Rockies by public transport?

Jul 19th, 2004, 03:18 AM
  #1  
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Rockies by public transport?

I'm arriving in Banff on 12 Sept for 5/6 days and have read with much interest the ideas on these pages on what to see. What I would like to know please is are these sights accessible by public transport (bus) or am I going to have to go on organised tours, which I don't really want to do. Hiring a car would prove to be expensive as I will be alone.
Moving on to BC I've read in my guide book that Revelstoke and Nelson are worth visiting. Would others agree?
Many thanks. Lyndy
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Jul 19th, 2004, 04:59 AM
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Hello Lyndy,

You can travel by public bus (Greyhound, Brewsters, etc.) from Banff townsite to Lake Louise village and from there to Jasper townsite. At Lake Louise, Vista operates a shuttle bus service for travelling amongst the village of Lake Louise, the lake of Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.

The problem is that many of the best sights in the mountains are not accessible by public bus, as far as I know. This includes, to the best of my knowledge, Johnston Canyon, Takakkaw Falls, Emerald Lake, Peyto Lake, Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls, Mount Edith Cavell (the starting point of the Angel Glacier / Cavell Meadows hike), the base of the tramway up Whistler Mountain, Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake.

Revelstoke is a town that you in any case would pass through if you were travelling on the TransCanada Highway from Lake Louise to Vancouver. I don't know that there is anything unusual about the town of Revelstoke itself, but it certainly is on a beautiful route.

Nelson is worth visiting, but is out of your way if you are going from Lake Louise to Vancouver. Consequently it's not on the route that most first time visitors take. I guess it depends how much time you have for detours. Also, I'm not aware of public transportation services to Nelson. I suspect it's served by Greyhound, but I'm not sure by which routes one can reach Nelson. This is something that I think would be on Greyhound's website (and perhaps in your guidebook).

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 08:46 AM
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Judy is right - it would be difficult to see the Rockies, especially the highlights - by public transport.

The mountain parks (Jasper N.P. and Banff N.P., plus Yoho N.P., Kootenay N.P. etc.) are enormous (consider that it is over 230 kilometers on a winding mountainous road from Jasper to Lake Louise), and large parts of the parks are true wilderness - the only way to access them is by hiking.

It seems to me that the ideal situation is to rent (hire) a car, and if that isn't possible, I would suggest going on an organized tour.
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Jul 19th, 2004, 09:05 AM
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Lyndy, I provided my previous response in haste, in that I lumped Greyhound and Brewster in together. Greyhound, as I understand it, provides point-to-point transportation, without a tour guide and commentary (but it's cheaper). Brewster, on the other hand, not only gets you from point to point, but also provides commentary (but it's more expensive). On the Banff to Jasper drive, Brewster stops at the Columbia Icefields to allow passengers the opportunity to ride a Snocoach on the Athabasca Glacier (although the Snocoach ride is not included in the Banff to Jasper bus fare).

I agree with Borealis that a rental car is the best way to see the mountains but, failing that, a guided tour would be the next best thing.

A good thing about day tours such as those offered by Brewster are that they don't tie you in to a package that includes hotels, meals, etc. (if you don't feel like being tied down to all of that). Thus you would have the option of using Brewster (or a similar company) only for the sections of the journey that you choose.

On the other hand, it's possible that you may get a better deal, from a price point of view, if you buy an all-inclusive package.

I myself haven't compared the prices of all of these options, and it would take a certain amount of research to do so.
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Jul 19th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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Lyndy, I don't think I can add much. Judy and Borealis are truly the experts in this area and really know there stuff.
But I wonder if the the hostels or any backpacking organization runs a shuttle between different areas. It might be worth looking into.
Good luck.
gone is offline  
Jul 19th, 2004, 07:03 PM
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Hello Gone,

That's a great idea. I had never looked into transportation that might be offered by the hostels.

A Google search for BACKPACKER + BUS brought up Giddy Goat Adventures, which offers, for example, a day tour of Banff National Park's and Yoho National Park's scenic highlights (including lunch) for C$69 + tax.

Another company that appears to cater to the hostel / backpacking set is Moose Travel Network, which offers a 2 day, Banff - Jasper - Banff bus ride for C$95. Moose Travel Network also offers a 4 day, Banff - Jasper round trip for a bus fare of C$175. The bus stops at points of interest. Passengers have the option of sleeping in wilderness hostels en route from Banff to Jasper, as well as a hostel in Jasper itself. The modest cost of staying in dormitory accommodation at the hostels is extra. The company's blurb says it aims its services at the 18 - 35 year old age group.

Hope that helps.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 11:44 PM
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Thank you all for your ideas. Maybe you're right and I'll have to rent a car to get to all those wonderful places to see and to do short hikes from.

Judy - yes I can get to Nelson by Greyhound bus (I want to go everywhere me and all in 3weeks!!!!)I knew about the Brewster tours, but not Giddy Goat Adventures. As for Moose Travel, I have a brochure but the 2 tours you mentioned are not in it! Obviously I need to look at their website, which I hadn't done as I have their (useless!) brochure, obtained from travel agent here, being Wales. Yes it's aimed at 18-35s but says any age is welcome,which is good as I'm 54!!
I really don't fancy a package, as I'm too independent. Also a single person tends to be charged about half as much extra for the same thing, and I really don't think that's fair at all.

I really do need to do some more research!!
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Jul 21st, 2004, 04:52 AM
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Lyndy, a couple of things. I just checked the Moose travel site,
www.moosenetwork.com and the tours do not include accommodations, so you would not be charged more for being single. I think the tour Judy was speaking of is the 4 day Athabaska tour. It is 4 days and covers many of the highlights of the area between Jasper and Banff. I think it looks quite good.
Do have a look at their site. They do have some good tours. and they stop at different hostels , but they are not included in the price.
Some of their other tours look good too. When you click on their site, go to the West section.
Also, renting a car could be quite expensive if you aren't sharing the cost with anyone.
I'm not sure of your reasons for wanting to go to Nelson, but it is quite a way out of the way if you are doing a first time tour of the Rockies, and I don't think the town itself warrants the long journey there.
Good luck with your plans.
gone is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:00 AM
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Hello gone
Yes thanks. I've just looked at the Moose website and the tour you mention looks great for me and yes so do some of the other tours. I was going to stay in hostels anyway so I don't have a problem with that.

Re Nelson, my guide book says it's worth seeing. Also I understand the journey from nelson up to Revelstoke is worth doing as well. Do you agree?

Thanks for your help.
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Jul 22nd, 2004, 02:17 PM
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Lyndy, I hope the Moose tours work out for you. It seems a great say to see all the hihlights with out renting a car.
To be honest, I can't answer your other question about the trip to Nelson. It seems to me it's off the beaten path from where first time Rocky Mountain tourists go. I have no first hand knolwledge of the route, so hopefully someone else can help out here.
gone is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 02:21 PM
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Lyndy, I noticed on your other post that you are crossing Canada on the bus. Just a thought, but what if you went to Nelson after touring the Banff, Jasper area, from Revelstoke, and then continued eastward from Nelson? on eastward into Alberta. I think Highway 3 east from Nelson is scenic right over to and into Alberta.
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Jul 23rd, 2004, 10:11 AM
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Hi Gone
Thanks for your suggestion. But I want to go to Vancouver for couple of days too, so I thought I'd go Banff to Revelstoke to Vancouver, then start my journey back East via Nelson. Which yes I guess it is off the usual tourist route but I sometimes like to get away from the crowds!!!
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Jul 23rd, 2004, 10:38 AM
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>>>>>>I thought I'd go Banff to Revelstoke to Vancouver, then start my journey back East via Nelson.<<<<<<

Lyndy, I'm a bit confused and I don't know how the above fits into your larger itinerary, but what you've just described certainly is feasible.
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