Itinerary required for BC and Edmonton

Jan 17th, 2012, 05:39 AM
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Itinerary required for BC and Edmonton

Could someone please help us compile a self-drive scenic 15 day itinerary, mid May, from Vancouver-Calgary-Edmonton-Banff-Jasper-Whistler-Vancouver and any suggestions along the way. Also is it possible to cover this area in 15 days. This will be a sight seeing tour not adventure tour. Thanking in advance anyone who can help us out, from two Australian travellers.
SYLady is offline  
Jan 17th, 2012, 06:11 AM
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Are you sure you want to go to Edmonton? It will add two days to your trip.

Suggested one: Vancouver to Banff to Jasper to Edmonton to Calgary to Longview and Black Diamond and down to highway three, and back to Vancouver.

Sugggested two: Vancouver to Banff to Calgary to Banff to Jasper to Kamloops and onto Highway One back to Vancouver.

Vancouver -Whistler - Vancouver is a seperate trip.

And a day trip to Victoria beats going to Edmonton.

Note the angle of the mountains -- it is a long way from Jasper to Edmonton.
BAK is offline  
Jan 17th, 2012, 01:52 PM
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Per Bing Maps...

Allow 3 hours and 50 minutes to get from Jasper to Edmonton

Allow 3 hours to get from Vancouver to Victoria

Considering you'd still need to get BACK from Victoria to Vancouver (3 MORE hours), and that you wouldn't cover Jasper-Edmonton in both directions, "a day trip to Victoria" does NOT beat going to Edmonton.

Victoria is just... loads of wasted travel time.

So... Vancouver - Banff - Jasper - Edmonton - Calgary - Banff - Cranbrook - Osoyoos - Princeton - etc.

Vancouver 4 nights total
Banff/Lake Louise 1 night?
Jasper 1 night
Edmonton 2 nights
Calgary 1 night
Banff/Lake Louise (again, for another night)

(random spot in the hinterlands enroute - 1 night)

That tallies to 11 nights... it would make sense to add at least one night somewhere along the Jasper-Banff corridor, and you COULD allow a couple of nights for a trip over to Victoria, OR just spend the added time in Vancouver, or even add another night in Calgary, etc.

We're going to need to sense more about what is most important to you in order to advice with greater specifics.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 17th, 2012, 07:28 PM
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Thank you so much for the reply. Being more specific, we have 15 days of car hire leaving Vancouver on day 1 at 10.00am and returning to Vancouver on the 16th day,giving us 15 full days. We will have already toured Vancouver and Victoria, 5 days, before hiring the car. I had in mind touring from Vancouver heading in a south easterly direction towards Cranbrook and then to Calgary? (not worried about Calgary really) and making our way to Edmonton. Then Edmonton to Jasper, Banff, Kamloops,etc - heading west to Vancouver hoping that Whistler could be included as a last stop before Vancouver. We really appreciate your assistance as we know nothing about Canada and are 2 ladies embarking on sightseeing adventure we never want to forget.
SYLady is offline  
Jan 17th, 2012, 07:34 PM
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Ps: If you can also give us a rough idea of the km's we would be covering that would help us enormously, re our budget and time wise. We are intending on staying at accomodation outside of the cities if possible, small, cute and less costly, even hostels as they seem popular choices going on internet searches. This may give you more insight into what type of holiday we are looking at.
SYLady is offline  
Jan 17th, 2012, 08:41 PM
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Wow, you really have a lot of time then...

and I suspect it is better to delay your path along the Icefields Parkway as long as you can...

So indeed...

Lake Louise/Banff

& back to Vancouver

Vancouver to Cranbrook 842km (10 hrs. DRIVING time)
Cranbrook to Banff 279km (3.5 hrs. DRIVING time)
Banff to Calgary 129km (1.5 hrs... )
Calgary to Edmonton 300km (3 hrs...)
Edmonton to Jasper 366km (4 hrs...)
Jasper to Banff 290km (3.75 hrs of DRIVING)
Banff to Kamloops 500km (6 hrs...)
Kamloops to Whistler 300km (4.1 hrs...)
Whistler to Vancouver 124km (2 hrs...)

*** clarity: If you stop to take a picture, or eat lunch, that is not factored into the travel time

And lets see, Australians... have you looked into for discounted room rates??

Priceline would be good for Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver (even Banff, so I read)... which could turn 'unaffordable' hotels into 'perhaps affordable' to you, and provide a central location to base your sightseeing in those cities.

In MAY, I would suspect that it should be optimum conditions for those using Priceline to get discounted hotel rooms. (summer vacations haven't started yet, and no reason for tourists to be very plentiful yet) ONE NOTE OF CAUTION: "VICTORIA DAY" holiday weekend is May 19-21, and THAT weekend WILL have lots of tourist traffic in competition for hotels. (maybe that's a good time to be hidden away in Jasper or somewhere, away from the bigger cities)

I'd guess that a 3-night hotel bill in one of those locations, for a 3-star or 4-star hotel, would be $240 to $330 Canadian funds. (NOTE OF caution: PARKING CAN be considerably extra, but in many/most cases you can find street parking or nearby lot/garage parking for a lesser fee)

If that is still too much for your budget, you CAN bid for a 2-star location, and often land a 3-night stay for, say, less than $200.

I still might pay a little extra for central Vancouver, just to be there in the middle of it all, AND since you needn't worry about any car charges there. (only referencing the expense of nightly parking at hotels).

Central Vancouver is somewhat compact given water on 3 sides... it sprawls upward like few other North American cities. I wouldn't hesitate to explore central Vancouver on foot (in May, the only question would be whether you opted to carry an unbrella or not).

I know it seems CRAZY to think of coming all this way from home and not having a secured hotel reservation for every night, BUT IF you become comfortable with the business model, it is easy to do on the fly... AND to do so would allow the flexibility of not being certain if you'd make it to your next reservation on a given night.

Again, late May (with the exception of the May 19-21 holiday weekend - and possibly the May 26-28 U.S. holiday weekend) should be a very good time to shop for hotel rooms while on the run.

Hope this helps further.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 17th, 2012, 08:41 PM
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I hope this doesn't come across as snarky, because it really isn't meant to...

I would suggest that you do some of your own research first. There are many posts on this forum with different itineraries for Alberta/BC, hotel and restaurant recommendations. Use the "Search the Forums" box at the top of the page. Fodors and other guide books are also very useful. Check out the tourism websites of the places you are thinking about staying (e.g.

Bing, Google and other map websites will give you distances and approximate travel times.

The folks on theses forums are really good at reviewing and helping you tweek your itinerary versus creating it for you.

All that being said...

I would not recommend driving between Calgary and Edmonton and then Edmoton to Jasper for sight seeing purposes. It is mainly flat farmland and not very scenic. Unless you want to visit Calgary or Edmonton for a specific reason, I wouldn't go farther east than the Rockies. Drive between Banff and Jasper on the Icefields Parkway (and back again, it's beautiful both directions).

Finally, mid-May is iffy in the mountains weather wise. You may still encounter ice and/or snow on the roads and you should be prepared for the possibility of a spring snow storm.

As was mentioned to another recent poster (coming from the UK), don't forget that we drive on the right side of the road and you may want to factor the switch from the left into your plans. I know I have issues driving on the left in the UK and it takes more attention than normal. And that wasn't on narrow, twisty mountain roads where I was trying to view the scenery.
ShelliDawn is offline  
Jan 17th, 2012, 11:16 PM
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Cheers to everyone, your input is invaluable. We are hoping to take it very easy on the roads. We want to see the countryside more than cities but Edmonton is on our list of "must see". Calgary not important but seems we need to pass by anyway. Being from hot and dry Aust we are aware of RHS driving and the icy roads. A bit daunting but we are going to travel with extreme caution and not travel great distances in any one day. My sister has done some travel in the US. Really appreciate "Northwestmale", the driving times and distances quoted is a great help. We have already arranged all accomodation in Vancouver before and after the Rd trip, excellent rates received on-line and beautiful hotels.
SYLady is offline  
Jan 18th, 2012, 02:36 PM
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For Shelli's (comfort)... the times/kms I charted came directly from "Bing"... tweaked to KM's, as requested.

SYLady, were it me, AND if I somehow knew what I know now, I too would make Edmonton a "must see" while not caring so much about Calgary, but since Calgary is so relatively near to Banff and all, might as well see it. The "Saddledome" is unique, as are the many roads called "trails" (instead of streets, boulevards, avenues, etc.)
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 18th, 2012, 03:58 PM
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Although the opriginal poster already has plans for Victoria, lurkers might like to know that driving from Japser to Edmonton involves hours of boring flat land, once you get only a few miles from Jasper, heading east.

And when you get to Edmonton, you get a big city with a nice river valley.

When you go from Vancouver to Victoria, you have the choice of two ferry boat routes. To get to the northern route, from Horseshoe Bay to Vancouver Island, you can drive along the shoreline past wonderful houses and beautiful scenery, and then you end up on a ferry boat through beautiful islands,arriving on a very scenic giant island.

And it is a great drive from the ferry trminal down to Victoria.

Coming back to Vancouver, it is a short drive from Victoria to the ferry terminal (maybe half anhour) and then another beautiful ferry ride. Once you are back on the mainland after a long day, it's a direct drive back to Vancouver.

I've drive from Calgary to Edmonton one way or the other a hundred times. Pretty boring unless you head west and work your way up via the highways and smaller roads closer to the mountains. Do this and you'll remember the trip for the rest of your lives.

I'm not sure what I'd put on a list of things to see in Edmonton: starters...
- children's zoo
- pyramid with flowers
- nice looking river with parks
- I'd drive by my old house and my two old offices, but these are not exciting for visitors from afar.
- Royal Alberta Museum

BAK is offline  
Jan 18th, 2012, 05:31 PM
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If Edmonton is a must-see, then I would plan to drive from Jasper to Edmonton and back the same way so that you at least drive one direction on the Icefields Parkway. That truly is a must-see.

Calgary has a number of things to see and do and the Saddledome is hardly near the top of the list. And the roadways we call "trails" can be likened to freeways with higher speed limits (usually 80-100km/hour) and minimal (often none) traffic lights. We do have streets, boulevards, avenues etc.
ShelliDawn is offline  
Jan 18th, 2012, 08:43 PM
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We are putting a lot of thought into all your ideas and thank you all so much. Can't wait to begin our adventure. We are also doing the Inside passage cruise after spending 5 days in Vancouver and a day trip to Victoria, hoping we are allowing enough time in Victoria. We are used to long desolate journeys coming from hot and dry Western Australia. Last year travelled our North West by car, journeying a thousand k's at a time without seeing more than a roadhouse. Cheers.
SYLady is offline  
Jan 18th, 2012, 09:10 PM
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Yeah, but who else has "trails" ??? (that is the only noteworthy part about trails)

(the 'trails' are like Alberta's version of "100 Mile House")

I once saw a sign in Grande Prairie that said: "Alberta's best Coffee", which of course was dumb and meaningless on the surface, unless you were from a certain place...

... and we've already got her on the Icefields Parkway:

You can tell by the: "Jasper to Banff 290km (3.75 hrs of DRIVING)"

BAK: It was you and you alone who brought up "a day trip to Victoria"... which amounts to little more than tons of wasted time enroute, for relatively little upon arrival (and early departure)

And geez, the Mall in Edmonton alone tops any single reason to go to Victoria, and unlike Butchart Gardens, the Mall is at its best 12 months a year.

To the O.P.:

Further contemplating your planning, you have likely shorted "Vancouver" in your arrangement, so perhaps allow a couple of more days there upon your return from the car trip. You could return the vehicle early and avoid the overnight parking charges. (The remaining sights to see in Vancouver will be more easily checked-off after you get that first, general sense of the city prior to 10 or 12 days to contemplate what's there as you're driving on those "hours of boring flat land")
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 21st, 2012, 06:05 PM
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My question is why is Edmonton a "must see"? In my opinion, it's quite a boring city, and the drive, other than the first 30 minutes, is *very* dull.

Also, regarding the long weekend in May ... like all spring/summer/fall long weekends, it's a very busy time in the mountain resort towns so be sure to book well ahead if you will in Banff or Jasper then.
krp329 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2012, 04:08 AM
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I shoul;d have included the West Edmonton Mall in my features of Edmonton.

It really is quite the place, and if you are in Edmonton, well worth a visit and a few hours time. Check it out on google.

And, speaking of Google, look up Duncan British columbia and look up EDson Alberta, and then look at the satellite views. Duncan is on the way to Victoria and Edson is on the way to Edmonton.

BAK is offline  
Jan 24th, 2012, 12:48 AM
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The West Edmonton Mall is probably our reason for visiting the city of Edmonton
SYLady is offline  
Jan 24th, 2012, 07:27 PM
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The first time I went to the W.E.M., I separated from my companion (long before cell phones) and we didn't find one another again for FOUR HOURS. The goofy things you can/could do there just boggle the mind. (I watched the dolphins, played putt-putt golf, watched the goings on in the swimming/water slide area, and marveled at a mall so big that it had more than one representation of SOME stores)

It has to be fun to come in out of the harsh Canadian winter and find a selection of Cajun eateries... AND an ice rink too.

It's sorta like looking/marveling at Las Vegas, except seeing things that are suitable for practical use.

Add a casino, a hotel, and one of the largest parking lots in North America, and you have plenty of spectacle all in one place.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Jan 26th, 2012, 10:32 AM
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asmama is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 05:50 PM
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"The West Edmonton Mall is probably our reason for visiting the city of Edmonton"

Be prepared for epic disappointment-many empty storefront and general ennui-overall a colossal waste of time.
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Jan 30th, 2012, 07:34 PM
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Just a few comments (after reading all that information in the previous postings):

You might consider staying at B&B's if you want small, cute and less costly. You can Google "B&B Canada" or B&B's in specific locations.

I would recommend driving from Vancouver to Kelowna and spending some time in the Okanagan. It should be pretty in May with flowering fruit trees, and there are lots of wineries in the area if you enjoy tastings and such.

From Kelowna drive through Revelstoke to Golden and then to the national parks in the Rockies (Yoho, Banff, and Jasper).

When in the Banff area, be sure to visit Canmore (just east of Banff National Park) - it's less touristy than Banff and also has some interesting shops on the main street. You could even stay in Canmore instead of Banff (make it your base while visiting Banff National Park - it's only a 10 to 15 minute drive from Canmore to Banff townsite).

Note that Jasper is smaller than Banff and has less accommodation (although has B&B's too), so be sure to book ahead especially if you will be there on the May long weekend (on the 19th to 21st this year).

The drive from Jasper to Edmonton is not as "boring" as some people would have you believe. As you leave Jasper National Park and the Rockies, you will be driving through the foothills and forested areas (boreal forest). Some of the elevations are actually higher than those in the mountains, in fact, the highest elevation on the Yellowhead Highway (#16) is actually slightly east of the town of Hinton, approximately 125 km east of Jasper town !! Only the last third of the drive from Jasper to Edmonton is through agricultural areas, and it is gently rolling with woods here and there (aspen parkland, transition zone from prairie to boreal forest). You might see elk and bison ranches along the way. Beware of deer on the road, especially if you are driving at dawn or dusk.

Edmonton has a new art gallery that is worth seeing, even if just for the architecture of the building.

Calgary has a new "big box" store area just north of the city (along the highway from Edmonton to Calgary) called CrossIron Mills which I understand is worth the stop for shopping. I've seen it under construction but haven't shopped there (yet).

Hope this helps.
Borealis is offline  

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