family trip to the rockies

May 15th, 2000, 10:56 AM
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family trip to the rockies

Our family (2 adults + 2 9 years old twins) is going to the Rockies in the beginnig of August. We will be 3 days in Jasper and 4 days in Banff. Any suggestion is welcome: places to see, small hikes, etc.
May 15th, 2000, 11:25 AM
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the glacier parkway highway between Lake Louse and Jasper is an obsolute must - probably one of the most scenic drives in the world - allow a full day to do it and make many stops for photos. Be sure to stop at the Columbia icefield - you'll think your at the top of the world
May 15th, 2000, 11:34 AM
Bob Brown
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In the Jasper area, I suggest visiting Mount Edit Cavel. It is a spectacular sight to behold because there is a glacier flowing off of the side of the mountain. When we were there last, a few small ice caves were on the floor of the valley that you could walk too.
Between Jasper and Banff, there are several waterfalls. I like Athabasca Falls. It is a short hike to the overlooks.
Then there is the Icefields Center where you can take the IceCat out onto the glacier itself. That might be fun for the twins. At Sunwapta Pass there is a trail, little known, to Panther Falls, which are the best hidden, best kept secret in the park. If the wind is right, however, the trip can be wet if you get too close. Note! The falls from the Sunwapata Pass parking lot that you can see easily across the valley are NOT Panther Falls. The trail leads off toward the lower end of the parking lot.
Also, I think Bow Glacier Falls are scenic, but the walk out to the base of the falls might be too long a walk.
Lake Louise to me is a "must see". But, if you can, get there in the morning before the hoardes of people arrive.
If you have time drive over Kicking Horse Pass to Yoho National Park and visit Takkakaw Falls. The water plunges about 800 feet from brink to base in a beautiful free fall. A stop at the Visitor Center might be worthwhile. I am not sure now far along the Burgess Shale Learning Center is right now, but if some of the fossils are on display, the twins might find it interesting.
I was there last summer and the landlady of the apartment where we stayed worked for the Learning Center. I got to hold some of the rare specimens in my hands.
It was like holding a piece of rare crystal or something, except I don't think these would have broken because the fossils were still in the rock matrix.
Another beautiful place to visit is Moraine Lake. It is a short walk to the rocky "dam" at the end of the lake. The view up lake from there is tremendous.
One of the most beautiful lake sights you will ever see.
Also, if you have time, drive over the pass to Kootenay Pass and visit Marble Canyon. It is a narrow canyon, like a yard wide at points, but over 100 feet deep. Most unusual.
Last, I suggest Johnson Creek and Canyon. The walk is short, but the canyon is spectacular. Most of the path is on a metal catwalk suspended above the water. It is safe enough; hundreds of people do it every day in the summer.
May 15th, 2000, 12:06 PM
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thank you so much for your quick reply, please go on, it is never enough.
Erlier in our 3 weeks trip, we will be in Seattle going to Olimpic park, then by ferry to Victoria for two days and then by ferry again to Vancouver. We'll have a car with us from Seattle. I've read what you, Bob, recently wrote about going with a ferry - is it that bad (I can't wait 48 hours for a ferry) If I make a reservation in advance for the ferry - will the waiting time be shorter? What advice can you give us regarding the transportation issue?
Thanks for help.
May 15th, 2000, 01:13 PM
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If there's ANY way you can turn your trip around so that you don't go via Port Angeles to Victoria with a car, you should do so. That ferry does not take reservations and in August the wait can be 6-10 HOURS or I've heard even longer sometimes. At least if you go from Victoria, you can see things in downtown Victoria while you have your car in line. Downtown Port Angeles doesn't offer nearly as much to keep you busy...

If you can't turn the trip around, then it might actually be faster to drive back to the mainland from the Peninsula(via the Port Townsend/Whidbey ferry) and head north to Tswawassen and take the ferry from there to Victoria. That ferry runs every hour, fits way more cars on it, and does take reservations.
May 16th, 2000, 09:50 AM
Bob Brown
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Let me restate my comments on the ferries a little bit.

The BC Ferry system is excellent to better than excellent!! We have crossed from Tsawassen (Vancouver) to Sydney (Victoria) and from Nanaimo to Tsawassen for our longer trips. Those boats are large and run frequently.

The bad situation occured when we wanted to take our car on the ferry from Port Angeles on the Washington side over to Victoria.

That year we had planned to take the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria. Once on the Canadian side, we were going to look around the island and then return on the Canadian ferry to continue our trip. When we arrived at the terminal, we learned the facts of the matter: the wait would be 24 hours or more. The end result was that we went over on the ferry as pedestrians, leaving our car on the Washington side. (We returned to our car later that day.)

In looking over the situation, we learned that many people with RVs simply camped in line over night. I believe it is literally true that we could have driven to Tsawassen and taken the BC ferry from there to Victoria in less than one fourth of the time it would have taken to wait out the line.
Why didn't we do it that way? Well, we had not at that time experienced BC Ferries and I did not know the situation.

Had I known then what I know now, we would have acted differently. Going over on a day trip basis was a poor decision because we did not have the time or the transportation to do much once we got there. We did tour the BC Provincial Museum, which is highly worthwhile I might add. But we did not have time before we had to take the the return ferry to tour the museum and go to Butchart Gardens, which is also a very worthwhile tour destination.

Unless the situation has changed in the last year or so, I would say don't plan on taking the Black Ball Ferry between the Olympic Peninsula and Victoria during the summer season unless you have time to burn.
May 16th, 2000, 11:34 AM
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Thank you Bob, it is great to hear and learn from other people's experience.
If I understand you correctly, what I should do is to go straight from Seattle to Tsawwassen, take the ferry to Swartz Bay, spend the day in Victoria, stay in Victoria for the night, spend more time there the next day and go back to Vancouver in the same ferry. Sounds right?
If I have 4 nights in the area - does 1 night in Victoria and 3 nights in Vancouver sound logic to you?
Regarding the good ferry you've mention - should I make reservations? where do I find the schedule?
Thanks again for all you valuable help.
May 16th, 2000, 05:26 PM
Bob Brown
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There is a good website for BC Ferries.
Amazingly enough it is
It has schedules and all the info you might want.

Yes, I would head for Tsawwassen and the ferry terminal. We got to Butchart Gardens before lunch for our lengthy walk around. The next day we toured the BC Museum. If you get to Victoria late, you might want to spend two nights there to give you one full day to see Butchart Gardens in the morning and the museum in the afternoon. Then you could get away early the next morning for a good day's visit to Vancouver.

Victoria is pretty and it is interesting, but I think you will see the two major highlights if you visit the gardens and the museum. Perhaps a walk around the harbor area might suffice after taking in the museum.

I found the museum interesting and well presented. It is not overwhelming nor is it full of stuffed animals. The curators have done a good job of presenting key information about the history of the province.
The exhibits on the native population is quite well done without being endless cases of headgear and canoes. I liked it. And the gardens are pretty.
May 16th, 2000, 09:15 PM
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If you're at Butchart's Gardens on a Saturday night you can watch the firework display too. You have to get there early though and sit on the lawn until after dusk.

The schedule for the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferries are ever changing but in summer they should run more or less every hour from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.

I'd have to agree that this route is your best bet. I resent paying extra for reservations but I might think differently if time was an issue.

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