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

Drive trip - Vancouver, Vancouver Island, The Rockies, Edmonton

Drive trip - Vancouver, Vancouver Island, The Rockies, Edmonton

Old Jan 16th, 2012, 09:42 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Drive trip - Vancouver, Vancouver Island, The Rockies, Edmonton

Hi,

I'm hoping for some advice on travelling via car to these destinations during September and October. i.e. travel time, road conditions, best routes, amount of time necessary to explore each destinations and in between etc. We will have 4-5 weeks.

Any advice i.e. itinerary welcome

Thank you
TLWADD is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2012, 10:45 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 11,208
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
Have you considered what the drop off fee is for a car you rent in Vancouver and drop off in Edmonton?
One way to avoid this is after Vancouver/Victoria is the take the ViaRail Canadian from Vancouver to Jasper and rent a car there to see the Rockies. Return the car in Jasper and ride the Canadian to Edmonton.
The other option is to fly from Vancouver to Edmonton and rent another car there.
There is a good chance that snow will fall in the Rockies at some point in October.
tomfuller is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2012, 01:29 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,610
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you have 4-5 WEEKS, you need not worry about 'drop-off fees' considering that you can just fly to Vancouver and do one, big circuit. You've got plenty of time, and in the interest of weather, it would be most sensible to make the Jasper/Edmonton leg of your journey first, before ending up with Vancouver/Victoria.

Were it me, I guess I'd look into landing in Vancouver, then perhaps staying a night, possibly two, just to get acclimated a bit... then drive off to the east, via Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke... Golden, Lake Louise, then north along the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, then east to Edmonton for perhaps 3 nights... south to Calgary for perhaps 2 nights... and perhaps a night or two in Banff/Lake Louise... and then back toward the west again.

(*** I know that some of that is back-tracking, but in order to cause yourself to have to drive the Icefields Parkway, as early as possible, I opted for that vs. Kamloops-Jasper via Hwy #5)

Maybe for an alternative you might go from Banff to Cranbrook before embarking on the long, slow, twisting path on Hwy #3 through Princeton. From Princeton you might even consent to a path through Hope, Lillooet, and back via Whistler, home to the 2010 Winter Olympics skiing events.

Then you should bed down in Vancouver for a handful of days before eventually moving your base to Vancouver Island.

Anyway, that was just a rough draft to get you thinking...
NorthwestMale is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2012, 04:02 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you kindly. That gives us some food for thought. So it is likely we could be driving on some icy roads doing the Rockies loop? will this still be likely if we do this loop in Sep?
Also, will Vancouver island be weather be ok into October?
TLWADD is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2012, 08:45 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,610
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Generally speaking, I don't supposed icy roads will be a major threat in September, but such things COULD prove to be the case.

If you don't have other criteria by which to map-out your trip, it couldn't hurt to cause the most scenic, and most weather-related uncertain part of your path to occur as early as possible.

The altitude of Jasper is about 3500 feet, so mountain weather is certainly possible very early in the season.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 05:45 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 593
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
True, but Banff is even higher, at 4500 feet. Calgary is also at 3500 feet.

Snow is possible early in October, but not that likely (at least not at lower elevations). A couple of years ago though, we had a cool autumn, and there was a storm that dumped a lot of snow around the 6th or 7th of October. The Icefields Parkway was closed for about a day and a half, and the Trans-Canada highway #1 was pretty "iffy" at Rogers Pass and they were recommending staying off the roads for a day or two. We came through there about four or five days later on our way home to Jasper (TCH through Rogers Pass, then the parkway) and there was still snow at the side of the road and some snow/ice on the road, but conditions were pretty good.

This year, the first major snow on the parkway was at the end of October.
krp329 is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2012, 04:25 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,657
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Weather on Vancouver Island is usually just fine in October, we usually dont get snow or ice until end of october, the earliest I can remember is October 31, (Halloween). I find that the Sept/Oct months are some of the nicest here.
live42day is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2012, 08:21 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi again,

This is a proposed itinerary if anyone could give feeback and recommendations as to the best towns to have stopover between Vanvouver-Banff as well between Jasper-Edmonton and Vancouver Island options in order to break up the trip (i.e. labeled 'random' below). We are travelling with a toddler and still between mid September and Mid October.

Arrive from Australia
Vancouver 2 nights
Random 1 night
Lake Louise 1 night
Jasper 2 nights
Random 1 night
Edmonton 4 nights
Calgary 2 nights
Canmore 2 nights
Random 1 night?
Vancouver 4-5 nights (including day trip to Whistler)
Ferry to Victoria
Random 1-2 night north of Victoria
Tofino 2 nights
Coombs/Random 1 night?
Courntenay 1 night?
Depart back to Vancouver via Nanaimo
Vancouver 1-2 nights
Fly back to Australia

Very much appreciated
TLWADD is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2012, 08:48 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Also,

wondering if anyone could shed some light on possible festivals happening at this time of year as well as the liklihood of catching a game of ice hockey or two. It would be great to see a Vancouver home game.
TLWADD is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2012, 09:11 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,657
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
you dont need a night in Coombs, actually there is no where to stay in Coombs unless it was at my house ha ha
you could stay in Parksville or Qualicum Beach. THere are a number of places right in Parksville that are on the beach and a great beach there for kids. For your toddler there is an amazing playground and water park right at Parksville beach to let him let off some steam.

Otherwise I would either spend an extra night in Tofino and leave earlier to visit Coombs and McMillian Park (one hour for each) and then make your way to Courtenay for 2 nights. (a 1 hour drive from Coombs). By the time you get there you will want one full day to explore the next day. Are you planning to go to Mt. Washington? Why Courtenay?
live42day is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2012, 02:35 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you live42day for your help.
Are you able to paint me a picture of what it is like around this area in October? Should we have any concerns re: weather and driving the roads?
Friends have talked about Courtenay being a lovely area. Are you able to suggest an alternative itinerary for this area...maybe a day trip to one of the islands?
perfectdays is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2012, 03:45 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you for your suggestions live42day. Our plans will evidently need a little tweaking haha. Parksville sounds great. Of course we still have some reading to do and decisions to make. Seeing as you are local, maybe you could list your top 5-10 'must do's for Vancouver Island? Places to eat/have coffee, quirky shops etc?
TLWADD is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2012, 01:40 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,657
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Perfectdays.
Early October can be lovely here. The roads usally are not a problem. Snow and ice can happen at the end of october, but not often. Usually the rain starts end of October
Courteny is great, Mt. Washington is adjacent and off season (non skiing) it is a great area to hike and take the chair up, you can even rent mountain bikes and ride down if you are adventurous.

The islands before Courtenay, Denman and Hornby are great for a day or better for an overnight. You need to drive across Denman to get to Hornby. A day trip would need planning with the ferrys so look at the schedule on the bcferries.com site. It is an expensive day however taking the car over and there is no transportation (buses) on the island to my knowledge so a car is required.

TLWADD. top things to do here. Well it is certainly in the eye of the beholder and what you like to do.
Most want to see McMillan Park for the old growth trees and combine with a trip to Coombs Market, Goats on the roof. The young ones really like this. There is a resteraunt at the back of the market, Cukoos , which has great food and the ever popular ice cream cones that are massive at the market.

2. in the Fall the area outside of Victoria (North) on the way to Nanaimo called Maple Bay and Cowichan (wine country) is gorgeous with the many trees all oranges and reds. A really lovely drive and then you can veer off and drive along the water as well

3. If you go to the West Coast, as I said Ucluelet is a place to see. The aquarium will be fantastic for your Toddler as they have a hands on approach there, and you can learn about the fish and animals in the ocean here.
http://www.uclueletaquarium.org/contact.html

You can also see bears up close at the Thornton fish hatchery late Sept early october.
Here is a video I did of them when I was there last Fall. You are a mere 10 -15 feet away on a boardwalk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDsjq...1&feature=plcp

Restaruants in Tofino that I love are Sobo downtown, Tofino Chocolate near 'Beaches' store on the highway near Ocean Village Resort has amazing hand made chocolates and ice cream

In Ucluelet Black Rock has a fantastic view over the ocean and you can start the walk on the wild pacific trail from there.

4. In Victoria the Provincial Museum is great for young and old. There is a fabulous restaurnt in Victoria downtown call Rebar which is vegetarian fresh food. Even Non Vegetarians love it.

5 I would skip tea at the Empress, too overrated, overpriced and not suitable for a toddler.

6. Just outside of Parksville, on the way to Coombs in Errington is the WildLife Recovery Centre if you are into wildlife. You child may like this, my grandkids love it. This is a chance to see Eagles, bears, and all the local wildlife up close. They are recovering from injuries, not a zoo.

http://www.niwra.org/

7. Give me some more ideas of what you like, or what above appeals to you and I will think of more. There are many things that would apeal to your toddler, but perhaps you dont want to spend the time on it.
live42day is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:31 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
live42day you have given us some great ideas which all appeal and should give us something to work around over the time we have. We welcome any further ideas you have if things come to mind.
TLWADD is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2012, 05:56 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,948
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
TLWADD, some good advice here for you. I'll throw in my two cents worth based on our experience:

- Our favorite time to visit is mid-September - mid-October. In Vancouver, September tends to be Indian Summer, with warm temps and clear skies. In Banff, the elk are bugling; the colors may not be good until mid to late September.
- Vancouver to Jasper is a great route, and you should allocate some time for Mt. Robson. We usually went Vancouver to Banff, but just discovered Jasper last year. Two nights should be a minimum, but I would suggest 3. We stayed at Patricia Lake Bungalows, and there are a couple other nice spots.
- Driving across British Columbia (e.g., Vancouver to Banff or Jasper) is a gorgeous drive. By all means make it an adventure rather than a driving chore. Spend at least 1 night enroute.
- Consider making that break at the Okanagan wine region and spending an extra day or two. The georgraphy is different from the rest of B.C.
- If you are interested in some routes for that trek, let us know. When possible, we spend at least 3-4 days to make the trip, so we can enjoy the wonder that is B.C.

By the way, we live in Florida. So, it's not a casual vacation to us. But SO worth it, and we manage to make some sort of visit annually. With 4-5 weeks, you can have a vacation of a lifetime.

P.S. Please don't miss the Coombs Market, with the goats on the roof, and allow sufficient time to explore Vancouver Island.
sludick is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2012, 07:27 PM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you sludick, wonderful help also!
TLWADD is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2012, 03:47 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 14
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We have considered not booking all accommodation in advance to allow some flexibility in our trip. Would this be advisable given the time of year. Would we be likely to run into trouble with no accommodation availability during the period Sep20th-Oct20?
TLWADD is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2012, 12:11 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 285
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The only weekend that might be busy in that time frame would be Canadian Thanksgiving and only if you are planning to be in Victoria that weekend as it is the annual marathon. The other areas would be lower season and lots of options and flexibility for travel.
rivet is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2012, 11:06 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,657
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Not really a problem here that time of year.
live42day is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
kecoco
Canada
7
Mar 7th, 2015 09:13 AM
SYLady
Canada
37
Jun 2nd, 2012 08:25 PM
halcyon
Canada
10
Aug 23rd, 2008 08:18 PM
blancalita
Canada
5
Jan 22nd, 2007 07:56 AM
tetrabit
Canada
11
Jun 15th, 2004 10:27 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 - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:57 AM.