Drive from Calgary to Vancouver

Old Jul 20th, 2006, 01:59 AM
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Drive from Calgary to Vancouver

I will be driving from Calgary to Vancouver between the 7th & 16th August, can any one suggest the best route, places to visit and places to stay(hotels, cabins).
Thanks
netman is offline  
Old Jul 20th, 2006, 07:13 AM
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Are you asking for the most scenic route or the most expeditious?

Also, are you saying that you have about 7 full days to spend en route?

Depending on how much you want to see of the Icefields Parkway, 7 days to make the trip gives many possibilities.

If you need to make the trip in one day, which will take all day I might add, then your choices are more limited.

Give us a little more information about your objectives and quite a few people who contribute to the Canadian section of this forum can give you suggestions.

This subject has been discussed in years past several times. You might be able to retrieve some of the previous discussions.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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Thanks brookwood, we leave Calgary on the 7th August and have to be in Vancouver on the 16th, giving 10 days of travel. Would like best scenic route as neither are as fit as would like to be. Would like to find stop overs for 1 or 2 nights along the way. We are looking for nice recommended accommodation on route. This is our first time to Canada so want to see the best of it.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 01:09 PM
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I think others will give you a more detailed plan, but I tend to be less ready to tell people how they should plan a trip.

I will, however, make a few suggestions.

There are several attractive areas in the Canadian Rockies along your most direct route. These include Banff town and the surrounding area, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Yoho National Park which is traversed by the Trans Canada Highway.

I think you could spend 3 days seeing the most outstanding sights.

Now the question arises: Do you want to detour northwest along the Icefields Parkway?

The Parkway is one of the most spectacular drives there is in North America. It stretches from just north of Lake Louise to Jasper town in Jasper National Park.

My recommendation is to drive it because you will probably regret it later if you don't.

Once in Jasper, you have two choices:
1. Retrace your steps to Lake Louise and turn west on the Trans Canada and continue on to Golden and Revelstoke.

2. Drive from Jasper to Kamloops via Valemount. From Kamloops you could detour through the Fraser River valley and, possibly, visit Manning Provincial Park south of Hope, BC.

If you take option 1, the Trans Canada passes through Glacier National Park and goes very close to the entrance to Mt. Revelstoke National Park.

Then, depending on how your time is holding out, you could continue to Kamloops, south on the Coquihalla toll highway to Hope and rejoin the Trans Canada there for the last section of your journey to Vancuver, or if time permits, turn south to Revelstoke and drive along the Columbia River to near Nakusp, BC. There turn west to the Okanagen Valley.

From Kelowna you could continue through Manning Provincial Park to the Trans Canada south of Hope and continue on to Vancouver.

Manning Park has a nice lodge where you could stay overnight.

This time of year, accommodations tend to be crowded in Banff and Jasper.
In Jasper you may be more in the situation where you will take what is available. Banff, being larger, may offer more options.

I have no specific recommendations were I think you might find a vacancy in Jasper. My top choices would be Pat Lake Bungalows, Jasper House Bungalows, and Becker's Chalets.

I suggest you decide on a trip plan soon and start trying to find accommodations, particularly in Jasper.

There are only a few places to stay overnight in the middle section of the Icefields Parkway. There is a motel at the Icefields Center near the glaciers, but it is a popular place and hosts many tour groups. (It is owned by Brewster's .)

Good luck in your planning.
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Old Jul 20th, 2006, 02:56 PM
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Most people go through the mountains fairly quickly and don't have sufficient time to get off the bveaten track for some real exploring. However if you have the time I am a great fan of heading south at Revelstoke to Nakusp and then West. The route is magnificent, you are close to the mountains for the whole trip and the road follows the shores of Arrow Lake for over 200 km. The road is curvey and fun to drive. Better yet there are very few vehicles on the road (as compared with the TransCanada which is very busy.)
This whole area is full of natural hot springs with Halcyon about 50km north of Nakusp being my favourite. There are also good hot springs at Nakusp. Both springs have lodges but getting a reservation at this late date will be difficult.
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Old Jul 21st, 2006, 12:43 AM
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My favorite route is as follows:

Calgary - Banff - Jasper - Mt Robson PP - Wells Gray PP - Whistler - Vancouver

The route is very scenic and offers plenty of wonderful stops in the nature. There are several outdoor activties possible on this route (hiking, rafting, canoeing,horse-back riding, scenic drives, waterfall viewing).
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 07:20 AM
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I was hoping more people would contribute to this thread because it gives a good chance to exchange ideas about the most scenic ways to make the drive.

I agree. Mt. Robson on a clear day is dramatic. I hiked as far as Kinny Lake and could see the upper most parts of the peak, some 8,000 feet up directly overhead. It is almost as dramatic as seeing the Dom in Switzerland rise about 10,000 feet above the valley floor.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 08:51 AM
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Ok Brookwood I will put my two cents worth in here. I live in the Okanagan 6 months of the year and drive to Calgary often. I would recommend once you have seen the Banff area and taken side trips to the Icefields etc.continue west on Hwy 1.At Sicamous take 97A to Vernon continuing on 97 to Kelowna. The drive from Kelowna to Penticton is gorgeous following the lake. Although it looks a bit out of the way drive down through wine country (Oliver) and spend a day or so visiting the wineries. The fruit will be ready while you are here as well. Then take Hwy 3 west at Osoyoos - again beautiful drive and over the Hope Princeton Hwy (hwy 3). It is really beautiful. You have every kind of scenery this way from meadows, rivers and beautiful mountains. As Brookwood suggests the lodge at Manning Park is lovely but there is nothing else there so be prepared to dine in the dining room as there are no other options. (By the way Brookwood Manning Park is East of Hope not south). Then you can continue on Hwy 3 to where it joins Hwy 1 and on through the Fraser Valley to Vancouver. It is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Manning Park lodge to Vancouver. I do recommend this route as it is far more scenic than the Coquihalla.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 09:37 AM
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Hello netman,

First let me say that I believe tom22’s suggested itinerary is excellent. You can get detailed instructions for tomm22’s itinerary if you go to Paul Beddows’ website:

http://www.vancouver.hm/drivebc.html

The first part of Paul’s recommended circular route follows tom22’s itinerary, except in reverse. Paul’s route starts in Vancouver and ends in the Rockies, whereas tom22 has you starting in the Rockies and ending in Vancouver. So naturally you would need to reverse Paul’s instructions.

In your other thread you said you had allocated 2 nights to Vancouver. I think that is too little, especially since you said you wanted to do whale watching in Vancouver. You need at least a day to see Vancouver's centrally located sights. Then you need the better part of a day to go on a whale watching cruise. To do those things alone, you will need a minimum of 3 nights in Vancouver. However, I recommend that you spend even more nights at the coast.

In the interests of throwing out an alternative route, as brookwood suggested, and also in the interests of showing you how much else there is to do at the coast, here is another itinerary you could consider.

Aug 5– Calgary
Aug 6 - Drumheller
Aug 7 - Banff
Aug 8, 9 – Jasper
Aug 10 – Lake Louise
Aug 11 – Revelstoke
Aug 12, 13 – Okanagan Valley
Aug 14, 15, 16 – Vancouver
Aug 17 – Victoria
Aug 18 – Victoria (or maybe Vancouver?)
Aug 19 – Fly home

In the following posts, I will flesh out that itinerary.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Sat, Aug 5 – Arrive Calgary. Many flights from Europe land in Calgary around mid afternoon. By the time you’ve gone through immigration and customs and made your way to your hotel, you’ll probably feel like having a shower and an early dinner and going to bed.

Sun, Aug 6 – Look around downtown Calgary. You might consider following the suggested downtown Calgary walk on my website:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...ofcalgary.msnw

In the mid afternoon set out for Drumheller. Visit the Tyrrell Museum between 6.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m.

Unfortunately the Tyrrell Museum will be frightfully busy on this day, as it always is on a summer weekend. This particular Sunday will be even worse than usual, because the following day (Monday 7th) will be a public holiday. If you must visit the Tyrrell on one of these busy days, it is best to do so as soon as the doors open at 9.00 a.m. or else wait to go through between 6.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m.

Overnight in Drumheller. This makes more sense than spending a couple of hours driving back to Calgary after your late visit to the museum. I’ve heard that the Best Western Jurassic Inn is an okay place to spend a night. I’ve also heard favourable comments about Heartwood Inn.

Mon, Aug 7 – Drive to Banff, which will take 3 hours. Since it will be a public holiday, traffic in Calgary will not be unduly bad. All the same, you can bypass the city by driving Drumheller – Beiseker – Airdrie – Cochrane – Canmore – Banff.

In the afternoon, visit Johnston Canyon.

Overnight in Canmore or Banff townsite.

From here on I will borrow extensively from one of the suggested itineraries on my website. For details of what to see in Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, etc., please go to this page:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...s/712days.msnw
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 09:43 AM
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Tue, Aug 8 – Drive to Lake Louise and then go up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper townsite.

Wed, Aug 9 – Explore Jasper’s environs.

Thu, Aug 10 – Drive back down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise, and overnight there. On the afternoon of this day, visit Moraine Lake and the lake of Lake Louise.

Fri, Aug 11 – Drive to Revelstoke.

Sat, Aug 12 – Drive to the Okanagan Valley.

If you want to follow the Nakusp route that stanbr suggested, you will need to catch a couple of free ferries for which you cannot make reservations but that do the lake crossings pretty regularly. Look up the details of the Galena Bay and Needles ferries here:

http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/BCHighways/i...ryschedule.htm

Alternatively you can travel west on the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1) to Sicamous and then take Hwy #97A south to Vernon as traveller69 suggested.

I don’t know whose suggested route to recommend, stanbr’s or traveller69’s. Both are beautiful. Traveller69’s route would be quicker. Stabr’s route is along a more circuitous road, and you’ll also be slowed down to some extent by the ferry crossings. Stanbr’s route has the advantage of being a quieter, less travelled route.

If you do traveller69’s route, you could do Lake Louise – Okanagan Valley in a day. If you do stanbr’s route, I recommend getting as far as Revelstoke the previous night, as Revelstoke – Okanagan Valley via Nakusp is pretty much a full day’s exercise.

Stanbr’s and traveller69’s suggested routes meet at Vernon. From there you pretty much have to take Hwy #97 southwards to Kelowna.

Stay somewhere in the Kelowna / Summerland / Narramata / Penticton / Oliver area.

More in next post ...........
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 09:47 AM
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Sun, Aug 13 – From your chosen base, explore the Okanagan Valley.

Mon, Aug 14 – Drive to Vancouver. My website gives fairly detailed directions for the route via Princeton and Manning Provincial Park that others have mentioned.

Tue, Aug 15 – Visit Vancouver’s centrally located attractions – Stanley Park, Granville Island Market and, if you have time, Yaletown and Robson Street.

Wed, Aug 16 – From your Vancouver base, do a day trip to Squamish, Whistler and, if possible, Pemberton, as described on this page of my website:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana.../whistler.msnw

An alternative way of spending this day, which would be very nice but not quite as impressive as the drive to Whistler in my opinion, would be to visit Vancouver’s North Shore -- Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver and Cypress Mountain and Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. Note that these attractions are free except for the nominal parking fee at Cypress Mountain.

If you want to stick to the North Shore instead of going to Whistler, and if you have deep pockets, you could do the expensive versions of Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and Cypress Mountain, which are the Grouse Mountain Sky Ride and Capilano Canyon Suspension Bridge.

More ............

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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 09:49 AM
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Thu, Aug 17 – Catch the ferry to Victoria in the morning.

Visit Butchart Gardens in the afternoon.

Overnight in Victoria.

Fri, Aug 18 – Do a whale watching cruise in the morning. Although it is possible to do a whale watching cruise from Vancouver, the whale pods are a bit closer to Victoria than they are to Vancouver.

Visit the Royal British Columbia Museum in the afternoon. I also am a great fan of the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver. I highly recommend the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver if for some reason you cannot reach Victoria. However, I do not believe you need to see both museums, as the Royal BC Museum in Victoria also has excellent exhibits on Aboriginal culture.

On this night you could stay in Victoria. Alternatively, you could catch an early evening ferry to Vancouver, and overnight in Vancouver. It depends to some extent on the time of your departure from Vancouver Airport on Aug 19th.

If you choose to catch the ferry on Aug 19th, you’re taking a certain amount of risk. On a summer weekend I in any case would make a ferry reservation through www.bcferries.ca , but I would consider that to be all the more important if I had a plane to catch. I would allow 30 minutes for the drive from Victoria to Swartz Bay. Even with a reservation, I would plan on arriving at the ferry terminal 45 minutes before sailing. The crossing takes 1.5 hours. I would then allow 30 minutes to disembark from the ferry and another 30 minutes to drive to the airport in Richmond, fill up my rental car with gasoline (petrol) and hand it in. I would check in 3 hours before my flight’s departure.

Sat, Aug 19 – Fly home.

More ..........
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 09:56 AM
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I've just realized it might have been presumptuous of me to assume you would be flying to Calgary from the UK. I clued into the fact that you used the word "holiday" rather than "vacation" in your other thread title. North Americans more often than not use "vacation," whereas Britons, Australians, etc., usually say "holiday." Sorry if I was wrong about that.

I recommend that you read the What To Pack page of my website:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...urwebpage.msnw

and also the other pages in the TIPS section, e.g., national park entry fees, driving distances and times.

The COAST section of my website explains in detail the logistics of getting to and from Victoria, and it has links to wonderful websites about Vancouver.

Accommodation

It would help if you settled on your itinerary. For example, if you're going to go via Clearwater and Wells Gray Provincial Park, there is no point in suggesting accommodation in the Okanagan Valley, and so on.

Also, knowing your preferred price range would help.

Hope that helps.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 02:00 PM
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According to my map, Manning Park is south east of Hope. Perhaps a degree more east than south.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2006, 03:47 PM
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Hi Brookwood

I wasnt' trying to be picky - I just meant that you get to Manning Park from the East before you get to Hope. The directions sounded a little confusing. Of course the actual location is south but when we drive from the Okanagan to Vancouver we consider we a driving west. Sorry about that.
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 07:50 AM
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Many thanks to everyone for their suggestions. My route and itinery are now sorted. Looks like I will lots to see and do.
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