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Help me with itinerary to Canadian Rockies

Help me with itinerary to Canadian Rockies

Jun 5th, 2007, 08:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Help me with itinerary to Canadian Rockies

I will be going to Banff/Jasper on June 20.
Current plan:
June 20 Drive Vancouver - Kelowna
June 21 Drive Kelowna Banff
June 22 Banff - LL and surrounding (Help me fill this day)
June 23 Banff - Ice field - Jasper
June 24 Jasper
June 25 Drive Jasper - Vancouver (Is it do- able?)

Should I spend more time in Jasper and cut some from Banff?

I won't be hiking, I'm with elderly (65) and young child (5)

fchen123 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
I would rather slit my wrists than do your proposed trip with a 5-year-old.

If you were a party of young or middle aged adults, I would say your proposed itinerary was fast paced, but feasible.

But with a young child in tow, I think it would be just horrible.

Without knowing the larger context of your trip, it's hard to know what else to suggest. When I say the larger context of your trip, I mean how long you'll have for your trip altogether, whether what you've told us about is the entire trip or whether it's part of a larger trip, where you'll be coming from, where you'll be going afterwards, what things in life interest you, etc.

If you INSIST on doing what I think is an insane trip, I'll answer your question about the Banff - LL day. The priorities, in my opinion, are (1) Moraine Lake, (2) Lake Louise, (3) Johnston Canyon.

I hope I wasn't too rude. Believe it or not, I was trying to be helpful, and I hope I was (even if I did come across rather brutally).

Of course the opinions I expressed were just that -- opinions. Other posters may share different opinions. You may accept some of them or none of them, as you please. It's your time, money, family and sanity.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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I totally agree with Judy, too much for a small child.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 11:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 959
I third that opinion. I would even suggest it's too much for young or middle-aged adults. You'd be spending more time in the car than enjoying the mountains. Perhaps only go to Banff/LL area so you can relax and see more of one area in a little more depth.
ShelliDawn is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 02:50 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,055
You've picked some great spots to visit, but I think the reason you've been advised to change is perhaps you don't realize the vast distances you'll be driving each day. You will be spending almost the whole trip in the car. It might be helpful to get a good map and pick one or two of your proposed locations to enjoy in the time you have.
msteacher is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5
It is my entire trip. I live in Vancouver.

Thank you for you honest and fast response.

Which part do you think I should skip for this time? It is my first trip to Banff.

Should I skip Jasper and stay another day in Kamloop on my way back?
fchen123 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Why not detour through the Okanagen Valley on your way back?

bob_brown is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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The reason I was critical of this plan was:

(1) It involves such a tremendous amount of driving in such a short time, as other posters have stated. I guess it helps a bit that kids these days have videogames and things of that nature to amuse them in cars. When I was a kid, and even when my own kids were kids, it was all about waving at train engineers and seeing how many regional license plates one could spot, and stuff like that. Even to this day, I still wave at engineers, and still casually take note of license plates that come from distant places like Florida and Texas. But, regardless of what strategies you use to amuse your child during the journey, it’s still going to be an enormous amount of driving for the amount of time you have.

(2) When my kids were that age, they did not appreciate scenery. They did enjoy visiting the mountains, but that was because my husband and I put some work into it. We asked our kids to find different colours of lichen, we asked them to notice which sides of the trees moss tended to grow on (the shady north sides), we took them tenting (packing for the trip, erecting the tent, building a campfire, cooking on the campfire, dismantling the tent and unpacking from the trip all were exciting to them), we took them canoeing, and so on. It takes time to get equipped for camping, and I don’t recommend it as a spur of the moment decision, but it does pay to give some thought to how one will keep a young child amused in the mountains. Frankly, there are many 5-year-olds who would prefer a few days at a beach in the Okanagan Valley.

More in next post .......
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
Anyway, if you insist on going to the Rockies, I suggest you cut out Jasper. It pains me to say that, because I’m fond of Jasper, but you have to make some choices. Here is an itinerary that is a bit more feasible than the first one that you had in mind.

WED, JUNE 20 - Drive Vancouver – Revelstoke. Your child would enjoy visiting the Enchanted Forest. It would be fun to spend the night at Three Valley Gap.

The drive from Vancouver to Revelstoke is about 6.5 hours, not counting stops.

THU, JUNE 21 - Drive to Lake Louise or Banff.

Lake Louise would be a more convenient base for sight seeing. However, it has a much smaller stock of accommodation than Banff has. I don’t know what your budget is. Nice places to stay are Baker Creek Chalets and Paradise Lodge and Bungalows. If they’re too expensive for you, you might consider Lake Louise Inn, which has loft suites that are suitable for families.

If you stay in Banff, consider Tunnel Mountain Resort, Douglas Fir Resort, or Hidden Ridge Resort. These are self-catering properties on the outskirts of Banff townsite, and they are suitable for families.

On this day you will drive Revelstoke – Golden – Lake Louise (and onto Banff, if that’s where you’ll be staying).

Between Revelstoke and Golden you’ll drive over beautiful Rogers Pass.

Between Golden and Lake Louise, you’ll drive through Yoho National Park. Just before you reach Field, BC, take the detour to see the natural bridge over the Kicking Horse River and Emerald Lake. Just after Field, stop to see the spiral railway tunnels and take the detour to Takakkaw Falls (if the road is open – there is a good chance that it will be open by then).

Revelstoke to Lake Louise is 3 hours. Add 45 minutes if you’re driving on to Banff. Add an hour or two for natural bridge / Emerald Lake. Add an hour or two for spiral tunnels / Takakkaw Falls. Add an hour for lunch. Take into consideration that you will lose an hour when you cross time zones between Revelstoke and Golden. So, all in all, this will be a full day.

FRI, JUNE 22 – From your Banff or Lake Louise base, drive as much of the Icefields Parkway as you can. At a minimum, stop at Peyto Lake Loookout, and ride the Ice Explorer vehicle onto the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefields. When you’ve done as much as you feel comfortable, turn around and drive back to your Banff or Lake Louise base.

SAT, JUNE 23 – From your Banff or Lake Louise base, visit Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. You can rent a canoe at either of those lakes. That would be fun for your child. Visit Johnston Canyon and walk to the Lower Falls at least. Go up the Sulphur Mountain Gondola.

SUN, JUNE 24 – From Banff or Lake Louise, drive back to Golden, Revelstoke and Sicamous. Then turn south towards the Okanagan Valley, and drive through Vernon and Kelowna. Where you should spend the night could be the subject of research in its own right. I think Penticton would be quite a nice spot.

MON, JUNE 25 – Visit the beach in the morning. In the afternoon drive to Vancouver.

The more I look at this itinerary, the more uncomfortable I feel. I think I’ve done the best I can, if you honestly want to go all the way to the Rockies in such a short amount of time. But it is less than ideal. If you were able to add even one more day to this itinerary, it would make a big difference. It would allow you to add a relaxing beach day in the Okanagan Valley, which would be most beneficial.

More ..........
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501

You can get driving distances and estimated driving times from Map Quest ( www.mapquest.com ).

Map Quest is not good for estimating driving times on the days on which you’re doing a lot of sight seeing in the mountains, for example, the day on which you visit Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, and Johnston Canyon. First of all, Map Quest only gives you distances between towns. It does not tell you distances to and from scenic lookout points. Secondly, it does not give you an idea of how long it takes to walk around and enjoy scenic lookout points.

But Map Quest is good for your long driving days, for example, the day on which you drive from Vancouver to Revelstoke, the day on which you drive from the mountains to the Okanagan Valley, and for the day on which you drive from the Okanagan Valley back to Vancouver.


Be aware that, while you can expect average day time highs in the high teens or 20 deg Celsius, the temperature CAN go up to 30 deg C in the Rockies, and into the mid 30s Celsius in the Okanagan Valley. Conversely, average night time lows in the mountains are around 7 deg C, and it is entirely possible that you could encounter FREEZING weather in the mountains. You need to pack LAYERS of clothing to accommodate rapidly changing weather conditions, and you need to pack sturdy, sensible, comfortable footwear for walking on rough paths.


If you don’t already have an annual national parks pass, you will need to pay an entry fee when you enter Glacier National Park or Yoho National Park. If you don’t stop at the booth to pay there, you need to go to the Visitor Information Centre in Lake Louise village or Banff townsite and buy a pass there.

Because of the way the system counts your first day (from the time of entry until 4.00 p.m. the following day), I calculate you will need to pay for 3 days. A group of between 2 and 7 people traveling together in a single vehicle pays a group rate of $17.80 per day. So a 3-day pass will cost you $53.40.

Since a national parks pass is valid in all 28 of Canada’s national parks, it would be worth your while to buy a $123 annual pass if you thought there was a good chance that you would visit other national parks (e.g., Pacific Rim National Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island) within the next year.

The break even point when it becomes more economical to buy an annual pass is 7 days. If you don’t think that you will spend 7 days in national parks during the next 365 days, it would be more economical for you to pay for just the 3 days that you’ll be in national parks in June 2007.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Wow thank you very much Judy.

Do I need to book hotel or can we just walk-in? I will probably stay in canmore or banff. 150 per night would be my budget. Is this reasonable?

Thanks again.
fchen123 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
You're welcome, Ferdy.

If I were you, I would book rather than relying on walk-in accommodation.

When you say your budget is $150 / night, I don't know if you mean per couple or per family. On June 10th, 2006, my husband and I spent $148 for a night at Homestead Inn, which is a modest, but clean and friendly, motel-like property in downtown Banff.

Other modestly priced accommodations that you could try in Banff include:

* Bow View Motor Lodge (What put me against it last year was that we would have had to pay at the time of booking, and there would have been NO refund if we had cancelled, regardless of how long in advance we had cancelled. That said, there are people here who have provided good reviews of this property. In fact it was the existence of those reviews that caused me to enquire about the property in the first place.)

* Homestead Inn (already mentioned -- I'll add that there was a refrigerator in our room, even though there were no other kitchen facilities)

* Irwin's Mountain Inn

* Red Carpet Inn

In CANMORE you could try

* Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge (it offers standard motel-style rooms as well as self-catering units)

* Bow Valley Motel

* Drake Inn

Hope that helps.

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501

Don't write off self-catering accommodations like Douglas Fir Resort. They may APPEAR to be more expensive than some of the other accommodations, but one $300 unit at Douglas Fir Resort could accommodate your family group, whereas you would need two $150 rooms for your family group at a place like Homestead Inn.

For example, Douglas Fir Resort's one bedroom loft condo effectively has two bedrooms (one bedroom with one queen bed and another bedrdoom with two queen beds) plus a sofabed in the living room. In addition to that, it has a kitchen that you could use to prepare your own breakfast and perhaps picnic lunches. In high season, when you'll be going, it costs C$302 / night.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 6th, 2007, 01:55 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5
Again thanks Judy. Your post really help and set my expectation properly.

Budget for hotel is 150/night/room
1 room will be 2 adults 2 kids and the other is 2 adults 1 kid.

I hesitate commit to the hotel as we want flexibility. The trip may be cancelled at the last minute.

I will try to get hotel room once we know for sure we will not cancel the trip.

fchen123 is offline  

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