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Jasper to Seattle: best route through BC, where to overnight?

Jasper to Seattle: best route through BC, where to overnight?

Aug 4th, 2004, 08:25 AM
  #1  
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Jasper to Seattle: best route through BC, where to overnight?

Sorry, this is a re-post, I meant to put this on the BC board!

Hello: We will be travelling from Seattle to the Canadian Rockies and back in September. On the way from Seattle to Banff, we are travelling straight through in 1 day - across Washington to Idaho, then north to Banff. On the return, however, we would like to take a more leisurely route with an overnight somewhere in BC. We'll be departing from Jasper on the return, and we're planning to go over the pass by Mt. Robson and south from there. So, first question: what 2-day route would you take from Jasper to Seattle? And second question: where would you stay? I've read nice things on these boards about the Okanogan valley, but few posts have recommended actual hotels. We'd like to visit a winery and spend some time at the blackjack tables if possible....and would like to spend the night at a nice hotel or B&B. Any specific recommendations? Thank you!!

happymz is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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Coming down Highway 5 from Jasper will take you through kamloops after about 8 hours drive. Kamloops is a pleasant city in a semi desert area with a large casino but nowhere near the other attractions of the Okanogan Valley. You could spend a night there at the Executive Inn & Casino and from there take a leisurly 3 hour drive to Kelowna and Stay at the Grand Hotel & Casino. Kelowna has a big city feel to it especially in the summer even though it has barely 100,000 people. Lots of attractions, good hotels and restaurants.

Or you can drive back down the Icefields parkway and back west on Highway #1 to Salmon Arm where you can take #97A to Kelowna. That's also about 8-9 hours drive. There are lots of wineries in the Valley with restaurants and some even have B & B's. I've never stayed at any so I'll let someone else comment on that. It does seem that you should give yourself at least two full days in the Okanogan if you want to visit wineries and do some Casino play.

From the Okanogan cross back into the states at Osoyos and head down to th Interstate which will take you West to Seattle.
GaryA is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 09:18 AM
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Whoa, 8 hours from Jasper to Kamloops? If this is correct, I may re-think my itinerary....Mapquest had said 6 hours, and I find they usually overestimate a bit. It sounds like it might be quicker to travel back down the icefields parkway (without many stops this time) then over highway 1 through glacier Nat'l Park to Siamous, and south from there. Is this the shorter route in terms of time? And would this also be more scenic than the Yellowhead Highway?

Also, to clarify, we have 2 days/1 night to make this trip, not 2 nights....we will be departing Jasper Thursday AM and need to be in Seattle by Friday night.

Am starting to think our 5 nights in Banff/ Jasper areas might be better arranged with 2 nights Banff, 2 nights Jasper, then 1 night Lake Louise and depart from there rather than Jasper....
happymz is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 11:58 AM
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Hello Happymz,

That's a pretty intense itinerary. Seattle to Banff in a day is doable, but it will be a long day's drive.

Two nights in Banff townsite would be okay, but I consider Lake Louise to be a better base for someone who is following a tight itinerary. Lake Louise is closer to what I consider to be the premium hikes and views of Banff National Park (BNP).

Not that you will have much time for hiking. On your timetable, I think it'll be just about all you can manage to see the main sights of BNP that most people consider to be the "must sees."

Two nights in Jasper is fine too. It takes pretty much a day to drive from Lake Louise to Jasper and stop at the many scenic look out points along the way. By spending 2 nights in Jasper, you would have a full day to explore Jaspers environs, and that would give you a chance to do the beautiful Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows hike.

I think you're going to be forced to make a tough choice. You could spend 2 nights in Banff / Lake Louise and 2 nights in Jasper. This would give you a chance to do not much more than sight seeing in the Banff / Lake Louise area, but it would give you a chance to do some hiking on your Jasper day.

Alternatively, you could spend 3 nights in Banff (or, better still, Lake Louise). This would give you a day for sight seeing in the Banff / Lake Louise area and it would give you a day in which to do a respectable hike in the area (one of those recommended by Bob Brown in the thread devoted to that topic). But this would leave you only one night in Jasper, which essentially means you could only drive to Jasper, spend the night there, and then drive back out again (a venture that still would be worthwhile in my opinion).

Which route you should use for exiting from Jasper depends to some extent on what you will have seen on your way from Seattle to Banff / Lake Louise. Rogers Pass, between Revelstoke and Golden, BC is not to be missed. But it's possible you will have seen this on your way to Banff. (I notice that Map Quest's recommended route from Seattle to Banff takes you from Seattle to a point not too far east of Vancouver, BC, then on Hwy #5 to Kamloops, then on Hwy #1 (the TransCanada Highway) to Lake Louise and Banff.)

If you have NOT travelled through Glacier National Park (that is the British Columbia, not the Montana version) and Yoho National Park en route to Lake Louise / Banff, then I recommend that you do so on your return journey to Seattle. You would do this, as you surmised, by travelling south on the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Lake Louise, and then west on the TransCanada Highway.

Purely in terms of this route's timing, Revelstoke would make a good half way point between Jasper and Seattle. However, Revelstoke doesn't have the benefit of Kelowna's wineries.

If, however, you had already driven through Revelstoke, Golden and Field en route to Lake Louise and Banff, you could travel from Jasper to Kamloops via the Yellowhead Highway.

Gary usually is a font of useful and accurate information, but I do wonder about his 8 hour estimate for the drive from Jasper to Kamloops. I'm considered to be something of an anachronism, because my actual driving times are closer to Map Quest's estimates than most other people's actual driving times. Of course if Gary was building in time for stops (which Map Quest does not do), then his 8 hour estimate for Jasper to Kamloops sounds pretty reasonable to me.

If you return via the Yellowhead Highway, perhaps you could drive to Kelowna for your overnight stop. That would make for a pretty long day of driving, but it would mean that your drive to Seattle the next day would only be about 5 hours. That might give you time to tour a winery before you set out in the morning.

It also is useful to keep in mind that the boundary between the Pacific Time Zone and the Mountain Time Zone is between Revelstoke and Golden. Hence you'll lose an hour en route to Banff but will gain an hour on the day to depart from Jasper.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 12:32 PM
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Hi Judy - I know the trip will be a long one, but we've had our heart set on the Canadian Rockies, and that paired with the fact that we've never seen Seattle either & we got a really good airfare...and have heard that the drive between the two places is gorgeous...has lead us to plan the ambitious itinerary. We're figuring that we will be ok on the way there to do it in 1 day because it'll be at the beginning of our trip & we'll be quite excited to get on the road. Per a recommendation in response to another of my posts, from Seattle we are travelling I-90 to Couer D'Alene then north on 95 to Radium Hot Springs...and 93 from there to Banff (estimates place this trip at 11-12 hours). So we won't see Revelstoke & Rogers Pass on the way there. Thus, I am really beginning to lean strongly toward the idea of the first two nights in Banff, then 2 nights in Jasper, then back down the Icefields Parkway (after all, if it's as beautiful as everyone says, I can't imagine we'll mind travelling it twice!) to LL for our last night. Or would it be better to spend just one night in Jasper, and the last 2 in LL? How long does it take to travel from LL to Kelowna? Thanks!!!
happymz is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Hello Happymz,

I'm confused. I thought you had 5 nights to spend in Canada. However, if I now understand you correctly, it sounds as if you have 6 nights to spend in Canada, and you want to allocate 5 nights to the Rockies and 1 night to Kelowna.

If that is right, I recommend the following:

Day 1 - Drive from Seattle to Banff (except that I recommend Lake Louise instead of Banff).

Day 2 - See Banff townsite, Johnston Canyon, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise.

Day 3 - Do a hike in Banff National Park or Yoho National Park (e.g., Plain of Six Glaciers / Beehive / Lake Agnes circuit in BNP or the Iceline in YNP).

Day 4 - Drive to Jasper. Suggest you see Peyto Lake, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls. You might enjoy a Snocoach ride on the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefields. You may get a kick out of doing the hike from Bow Lake to Bow Glacier.

Day 5 - Do the Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows hike just outside of Jasper in the morning. In the afternoon drive from Jasper to Lake Louise (3 hours). The scenery looks different when it's approached from the opposite direction, so the drive will not feel repetitious.

Day 6 - Drive from Lake Louise through Field, Golden, Revelstoke to Salmon Arm. Before Field take the side road to Takakkaw Falls, and after Field take the side road to Emerald Lake. When you reach Salmon Arm, you'll have the option of turning south on Hwy #97A to Vernon and Kelowna. However, if you stick with the TransCanada Highway till Sicamous, and then turn south on Hwy #97B, you'll get nice views of Shuswap Lake.

You asked about the driving time from Lake Louise to Kelowna. Map Quest says 5 hours 45 minutes, and that sounds right to me. However, if you stop to see the highly recommended Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake, it'll take you longer (and going via Sicamous will add a bit of time too).

Day 7 - Drive to Seattle.

At the risk of flogging a dead horse, I'll explain why I prefer using Lake Louise as a base instead of Banff. Banff has nice scenery but, if you're to do BNP justice, you need to go to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. You'll pretty much need to do that on your general sight seeing day in BNP. Then, on your hiking day, you'll need to return to the western end of BNP again to do one of the hikes that originates from Moraine Lake or Lake Louise or one of the hikes in Yoho National Park. Then, on the day that you drive to Jasper, you once AGAIN will have drive to Lake Louise and then turn north to Jasper. That means driving to and from Banff townsite 6 times, whereas I think that, on as tight a schedule as you have, driving to and from Banff, once each way, is enough.

Of course, you don't HAVE to spend most of your time around Moraine Lake and Lake Louise or in Yoho National Park. You COULD spend the time around Banff townsite. But, in my opinion, Banff townsite is not where the prime scenery and the optimum hikes are.

The one thing that Banff townsite does have going for it is that it's larger than Lake Louise and has a greater variety of accommodation from which to choose.

Suggest you request free maps and travel guides from Travel Alberta at

http://www1.travelalberta.com/cfforms/freestuff/

and from Tourism British Columbia at

http://www.hellobc.com/bcescapes/request_start.asp

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 02:34 PM
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R
 
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We just did this trip, altho' we drove from Northern Calif last year.
The recommendations here are so well-thought out & wonderful!
If you have any further questions, shoot away. I tend to agree w/those recommending Lake Louise as your overnight base...
since you do have limited time, this time. Banff is okay & has a mountain town feel, albeit a busy one. Sort of depends how late in Sept. you're going? If going earlier, I'm thinking the crowds in Banff will take away from its pro's. If going very late in Sept...they'll be less of an issue.

In an ideal world...you'd have time to stay in all corners of these parks.
They are all worth your time! However, w/this schedule...
staying in Lake Louise (esp. if this is your first visit "happy mz"!) makes a LOT of sense to me. You will want to see it & Moraine Lake, as mentioned before. And, hikes from these two regions really are fabulous! And, you could canoe on either lake...
they have rentals. I think lakes like this are what make this region most unique & gorgeous. (and we also adore Emerald Lake in Yoho, which typically is quieter) Granted, the mountains & rivers, etc. are spectacular, too. But, these lakes w/their glacial blues & greens really are the frosting!!

You won't be bored driving the Icefields both ways. We debated last year, too, & ended up doing that. (thought about driving down from Jasper westward, but scrapped that) This was our 2nd trip, too, to the Rockies there...and, we'd done the Icefields before, too.

Don't forget...the weather could vary each day by a lot. And, the time of day & direction, etc. plays a big role on what is photographable/viewable vs. not.

Lastly, if you need any other advice re: hikes/loding/restaurants, don't hesitate to post here or start a new thread.
You're putting back in the mood for this gorgeous region!!! Instead, I believe this Sept. we'll be exploring western Vancouver Island...an area we haven't yet been. (Tofino)
Good luck to you & enjoy this most special place on earth....
R is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 02:38 PM
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R
 
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Oops! Ignore my typo's please.
That's what comes from firing off replies.
Lastly, Jasper is worthwhile, too.
I'd hesitate greatly making it only a 1-night stay.
It's a bit less for its lakes, however.
But, what it offers to explore...
and the chance for even more wildlife sightings...makes me encourage you to consider it too for some time. (perhaps less overall time (in hours)due to Icefields drive)...but you probably need the 2 nights, at least.

The distances here between places to see is really pretty big! So, one night seems like it would be awfully little, most esp. since the Icefields drive could eat up a LOT of both driving days.

Or, your other big option is to relax & delve more into Banff/Lake Louise/Yoho parks & leave Jasper for next time (if you can get back in the not-too-distant future). In that case, I'd do 2 nights Lake Louise, 1-2 nights Banff & 2 Yoho/Emerald Lake. You won't find 5 days too much at all, just for these southern parks...and, you'll still just be scraping the surface of any of these parks.
Btw, we drove up through Couer d'Alene last year, too! Very, very nice to approach through Kootenay Nat'l Park (which we hadn't seen before).
R is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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Judy, on day 6 you have things backwards. You first reach Sicamous, from where you can turn south on 97A to Vernon, or continue on the Trans Canada along Shuswap Lake to Salmon Arm, where you can then go south on 97B to Vernon.
laverendrye is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 03:11 PM
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Hi Laverendrye,

Thanks for correcting my "dyslexia."
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 06:35 PM
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Happymz you can do Jasper to Kamloops in 6 hours but since the highways outside of Southwestern BC are virtually all two lanes you have to be prepared for traffic delays and surely you'll want to stop somewhere to eat, get gas and/or leave a deposit which will take time out. Regardless, you're trying to cram too much into two days and one night. Unless the weather turns lousy or you really feel you have had enough of the Canadian Rockies after two or three days you might as well concentrate on the mountains and leave the valleys for another trip. The Okanogan for sure deserves at least two nights and a few days and if you're from Seattle it's no big deal to visit in future years. Even if you're not from Seattle I believe it's a mistake to try to cram too much in less than a week.
GaryA is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 09:42 PM
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I know a couple who stayed at the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Casino (south of Kelowna) and liked it, especially for the lakeside view they had of a lightning storm. It didn't look like my kind of place - we stayed at the Sandy Beach Resort in Naramata and it was lovely. The road between the two has a number of wineries that are worth visiting for lunch if you had time. I've been to the Okanagan many times but the last visit was my first to Naramata and it is now my favourite place in the area. I'd have to say though that the Sandy Beach Resort would be more worthwhile for a visit of more than one night.
http://www.sandybeachresort.com/
April is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 12:46 PM
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I love this board - you all give such great advice! My boyfriend and I discussed the dilemma last evening, and he is determined that in the midst of all this driving to/from Seattle, we actually should have some relaxation, so I believe we've decided to stay all 5 nights in the same hotel in Lake Louise (hopefully the Post Hotel), given it's more central proximity to many of the highlights of the park (as you've pointed out, Judy). On one of the 4 days in between those 5 nights, we will plan a long day on the icefields parkway to/ from Jasper. While I'd love to stay in Jasper for a few days, I think you're right, R, we may need to leave that for next time. Either way, we'll be seeing gorgeous natural scenery our entire visit whether it's part of Jasper or Banff National Parks (or Yoho or Glacier!), and I have a feeling we'll be back eventually, at which time we'll fly into Calgary and spend longer in the parks!

In any event, to the original purpose of my post, I think this solves the route dilemma. We will stick with I-90 from Seattle to Couer D'Alene to Banff on the way there(R- how long was the trip from Couer D'Alene to Banff??)...and follow Judy's Day 6-7 itinerary on the return (through Field, Glacier NP, to Kelowna/ Penticton, etc.) April, can you tell me more about the Penticton Lakeside resort vs. Sandy Beach and what you preferred about one vs. the other? I know we'll end up at a casino at some point, but we don't necessarily have to stay at one....

Last question: what's the best 1-day or less route from the Okanogan valley to Seattle? ie. most scenic? we'll be travelling this route on a Friday.

Thanks all! Megan
happymz is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 01:44 PM
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The fastest way wold be to take the connector (97C) from Kelowna to Merritt, the Coquihalla (5) to Hope and then the Trans-Canada, crossing into Washington at Huntingdon/Sumas. It's reasonably scenic, and mostly 4 lane except for a short stretch before you reach Merritt.

However, a more scenic route would be to continue down the Okanagan Valley and cross into Washington from Osoyoos, and then retrace your route to Seattle. A very scenic route would be to follow highway 3 through Princeton to Hope and then carry on to Sumas.

As it is a Friday, don't go near Vancouver. It will take ages to get through and probably there will be long waits at the border.
laverendrye is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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R
 
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Hi, Megan,
I'm at work now & am not sure I could say exactly how long the drive was btwn Couer d'Alene to Banff. Will ask my hubby tonight. I know we left maybe late morning from Idaho...had a lovely, quiet drive to Canada..
oops! Got sidetracked in Sandpoint, Idaho which you drive right through, as Coldwater Creek's headquarters/ flagship store is there & you can't miss it along the road. ;-)

So, that was a 1.5 hour stop probably.
Then, drove up through Radium & Kootenay...got lucky w/the weather. It was so gorgeous! They'd suffered a fire there not long before, but the beauty is all intact, nevetheless.
Made some stops along an emerald green pond & for photos. (many more than you guys are apt to do)...So, when we finally finished our drive...?
I'll ask my hubby & look for notes.
Our final destination that night wasn't Banff but Moraine Lake Lodge (about 1 hr north, if I recall)...perhaps less.

You're going to LOVE your trip.
Sounds like now you'll get a real feel for one region (Lake Louise/Moraine Lake) & Banff & believe me... You WILL be back!!! I don't think you'll be able to resist it!
Next time, you can hone in on the Jasper region & you won't mind making the Icefields parkway drive again.
And, from Calgary it's all a piece of cake. 1.5 hours or less to Banff!
Take care, Rosemary (R)
R is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 01:51 PM
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R
 
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Ooo...
Forgot to say, Megan...
perhaps post your question re: the best way to drive back to Seattle *also* on the Washington state board!
I've always found very helpful people
on *all* the Northwest postings threads. And, you may be surprised just who will have done the drives, recently. (even Oregon could be fruitful...they are true adventurers/travellers too!) ;-)
R is offline  
Aug 7th, 2004, 12:04 AM
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happymz,
To answer your question at last about Penticton Lakeside Resort vs. Sandy Beach Resort - I have never stayed at the Penticton Lakeside so I can't make a proper comparison, but from the outside it just looked like a busy, convention-type block of a building. I wanted a quieter, more natural setting which is why I chose Sandy Beach in Naramata. There are two kinds of accommodations at Sandy Beach, B&B rooms (which include breakfast) in the lodge, and cabins. It might not be entirely peaceful when the place is full but we were there before the tourist season. Email me at [email protected] if you would like me to send you a couple of photos.
April is offline  

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