Rockies mid May to mid June

Mar 8th, 2004, 02:19 AM
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Rockies mid May to mid June

We are planning to see the rockies montains.
Starting 20 May in Vancouver and Victoria (we would like to see dazzling tulips) and 27 May to Calgary-Banff-Jasper end 11 June.
We are hoping to see peak montain with snow and lake thaws.
Is possible to start on 10 June but we think will be high season, is it true ??
Suzybr is offline  
Mar 8th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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Lake Louise thaws about the middle of June. If you want to see the turquoise water for which the mountain lakes are famous, I think you're better off visiting the Rockies in the second half of June. That's not yet high season. The main tourist season is July and August. Canadian schools get out only at the end of June.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 8th, 2004, 10:01 AM
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May 20 might be a little late to see tulips in Vancouver/Victoria.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Mar 8th, 2004, 11:03 AM
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Thank you for help.
Suzybr is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 04:41 AM
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Message: Which is the best way to know Rockies? Renting a car in Calgary , to sleep in Canmore go in and out to the park everyday. We intend to spend maximum 140 CAN$ by day for lodging (3 adults). Where would be better put off the luggage: Banff or Jasper ?
Inside the park could I find a inexpensive hotel/motel ??

Suzybr is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 04:53 AM
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Hello Suzybr,

If I understand you correctly, you intend to spend about 2 weeks in the Canadian Rockies. If that's so, you have enough time to move around amongst 2 or 3 destinations. The area really is too big to be seen from a single base.

Here is another discussion thread that addresses similar issues:

Please note, however, that in the other thread I'd established that the poster in question ordinarily was willing to stay in 5 star accommodation, so the lodging recommendations I made to him would not be applicable to you.

In the same thread Borealis recommended some websites that I think would have useful accommodation for you, considering the target price range you've provided.

I can't remember if it was stated explicitly in that other thread, but you are right in thinking that Canmore is a suitable place in which to stay instead of Banff townsite. The two towns are a 20 minute drive apart.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 9th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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Just a suggestion, but high season in Jasper/Banff will start after May 31 in most hotels where the prices go up substantially.

In Vancouver/Victoria, since there is a more steady demand/supply for hotel rooms you will not get hit as hard come June 1.

If you did Jasper/Banff etc first, you'd be able to stay in better-situated accommodations. For example, you can get a room at one of the Mountain Park Lodges in Jasper (Lobstick, Amythest, etc.) for under $140 prior to May 31. On June 1 it pops up to about $200+ at most places. You can compare at

I'm sure Banff is the same, although as you probably already have noticed, Canmore is a cheapter place to stay in any event.

Yes, it will be a bit colder if you do Banff first, but you may have a better overall experience.
Cat123 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 03:59 AM
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I am searching in Brasil travel magazines about Rockies Montains Canada , they suggest to rent a motorhome. Advantages: no planning necessary , expensive motel/hotels between Banff-lake Louise-Jasper, beautiful campgrounds .
Suzybr is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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Suzybr, I've never rented a motorhome in Canada, and I hope you'll receive advice from someone who has.

However, until an experienced person comes along to give you some insights, I'd recommend that you try to get an accurate picture of all the costs that are included in the hotel plus rental car option versus the motorhome option.

If there are 3 of you, you'll need a campervan at a minimum (a campervan is a smaller version of a motorhome). A campervan's gasoline consumption would be more than a car's, so you would need to factor that into your estimated costs.

Also, whichever vehicle you rent, be sure you know exactly what you're getting in return for the basic rate you'll be charged. I suggest asking lots of questions to ascertain what extra charges there may be.

For example, I did a Google search for recreational vehicles (RVs), and found that one company levied the following charges for its motorhomes and campervans:

* One-time cleaning and preparation fee of C$50.00

* C$15.00 per day to stretch daily driving distance allowance from the basic 100 km to 160 km

* C$35.00 per day to stretch daily driving distance from 100 km to 250 km

* C$0.29 for each additional kilometre above the pre-arranged limit

* Surcharge of C$300.00 for one-way drop-off if you collect RV in Vancouver and drop it off in Calgary

* Surcharge of C$550.00 for any other one-way drop-off (presumably this includes picking up in Calgary and dropping off in Vancouver)

Keep in mind also that the campgrounds in the Rocky Mountain national parks cost anywhere from C$15.00 to C$25.00 per night, depending on what services they offer (running water, electricity, etc.). I don't know this from experience. I found it out on the Internet.

Parks Canada and other websites state that the campgrounds in the Rocky Mountain national parks operate on a first-come-first-served basis. Out of high season this might be fine, but I imagine that inside of the high season one would need to reach a campground relatively early (not too late in the afternoon, I would guess) in order to secure a spot for the night. The campgrounds, although they may be situated in scenicly beautiful spots, tend to be a little way out of town, from what I remember seeing. If you like to stroll through town after dinner, I think you'll find yourself too far out on a limb, although it's also true that you may meet some pleasant fellow travellers in the campground, and you may have a good time regardless.

One of the good things about an RV, though, is that it has a small kitchen, which would allow you to prepare some of your own meals, which I would see as an advantage.

If you rent a car you also need to find out about extra charges, if any (insurance, possible one-way drop-off fee, unlimited kilometres versus daily distance limit, etc.).

So there are quite a few factors to consider. I don't think the comparison between the hotel and rental car option versus the motorhome one is all that simple.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 10th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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Oh, my - do you know the logistics involved in "piloting" a massive RV along the mountain highways? As well as the cost, as Judy pointed out, and the chores involved (emptying the septic tank, etc.)? And the campgrounds do fill up quite quickly, especially on the weekends, in June - we used to camp on our mountain getatways in June.

While it is "peak season" for rates, it is not as crowded as July and August are, because school is still in so the families with school aged children are not travelling yet.

As far as affordable accommodations go, have you looked into stayeing at some of the "Approved Accommodations" available? These are rooms/suites in private homes, some with private entrances and baths. These are not B&B places, there will be no "service" provided, you just rent a place to sleep/shower/change your clothes, but they are a lot less than hotel rooms. Check this out:

luna is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 03:05 AM
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We will arrive em Toronto on 20th May.
I am in doubt: fly Toronto to Vancouver, rent a car , take a ferry to Victoria and after 2 days go back to Vancouver or fly to Victoria , rent a car and after go to Vancouver by taxi or bus , renting a car em Vancouver again.
On 27th May go to Rockies flying Vancouver to Calgary.
Suzybr is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 06:09 AM
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Suzybr, if I were you I would drive from Vancouver to the Rockies and on to Calgary.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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Hi Judy

I think is too far Vancouver-Bannf (over 800km) .
Two weeks between Banff and Jasper is that enough ?? Maybe 10 days ???
Suzybr is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 11:00 AM
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I heard about on early June some lakes are closed to visit. Is it true ??
Suzybr is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 12:04 PM
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Sorry Suzybr, I didn't see your message of March 11, 2004.

The problem with flying from Vancouver to the Rocky Mountains is that there are no commercial flights that land in Rockies. You would have to fly from Vancouver to Calgary, and then drive from Calgary to the mountains.

The distance from Vancouver to Lake Louise is about 800 km. If you were driving in an ordinary car, you'd be able to do it in about 10 hours.

If you flew, it would take you, say, an hour to get from downtown Vancouver to the airport, you'd have to get there AT LEAST an hour (and preferably more) before your flight, the flight itself would take 1 hr 20 min, it would take between half an hour and an hour to retrieve your luggage and collect a rental car at Calgary Airport, and then it would take between 2 hr and 2 hr 30 min to drive from Calgary to Lake Louise. So it would take at least 6 hours (and I would say more realistically 7 hours) to go from Vancouver to Lake Louise if you flew.

Also, 3 air fares from Vancouver to Calgary would cost more than 3 people sharing a rental car. By the way, please note, even if you flew, you STILL would need to pay for a rental car, as you'd have to drive from Calgary to Banff or Lake Louise or wherever.

Lastly, if you flew you would miss the awesome British Columbia mountain scenery. The Rockies are the best known, but they are only one of four major mountain ranges between Calgary and Vancouver. All of that scenery is worth seeing.

About the mountain lakes being closed to visitors, there's only one popular lake that I can think of that's closed, and that's Moraine Lake. The road to Moraine Lake opens about 1st June every year.

The issue with the lakes is not that they're closed to visitors but rather that, prior to their thawing, visitors cannot see the turquoise water for which they're famous.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 12:33 PM
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Suzybr - just to add to the information that Judy has provided:

800 km is not that far by Canadian standards, and the highways are good, so the drives are relatively smooth, even in winter.
You will be travelling in late spring, so it should be a very pleasant drive from Vancouver to Calgary.
However, I would recommend doing it in two days rather than one.
On the first day you could drive from Vancouver to Hope (on the Trans Canada highway) then to Merrit (on the Coquihalla), and then to Kelowna (on the Coquihalla Connector).
Kelowna is on Okanagan Lake, this is the wine growing region of western Canada, there are resorts, hotels, motels, B&Bs etc - so a large variety of accommodation, lots of choice. Plus it is quite a scenic spot, and a good place to stop for the night.
The next day drive from Kelowna to Revelstoke, through Roger's Pass to Golden, and on to Lake Louise and Banff.
The drive from Vancouver to Banff is scenic, and you will have a chance to see just how big our country is!!!

As for the lakes in the mountains being closed, the main tourist attractions are open year round (Lake Louise, Maligne Lake), although not all services are available (the cruise on Maligne Lake starts as soon as the lake is thawed, usually end of May), and by the beginning of June I suspect that most lakes will have mostly thawed, especially those at lower elevations. Of course this varies from year to year depending on the weather. Right now it is fairly mild and snow is melting, and if this weather holds and keeps getting continuously warmer, by the end of May it should be beautiful!!
(Last year the spring flowers were blooming in Lake Louise during the third week in June, and the lake was completely free of ice and snow).
But there are no guarantees.

Hope this helps, good luck with your plans.
Borealis is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 01:54 AM
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I like that idea : pick up car on Vancouver airport , drive around Rockies and return Vancouver (20 days).
Are there too risks if I didnt plan to hotel/motel in this time , mainly Rockies ??
Suzybr is offline  
Mar 17th, 2004, 06:18 AM
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Suzybr, the accommodations in the Canadian Rockies are very booked up in July and August, so I wouldn't want anyone reading this to think they could get away without advanced reservations during those months.

May and June, however, are another matter. An Australian friend of ours visited us in early June. Then, once she was here, she decided to go to Jasper on the spur of the moment. She had no trouble finding accommodation there at the last minute.

My guess is that up to the middle of June you would be fairly safe to travel without advanced reservations.

In the second half of June, accommodations would start filling up. I think you could still get them at the last minute, but you increasingly might not be able to get your first choice and might have to settle for your second or third choice.

If you are on a fairly strict budget, it probably would be to your advantage to book in advance, as the places that give good value for money are popular. Your finding accommodation on the spur on the moment in some cases may force you to choose between a place that is cheap but not very nice at all and another place that is of an acceptable standard but more expensive than you may like.

I think it would be easier than you may think to create an itinerary and make reservations in advance. You don't need to find different accommodation every night. You could plan to stay in each place for 2 or 3 nights, and use each place as a base for seeing the surrounding countryside.

You've said you want to arrive in Vancouver on May 20th spend a week there and in Victoria. Then, if I understand you correctly, you want to set out from Vancouver on May 27th and head for the Rockies. I recommend you devote an extra day to Vancouver, set out on May 28th, and do something like this:

May 28 - May 30 : Kelowna

May 31 - June 2 : Lake Louise

June 3 - June 5 : Jasper

June 6 - June 7 : Canmore

June 8 - June 10 : Calgary

June 11 : Fly home?

I do not recommend you return to Vancouver. I suggest you fly out of Calgary instead. Although it would be possible to drive from Vancouver to the Rockies and back again by two different routes, thereby increasing the amount of excellent British Columbia scenery you could see, I think you would enhance your overall experience if you devoted the end of your stay to seeing things that are accessible from Calgary. The top of that list would be the dinosaur skeletons at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. A close second would be Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (an interpretive centre that depicts the hunting-gathering lifestyle of the First Nations people who lived on the Prairies), near Fort Macleod.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  

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