Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Canada
Reload this Page >

Canadian Rockies from Edmonton or Calgary?

Canadian Rockies from Edmonton or Calgary?

Old Sep 19th, 2012, 07:45 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Canadian Rockies from Edmonton or Calgary?

Is the drive from Edmonton to Jasper worth the time or would it be better to fly to Calgary and start our visit to the Rockies from there (and back)? We plan to spend 7-14 days touring the Rockies after our Northwest Passage cruise which ends in Edmonton. Thanks!
ovenbird is offline  
Old Sep 19th, 2012, 09:16 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,728
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
Ending a boat cruise in Edmonton is a new one to me.
The ViaRail Canadian runs 3 days a week from Edmonton to Jasper and you can rent a car there easily.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Sep 19th, 2012, 05:53 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 90
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello,

I think the original poster is referring to a cruisetour, actually, and the tour ends in Edmonton.

The drive from Edmonton to Jasper is lovely, but it is wide open prairie. Frankly, I prefer the drive from Calgary to Banff - the Canadian Rockies views open up almost immediately from Calgary and it is only about 75 minutes. Jasper is worth the time to visit. It is a 3 hour drive on a provinicial highway between Edmonton and Calgary. Drive from Edmonton to Calgary, head west to Banff and Lake Louise, head north to Jasper and return to Edmonton. Calgary and Edmonton are both great cities - love them both - but very different and worth your time.

Best Regards,
Julia
juliae_mei is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2012, 03:09 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
tomfuller, I misspoke. The tour, not the cruise, ends in Edmonton.

Julia, yes you are correct about the cruise...the cruise itself ends in Cambridge Bay where we board a charter flight to Edmonton.

I'm not sure our foursome wants to make the entire Edmonton loop, so we might end up doing the Edmonton to Jasper to Calgary route, exploring and seeing the sights along the way.

Is it safe to drive the roads at night...I'm assuming there will be moose along this route?
ovenbird is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2012, 09:58 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 90
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi!

The Edmonton-Jasper-Calgary route will be wonderful; it is such a spectacular place. We always think that the Icefields Parkway is better south to north, but really, you can't go wrong. Spend 2 days in Edmonton, it is a sophisticated university city. Jasper is more rustic than Banff, but if you like to hike, watch wildlife, it is a good stop. Definitely take time for the Icefields Parkway. You will be able to spend several leisurely days in Lake Louise, Banff, Banff National Park, Canmore, Kananaskis and even out towards Yoho National Park, especially if you like outdoor activities. Yes, it is safe to drive on the roads at night, it is a major 8-10 lane interstate, the Trans-Canada Highway. They have new wildlife bridges and high wire fences on the Trans-Canada to keep drivers and wildlife separate and safe. Otherwise, you are inside National Parks and Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise are major towns, so wildlife stays away mostly. It is pretty busy in those areas. The National Parks have wildlife viewing areas. Not to worry....

Best Regards,
juliae_mei is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2012, 01:06 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Julie! We very much enjoy hiking and watching wildlife and are excited about this trip. Good to know the main highways are fenced. We have friends in Ontario who try very hard not to drive at night for fear of potentially running into moose!
ovenbird is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2012, 05:54 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,728
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
There is no sense at all driving on the Icefield Parkway after dark. You miss all the beautiful scenery and risk hitting a large animal. I have seen plenty of elk poop in downtown Jasper.
I walked once from the hostel into Jasper and saw an elk "rub" on the brush about 100 yards from the Icefield Parkway.
Make sure you get up to Maligne Lake and the Maligne chasm.
You can also visit Patricia Lake which was a top secret site during WWII. Sir Geoffrey Pyke wanted to make an aircraft carrier out of Pykerete which is ice with sawdust in it.
Such a ship would not sink if hit with a torpedo.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 03:40 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks tomfuller...very interesting tidbit re Patricia Lake.
ovenbird is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 05:43 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 4,005
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To add to Tom's comments, Patricia Lake is pretty much right at Jasper. We have stayed at Patricia Lake Bungalows (very cute), and it's only a few minutes outside the bustle of town yet completely "away" from it all. http://www.patricialakebungalows.com/

And I agree - elk can be prevalent. I know there are moose up in Jasper area but have yet to see any.

The Canadian Rockies are wonderful, enjoy your trip!
sludick is offline  
Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 07:11 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh my goodness!! Edmonton to Calgary is not "wide open prairie".
To start with - it's approximately a 4 hour drive.

The first third of the drive is through gently rolling lands, some of it agricultural and some of it is treed. Watch for deer on the road if you are driving at dawn or dusk.

The second third of the drive is through boreal forest, and is increasingly hilly (approaching the foothills of the Rockies). We've actually seen black bears in this area (not far from the small town of Edson) - & quite a ways away from the mountain parks.

The last third is through foothills and the eastern ranges of the Rockies. The highest elevation on the Yellowhead highway (Edmonton to Jasper) is actually in the foothills, at Obed Summit, and not in the mountains, believe it or not.

Although the highways are major, they are not 8 - 10 lane "interstate"; they are more like four lane divided highways EXCEPT for the Yellowhead from Hinton to Jasper and the Icefield Parkway, which are two lane undivided highways.

As tomfuller says, there's no point to driving at night - you miss the scenery, although you may want to do the Calgary to Edmonton portion at night because that's the most boring part. We generally drive Edmonton to Calgary in about 2 and a half hours (most of the traffic drives well above the posted speed limit).

Patricial Lake is very charming. You have the option of staying at The Grove, which are newer and a little more "luxurious".
What time of the year are you travelling?? Note that in Jasper, most of the cabin type accommodation closes for the season after Thanksgiving - that's Canadian Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October (and that includes Patricia Lake Bungalows).
We've seen a wolf on the little winding road from Jasper townsite to Patricial Lake!!

We live in Alberta and travel these roads very often.
Hope this helps.
Borealis is offline  
Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 07:18 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
An "oops""
In my first sentence, I meant to write "the drive from Edmonton to JASPER" (not Edmonton to Calgary)!!!
Sorry about that!!
Borealis is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2012, 04:29 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
sludick, it seems Patricia Lake and the Patricia Lake Bungalows are well liked. We'll have to look at them since we definitely want to spend a few days in Jasper.

Thanks for the detailed info, Borealis. We'll be visiting the last week of August/first week of September 2013. And we'll also have to look at The Grove for accommodations. How lucky to see a wolf...we can only hope!
ovenbird is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2012, 07:32 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ovenbird - some other places you may want to consider when looking at accommodation are: Jasper Park Lodge, Alpine Village (cabins), and Becker's Chalets. All have websites with information including rates. All of these places are short drives from Jasper townsite (anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes).

JPL (Jasper Park Lodge) is the priciest, but has all the amenities of any major hotel/resort, and has a pretty location.
Alpine Village has some newer "deluxe" cabins that are very charming. The complex is across the road from the Athabasca River; that road is easy to cycle (there's a trail along the road) and on the way to Old Fort Point (a short hike and viewpoint).
Becker's Chalets is on a very serene location on the Athabasca River, you can watch the river rafts and kayakers float by. There are a variety of cabins and "duplexes" available so one is sure to meet your needs.

Just wanted to say that The Grove is part of Patricia Lake Bungalows and you'll find information about those units on the same website.
Borealis is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2012, 12:00 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Definetly go to Calgary and drive to Banff and Lake Louise, it is sssooo beautiful. try and stay at the Lake Louise Fairmont. Stunning views from the hotel room. the hotel is right in the mountains and there is a beautiful lake out front.
http://www.idesignarch.com/wp-conten...eLouise_10.jpg
amazing!!
Brandy79 is offline  
Old Oct 1st, 2012, 11:33 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks everyone for your input and recommendations. Our group has decided on the following itinerary (it was very difficult deciding on lodging!) but have one further question...

Are there any hotels you would recommend between Edmonton and Jasper, maybe half way?

Aug 25 Overnight Edmonton
Aug 26 Elk Island NP; overnight ?
Aug 27 Drive to Jasper; overnight Alpine Village
Aug 28 Overnight Alpine Village
Aug 29 Overnight Alpine Village
Aug 30 Overnight Alpine Village
Aug 31 Overnight Cathedral Mountain Lodge, Yoho NP
Sep 01 Overnight Cathedral Mountain Lodge, Yoho NP
Sep 02 Overnight Cathedral Mountain Lodge, Yoho NP
Sep 03 Fly home from Calgary
ovenbird is offline  
Old Oct 1st, 2012, 02:34 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,728
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
Unless you are getting in quite late to Edmonton, you might want to drive as far as Hinton. The hotels in Hinton - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g1...ta-Hotels.html
There is a hot spring pool (Miette hot spring).
tomfuller is offline  
Old Oct 2nd, 2012, 06:56 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hinton is more than half way - takes about two and a half hours to drive from Edmonton. (Edmonton to Jasper townsite is about three and a half hours drive - not counting any stops).

Are you planning to stay overnight in Elk Island National Park? The only way you can do that (summer only I believe) is to camp. If you visit the park, it's best to return to Edmonton, and if you plan to drive to Jasper the next day, stay at one of the hotels/inns on the west side of the city for an easier getaway, especially if you plan to leave in the morning during rush hour(s). If you leave Edmonton at 8:30 am, you should be in Jasper townsite for lunch

Actually Edson is the town that is half way there. However, there seems to more variety and availability of accommodation in Hinton than in Edson. Both are small towns. Hinton is right on the "footsteps" of the eastern slopes of the Rockies.

Miette Hot Springs is not in Hinton, it's in Jasper National Park, probably another 40 to 45 minutes drive west then south after you've passed Hinton.
Borealis is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2012, 05:18 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,842
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's been a few years for me, but I was stunned to read that the Trans Canada Highway there is now 8 to 10 lanes wide. Really?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2012, 06:49 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No, the Trans Canada #1 is NOT 8 to 10 lanes wide through the mountains. It's mostly four lane divided. To see for yourself, check out the road reports and webcams at:

http://www.ama.ab.ca/road-reports/st...ighway-cameras
Borealis is offline  
Old Oct 4th, 2012, 04:08 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We do not plan to overnight in Elk Island NP. And it looks like Edson might be farther than we want to drive after a full day of hiking/exploring at Elk Island NP. So Borealis' idea of staying on the west side of Edmonton sounds like a plan.

On the way to Elk Island NP, we were thinking of overnighting in Sherwood Park rather than around the airport (we arrive in the afternoon). Will we likely hit bad rush hour traffic from the airport to Sherwood Park on 2 and 216?

Thanks for everyone's help!
ovenbird is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
dottyp
Canada
6
Jan 13th, 2013 11:37 AM
carioca
Canada
10
Jun 11th, 2006 11:44 AM
sophie913
United States
5
Jan 12th, 2005 11:07 AM
Frank
Canada
5
Jun 25th, 2002 01:19 PM
Beth
Canada
7
May 21st, 2002 11:27 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -