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From Vancouver to Lake Louise - which way?

From Vancouver to Lake Louise - which way?

Feb 11th, 2014, 09:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 6
From Vancouver to Lake Louise - which way?

Our trip to Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies is almost planned with one remaining question: Which way should we take from Vancouver to Lake Louise?
Here are some facts:
It is going to be the 2nd week of May
We have left 2 days (2 nights ) for the road as we don't want to do too much driving in one day.
We want a route that has some point of interest along it
We are not fit for hiking - only short walks for us
After 2 nights near Lake Louise we plan 4 nights in Jasper and 2 nights in Banff

Can you help us with the route and where to stay overnight?
MBfromisrael is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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You will definitely want to allocate at least two nights for the drive. During the second week of May you could still very easily experience winter driving conditions in the mountain passes with the possibility of delays due to avalanches or avalanche control. Make sure to check the road reports carefully, and be willing to spend an additional day along the way if needed. Probably won't be a problem, but May weather is notoriously fickle in the mountains.

At least towards Lake Louise, hiking won't be much of a possibility anyway. High elevations (i.e. around Bow Summit/Icefields Centre) will still be snowbound with lakes still frozen or in the process of thawing. The road to Moraine Lake will still be closed and Maligne Lake doesn't usually thaw until the end of the month.

You should be fine driving from Lake Louise to Jasper and back, but do look carefully at road reports before you depart. The weather could be wonderful, but you could still hit snow and I don't know whether the gas/store at Saskatchewan River Crossing will be open by then.
kgsneds is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 07:15 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Doesn't the Sask. stop open on the long weekend..It used to open then!
amer_can is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 10:09 PM
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Thank you for the information.
We are aware of the weather conditions and the closures in the mountains.
I guess my question was not clear enough - i asked for advise about the road from Vancouver to lake Louise, or rather from Vancouver to Ravelstoke. We see several options: Via Whister, Via the Fraser Canyoun (Rt. 1) , a detour to Kelowna, or direct to Kamloops. Which way is nicer this time of the year and worth a detour?
MBfromisrael is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 06:14 AM
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Question: why Lake Louise first? then Jasper and them Banff?

Detour through Penticton and Kelowna is a nice drive.

You should also consider driving the highway 93/95 loop through Radium (Kootenay National Park) from Banff to Golden on your way home.
Eschew is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 07:08 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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We have driven the available routes several times, and at different times of year, visiting from Australia, and we are going again in April, this time via Kelowna (#97C) to Banff, and coming back via Kamloops and if the road is open, back through Lilloet and Whistler. We have also driven north from Kamloops on #5 to Mt Robson and Jasper, which was scenic. However, I think it's better to keep on #1 all the way to Lake Louise instead, and travel up and back to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway - a truly fabulous scenic road, with different view going north and south.

My suggestion, in May, would be to avoid the main highway to Kamloops, if you choose to go that way, and instead from Hope, follow the train line and the Fraser River for much of the way, with a stop at Hell's Gate for the view. It's spectacular most of the way to Lytton, where you have another choice of routes. After overnighting in Kamloops, there are a couple of short boardwalks just off the main highway between Revelstoke and Field as I recall, and these towns themselves are interesting for a walk and travel break.

Coming back through Kelowna and Penticton gives a different perspective - gentler - and Kelowna has a pretty lake setting, lovely Japanese garden near downtown, and wineries to visit.

I think I would divide Jasper and Banff more equally. In May, Jasper could still have frozen lakes, and frozen waterfalls, and dangerous tracks to both. There's a lot more to do from Banff, including day trips to Calgary.

I would like to ask Eschew, if the #93/95 loop would be a good idea mid-April? We'll definitely use a day trip from Banff to Radium Hot Springs, but not sure if the #95 is worth doing too? Thanks, and my apologies for the diversion.
Carrabella is offline  
Feb 15th, 2014, 12:00 AM
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Peaks would be still snow covered, road condition should be okay mid-April. The drive from Banff to Radium is scenic, Radium up to Golden less spectacular, but then nothing compare to Icefield Parkway anyway.

For the more adventurous, try Hwy 1A between Lake Louise and Banff.

Special Note: Sask crossing probably won't be open until May so gas up!
Eschew is offline  
Feb 15th, 2014, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Re Eschew's earlier question - why Lake Louise, then Jasper, then Banff?

LL & Banff are quite close together & you can stay @ one & drive to the other very quickly. Jasper's way up the road by itself. If you're roundtripping back to Vancouver why not stay 4 nights LL/Banff, 4 nights Jasper then backtrack just a little bit to Valemount, South on #5/Yellowhead Hwy to Kamloops then down #97 thru the Okanagan Valley(Kelowna) & on to Vancouver? From Kelowna you can either go via the 5A/5 Coquihalla Connector/Coquihalla Hwy to Hope/#1 or down to Penticton then across on #3/Crow's Nest Pass to Hope
(I put the names of the highways in cause they're cool names

From Vancouver you can go the #1 thru the Fraser Canyon, Kamloops (probably overnight), Golden to LL/Banff.

Which ever way you choose, the scenery will cause you hold your breath! Remember - keep breathing!
arjaykay is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 08:43 AM
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The last 3 times I have been in Jasper I arrived on the ViaRail Canadian. I haven't been to Lake Louise in decades.
IMO Lake Louise is not that much nicer than the lakes and mountains in the Jasper area. There are several places to rent cars within walking distance of the Jasper train station.
In the east half of the train station is the Brewster tour bus counter.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 09:45 AM
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Thank you all again.
A few comments about our itinerary:
We are going to drive from Vancouver to the Rockies one way. After Banff we have a flight from Calgary to New York.

We decided to take the Icefield parkway both directions because of the scenery and because we understand that it is worth more than one day of sightseeing. This is why we go from LL to Jasper than back to Banff.

Staying 2 nights in lake Louise is for relaxing a bit between days of a lot of driving.

And one more thing: I must admit that after reading all the comments and warnings about weather and road conditions in the beginning of May we have some second thought about this trip. I would definitely postpone it but we have already bought our flight tickets and the cancellation fee is quite high. Is it worthwhile at all to go on MAy??
MBfromisrael is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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May should and will be ok.. Faint heart never saw the wonderous world and even if you get a freak situation it should be classified as an adventure..
amer_can is offline  
Feb 17th, 2014, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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You are less likely to have weather issues driving Hwy #1 from Vancouver thru the Fraser Canyon to Kamloops. Kamloops could be 25-30C by mid-May or later & typically, if there's any weather/road issues beyond, it's shortlived & gone quickly.
Go. Enjoy.
arjaykay is offline  
Feb 17th, 2014, 05:26 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 774
Thank you, Eschew.
Carrabella is offline  
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