Spokane to Calgary...Canada Rockies

Dec 13th, 2018, 04:18 PM
  #1  
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Spokane to Calgary...Canada Rockies

My itinerary for the Canadian Rockies | Riding the buses Towns I will maybe stay at: Calgary/Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper and Nelson and back to Spokane. Have free Southwest miles and they do fly into Spokane as my starting place. Can take another airline to Calgary or drive from Spokane to Calgary. SW also flies into Seattle if thats a better starting place.
illininutt is offline  
Dec 14th, 2018, 10:35 AM
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Spokane is a good choice on SW for this trip. While we've flown into both Spokane and Seattle for this trip, Spokane is much better IMO. If your SW flight gets in late, there is a full-service Ramada right across the street (internal airport) where we prefer to stay. In the morning, you can walk back across and pick up your rental car. It's not a busy street to cross, just an internal airport type road.

We've also gone into Calgary, and that is a very convenient airport to the Canadian Rockies. However, for us the flight costs and car rental costs were not nearly as favorable. YMMV
sludick is offline  
Dec 14th, 2018, 11:05 AM
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What month are you considering? Another way to do it in a summer month would be to fly into Spokane and then take the Amtrak Empire Builder overnight to Whitefish Montana. Cars are available to rent in Whitefish or near the Kalispell airport. That way you could see Glacier NP (Going to the Sun road) and Waterton Lakes on the way to Calgary.
The Empire Builder leaves Spokane after midnight every might and is in Whitefish in time for an early breakfast.
tomfuller is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 01:09 PM
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I think it also depends on how much time you have for the trip...

Flying to Spokane means adding at least a day to each end of the trip, depending on the timing of your flights. That's time you're not spending in the Rockies - and if that's the focus of your trip, it might be worth flying directly to Calgary. Certainly free flights might be mean Spokane makes more sense, but don't forget to factor in the extra costs - i.e. hotels, rental, fuel etc. The train sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it really makes sense since you would want to return the car back in Spokane. Other than Seattle-Vancouver, one way rentals are not possible in AB/BC, and returning the car in a different location would likely result in a non-insubstantial one way fee.\

The itinerary sounds interesting, but you'd need a solid two weeks or more to make it worthwhile. Otherwise you're doing a lot of driving and not getting to spend much time at all in each location. If you haven't been before, it's generally worth at least 6-7 days in Jasper and Banff/Lake Lake Louise. I would also strongly suggest that any itinerary include going both ways on the Icefields Parkway rather than going from Jasper directly to Kelowna. I would then want to drive to the Okanagan via Revelstoke - the drive along Highway 1 through Yoho/Glacier/Revelstoke NPs is quite spectacular - much more so that going directly from Jasper. You'll want a night or two in Revelstoke, plus at least a couple of nights in the Okanagan. Can't comment on Nelson, but not necessarily what I'd prioritize if your time is shorter. For Waterton, you'll want at least two nights, plus more nights for Glacier NP. And a day to see stuff between Calgary and Waterton (like Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump).
kgsneds is offline  
Dec 18th, 2018, 05:12 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by kgsneds View Post
I think it also depends on how much time you have for the trip...

Flying to Spokane means adding at least a day to each end of the trip, depending on the timing of your flights. That's time you're not spending in the Rockies - and if that's the focus of your trip, it might be worth flying directly to Calgary. Certainly free flights might be mean Spokane makes more sense, but don't forget to factor in the extra costs - i.e. hotels, rental, fuel etc. The train sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it really makes sense since you would want to return the car back in Spokane. Other than Seattle-Vancouver, one way rentals are not possible in AB/BC, and returning the car in a different location would likely result in a non-insubstantial one way fee.\

The itinerary sounds interesting, but you'd need a solid two weeks or more to make it worthwhile. Otherwise you're doing a lot of driving and not getting to spend much time at all in each location. If you haven't been before, it's generally worth at least 6-7 days in Jasper and Banff/Lake Lake Louise. I would also strongly suggest that any itinerary include going both ways on the Icefields Parkway rather than going from Jasper directly to Kelowna. I would then want to drive to the Okanagan via Revelstoke - the drive along Highway 1 through Yoho/Glacier/Revelstoke NPs is quite spectacular - much more so that going directly from Jasper. You'll want a night or two in Revelstoke, plus at least a couple of nights in the Okanagan. Can't comment on Nelson, but not necessarily what I'd prioritize if your time is shorter. For Waterton, you'll want at least two nights, plus more nights for Glacier NP. And a day to see stuff between Calgary and Waterton (like Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump).
Kgs: Thanks for taking time to help my trip. How about flying to Spokane then flying to Calgary. See the Rockies in some sort of circle and end up back in Calgary? Or would Seattle be good starting point and drive through the Rockies and back to Seattle?
illininutt is offline  
Dec 18th, 2018, 01:29 PM
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You'd have to see if there are any flights from Spokane to Calgary - not sure if there are. Pretty sure they all connect through Seattle - and that would end up taking longer than simply driving. Seattle would be even further from the Rockies - probably close to 11hrs of driving with no stops and no delays. If you're going to fly and drive, Spokane would make more sense as it's only 6-7 hrs.

If you want to take advantage of those free flights, then I would fly to Spokane, and do a circle from there. Depending on how many days you can spare, choose fewer places to focus. Perhaps do either Waterton or Glacier NP on the way north (or south), then focus on Jasper/Banff/Lake Louise. That could easily be 10 days, especially if you use one day to see some stuff in southern Alberta like Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump.
kgsneds is offline  
Jan 7th, 2019, 09:52 AM
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Glacier park is also very nice and not far, just be extra cautious in the area of Golden as there tend to be lots of accidents
shewanders is offline  
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