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Planning a 2 weeks trip to Canadian rockies

Planning a 2 weeks trip to Canadian rockies

Apr 5th, 2011, 05:56 PM
  #1  
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Planning a 2 weeks trip to Canadian rockies

My husband and I are planning a trip to Canadian Rockies for 2 weeks in June. This is our first trip there. We'll be flying into Calgary and out of Vancouver. We are in late 50's, good health and fit. Our budget for the trip excluding airfare is $3500+-. We do not hike, but enjoy nature/sceneary. Prefer vacationing in a relax, easy and comfortable way. Your suggestions are most appreciated.

I have not booked anything except the airline flights.
blade2007 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2011, 07:04 PM
  #2  
 
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The airline flights could be a problem if you want to rent a car and avoid a drop off fee. If you could get a one way trip to Jasper from Calgary, you could ride the Canadian (train) to Vancouver.
Depending on where you live or are coming from, it might make more sense to arrive in Vancouver and possibly leave from Calgary.
Brewster is the best known tour bus operator in that area.
You will certainly enjoy the scenery of the Canadian Rockies.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 07:17 AM
  #3  
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Thank you for your info. The tickets are not issued yet. I can still change the route. The flight options are still open for the next couple of days. We can flight in and out of the same city or Vancouver to Calgary or ....which way do you suggest?

First, I thought about in and out of Vancouver(visiting family there for a couple of day either before or after the trip)but I don't quite want to go around twice (wasting time and $$???) that's why I changed YYC/YVR.
blade2007 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 08:19 AM
  #4  
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We would like to consider the option of renting a car, if flying in-out of Vancouver. It seems that this option offers flexibilities. How is it compares to taking the Mountaineer train? Some people seem to say that you don't get to enjoy and sites and sceneries if taking the train/rail, and it's much more expensive. Your idea?

Thanks.

blade
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Apr 6th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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With two weeks, I would certainly recommend renting a car in Vancouver and taking a circular route to return there.

There are many possibilities, but one would be from Vancouver to Kamloops (depending on time, via the Coquihalla Highway, via the Fraser Canyon, or via Whistler and Lilooet). Drive from Kamloops to Jasper, then down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise and Banff.

Return to Vancouver via the Trans Canada through Yoho, Glacier and Revelstoke Parks. Continue to Sicamous and then turn south through the Okanagan. Here, depending on your time, you can cut over from Kelowna to the Coquihalla, or better, continue to Osoyoos and then follow Hwy 3 through Princeton and Hope to the Fraser Valley and Vancouver.

You could also, of course, do the circuit in reverse if you wish.

You'll have a lot more flexibility than taking the train, and it shouldn't cost as much.
laverendrye is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 12:50 PM
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It's nine hours from the outskirts of Vancouver to Jasper by car. If you have lots of time, stay a night in Kamloops.
You also have the option three days per week of taking the ViaRail "Canadian" from Vancouver to Jasper. The Rocky Mountaineer is a very expensive tourist train that goes all the way to Calgary. From Vancouver to Jasper it follows the same rails as the ViaRail train and the fare is about 3 times as much. Renting a car and setting your own pace is the cheapest and probably best option. I have rented a car in Jasper after getting off the "Canadian".
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 12:59 PM
  #7  
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Hi Laverendrye,

After I checked the drop-off fee charged, I decided that we are flying in-out of Vancouver, rent a car, do the circuit. We have exactly 2 weeks for the driving trip (excluding 3 days in-out of Vancouver).

Would you please help in planning the itinerary for places to visit and where to stop for the night/nights? I am making notes on places people recommended, so I can start making reservation for our accomandations.

Thanks so much in advance for your help.

Blade
blade2007 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2011, 01:10 PM
  #8  
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Hi Tomfuller,
Again, thank you. So driving is what we decided. We would appreciate very much for your suggestions for the circular drive. We like to take our time and hope not to change hotel as much as possible. I am trying to read trip reports and making notes. Hope to have something plan out in the next couple of days so I can start making reservations.

Blade
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Apr 7th, 2011, 04:33 PM
  #9  
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I have the first rough itinerary below. Still needs a lot of fine tunning. But right now, I have problems planning the return trip after Banff driving back to Vancouver. Where should we stop/visit instead of directly back to YVR. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

Day 1: arriving Vancouver 8 PM
Day 2: visit Family
Day 3: visit Friends
Day 4: Driving to Whistler(2 hrs), Kamloops(4 hrs), stay 1 night around Kamloops. Or Clearwater (Wells Gray Inn)
Day 5: driving to Jasper (5.5 hrs) passing Mt. Robson, Provincial Park
Day 6: Jasper
Day 7: Jasper
Day 8: Jasper
Day 9: Jasper
Day 10riving to Banff (4 hrs)
Day 11: Banff – Icefield, Glacier Nat’l Park
Day 12: Banff - Lake Louise, Lake O’Hara, Takakkaw Falls. amazing
Day 13: Banff – Morain Lake,
Day 14: Banff
Day 15: Banff
Day 16: Driving to Osoyoos, BC (8 hrs)

Day 17: driving back to Vancouver
blade2007 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 04:52 PM
  #10  
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Anyone booked with priceline for hotels in Jasper, Banff areas?
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Apr 7th, 2011, 05:20 PM
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I have stayed alone and with my DW at the HI Hostel SW of Jasper. You can cook in their kitchen. They do have a few private rooms as well as coed dorms. http://www.hihostels.ca/westerncanad...-Jasper.hostel

There is also a HI Hostel that I have not stayed at near Banff.
There is also a HI Hostel in Kamloops-never stayed there but Hostel International are generally better than other hostels.
While in Jasper be sure to see Maligne Canyon.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 7th, 2011, 06:39 PM
  #12  
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Thanks tomfuller. We have never stay at Hostel before, are they like YMCA or dorm?

Thanks to all the supporters from Fodors, I have made many notes about places to visit around Jasper, Banff etc. except the return trip Southbound after Banff to Vancouver. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
blade2007 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2011, 06:15 PM
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Most (not all) hostels have private family rooms. Jasper has a mens' dorm downstairs and a coed dorm (also downstairs), a womens' dorm, 3 private rooms, the main entrance with registration desk, the kitchen/dining room and a commons room with a library on the main floor. Men's Restroom/shower downstairs. Women's Restroom/shower is upstairs which can be inconvenient for women staying in the coed dorm.
You will be going back through Kamloops on your return so you should decide if you liked where you stayed on your trip from Vancouver to Jasper. Whistler is another option.
tomfuller is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 06:58 AM
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There is a BestWestern in Valemount Creek about 1.5 hour from Jasper for less than $100/night. Is this a place to consider for Jasper lodging? Is this place very inconveinent?

Which route is better considering weather condition. 6/13 to 6/27? First Northbound to Jasper or Southbound to Banff?

Vancouver -> Kamloops -> Valemount -> Jasper -> Lake Louise -> Lake Morain -> Banff -> Kamloops OR Kelowna? -> Hope -> Vancouver.

Thanks for your help.
blade2007 is offline  
Apr 10th, 2011, 09:39 AM
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Valemount is a very small town - not much there. They are trying to build up some tourism infrastructure since most of the mills shut down and the logging industry went into the doldrums. If you do stay there, check out the Caribou Grill (good restaurant). It's not really well suited as a base for seeing Jasper National Park, but it makes a not-bad stop-over on the way... you can stop off at Mt. Robson (highest peak in the Canadian Rockies), visit the waterfalls there (Overlander and Rearguard Falls), hike the Kinney Lake trail, or just visit the visitor centre.

Jasper National Park is quite a large area and the most popular sites and scenic attractions are spread out in all directions, most of them an hour's drive from the town of Jasper (think of a wheel with spokes, with town as the hub, and you have the right idea).

The drive from Jasper to Banff on the Icefields Parkway (which ends at Lake Louise) is about 3.5 hours of straight driving, but plan on spending most of the day en route. There are so many places to stop - waterfalls, glacial lakes, look-outs, Mistaya Canyon, the Columbia Icefield etc.

Re: Priceline.... I am not familiar with Priceline hotels and Jasper, but I do know that the only hotel that lists on hotwire is the Sunwapta Falls "Resort", which is 60 km south of town on the Icefields Parkway. In the summer season, most hotels do not have a lot of excess capacity, hence no need to sell off rooms on discount sites.

If you are looking for more economical accommodation, you might want to consider private home accommodation - rooms or suites, often self-contained, in residents' homes. www.stayinjasper.com There are about 150 licensed homes in Jasper, about 15 of these offer B&B (breakfast is usually "self-served continental"), the rest are accommodation-only. They range from basic and budget (bedroom with shared bath - $50 - $70), to hotel-style units, or full 2 or 3 bedroom apartments, at half the cost of a hotel stay, and no additional taxes (11% in hotels).
krp329 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 10:48 AM
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Thanks krp329 for your info.

I checked the list from stayinjasper.com. There are so many of them and I just don't know how to choose from. We(2)want a place that's very CLEAN, safe, quiet and convienent. Are they reviews or rating info for these homes?
blade2007 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2011, 05:24 PM
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You have a fabulous trip planned. I can possibly help with the Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper hotels. The lodging in these areas is more expensive than other places we have travelled.

3 nice places to stay in Jasper are the cabins at Alpine Village, Beckers and Patricia Lake. We have stayed at both Beckers and Patricia Lake Bungalows. Alpine Village requires a 3 nt stay in season and we have never had more than 2 nights in Jasper. Patricia Lake is the most affordable and we enjoyed our stay there. We stayed in a 1BR cottage. They also have less expensive rooms there to rent that I wouldn't hesitate to stay in. We visited with 2 other couples and loved meeting on the dock for morning coffee and afternoon happy hour--it is a really lovely setting. They have an upscale development there called the Grove.

In Jasper, even though you are not hikers, I think you would enjoy walking along Maligne Canyon--an easy walk and beautiful canyon. We also enjoyed walking around Maligne Lake and driving up Mount Edith Cavell, a winding switchback road that ends at Angel Glacier.

There are many beautiful overlooks and stops on the Icefields Parkway as you drive down to Lake Louise or Banff--it will probably take you longer than 4 hours but you will enjoy every minute of it---pray for a clear, sunny day. We drove it one year in rain and fog--bummer--fortunately we were also driving back to Banff and had great weather that day. We stopped at the Bear Paws Bakery in Jasper and picked up bread for sandwiches and cookies. We had a great picnic by one of the many lakes on the Parkway.

You can stay in either Lake Louise or Banff when in the Banff area. We prefer Lake Louise because it is closer to the hikes we like to do but it is not a problem to stay in Banff. Banff can be a bit crowded in the summer. Lake Louise however has no town. It is just a collection of hotels. We stayed at Paradise Lodge on their 3 day hiker special. We had the least expensive cabin but it was very nice. They also have a wonderful complimentary breakfast.

We have stayed at Baker Creek in one of their cabins--it is between Lake Louise and Banff. We enjoyed our stay there.

You can do a quick check on lodging choices on www.kayak.com. There are some more affordable options in Banff. We actually have had rooms reserved in Banff with refundable deposits but have found some great last minute rate using www.kayak.com---once at the Rimrock Resort and another time at the Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho---I loved, loved, loved Emerald Lake but last visit, I couldn't find any affordable rates there. Even if you don't stay there, it is a wonderful place though to visit and eat lunch, walk around the lake. Ask for a piece of bumbleberry pie.

You may be too late to book Lake O'Hara--you need to call 3 months in advance to get a reservation on the bus--you can try going standby. On our last visit, we made reservations and it ended up being our only day of rain the whole trip---I mean pouring down rain. We will try again next visit.

In Lake Louise, you will enjoy seeing Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. At Moraine Lake, be sure to walk to the top of the rockpile. I think you would also enjoy walking around the lake or taking the very easy Consolation Lakes hike. With the Consolation Lakes hike, you end up at a boulder strewn area along the lake and are just surrounded by mountains--very peaceful.

Have fun planning your trip.
LindainOhio is offline  
Apr 12th, 2011, 09:15 AM
  #18  
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Thank you LindainOhio. I am in OH also

I have been reading your posts was trying to find your trip report but couldn't get it??

I decided to splurge and booked directly with Rimrock Resort for 5 nights. How did you find last minutes specials? I am looking at Patricia Lake Bungalows for Jasper for 3 nights, but still not decided yet. I hope to find the "best" place for less than $150/night Patricia is in the range, but may be there are better options for the $$$. I have not checked Beckers and Alpine to compare. Are they in the same catagory?

We are not hikers but yes, we can walk a lot. We have heard so much about the places and are looking forward very much to this 2 weeks trip.

Is the middle of June to the end still very cold there? Should we do the circle by going South first to Banff and up to Jasper and return from North? or it does not make that much of a difference in weather wise.
I think I have the trip planned but can always change and fine tune it a bit.

Thank you all for your help. I'm still looking for better ideas and suggestions. LOL

Blade
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Apr 12th, 2011, 09:27 AM
  #19  
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A few more questions:

How do I book for the bus for Lake O'Hara?

Is Kelowna, Osoyoos worth while visiting on the way back from Banff to Vancouver? What other places do you suggest? Our current itinerary is 2 days to get to Jasper, 3 days in Jasper, 5 days in Banff, 1-2 EXTRA days not planned(Going-to-the-sun? Montana? or Calgary?), 2 days to get back to Vancouver.
blade2007 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2011, 10:00 AM
  #20  
 
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We've only stayed in Patricia Lake cabins, but the hotel style rooms look nice. We love the quiet lakeside location and view, but keep in mind it is a few miles outside of town. I see the Rimrock for $202.96 for 6/22 - 6/27 on aaa.com. The Ptarmigan shows $139.00 a night at the same time. Not the Rimrock, but we've stayed there and it's nice and right in town.

Book Lake O'Hara @ 250.343.6433 starting at 8 AM. When we did it the line was busy, but kept trying maybe 25 times and finally got through. Grab any time you can, it's a great experience. More info: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/yoh...v/ohara/a.aspx
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