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How long to drive from Vancouver to Jasper to Banff to calgary

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I have allocated 8 days in June 2018 to drive from Vancouver to Jasper to Banff to Calgary. Is this enough time?

Would be 4 days in Vancouver be adequate to see the city and maybe go to Victoria

I then will fly to Halifax. Would 4 days be fine to look around Halifax and do some local bus trips? PEI?

Thank you

Ian

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    What time of year? But in general -- the straight drive w/o any stops is about 15 hours more or less. So in 'real life' about 3 days of drive time total. I think 8 days would be OK allowing some time in each stop.

    4 days is good for Vancouver - I might even consider 2 nights in Victoria and 2 in Vancouver -- depends on what all you want to see/do.

    Never been to Halifax so can't help w/ that part.

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    Depending on the season, consider taking the ViaRail Canadian from Vancouver to Jasper. There are several car rental agencies within walking distance of the Jasper train station.
    Brewster bus tours also has a counter in the train station.
    Consider flying east from Edmonton instead of Calgary.
    It's been several decades since I've been to Banff. Jasper and Banff are equally beautiful IMO.
    Decades ago I went through Halifax on my way to Peggy's Cove.
    The Canadian only runs 3 times per week so you should check to see if its schedule meets your needs.

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    For the 8 days you have, I think a car is far preferable to taking the train. It's much more flexible and you will see much more than on the train. Remember too that it's an overnight train, so even in June a good part of the trip through the Fraser Canyon and beyond will be in the dark. I can't agree with the suggestion that you fly from Edmonton rather than Calgary--it's simply out of your way. The downside of a car is that you will pay a hefty drop-off fee for a one-way rental, but I think that it is worth it for the time you will spend.

    My suggestion would be to take the Trans-Canada Hwy (#1) to Hope, and then by Hwy3 to Osoyoos and head up the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Stay overnight in Penticton or Kelowna, or one of the small wine towns alone the route. Then head to Salmon Arm or Sicamous to rejoin the Trans-Canada and go as far as Revelstoke. From Revelstoke head for Lake Louise, stopping at some of the sights in Revelstoke, Glacier and Yoho National Parks along the way. Take a day to explore Lake Louise and vicinity (especially Moraine Lake) and then head up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. Stay two nights in Jasper before returning on the Icefields Parkway (the stunning views are different in each direction) to Banff. That should leave you two nights. If your flight is not early in the morning, drive from Banff to Calgary the day of your flight. Otherwise spend your last night at a hotel near Calgary Airport--there are many of them at all price ranges, and most have a shuttle so you can drop your car off on arrival.

    I think that 4 days is enough for Vancouver. If you want to visit Victoria, I suggest taking the Seaplane from Vancouver Harbour to Victoria's Inner Harbour. It's a 30 minute flight and will give you a full day in Victoria. Otherwise, take the bus/ferry downtown to downtown connection and stay overnight in Victoria.

    Regarding Halifax, I think I'd forget PEI. There's lots to see and do in Halifax, and I would do an overnight trip from Halifax to Lunenburg, an old fishing town and UNESCO World Heritage site. Personally, I would skip the highly touristy Peggy's Cove, but it's a place that most people visiting Halifax seem to want to see.

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    +1 to not flying from Edmonton. The drive from Jasper to Edmonton is mostly very boring, straight road in either forest or uninteresting farmland. Really nothing to see once you get about 45 minutes from Jasper and lots of photo radar traps to trip you up. Very skippable.

    The parkway between Jasper and Lake Louise is one of the most scenic drives in the world - usually suggest that people drive it twice, both to see all the sites and in case it's rainy/cloudy on one drive.

    The itinerary suggested above is excellent. That said, it really does depend on the time of year, so more details on your trip would be very helpful.

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    Ian,

    If I gather all of this accurately, you have 16-ish days total for the things/places described?


    Looking at the big picture, I think I would attempt to have another day or two upon getting to Nova Scotia.

    Vancouver is wonderful, and filled with things to do and see, so I'm hesitant to chop-off even one of the four days you have allocated there.

    Earlier this year I visited Jasper and Calgary, and I wish that the places you are targeting for your western drive were lined-up in a neat row or circle, to make things much easier!

    Unfortunately much of eastern BC is filled with inconvenient roads which do their best to dodge all of the mountain ranges, yet which make direct travel a slow process.

    Your priorities are good as stated, and from my recent experience I would suggest adding neat little places like Nelson, BC and Fernie, BC... yet, man, what a crazy, mazey bunch of roads!


    My first instinct is to plug-in these towns:

    Vancouver
    Kelowna (as someone offered above)
    Nelson
    Fernie, BC
    Calgary

    ... admitting in advance that those wonderful little spots take forever to reach.

    THEN, from Calgary, make your relatively short path to Banff and Lake Louise... then covering the Icefields Parkway to Jasper... and either retrace your steps all the way to Calgary (with beautiful views all around) or at least retrace your steps to the Saskatchewan River crossing (midway along the mountain highway) and then east to Red Deer and then south to Calgary (to fly to the east coast from there).


    SO, to see if this works, do it backward as follows:


    Night beFORE you fly from Calgary - spend IN Calgary hotel

    Night beFORE that, you spend in Jasper Hotel

    Night before THAT, you spend in Lake Louise or Banff area hotel for TWO NIGHTS.

    Night before THAT, in Calgary-area hotel


    SO that affords TWO nights (I think) spent between Vancouver and Calgary. (Utilizing your 8 days/(7 nights) for that path)

    Kelowna is 5 hours from Vancouver, and the 'biggest' town along that path, so perhaps it makes sense to make one night there.

    Sadly, the rest of the path (Kelowna-Nelson-Fernie-Calgary) is 13 hours...

    but the upside to this path is that the only doubling-back along the way is in the very scenic area of the Icefields Parkway south of Jasper.


    As for Nova Scotia... I still wish there was another day or two there...

    The grandest prize in NS is the Cabot Trail, in the far north of the province... you could go there, but it would suck-up most of your time allotment.

    Also, the tides in the Bay of Fundy are so unique that a trek to Hopewell Cape, NB is a grand way to gain a sense for just what is there.

    Maybe it would be wise to at least price the options of flying into either Moncton, NB OR Sydney, NS to give yourself a running start one one or the other of those, before flying out of Halifax.

    Given what I know of the area back there, I think I would skip PEI in favor of more alluring alternatives.


    Halifax itself merits some time as well... so "4 days" makes it quite challenging. Among the better features of NS is that it isn't on the way to anywhere, and thus it isn't overrun by society.

    The tides in the Bay of Fundy are SO powerful that many rivers in the area turn around and flow upstream when the tide comes in twice daily. (this isn't kid stuff )

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    If you are going from Vancouver to Calgary via Nelson and Ferrie, it makes no sense at all to go through Kelowna as suggested above. Nor does it make sense to drive to Calgary through Ferrie and then back to Banff Lake Louise and Jasper. If you want to visit Nelson, you should take Hwy 3 all the way through Osoyoos and then on to Nelson. From Nelson you could head north up the Slocan Valley through Nakusp and on to Revelstoke. If you go to Ferrie, then you miss Revelstoke and Glacier NP which are both spectacular.

    As attractive as Nelson is, and I have visited many times and often driven Hwy 3 between Nelson and Osoyoos, by taking that route you would miss the Okanagan Valley which Is well worth visiting. Try Nelson another time.

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    (reconsidering the big picture)

    I DO see the light that laverendrye is trying to shine...

    (let me first emphasize that getting to Banff/Jasper and doubling back on the Icefields Parkway is far preferable to taking the Yellowhead Highway in BC toward Jasper )

    But of greatest significance if you take laverendrye's path, is that time saved there can be utilized to give you more breathing room in Nova Scotia and surrounds.

    SO, perhaps, 4 days in Vancouver... and then one night stay between Vancouver and Banff during the 10.5-hour path there along the Trans Canada Hwy...

    Surely 2 nights in Banff/Lake Louise area... then 1 night in Jasper, and then returning to Calgary (one way or another) for your flight to Nova Scotia.


    There are a few non-stop flights from Calgary to Halifax, BUT so many require one stop, that you might as well look into having that 2nd leg drop you off in either Sydney, NS OR Moncton, NB instead of Halifax, (provided you can find a one-way car rental which keeps the entire picture affordable ).


    I don't really know what options are for doing only bus trips from Halifax to see much of the local area... but a self-guided auto tour is most effective.

    June in the north will be grand in that sunset will be laaaaaate, and you can grab all of the scenery you can find then. (6 days grants you SO much more freedom in NS that it would likely be worth it if you can shave a little time off of your tour of the west.


    And Laverendrye, you should go to Fernie, if for no other reason than the incredible view from the grocery store checkout counter.

    I'm guessing that the tabloids don't sell AT ALL there!

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    Well from my experience you have more than enough time. Me & my friends from Toronto did the BC trip including the Vancouver-Banff drive in June this year. (4 drivers)

    Well technically we stayed in Radium Hot Springs right outside of kootenay it took us about 10-10.5hrs(with food/gas/restroom stops) we left van at about 10:30 am and arrived at almost 9pm. It was about another hours drive through kootenay to Banff NP so I’d say a conservative time would be 10.5 hrs from Van to Banff because you’ll probably just go through Yoho instead of continuing south like we did.

    We passed some beautiful places on the way like Kamloops, the incredibly beautiful Kelowna (on the way back), Vernon , Revelstoke(the town the people call revelstuck you’ll find out later) & the drive through Glacier NP is an incredible preview for your destination.

    One or two warnings I will inform you about is the construction which there was a lot of when we went & the weather which affected us greatly on our way back to Van. It took us 26 hours to get back to Van from Radium. There was a storm on our way back from Banff the day before we left that had washed out a bridge near Revelstoke so we were detoured us onto 2 ferry’s that’s cost us pretty much the 12 hours after we were detoured onto a service road that cost us another 5 hours earlier in the day at Golden.

    Sounds like a horror story to some but still a great trip and experience for us cause we met some great people on the service road that helped us make it through

    So definitely check for and be aware of road closures on the trans Canada & weather before beginning your journey

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    Shaquille,

    I was traveling in the area in June, as well, and I do recall having consulted a map (from the Edmonton-Jasper area) and opting to stay to the north, vs going due south and then west into BC... and I recall later learning that had I selected to other alternative, that I too would have been held-up by some impassable section of roadway after some sort of bad weather.

    It feels as if this was... the 2nd Thursday or Friday in June, I think.

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