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Rockies Itinerary Tweaks - opinions sought!

Rockies Itinerary Tweaks - opinions sought!

Mar 29th, 2007, 12:47 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 6
Rockies Itinerary Tweaks - opinions sought!

Hi all
Many thanks for all the useful info on the Canada board regarding putting together a Rockies trip.

I can't decide between two itineraries and any opinions are valued. my wife and I will be travelling in mid August, like great scenery but dont really hike seriously, more short/medium walks!

Plan 1
Day 1 - Banff
Day 2 - Banff
Day 3 - Jasper
Day 4 - Jasper
Day 5 - Kamloops (via Clearwater)
Day 6 - Whistler
Day 7 - Vancouver
Day 8 - Vancouver
Day 9 - Vancouver

Plan 2
Day 1 - Banff
Day 2 - Banff
Day 3 - Jasper
Day 4 - Jasper
Day 5 - Lake Louise
Day 6 - Kamloops (via Rogers pass)
Day 7 - Vancouver
Day 8 - Vancouver
Day 9 - Vancouver

Thanks

Brotchaq
brotchaq is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 06:15 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3,501
You can have your cake and eat it too.

I prefer Plan 2.

But you can include Whistler if, on Day 7, you drive Kamloops - Cache Creek - Lillooet - Pemberton - Whistler - Sqaumish - Vancouver.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 06:51 AM
  #3  
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Mapquest reckons that Kamloops-Whistler-Vancouver is 4+2 hours driving - is it worth going to Whistler for basically an afternoon?? I'm not sure it is.
And is it even worth going to Whistler for a night/day, maybe I should be maximising our time in the Banff NP area.
Hmm, guess I'm leaning towards plan 2 also...
brotchaq is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 08:31 AM
  #4  
 
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Posts: 3,501
>>>>>>Mapquest reckons that Kamloops-Whistler-Vancouver is 4+2 hours driving - is it worth going to Whistler for basically an afternoon?? I'm not sure it is.<<<<<<

Whistler is infinitely worth visiting. But, as with so many things in life, it’s the journey that makes it worthwhile, not the destination.

There are people who love the town of Whistler itself, but I am not one of those people. Don’t get me wrong. It’s in a beautiful, scenic setting. It’s also an architecturally attractive town. But it’s so perfect that I found it to be a cross between Stepford Wives and Legoland. Can’t really explain it.

HOWEVER, regardless of whether you love the town of Whistler or hate it, the scenery on the way there and also on the way out of there is gorgeous.

And I consider that scenery to be worth seeing even if you have been to the Rockies. The Rockies are very impressive, imposing, rugged and … well … corny as it may sound, rocky. But the forests around Whistler are much more lush than those in the Rockies.

If you were to travel from Kamloops to Whistler, you would find the stretch of road from Lillooet to Pemberton particularly scenic. It has steep inclines and tight bends, but nothing scary if you drive sensibly.

When you left Whistler, you would find that the drive through the mountains to Squamish was attractive. Then, when you reached Squamish, the road from there to West Vancouver would hug the edge of a fjord called Howe Sound. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Your Plan 2 itinerary (reaching Vancouver via Whistler) receives my If – It – Ain’t – Broke – Don’t – Fix – It seal of approval. In my opinion, you have achieved perfection (for the amount of time you have to spend). Any changes you make now will make the itinerary worse, not better.

In my opinion.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 08:39 AM
  #5  
 
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Ha, Judy, I love your description of Whistler. I can't explain it either - sterile? A plastic town? In fact, if you hadn't brought up Howe Sound, I would have said to skip it altogether.
April is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 06:38 PM
  #6  
 
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Posts: 56
Hi all,

I lived in Kamloops. My understanding is it's 6 hours from Jasper to Kamloops and makes for a tiring day as it is never straightforward - all BC driving is curvey mountainous roads which needs you alert.

I noticed you want to drive via Clearwater. Is there any way you could stay in Clearwater (there are hotels there) and visit Wells Grey Park. It is really really worth the stop to see waterfalls and gorges. The hiking is simple as you stop in various parking stops and walk in the viewing areas.

It is about 1 1/2 hrs. from Clearwater to Kamloops.
SeasonJoy is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 03:24 AM
  #7  
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Judy_In_Calgary - thanks for the comprehensive feedback - its basically your itinerary from your website so I can't take any credit!

I'm happy with Plan 2 (Kamloops-Whistler-Vancounver) so will get about booking some accommodation...further questions may follow...
brotchaq is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 01:42 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Sorry, but as a late entrant from a similar position on the west coast of Europe would you mind if I bum a ride on this wagon train?

My wife and I and 14yo son arrive in Calgary on the evening of July 1st. Is there anything to do with the Stampede on that early? If not I think we would spend a night in Banff and then travel up to Jasper for 3 nights before possibly heading back down to Banff and a quick run into Calgary for a preview night on July 5th. What are your suggestions?

We are then travelling onto Kamloops and I will do this directly from Banff but my question here is would you then advise going from Kamloops directly south to Vancouver or travelling there via Whistler - from your mails the latter seems preferable but would it take much longer?

Also as we are travelling onto Seattle a few days later would it be easier and shorter to access Vancouver Island from further south eg Anacortes or Oak Harbour than from Vancouver itself where I understand you have to book the car ferry in advance?

Many thanks
Kerryman is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 07:01 PM
  #9  
 
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>>>>>>My wife and I and 14 yo son arrive in Calgary on the evening of July 1st. Is there anything to do with the Stampede on that early?<<<<<<

No.

However, it will be Canada Day, and there likely will be fireworks that evening in a central Calgary location. But I can’t see you being in a position to enjoy them after your transcontinental flight.

>>>>>>If not I think we would spend a night in Banff and then travel up to Jasper for 3 nights before possibly heading back down to Banff and a quick run into Calgary for a preview night on July 5th. What are your suggestions?<<<<<<

Given the amount of time you appear to have in the area, you are short-changing the Banff / Lake Louise area and overdoing the Jasper area. I would cut Jasper down to 2 nights if I were you, and re-direct the remaining time in the Rockies to Banff – Lake Louise.

At the risk of offending other people on the travel discussion forums for the umpteenth time, I think it would be a waste of your time to return to Calgary, and my opinion stands even if it is Stampede preview night. Stampede preview night is not the ACTUAL Stampede and, for someone who will have such a short time in the Rockies, I cannot see what is to be gained from it.

>>>>>>We are then travelling onto Kamloops and I will do this directly from Banff but my question here is would you then advise going from Kamloops directly south to Vancouver or travelling there via Whistler - from your mails the latter seems preferable but would it take much longer?<<<<<<

The route via Whistler is scenic. It takes about 6 hours. On the other hand, the most direct route, via Hope, is quite pretty too. It takes about 4 hours. Basically there really isn’t an ugly route to Vancouver.

I don’t think it’s a given that Kamloops is the best route for you to take. It may be and it may not be, depending on your tastes.

You also could go through the Okanagan Valley, which has a lake, beaches, golf courses, fruit orchards and vineyards. Visiting vineyards for wine tasting is a popular activity in the Okanagan. The biggest town is Kelowna, but it’s a bit big for my taste. I prefer staying in Penticton or an even smaller town such as Oliver or Osoyoos.

The Okanagan is popular because of its beaches, etc. It’s a family-oriented area. But I feel it’s better to go there if you have a few days (or at least a couple of days) for relaxation.

Whistler is set in attractive mountains and forests. Your son may like to do the Ziptrek Ecotour in Whistler. The area also is well known for its mountain biking trails. But again, it would help to have a full day there to take advantage of these activities.

Also, because of your tight timeframe, you might consider brotchaq’s Plan 1.

>>>>>>Also as we are travelling onto Seattle a few days later would it be easier and shorter to access Vancouver Island from further south eg Anacortes or Oak Harbour than from Vancouver itself where I understand you have to book the car ferry in advance?<<<<<<

There are many more ferries from Vancouver to Vancouver Island than there are from Washington State to Vancouver Island. There are ferries from Horseshoe Bay, which is in West Vancouver, to Nanaimo. There also are ferries from Tsawwassen, which is to the south of Vancouver, to Swartz Bay, near Victoria.

When you’re finished with your visit to Vancouver Island, you might consider catching the ferry operated by Washington State Ferries from Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA.

As to ferry reservations, I would advise them just as much on the ferries operated by WSF ( https://secure1.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/webres/ ) as I would advise them on the ferries operated by BC Ferries ( www.bcferries.ca ).

A note of caution. It is apparent from the travel discussion forums that summer accommodation in the Rockies is filling up. It would be a good idea to settle on your itinerary ASAP and book accommodation.

My website may be of further assistance:

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

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:14 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 17
Judy, thank you very much for your very helpful advice. Could I impose a bit further - we are stopping off in Kansas City with my brother for two days on the way out so the final flight actually arrives 6.45pm in Calgary on July 1st. We would do a good bit of hiking in the mountains at home but our main aim in your direction is scenery and some relaxation, though we would fancy a half day or so of some white water rafting. Wine doesn't interest us and we have plenty of beaches at home, as for golf - well ...... I consider that neither relaxation nor exercise!

In light of the above would you suggest the first night in Calgary to see the city or should we head directly to Banff?

I will take your advice to spend 2-3 nights there (depending on whether or not we overnight in Calgary. Someone suggested a cabin out in the country to experience rural living - could you suggest anywhere?

We would then head to Jasper - would you suggest 1 or 2 nights (any suggestions re accommodation)?

Again in light of the above would you suggest getting to Vancouver from Jasper (1) via "northern route" to Whistler (2) via Clearwater or Rogers Pass (which one is best) to Kamloops & onto Whistler or (3) via Rogers Pass and Okanagan Falls. We presumably will need to overnight en route before getting to Vancouver?

Had a look at the Ziptrek Ecotour in Whistler - looks great, many thanks.

Many thanks also for the links to the ferries - we will probably spend 2 nights in Vancouver and head out to Vancouver Island for 2 nights and then take your suggestion of the Sidney-Anacortes ferry. In what part of the island should we stay?

Kerryman is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:08 AM
  #11  
 
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Posts: 3,501
>>>>>> we are stopping off in Kansas City with my brother for two days on the way out so the final flight actually arrives 6.45pm in Calgary on July 1st.<<<<<<

>>>>>>In light of the above would you suggest the first night in Calgary to see the city or should we head directly to Banff?<<<<<<

It takes about an hour to clear Canadian immigration and customs at Calgary Airport. So, supposing your flight landed on time, you could expect to complete the formalities by 7.45 p.m. Let’s round that up to 8.00 p.m. Then, from there it would take you 2 hours to drive to Banff.

But, at that time of year, sunset is close to 10.00 p.m. So that means that you could drive towards the mountains and see the mountains as you approached them. Mind you, with the sun getting lower and lower in the western sky, your view of the mountains (which of course are to the west of Calgary) would not be quite as impressive as it would be earlier in the day.

Since you will have such a short time in this area, I think you should get to the mountains as soon as you can.

I don’t know at what time of the morning you will have had to leave your brother’s house in order to catch your flight(s) to Calgary. But at least you will not be landing in Calgary off a flight from Europe. If you feel that you will not be too tired, there would be merit in driving to Banff on the evening of your arrival.

If you feel it will not be feasible to drive to Banff on July 1st, I recommend you spend the night at one of two hotels that are located close to Calgary’s western city limits. That will place you in a good position to start your trip to the mountains ASAP the following morning. The two hotels are Four Points Sheraton Calgary West. The other hotel is Sandman Hotel & Suites Calgary West. If you book at one of these hotels, be sure to book the right one, as there are other Sheraton Hotels and other Sandman Hotels in Calgary.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:11 AM
  #12  
 
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>>>>>>I will take your advice to spend 2-3 nights there (depending on whether or not we overnight in Calgary. Someone suggested a cabin out in the country to experience rural living - could you suggest anywhere?<<<<<<

A good place to stay if you want a cabin in the forest is Baker Creek Chalets. It is 20 minutes’ drive from Lake Louise village. The downside to that property, if you are trying to reach it on the night of your arrival, is that it is an hour’s drive beyond Banff townsite (so about 3 hours from Calgary Airport).

>>>>>>We would then head to Jasper - would you suggest 1 or 2 nights (any suggestions re accommodation)?<<<<<<

I recommend 2 nights in Jasper. If you can’t spend a minimum of 2 nights, I personally don’t think it’s worth going there. Charming as the town of Jasper is, just reaching the town is not the point of going there. You need a day to drive to Mount Edith Cavell or ride the Jasper tramway, walk in Maligne Canyon, and do the drive to Maligne Lake. You cannot accomplish those things unless you have 2 nights / 1 full day in the Jasper area.

There are several chalet-style properties just outside of Jasper townsite. They include:

• Alpine Village
• Becker’s Chalets
• Jasper House Bungalows
• Patricia Lake Bungalows
• Pyramid Lake Resort

Two chalet-style properties that have loyal clients who return year after year, but which SOME travellers describe as being a little on the rustic side, are:

• Pine Bungalows
• Tekarra Lodge

I have never stayed at Pine Bungalows or Tekarra Lodge. I’ve heard that Pine Bungalows, like Becker’s Chalets, is run by the second generation of a long standing Jasper family, and it is reported to be very clean. However, Pine Bungalows’ kitchens apparently are not quite as well equipped as those at Becker’s Chalets.

As I said, I have never stayed at Pine Bungalows or Tekarra Lodge, so I don’t know whom to believe. People have different travel styles, and sometimes it’s difficult to gauge the fit between other people’s tastes and your own.

More .........
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:13 AM
  #13  
 
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>>>>>>Again in light of the above would you suggest getting to Vancouver from Jasper (1) via "northern route" to Whistler (2) via Clearwater or Rogers Pass (which one is best) to Kamloops & onto Whistler or (3) via Rogers Pass and Okanagan Falls. We presumably will need to overnight en route before getting to Vancouver?<<<<<<

For someone who is trying to fit all this into as compact a time frame as you are, a fairly typical itinerary would be:

ITINERARY #1

1 – Land in Calgary. Spend the night in Calgary or Banff?

2 – See the attractions in the eastern half of Banff National Park (Johnston Canyon, Lake Minnewanka, Sulphur Mountain Gondola, Bow Falls, stroll through Banff townsite). Then transfer to Baker Creek Chalets.

3 – From Baker Creek Chalets, visit Moraine Lake, Lake Louise, Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake.

4 – Drive up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, stopping on the way at Peyto Lake, the Columbia Icefields, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls.

5 – From your Jasper base, visit the attractions that I mentioned previously.

6 – Drive to Kamloops, taking a 2-hour detour at Clearwater to visit Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

7 – Drive to Vancouver via Whistler.

8 – Sight seeing in Vancouver.

9 – Catch ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. Visit Butchart Gardens. Overnight in Victoria.

10 – Explore Victoria’s Inner Harbour area (Royal BC Museum, Parliament Buildings, Empress Hotel, etc.).

11 – Catch ferry to Anacortes, and drive on to Seattle.

More .......
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:18 AM
  #14  
 
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However, Itinerary #1 will not permit time for whitewater rafting in the Rockies, and it also won’t permit time for the Ziptrek Ecotour in Whistler.

So I suggest the following itinerary instead (and this itinerary takes advantage of the more scenic Rogers Pass and also the scenic stretch between Lillooet and Pemberton, en route to Whistler).

ITINERARY #2

1 – Land in Calgary. Spend the night wherever.

2 – Explore eastern half of Banff National Park (Johnston Canyon and the other stuff around Banff townsite). Overnight in the Lake Louise area.

3 – Explore western half of Banff National Park (Moraine Lake and Lake Louise). Overnight in the Lake Louise area.

4 – Drive up the Icefields Parkway. See Peyto Lake and the Columbia Icefields. Drive as far as you comfortably can, keeping in mind that you’re going to have to turn around and drive the same distance back. You should be able to get at least as far as Sunwapta Falls. Return to your Lake Louise base.

5 – Go whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River in Yoho National Park, to the west of Lake Louise. Afterwards drive from Golden over Rogers Pass to Revelstoke. Overnight in Revelstoke.

6 – Drive Revelstoke – Salmon Arm – Kamloops – Cache Creek – Lillooet – Pemberton – Whistler. This is a 7-hour drive, not counting stops.

7 – Do the Ziptrek Ecotour in Whistler. In the afternoon, drive the 2 hours to Vancouver.

8 – Sight seeing in Vancouver. The Number One “must see” is Stanley Park.

9, 10, 11 – Same as previous itinerary.


>>>>>>we will probably spend 2 nights in Vancouver and head out to Vancouver Island for 2 nights and then take your suggestion of the Sidney-Anacortes ferry. In what part of the island should we stay?<<<<<<

Well, I guess my suggested itineraries answered that question.

WARNING : On the days on which you are transferring from one hotel to another, do not leave your passports, credit cards, and money in your car. Carry them with you when you are sight seeing. Lock your car, and leave your luggage in the locked trunk (boot) of your car. I don’t know if the whitewater rafting company would be able to give you a secure place, like a safe, in which to leave your valuables while you’re on the river. If they cannot do that, I suggest you carry your valuables in one of those waterproof, belt-style pouches that people use when they’re scuba diving or something like that.

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:43 AM
  #15  
 
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Excellent Judy, you have given me some great ideas. Sorry, I should have given both my dates on the first mail but failed to do so. - We leave Seattle at lunchtime on July 13th and I plan to get to Seattle on the evening of July 11th so that gives us 10 nights (and 10 days) to do the trip from Calgary to Seattle. Does this make it any easier for you? This might give us the time to see Maligne Lake and Canyon beyond Jasper along with the rafting and ecotrip?

I would be happy to head up to Banff the first night if you're saying it isn't worth seeing Calgary. It might be better however to stay closer to the town certainly for the first night (any suggestion) and then head up to Baker Creek Chalets for the following two nights.

If we do have the time is it better to travel via Clearwater or back down to go through Roger's Pass?

If we are travelling and only looking to overnight eg in Clearwater/Revelstoke/Kamloops would we be able to pick up a room on the road or would we have to have it pre-booked?
Kerryman is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:04 PM
  #16  
 
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>>>>>>I plan to get to Seattle on the evening of July 11th so that gives us 10 nights (and 10 days) to do the trip from Calgary to Seattle. Does this make it any easier for you? This might give us the time to see Maligne Lake and Canyon beyond Jasper along with the rafting and ecotrip?<<<<<<

Both of my suggested itineraries have you getting into Seattle on July 11th. Of the two itineraries, I prefer #2.

>>>>>>any suggestion [re Banff accommodation]<<<<<<

* Tunnel Mountain Resort
* Douglas Fir Resort
* Hidden Ridge Resort

All are self-catering properties so, at a minimum, you would have a separate bedroom.

You probably would be able to find an ordinary motel room in Revelstoke on the spur of the moment.

Kamloops fills up with Rocky Mountaineer train passengers on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, so reservations are recommended on those nights. Walk-in accommodation is available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Clearwater is a very small place. I would prefer to have prior reservations if I was stopping there.

If you accept my suggestion to overnight in the Revelstoke area, and if you want something with a little charm, consider Three Valley Gap Hotel or Griffin Lake Mountain Lodge.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 12:45 AM
  #17  
 
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Judy, as you predicted Baker Creek Chalets not available for the nights of July 2 & 3. Any other (?rural) suggestion nearby?
Kerryman is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 06:49 AM
  #18  
 
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Try Cathedral Mountain Lodge. It's in Yoho National Park, to the west of Lake Louise, a short distance from the TransCanada Highway, on the side road that leads to Takakkaw Falls.

Also try Storm Mountain Lodge. It is approximately half way between Banff townsite and Lake Louise.

Paradise Lodge and Bungalows is a nice property. It is about half way between the village and Lake Louise and the lake of Lake Louise, so approximately 2.5 km or 1.5 miles from each.

Hope that helps.

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 09:41 AM
  #19  
 
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Thanks for your recommendations Judy. Some difficulties with availability as you predicted.

I have booked the Red Carpet Inn in Banff for July 1st, Baker Creek for July 2nd (booked out for 3rd) and Storm Mountain Lodge for 3rd (booked out for 2nd!).

I have looked at Jasper and tried Patricia Lake & Beckers Chalets but have had to email both as they are closed as yet.

Must look into Vancouver next.
Kerryman is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 10:59 AM
  #20  
 
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