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Driving Vancouver, BC to Jasper, Alberta, Canada

Driving Vancouver, BC to Jasper, Alberta, Canada

Old Apr 4th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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Driving Vancouver, BC to Jasper, Alberta, Canada

Is a 7-day drive between these two points (in June) relaxing enough, or is the distance/mountain driving pretty arduous? Thinking of overnighting in Kamloops, Lake Louise and Jasper. I see hotel/B&B prices are expensive -- any good recommendations of where to stay? I'm willing to pay if the place is truly worth it. We have never been to the Rockies.

Also, any recommendations on what to see or do in and between point A and B?

Thanks all!
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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They are 9 hours apart - 496 miles. I would not spend more than 2 days getting from one to the other. My usual method of travel between these places has always been to ride the ViaRail Canadian. I don't consider Kamloops to be in the same league as Jasper for lodging or scenery.
Things to see near Jasper are Patricia Lake and the Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake. There is plenty of good lodging in Jasper. For a cheap place to stay I favor the HI Hostel about 4 miles SW of town near the north end of the Icefield Highway.
If you drive a rental car do you have to drive back to Vancouver to avoid a drop off charge?
Rental cars are available in Jasper if you do ride the train.
The Brewster tour bus company has a counter in the east half of the ViaRail station.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 05:21 PM
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The driving is easy, on major highways the entire way. Driving to Jasper is actually easier than to Banff National Park, since the distance is slightly shorter from Vancouver and the grades and elevations of the mountain passes are lower, however, the TCH #1 route to Banff does get the edge for more dramatic scenery (but the other route is also beautiful). Between Lake Louise and Jasper is the Icefields Parkway, rated by National Geographic magazine as one of "Twenty Drives of a Lifetime" - plan to spend the whole day on this drive, with all the various scenic stops.

Kamloops is a logical place to stop-over, since it's the largest centre in the area and located about halfway, but it doesn't do much for me... the main hotel area in Aberdeen is mostly chain hotels, chain restaurants and big box stores. You might also consider Clearwater, BC, one hour further, which is the "gateway to Wells Gray Park". The park is a detour off the highway, but Helmcken Falls are amazing and there are plenty of other waterfalls and beautiful views in the park too.

Just one hour west of Jasper is Mt. Robson Provincial Park, in BC. Mt. Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. There is a small visitor centre there with great views of the mountain (which has a huge prominence, standing 10,000 feet above the valley below). There are also two sets of beautiful waterfalls nearby - Rearguard Falls, just a bit west of Mt. R, and Overlander Falls, just east of the visitor centre.

For Jasper, you'll find B&Bs (about a dozen) and PHAs (private home accomodations - over 100 of them) listed at www.stayinjasper.com They are about half the cost of hotel accommodation. June is still "shoulder season", so some of the hotels may be offering specials - www.jasper.travel . Banff and Lake Louise hotels are listed at www.banfflakelouise.com , the official tourism page for the area.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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Thanks Tom and KDP - lots of good info and it sounds like the perfect drive!
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 03:35 PM
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We did this a couple summers ago-in reverse.
Kamloops is not much of a town-we liked Revelstoke much better. Nice river walk, and indoor water park, and nice restaraunts and downtown area. Cheaper hotels too. The drive from Whistler (which I highly recommend) to Revelstoke or Kamloops is pretty boring-but after that it's spectacular!
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 05:15 PM
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For a nice scenic route, I would recommend driving to Kelowna rather than Kamloops (via the Coquihalla which is quite fast once you get to Hope from Vancouver). Kelowna is on Lake Okanagan and in a wine growing region, very pretty and lots of activities, accommodations, and ineresting restaurants (especially those with the wineries). Worth spending a day in the area.

Revelstoke is also worth a stop, there is an interesting B&B across the street from the Court House, the serve yummy Korean pancakes for breakfast!! (we stopped there last October - so have recent experience).

The drive from Revelstoke across Roger's Pass and then across the Columbia River Valley to the Golden and the Rockies is spectacular, and of course once you are in the Rocky Mountain parks all is good.

You can quite easily do the drive from Vancouver to Lake Louise in two or three very relaxing days. Of course, if you are in a hurry you can also do it in one day of driving, driving, driving.

Save one entire day to drive from Lake Louise to Jasper - the Icefield Parkway is gorgeous. You may even want to do that drive twice (after staying in Jasper overnight). With that choice you will be driving bascially the same route westward back to Vancouver as you came when driving east to the Rockies.

You could also take the route from Jasper back to Vancouver on the Yellowhead highway - it's fairly straight forward (5 hours Jasper to Kamloops, another 2 hours to Hope, then you take your chances with the traffic to Vancouver!! - could be fast, could be slow). That option would be a loop - Vancouver - Kelowna - Revelstoke - Lake Louise - Banff - Jasper (via lake Louise) - Kamloops - Vancouver.

A third option is in the opposite direction - Vancouver - Kamloops - Jasper - Lake Louise Banff - Revelstoke - Kelowna/Penticton - Hope - Vancouver.

Hope that this is not too confusing!!
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