Draft Itinerary

Jun 16th, 2004, 04:07 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Draft Itinerary

We've been reading some of the suggested places to visit/stay on your forums and have copied a fair bit of them. We were just wondering if you could help us finalise the details. We are travelling from Australia in late August and plan to arrive in Vancouver on the 28th. We've decided to hire a car from the outset and plan the following:
3 nights Vancouver
2 nights Victoria
1 night Kelowna
2 nights Banff
7 nights on a pre-booked hike from Canmore around the Rockwall in Kootenay (start 6 Sept to 13 Sept)
4 nights Jasper
1 night Kamloops via highway 5
Drive from Kamloops to Vancouver for flight out in the evening.
Is this trying to do too much? Should we change the mix of days at the places we're considering? Can you suggest some places to stay in the mid price range particularly in Jasper and Banff (e.g. Cabins/B&B's)?
We particularly like hiking in the mountains but aren't confident to hike on our own overnight. Do you have some suggestions for places to hike to?
For our stay in Vancouver is it better to stay in the city or is it convenient to stay out of town a bit, considering we will have a car?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
John & Linda
lindajohn is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 06:12 AM
  #2  
 
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Agree with Ltt. Your itinerary looks wonderful (subject to a tweak here and a tweak there). Ltt makes a very good point about the Labour Day long weekend at the beginning of September.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by the 7 night hike. If you literally will be hiking for 7 nights / 8 days, you won't need your rented car during that time. I don't know if it'll be cheaper for you to keep your rented car for your entire trip or drop it off in Canmore and collect another rented car after your hike. As far as I can tell, Hertz and Budget have offices in Canmore.

It appears that Avis, Budget, Hertz and National are in Banff, 20 minutes' drive from Canmore. I don't know if rental car companies in Banff would be willing to drop you off or pick you up in Canmore.

Would I be correct in assuming that you'll be hiking with a company that will provide a guide (or guides), camping equipment and food? It would be pretty cumbersome for you to bring a tent, stove, etc., from Australia.

I hope the company is willing to store your excess luggage in their Canmore office while you're on the hike. I assume you won't want to carry your city clothes in your backpack while you're hiking.

If the company is providing everything, including sleeping bags, I assume they know what they're doing. I'm a wimp when it comes to excessive heat and cold. When I camp in the mountains (in July!), I need a sleeping bag that's rated down to -25 deg C. For me a -25 deg C sleeping bag is not adequate if the ambient temperature really is -25 deg C. It's very comfortable down to 0 deg C, and okay down to -10 deg C. I also need to rest the sleeping bag on an Ensolite foam pad, to insulate it from the cold ground.

It would not be impossible for you to encounter snow during your 7 night hike. We once experienced quite a substantial snowfall at Lake O'Hara on July 1st. My husband, father-in-law, and older son once camped in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in September (albeit later in September). They found the ground was frozen, and they had to be quite creative to hammer their tent pegs into the ground. The Kananaskis Lakes area where they were camping is at a lower elevation than some of the places you presumably will be stopping for the night. What I'm saying is that you should have suitable clothing, including long underwear, gaiters to keep your ankles dry, etc. But it sounds as if you're experienced hikers and know what to do in this regard.

Suggest you deduct one night from Jasper so you can stay in Canmore after your hiking trip, do laundry and generally re-group.

I believe 3 nights is enough for Jasper. It's good to have a full day to drive from Canmore / Banff to Jasper. There is lots to stop and see on the way. Two full days is enough for Jasper on an introductory trip. A beautiful hike is the Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows loop at Mount Edith Cavell. There also is good hiking in the Mount Robson area.

If your 7 night hiking itinerary does not take you to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, be sure to see them before your long hike, while you're based in Banff.

You might enjoy the hike from Lake Louise to Lake Agnes Teahouse, the Beehives, Plain of Six Glaciers, and back to Lake Louise. The hike to the Plain of Six Glaciers and the hike to Lake Agnes Teahouse (with or without the extra walk to Big Beehive) are considered to be 2 separate hikes, about half a day each. However, they can be done as a single loop that is considered to be a full day hike. The distance of the loop is 18 kilometres. It involves a substantial gain in elevation, but I'm sure you're up to it. The larch trees around Big Beehive and Little Beehive should have turned to gold, and should be very pretty.

Another hike to consider is the one from Moraine Lake to Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass. The distance from Moraine Lake to Sentinel Pass is 5.8 kilometres, and the elevation gain is 724 metres (2,376 feet). The intermediate point of Larch Valley is a popular destination in its own right, especially in the autumn. Reaching it involves a steady uphill climb. The additional ascent to Sentinel Pass, which I have not done, is said to involve a very steep walk. "The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide" by Brian Patton and Bart Robinson says it takes 3 hours to hike from Moraine Lake to Sentinel Pass.

If it was my trip, I would knock off a further night from Jasper. I would spend a full day getting from Canmore / Banff to Jasper and a full day in the Jasper area itself. This would mean 2 nights in Jasper. I would add that night to Vancouver. In my opinion Vancouver deserves 4 nights / 3 full days. Although Mount Robson Provincial Park is a nice place to visit for people who are based in Jasper, you will be passing Mount Robson en route to Kamloops. I don't know if I can sell you on this idea, however, as the mountains seem to be a high priority for you, and that's fair enough.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 06:20 AM
  #3  
ltt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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i think your itinerary sounds wonderful. you don't say how much you want to spend on hotels. they can vary alot in banff & jasper. if you have lots of money, i'd try the rimrock in banff. or look at the douglas fir resort or tunnel mountain chalets. nice location above the town. if you tell us how much you want to spend and what's important to you (pool? room service?) then we will be of more help. the lastlong weekend of summer is the first weekend of september - the 4th - 6th. the hotels/campgrounds will be very busy and expensive. book as soon as you can if you need something for those nights.
ltt is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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Oh boy, it's happened again. A post of mine has appeared before a subsequent post to which I have responded. It looks really weird. No, I'm not clairvoyent, and I didn't foresee what Ltt was going to say. Rather, before I hit the Post button, I previewed my reply, saw that Ltt had replied already, and adjusted my remarks to take that into account. However, because I must have started typing my reply before Ltt started typing, my reply ended up appearing first.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 08:07 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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The only thing I'd add to the wonderful suggestions here is not to drive from Kamloops to Vancouver for a night flight out of Vancouver. (If I've understood correctly, on your last day you'll leave Kamloops in the morning, drive to Vancouver and then fly out of Vancouver in the evening).

Even under the best conditions it's at least a five-hour drive from Kamloops to Vancouver. If you get stuck in commuter traffic in the Lower Mainland, add another hour or two. (If your flight out of Vancouver is an evening flight, then you may well approach the Lower Mainland just as rush hour is getting underway).

Better would be to cut your trip by one night somewhere, and spend that last night in Vancouver. That way you won't be constantly looking at your watch as you sit fuming in traffic, wondering whether you're going to make it to the airport on time.

As for whether it's better to stay in Vancouver or outside...I live in the heart of Vancouver and would definitely recommend staying downtown. Do you have accommodations booked already? If not, I'd suggest either the Sylvia Hotel or the Buchan Hotel. Both are on quiet, leafy streets in a residential district of Vancouver (the West End) but within easy walking distance of Stanley Park, cafés, shops, and downtown Vancouver.

I can write much more about Vancouver but don't know what would be helfpul to you.
Vorkuta is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 09:27 AM
  #6  
 
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The drive from Kamloops to Vancouver (actually to Steveston) takes us only 3.5 hours.
taggie is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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The Rockwall is a classic, but at points arduous. I hope you are in good shape. Do you have to carry your own packs? I would presume so.

I agree. 4 nights in Jasper is overkill. Three is probably ok.
I think you are missing a good bet by not thinking of Yoho National Park and allowing a whole day to drive along the Icefields parkway.

Actually the most scenic hike in the whole park area that I have seen is to take part of the Iceline to the Celeste Lake cutoff, then up and over the Whaleback trail and then back to the parking area near where you started.
All of this is in Yoho with the parking area near Takkakaw Falls.
The view from the high point of the Whaleback overlooks the glacial valley of the Yoho River and has a view of the President Range and all the way to the mountains around Lake Louise.
It would be a long one day hike, but there are campgrounds in the vicinity.
Also there is a Canadian Alpine shelter cabin at the end of the Iceline trail.
The Canadian Alpine Club of Canada owns the shelter cabins. I am not sure how one makes reservations.

Some people stay at Twin Falls Chalet, but it is reservations only and some consider it expensive. Also, there may be a 2 night minimum which puts hikers off.

I am not sure why you are staying in Kelowna. It is not that far time wise down the road.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 16th, 2004, 02:01 PM
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Strike that last sentence. Kelowna is a pretty place, right on the lake.
It is in the heart of the Okanagan.

I was thinking of another place in a moment of confusion. Chalk it up to a senior moment induced by anesthesia.
bob_brown is offline  
Jun 17th, 2004, 04:05 AM
  #9  
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Wow, thanks everyone, we certainly didn't expect to receive so many responses so quickly.
Judy, you would be correct in assuming we are hiking with a company that provides a guide. We are looking at Yamnuska Hiking Adventures, they provide some of the camping equipment but we still need to have our own sleeping bags and thermorests. They tell us that we should expect to carry up to 20 kilo's on the trip. Do you know the company?
Your suggested changes regarding Jasper will be included in our revised trip.
ltt, we were thinking that our price range in Banff and Jasper would be around $150 to $250 but given everyones comments we may need to adjust this up a bit. We're not particularly restricted to anything, as long as it is clean and tidy, has a bathroom and some of the mod cons, a cabin, B&B or hotel is fine. If anyones been to Yellowstone or Yosemite, the cabins in the national parks would be an example of the lower end of our expectations.
Vorkuta, we haven't booked anything yet but have been looking at the $250 range hotels. Linda is partial to really good B&B's so if you know of any in the West end this would be great. I'm leaning towards pampering ourselves a bit in Vancouver and would probably prefer a good hotel that has parking and is located centrally so that we can come and go aroung the city as we please.
Bob, We've been told that the Rockwall is probably considered a medium hike, the arduous bit sounds interesting. From what we've read our concern is the amount of weight we're expecting to carry and if any of you have been to Australia, you'll know we have hills not mountains. We will definitely allow a whole day for the Icefields parkway and will look into Yoho.
Anymore suggestions, especially accommodation recommendations would be a great help
John & Linda
lindajohn is offline  
Jun 17th, 2004, 06:42 AM
  #10  
 
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Hello John and Linda,

I'm not familiar with Yamnuska Hiking Adventures but, judging from their website, they seem to know what they're doing.

About accommodation in the Rockies......

Instead of staying in Banff townsite for the couple of nights before your 7 night hike, you could consider staying in or near Lake Louise. Lake Louise is 50 minutes' drive west of Banff townsite. LL has great scenery in its own right and, being further west than Banff, is a somewhat more convenient base for visiting Yoho National Park.

A name that comes up again and again in connection with Lake Louise is Baker Creek Chalets. A one bedroom loft suite, which includes kitchen facilities, costs C$195.

Complimentary remarks have been made about Paradise Lodge and Bungalows. However, I notice the rates are higher than those at Baker Creek Chalets, and Paradise L&B has a 7 day cancellation policy.

Lake Louise Inn has some suites with kitchens, but they are more than C$300. Their conventional rooms are more reasonable. An economy double, including breakfast, is C$170.

Deer Lodge is a charming hotel of 1920s vintage. The regular rooms are small. Although a tower room isn't large, it's a more adequate size. I've heard the heritage rooms are a generous size. Tower and heritage rooms cost C$205. But beware the 72 hour cancellation policy.

There are a few chalets and self-catering townhouses in Banff townsite, if you decide to stay in Banff. One that is mentioned from time to time is Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets. A one bedroom condo in a fourplex is C$218. They mention "Some minimum nights stay requirements for long weekends." Before booking I would enquire if that applied to the Labour Day long weekend (September 4th - 6th).

A favourite hotel in Banff, which looks as if it's fully booked for the dates you want, is Buffalo Mountain Lodge. One of its less expensive rooms goes for C$209.

A place in Canmore that has received a complimentary review is Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge. A one bedroom apartment is C$135.

Although I like Lady Macdonald Country Inn and Georgetown Inn in Canmore, I don't know that they'd meet your needs when you returned from your hiking expedition.

A perennial favourite outside of Jasper townsite is Becker's Chalets. A riverside chalet for two is C$165.

Of all these properties, the only one in which I've stayed myself is Deer Lodge. The rest have been recommended by personal friends and/or Fodorites. You can do word searches here at Fodors to see comments by people who have actually stayed in the relevant properties.

Remember to make reservations through BC Ferries for the crossings to and from Vancouver Island:

http://www.bcferries.com/
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 17th, 2004, 07:22 AM
  #11  
 
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>>>>>>Of all these properties, the only one in which I've stayed myself is Deer Lodge.<<<<<<

Oops, I do know Canmore's Lady Macdonald and Georgetown Inns as well. But I think an apartment, such as you could get at Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge, would give you more room to spread out and re-pack.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  

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