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Recommendation of a Tour company for trip from Calgary to Jasper to Vancouver

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Jan 12th, 2018, 03:00 PM
  #1
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Recommendation of a Tour company for trip from Calgary to Jasper to Vancouver

I am arriving in Calgary on 22nd March and have 5 days to do a trip and see Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper down to Vancouver, but I am so confused as there are so many different tour companies and at very different prices. I am on my own and have no idea who to travel with. I would really appreciate some advice on a tour company some of you may have used. I have read up on lots but there always seem to be so, so many extras even though the trips vary from 200 to 600 Euros. Any tips are welcomed. Thanks in advance Carmel Ireland
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Jan 12th, 2018, 08:17 PM
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Hello and welcome to Calgary (my home city)

If I were you, I would use the following trip to visit Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and onward to Vancouver.


Take a bus from Calgary to Banff (there is on-it bus service which is cheap and best). Since you are not driving, I think 1 day would be enough in Banff for you. Some would argue, that 1 day may not be enough, however, since you are not driving, I expect 1 day to a max of one and a half day would be more than enough.

From Banff, you can take the local tour bus for free to Lake Louise. I would recommend that you leave mid-day so that you can enjoy the morning to afternoon in Banff and evening in Lake Louise. If you prefer, you can stay overnight in Lake Louise. Check the bus service from www.banfflakelouise.com.

Try Brewster bus service for Lake Louise to Jasper. Take the bus service that will give you a free stopover of a few hours at Columbia Icefields. This is an important stopover and you should not miss it. Alternatively, try sun dog tours for bus service from Lake Louise to Jasper.

From Jasper to Vancouver you can take Greyhound bus. I checked their website and it is a 12.30 hours trip and the bus leaves at 0530 AM.


If you really want to make it a memorable trip, I would strongly (I mean strongly) rent a car from Calgary and go to Jasper and return to Calgary and take a flight. You will thank me for this suggestion. If you want to know more about this drive, reply to this and I will give you more information.

I hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.
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Jan 13th, 2018, 05:36 AM
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Much nicer to do Jasper to Vancouver by train - Via Rail's Canadian.
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Jan 13th, 2018, 01:41 PM
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Thank you so much for all that information. Firstly, I couldn't even think of driving as we drive on the other side here in Ireland and never drove in the US. I was all prepared to do a trip like you suggest except I met a Canadian lady recently and she said I was crazy not booking a tour, that I would not be able to just arrive and hop on a bus in Calgary - to Banff etc - but you are saying differently? Do i need then to book my nights in hostels in advance and is it easy to find the coach stations in each of these places. Sorry for all the questions, but there are lots of tours I can do but all at such different prices im confused. Thanks again for your input, I really appreciate it. I have 5 - 6 days and then I am flying to San Francisco - so you think i am best coming back to Calgary and flying from there - not back from Jasper to Vancouver? As I need to book that flight to San Fran quite soon. Thanks again but a car is definitely out of the question. Wish I could but not on my own. Carmel x
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Jan 13th, 2018, 01:43 PM
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Oh I see you are originally from Calgary - do you still live there. Is it easy find the coach stations etc>
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Jan 14th, 2018, 07:20 PM
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Yes, I live in Calgary. What do you mean by coach stations?

Last edited by TravelFolio; Jan 14th, 2018 at 07:42 PM. Reason: Didn't answer the question.
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Jan 14th, 2018, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by 0110carmel View Post
Thank you so much for all that information. Firstly, I couldn't even think of driving as we drive on the other side here in Ireland and never drove in the US. I was all prepared to do a trip like you suggest except I met a Canadian lady recently and she said I was crazy not booking a tour, that I would not be able to just arrive and hop on a bus in Calgary - to Banff etc - but you are saying differently? Do i need then to book my nights in hostels in advance and is it easy to find the coach stations in each of these places. Sorry for all the questions, but there are lots of tours I can do but all at such different prices im confused. Thanks again for your input, I really appreciate it. I have 5 - 6 days and then I am flying to San Francisco - so you think i am best coming back to Calgary and flying from there - not back from Jasper to Vancouver? As I need to book that flight to San Fran quite soon. Thanks again but a car is definitely out of the question. Wish I could but not on my own. Carmel x
I wish if you could drive yourself, but if you can't that's not a problem.

I would strongly recommend that you look at Brewsters, Red Arrow and On it bus service and see which one would you like? I would also strongly recommend that you book your hotels now because later they will get expensive. Although June end is not that busy, but, there is no point that you take any chances. If you are flying to SFO, you should not go to Vancouver. It would be rather appropriate that you take Calgary to SFO flight instead of Vancouver to SFO. The only I reason I say that is from Jasper to Calgary you are 6 to 7 hours away. But from Jasper to Vancouver you are about 12 hours away. If you are going during the day, you should go to Vancouver because the drive is really beautiful. At night you will not enjoy the drive. I tried to attach a nice video but I was unable to. Feel free to respond if you have any questions?
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Jan 17th, 2018, 10:26 AM
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Is the trip in March or June?

Are you leaving for home from Vancouver or staying there? In other words, do you need to be in Vancouver by a specific date for an onwards flight??

Timing makes a huge difference because travel in the Rockies is much different in the winter with virtually no multi-day tours. Trains also run less often - only two or three times per week, and bus service is even more unreliable (Greyhound offers poor service to begin with) in the winter.

If the trip is in March, your best bet is to take an airport or other shuttle to Banff. Brewsters and Banff Airporter are the two companies that offer shuttles -- the latter is preferable from the airport, but I think only Brewsters offers service from downtown. I'd avoid Greyhound as their schedules are terrible and service/reliability even worse. I would allow a couple of days in Banff - for one, March is often the snowiest month, so you'll want some flex time in case the weather interferes with plans. I'd probably want one day to explore around Banff townsite, and perhaps do an Icewalk tour to Johnston Canyon. Then another day to perhaps do Brewsters day/half day tour to Lake Louise. You don't want to miss Lake Louise.

In March, the only way to get to Jasper is via the once daily SunDogs shuttle. It does not make any stops because nothing is open along the parkway in the winter, and it only runs if the parkway is open. Closures are not too common, but March is a higher risk month because it can be snowy and a time when wider variations & a full winters' snowpack mean that avalanches/avalanche control are more often. You would want to be in Jasper at least the day before any onwards travel in case the shuttle is delayed or cancelled.

If you only have five days and this is a March trip, I'd probably suggest skipping Jasper. You'd be cutting it very close if there are any road closures/delays, and you would want to allow a day's flex to get to Vancouver if you are taking a flight from there. With trains only running 2-3x time per week and Greyhound 1x per day and not reliable, it could be risky if we have a storm or bad road conditions. I'd be inclined to simply base yourself in Banff - there is lots to do in the area, and with Roam buses, you would able to explore a fair bit on your own (Jasper has no public transport and almost all of the main sites are well outside the townsite, so you'd be dependent on tours).

If this in the summer, then you have lots of tour options, though 5 days is still very rushed for the Rockies and getting to Vancouver (12 hrs drive, usually done over two days).
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Jan 18th, 2018, 12:58 PM
  #9
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thank you all so much for your wonderful information. I have spent the past week on the web, so found everthing you all have said is true. I eventually got my tours booked, but it was difficult because it being March! I should have know better, but I had my flight booked to Calgary so I wanted to continue. Anyway, Im managing to see Banff . Gondala ride Lake Louise and a day trip to the Parkway Ice fields - I really hope that one is not cancelled if weather is bad - I am going to skip Jasper as my friend said exactly as you did. I now have a couple of days to play with before landing in Sanfransisco/San Diego and San Jose, If anyone has any recommendations Id welcome them as what you all have told me had been a wonderful help. I am half thinking of fllying down to Yosemite or The Redwood forest - I dont know or should I do Seattle or Vancouver - I really would welcome some suggestions something for perhaps2 -3 days/ Thanks for all of your help. Carmel
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