive takes 5-1/2 hours, not counting stops. It's longer and slower than the route that employs Hwy #5 (the Coquihalla Highway). If you went the shorter, quicker way, you could cut the drive down to 4-1/2 hours.

However, the scenery on the longer route is worth the extra time.

In previous posts Bob has referred to Glacier National Park. It's between Golden and Revelstoke. If you do a Google search for it, you'll find many links to the more famous park of the same name that is located in Montana. This is just a clarification to help you avoid confusion.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 06:14 PM
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I'm with Judy on her recommendation. If you leave Calgary at noon, no way you make Manning Park at a reasonable time.]

And Glacier is an interesting place to visit. The Visitor Center is quite nice.
By the way, if you buy the season pass to the national parks, hang on to it.

The last time I bought one, I remember a hang tag type of plastic device. Some of the park gates are keyed to the bar code on the hang tag. It is good all year if I recall correctly.

I know in Waterton we bypassed the little house, drove up to the gate, inserted the hang tag, bar code first, and the gate came up for us to enter.
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