Road trip from Oregon to BC with kids

Jun 28th, 2006, 07:48 AM
  #1  
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Road trip from Oregon to BC with kids

I am planning in advance for next summer. (2007) We would be entering BC from northern Idaho. We are a family of four with two girls who will be 5 and 13. I have read many of the posts in the Canada forum and have some ideas but would like to ask for help in the lower budget, family friendly arena. We like to stay someplace nice but not extravagant. I would like to pay less than $100.00 per night if possible. An included breakfast or kitchenette would be great. We would have a total of 9 days from home, although it will take us 1 1/2 days to drive to BC. So we would be arriving on Sunday afternoon most likely. I would like to do Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, then go home across lower BC to Vancouver then home down I-5. Is that enough time? Would we be able to take our 5 1/2 year old on a hike to one of the teahouses with food that I saw on PBS? I thought I might take my older girl to tea at the Fairmont but I believe staying there would be way out of our price range. It would be nice to stay 2 nights at one place to avoid constant moving. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. The girls do well in the car and enjoy moderate hiking and outdoor activities.
oregonmom is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 07:58 AM
  #2  
ltt
 
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unless you look into hostels, you won't find anything under $100 in the alberta rockies (banff, lake louise & jasper). but the hostels in all three areas get great reviews and some may have family rooms. in general, your goal of $100 per night is not too feasible for the summer months in bc & alberta for three people. would you consider camping??? some great campsites in the area. for bc, the okanagan area is very popular for families. great lakes, activities, etc but, again, pricey unless you are camping.
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Jun 28th, 2006, 08:25 AM
  #3  
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Is that Canadian dollars? I don't really want to camp because I don't want to bring so much stuff. I will have to do some searching about room prices.
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Jun 28th, 2006, 01:03 PM
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mms
 
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I agree about not finding anything in that price range. If you are able to bump up that up a ways, look into Baker Creek Chalets. We have stayed there several times, including with our kids. The cabins are in Lake Louise, but on the Bow Valley Parkway. The cabins are perfect for families...the bed arrangement is great, and they have kitchens. We found this place on a fluke on our honeymoon years ago and have returned several times, and have always been pleased.

We are also in Oregon, and so know that drive. A great place to stay for a night on the way is in Penticton, the Ramada Inn. Normally, we don't even consider staying at Ramadas, but this one was really nice! As you drive up, it doesn't look like anything special. Then you go around to the back and where the rooms are and it is great. The outside pool area has a bar and restaurant right there, poolside. Also a fitness yurt next to it. The rooms were well appointed, looked to be newly furnished, and had large bathrooms. Breakfast was included in the rate. I know we paid about $90 for the room, but can't remember if that was US or CDN. Either way, we felt it was very reasonable. The kids really enjoyed having that pool after a long day of driving!
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Jun 28th, 2006, 01:08 PM
  #5  
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TTT
Can anyone else help me with my other questions?
oregonmom is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 02:16 PM
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>>>>>>Can anyone else help me with my other questions?<<<<<<

Iíll try.

>>>>>>I would like to do Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, then go home across lower BC to Vancouver then home down I-5. Is that enough time?<<<<<<

No, not in my opinion. It sounds too rushed to me, especially with a 5-year-old. Much as I love Jasper, I think you should skip it. From a base in Lake Louise you can drive half way up the Icefields Parkway to the Columbia Icefields if you like.

>>>>>>Would we be able to take our 5 1/2 year old on a hike to one of the teahouses with food that I saw on PBS?<<<<<<

It depends on the child. But, generally speaking, if you take the hike at a leisurely pace, I would think your 5-year-old should be able to get to Lake Agnes Teahouse and back again.

>>>>>>I thought I might take my older girl to tea at the Fairmont<<<<<<

Well itís your call, but I donít see the point. If youíre referring to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, it has a stupendous view of the lake. And, okay, itís quite a high end hotel. But it has lots of tour groups staying in it. Just because it has stores that sell Gucci scarves and a doorman who is dressed like an organ grinderís monkey doesnít mean that it magically transports you to the British Raj in pre-WW II India or anything like that. Sorry if that offends anyone. As you can tell, I have a jaded view of the whole set up. But I believe Iím entitled to my opinion because Iíve stayed there. Other than the fact that it has that incomparable view, the place does not tick my boxes. But there are other people who love the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. So what can I say? One manís meat is another manís poison.

More in next post .........
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jun 28th, 2006, 02:19 PM
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You could consider this itinerary. Itís quite an intense itinerary. It includes two single-night stops. I donít see how you can avoid them.

1 Ė Drive half way to Lake Louise / Banff. What would be a good spot? I donít know. Sandpoint, Idaho maybe?

2 Ė Drive through Kimberley, Fairmont, Radium to Lake Louise (or Banff or Canmore).

3, 4, 5 Ė From your base in Lake Louise (or Banff or Canmore), explore the Lake Louise and Banff areas and drive as far up the Icefields Parkway as feels comfortable in a day.

6 Ė Drive to the Okanagan Valley (Kelowna or Penticton).

7 Ė Drive to Vancouver.

8 Ė Explore Vancouverís centrally located landmarks, especially Stanley Park.

9 Ė Drive back to Oregon.

Banff townsite is further east than Lake Louise, so is less centrally located with respect to prime scenery, IMO. Canmore is a bit further east again. From that point of view neither Banff nor Canmore is ideal, IMO. However, both of those towns do have a larger stock of accommodation than Lake Louise has. For that reason they are worth considering.

If you choose to stay in Banff you might consider Douglas Fir Resort, Hidden Ridge Resort or Tunnel Mountain Chalets. In Canmore you might consider Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge.

But one thing you do not have to do is move around amongst Lake Louise, Banff and Canmore. Any one of those towns can serve as bases for seeing the others.

More tips at my website:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...kiesTravelTips

Hope that helps.
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Jun 29th, 2006, 07:48 AM
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Judy,

Thanks for the great reply. I went to the library last night and got some guidebooks and came up with some of the same conclusions. I think it would be better for us to stay in one place longer and drive around more. We are planning to come up to at least Couer d'alene, Idaho on the first day. Then I was looking at Baker Creek Chalet in the book and that sounds good although I haven't done any price checking and of course who know what it will be by next summer. The tea idea was just to be a treat for my older girl, we could go anywhere that was fun. She likes to do something "just the two of us" sometimes. I don't want to spend a zillion on it. Maybe you know of some other place or we could go in Vancouver. We have not been to Vancouver since my husband and I were children. Is that too far to go home that way or should we go back the way we came? Do you feel one of the trams or gondola's is superior to the others? They seem to be similar in price. I saw that there is another hike to Six Glaciers teahouse. Is that one easier/as good as Lake Agnes? Sorry for all the questions, but with the need to book rooms well in advance, I like to do a lot of research and plan most things ahead.
oregonmom is offline  
Jun 29th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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>>>>>>Then I was looking at Baker Creek Chalet in the book and that sounds good although I haven't done any price checking and of course who know what it will be by next summer.<<<<<<

Another option in the Lake Louise area is Paradise Lodge and Bungalows. But it's in the same general price range as Baker Creek Chalets, so may be more than you want to pay.

Although it's a more modest property, Lake Louise Inn, which is located in the village of Lake Louise, has loft-style suites that are good for families.

As ltt mentioned, the hostel in Lake Louise village also has a good reputation.

Other than that, you can stay in Banff or Canmore. But, if it was my trip, Banff or Canmore would represent Plan B, if not Plan C. I think I would be willing to give up other treats, like gondola rides, in exchange for being more centrally located with respect to prime scenery.
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Jun 29th, 2006, 08:59 AM
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>>>>>>The tea idea was just to be a treat for my older girl, we could go anywhere that was fun. She likes to do something "just the two of us" sometimes. I don't want to spend a zillion on it. Maybe you know of some other place or we could go in Vancouver.<<<<<<

A stoneís throw from Chateau Lake Louise there is a smaller hotel that has more charm, in my opinion. Itís called Deer Lodge, and itís a quaint, quirky building made of natural stone and wood. Itís a nice place to have lunch or afternoon tea. You can sit in the restaurant or, if itís a nice day, amongst the flower boxes on the patio. While you and your older daughter were having afternoon tea at Deer Lodge, your husband and your younger daughter might enjoy renting a canoe and paddling on the lake.
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Jun 29th, 2006, 09:00 AM
  #11  
 
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>>>>>>We have not been to Vancouver since my husband and I were children. Is that too far to go home that way or should we go back the way we came?<<<<<<

I donít know where in Oregon you live. I looked up the distance and the driving time from Portland, Oregon to Lake Louise, Alberta. If you drive by the shortest route, which goes through Coeur díAlene, Idaho, it apparently takes 13 hours. If you drove the most direct route from Lake Louise to Vancouver and then from Vancouver to Portland, it would take a total of 14.75 hours. If you drove Lake Louise Ė Penticton Ė Portland, it apparently would take 15.5 hours. So it seems that going home a different way, while it would add to your driving time, would not add so much time as to be a deal-breaker.

Based on that information, I would say that the chance to spend a day in Vancouver would be worth it.
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Jun 29th, 2006, 09:03 AM
  #12  
 
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>>>>>>Do you feel one of the trams or gondola's is superior to the others?<<<<<<

The Sulphur Mountain gondola on the outskirts of Banff townsite is better than the one at Lake Louise. There is another, newer gondola in the area that I have not tried, so cannot comment on it. Itís the one at Kicking Horse Resort in the Golden, British Columbia area.

>>>>>>I saw that there is another hike to Six Glaciers teahouse. Is that one easier/as good as Lake Agnes?<<<<<<

It could be argued that the Plain of Six Glaciers hike is better than the Lake Agnes hike. The Plain of Six Glaciers hike is 3.4 miles in one direction, and the elevation gain is 1,215 feet. The Lake Agnes hike is 2.2 miles in one direction, and the elevation gain is 1,280 feet. So the Plain of Six Glaciers hike involves slightly less elevation gain, and that elevation gain is distributed over a longer distance. But, if youíre going to take the trouble of doing either of these hikes, itís nice to do the full Lake Agnes Ė Beehives Ė Plain of Six Glaciers circuit.

>>>>>>Sorry for all the questions, but with the need to book rooms well in advance, I like to do a lot of research and plan most things ahead.<<<<<<

I find it a pleasure to work with someone who does a lot of research.
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