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Rockies vacation--should we also include Vancouver??

Rockies vacation--should we also include Vancouver??

Aug 22nd, 2008, 08:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 170
Rockies vacation--should we also include Vancouver??

My husband and I are planning a vacation in the Canadian Rockies next summer and wondered if you could help us plan our itinerary? We originally went back and forth between the Rockies or Alaska. I did some initial checking and was told that seats available to Anchorage using frequent flyer miles are already sold out! I wasn't too disappointed since I've always wanted to see the Canadian Rockies, too.

My original intention was to fly into Calgary and spend our time between Banff, Yoho and Jasper . We even entertained the idea of taking a few days to visit Glacier and do the Going to the Sun Road. We are not hikers and although we are willing to do short hikes, we are basically interested in "taking in the scenery" and doing some fun activities such as kayaking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, etc.

When I started doing some research for this trip, I came across many itineraries that included Vancouver with a Canadian Rockies vacation. That started me looking at Vancouver and all the possibilities there. Now I'm wondering if we would really miss out on something if we didn't go to Vancouver, too. Especially since one of the things we were really looking forward to in our Alaskan adventure was whale watching. I understand that in Vancouver in the summer you can take whale watching trips and see orcas, as well as humpbacks and other sea mammals. This would be very appealing to us since we've never seen orcas (or humpbacks) in the wild.

The problem with adding Vancouver to the mix is that we would be doing a roundtrip since the cost of a one-way car rental is exorbitant!! We probably have 12-13 days to do this vacation and wondered if that would be enough???

Any suggestions?? Am I crazy to even consider Vancouver? Any advice given is much appreciated!!

dmpalena is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2008, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 560
I think that you will find that adding Vancouver to your itinerary will be too much. There is plenty to see without Vancouver and Vancouver is a destination in itself. If you want more than just the national parks you have listed, add Mt. Robson and Wells Gray Provincial park to your list. You can make a loop from Jasper to Clearwater to Kamloops and back to Lake Louise on your way to Calgary. This route will put you through Glacier National Park, the Canadian Glacier National Park, not the U.S. one.

Still not enough? Drop down from Kamloops to Vernon and head east on highway 6 through Cherryville to Faquier, Nakusp, New Denver, Nelson, Balfour, Creston, Cranbrook, and Radium Hot Springs to make your way back to Lake Louise through Kootenay Nation Park.

Want something different? Head east from Calgary and visit Dinosuar Provincial Park, then north to Drumheller to take in the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology.
rm_mn is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 04:13 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,399
If you've got close to 2 weeks I'd add in Vancouver. 2-3 days here would be plenty.

5 days to drive from Calgary to Vancouver with stops along the way, a couple of days on the coast, and 5 days to drive back would be just fine as an itinerary, especially since you say you're not hikers.

It's certainly long enough for a reasonably paced trip and while you might not get to spend a whole lot of time seeing everything you'll certainly get a good taste of the Rockies and a bit of the coast. IMO it would be a shame not to hit Vancouver if you're coming from some distance.
taggie is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 05:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I have logged a fair number of days in the Rockies and have gone up and down the Icefields Parkway more than once both ways.

I am a hiker and feel that the real beauty of the Rockies is not always visible from the road.

For that reason I agree with the advice given by rm_mn. There is a heck of a lot to see between Peter Loughheed Provincial Park, which no one ever seems to mention, and Jasper.

The whole mountain park area including Glacier (Canada), Yoho, Kootenay, Banff and Jasper is worth more than a cursory run through.

Technically speaking Waterton National Park and Glacier (US) are part of the Rockies, which extend from the Marais Pass on the southern edge of Glacier (US) all the way to the Liard River in BC well up the road from the Sun Highway!!

bob_brown is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 05:54 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,944
Since you are NOT hikers, you won't have to waste hours tramping around in the woods looking at plants.

You can skip Jasper and use the time to invest in Vancouver.

Jasper is a nice little town, and the Jasper PArk Lodge is a great hotel, and I met a wonderful dog last week named Jasper, after the town, and he's only eight months old but almost as big, already. Swiss Mountain Dog, for the curious.

Just make sure you go far enough up the Icefields Highway to get to, not surprisingly, the Columbia Icefields.

Check with several car rental companies to see if they all have severe drop of Calgary-Vancouver penalties. Lots of people want to make this trip just one way or the other. You might be pleasantly surprised.

I used to live in both Calgary and Edmonton, and have been in Vancouver a couple of dozen times, often via driving from Edmonton or Calgary.

And I recommend you do the same.

It really is a case of what you want to look at. To me, three or four days or looking at mountains is probably one or two more than necessary. But visiting the little towns, watching the mills at work, seeing the lakes in central British Columbia, seeing whales and exploring Vancouver... well, that's all good stuff.

BAK is offline  
Aug 28th, 2008, 11:28 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 525
Seats for Alaska for next Summer are sold out? ... You have to book with FF miles a year in advance?
Wallace_and_Gromit is offline  

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