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Suggestions for 21day Rockies & Vancouver Trip

Suggestions for 21day Rockies & Vancouver Trip

Apr 17th, 2004, 07:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 61
Suggestions for 21day Rockies & Vancouver Trip

We (wife, 2 kids aged 7 & 8 & myself) are planning to travel in June to Canada for 21 days. We will arrive in Vancouver and also depart from there. We intend to see Vancouver Island and the Rockies. We
like to see wild life and enjoy the outdoors. We intend to drive around.

I would like suggestions from the board on the route to take to see both the places. We don't intend to fly within unless if the distances are far apart. Also wondering if this is do able? Our plan to select a base town to stay for a few days to explore the regions. Please recommend which are the towns suitable & budget accommodations?

Thanks for all inputs.
s6656 is offline  
Apr 17th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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First let me suggest you decided how much time you want to allocate to the 4 contiguous parks area of Banff, Jasper, Kootney, and Yoho parks.

I like that area and tend to go overboard when talking about it.

How much time did you think would be sufficient for Vancouver? I could use up 2 days there profitably, but I have grandsons older than your children, which means I am out of touch generation wise.]

There are several ways to wander from Vancouver east to the Banff-Lake Louise region. The Okanagan Valley is pretty and it has several nice small cities in it.

The Revelstoke region, south to Nakusp, is spectacular. And you can go to places like Nelson.

Lodging is expensive in that part of the world!! lake Louise is very high because it is so popular.

We are taking a 17 day jaunt this summer, but some of ours will be parked at one place. But we will start in Calgary, visit the Yoho park area,drive through Jasper all the way to Prince Rupert and take the ferry to Port Hardy.
Then we will drive back to Calgary over a 3 day span.

If you wish I can discuss more in depth what I have done out there.
I have found that being cost conscious is a must becuaseof the high motel prices.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 17th, 2004, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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S6656, I know nothing of this region but have read several excellent postings to similar past questions, especially from bob_brown and judy_in_calgary. I'd suggest you do a search of "Rockies" in the box above (as I just did) and you'll find some great suggestions.

Cheers, Linda
BowenLinda is offline  
Apr 17th, 2004, 07:13 PM
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Let me add just a little more here.
Many private homes in Jasper have installed overnight facilities in basements, side rooms, etc. These tend to be variable in quality but usually lower in cost than commercial motels.
If you look here http://www.jasperadventures.com/accommo2/accommo2.htm
you will see a list.

I have tried using the list in the past with moderate success. Quality is variable, and parks approved means that the name of the accommodation is on the list. I don't think it intends to convey any quality stamp of approval.
Often information is not current.

I would try to find out more by doing a web search. For example, if you use yahoo's search engine and try on Columbine House jasper, you will get more data. In this case, it does not help much.

At one time Parks Canada in Jasper issued a listing of these places in a little booklet. You might try calling and asking if it still exists.

You might try the same thing for Field, BC. The good news is that there are a few places in Field that provide good places to stay for several days. The bad news is that the homeowners group that provides these accommodations finally became aware of how far under market they were pricing themselves.
Cooperatively they upped the price by about 30% over last year.

One place I have stayed is Mt. Stephens Guest house. It has two small apartments in the basement with a kitchen and separate bedroom.
Now, caveat time. It has changed hands since I was there, but I understand the bed was improved.

Despite the price increases, the apartments offer kitchens, and a savings on food.

I will be staying in Field later this summer, but the place I use is suitable only for 2 adults.

But give her a go and check out prices at the various places. Now is not too soon to start.
June is holiday season.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 17th, 2004, 10:32 PM
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Posts: 61
Thanks for the inputs. We would be spending about 2 weeks in the above areas that we mentioned and the last week go on a cruise in Alaska.

Since this is our first trip to canada(also north America), we are not sure what to expect, and any advice will be deeply appreciated.
s6656 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 04:49 PM
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Thanks for all the responses.

Our Plan is something like this:
Arrive in Vancouver ? 2 Days
Whistler ? 1 day
Sun Peaks Resort ? 1 day
Jasper ? 3 Days
Banff ? 3 days
Kamloops ? 1 day
Kelowna. ? 1 Day
Victoria Island ? 3 Days
Depart from Vancouver ? 2 Days
Backup ? 3 days or go for a cruise in Alaska depending on $ factor.

We are also trying to take a cruise in Alaska if we can get the time.

Please comment if these days are ok. Suggest which would be a nice base town to stay at these places. We are also looking for budget accommodations in the local sense as we trying to maximize and see if we will have enough money for Alaska. Any interesting stuffs for kids will be appreciated. Are there a lot of animals during early June in Rockies .And we plan to drive around whenever it is possible.
s6656 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 06:25 PM
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You are leaving out Kootney and Yoho National Parks, nor are you factoring in the crown jewel of the Rockies, the Icefields Parkway.

Kamloops? Why? That has always been my question. A logging town trying to turn into a tourist attraction.

What kind of a cruise can you find for Alaska that lasts only 3 days??
If you are in Juneau you might find done,but not from Vancouver unless it is a real speedy one.
It would take you a whole day just to get to Prince Rupert.

I think I have suggested some base towns. Victoria on Vancouver Island and Vancouver when you are there are obvious. I would not bother with a night in Kamloops, personally.
bob_brown is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 06:58 PM
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Sorry for the mistake. The 3 days is a backup if we can't complete the plan we have. We are thinking of extending the 3 days to a week if we can get time off from work to go Alsaka.Currently we have about 19 days excluding the day of ariival & departure.If not we might just extent the trip to stay in those places that we like, if we can't get the time off.

We are not missing out on Bob Brown's suggestions. We are thinking of doing these from basing in Jasper. I am open to suggestions, as the plan is to a circle tour starting and ending in Vancouver. I would appreciate comments from members on improving our plans.
s6656 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Drive Vancouver to Port Hardy-take the Coast Discovery Ferry to Bella Coola.

See Vancouver Island along the way and the best of the Inside Passage as well-few people travel this route that's why I always recommend it.
The Bella Coola area is alive with wildlife and outdoor options abound in the area. www.beferries.com

From there drive east to Williams Lake then onto Jasper and do what it is people do in the mountains.
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 11:02 PM
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We did a similar trip in Canada last year. You may want to include Calgary in your itinerary. Really nice city with a great heritage park (which the children would enjoy), plus a national park north of Calgary with dinosaur relics (sorry, can't remember the name).
I agree with Bob - Kamloops is just a big town on the freeway. We stayed at Salmon Arm just a few km away.
marg is offline  
Apr 18th, 2004, 11:50 PM
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The last time we went to the Rockies we drove through Manning Park one way and took the Coquihalla Hwy the other, for variety. There are a number of different routes but I can't say that I like any one better than another. You can include some ranchland in your tour either in BC or Alberta. Or, for a more historical/touristy experience, stop in at the O'Keefe Ranch north of Vernon (north of Kelowna). In Hope, stop by the Othello Tunnels where the Kettle Valley Railway ran through. It can be a quick visit as it's not far from the town's centre and then a short walk from the car, but the scenery is dramatic. (Summerland near Kelowna runs short Kettle Valley steam train trips but through entirely different terrain.)

I too would skip Kamloops. I'm not enthralled with Whistler either although I like the drive to it or to Squamish.

On Vancouver Island, Victoria and the Tofino area is popular. Parksville is okay for a beach stay. You could take the ferry to Sidney, stay a night in Victoria and visit the museum, then spend 2 or 3 days in Tofino and take the ferry back to the mainland from Nanaimo.

If you don't yet have a BC Accommodations Guide, you should be able to order one at: http://www.hellobc.com/
April is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 01:45 PM
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S6656, if you have not yet paid your air fares, I would recommend you reconsider driving a loop with Vancouver as the start and end of the Canadian portion of your vacation. I think you would make better use of your time if you drove in one direction, either from Vancouver through the mountains to Calgary, or the other way round.

Starting in Vancouver and ending in Calgary would have the advantage of placing you in the mountains a bit later, which would give lakes at high elevations (e.g., Lake Louise and Moraine Lake) more time to thaw, so that you'd have the best chance of seeing them in their turquoise glory.

The advantage of starting in Calgary and ending in Vancouver is that you then would be well placed to take off on your Alaskan cruise at the end of your Canadian vacation, if you are in fact going to include Alaska.

A couple of years ago, Australian friends of ours travelled from Alaska to Vancouver in a reasonably priced ferry rather than on a more expensive cruise ship. They enjoyed it very much, and loved the fact that they were able to meet and mix with "ordinary folk." To put that into context, they are a couple who enjoy tenting and so on. I mention this option because you specifically said you were looking for reasonably priced alternatives. This is something on which you would be able to find more information on Fodors' United States forum if you haven't already posted the question there.

A reasonably priced base for the Banff area is the town of Canmore, just east of the Banff National Park gates and a 20 minute drive from Banff townsite. Borealis, who regularly posts here, wrote a favourable review of Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge in Canmore:


Marg mentioned dinosaur fossils to you. With your kids being the ages they are, I bet they would love the dinosaur skeletons at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, east of Calgary. The museum is very child-friendly, with interactive displays and outdoor activities. But it's a great museum for adults too. If you were able to devote a day to the dinosaurs, I believe your whole family would enjoy it.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 19th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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Arghhhh! The discussion thread about Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge in Canmore is:

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Apr 26th, 2004, 12:02 PM
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I support Judy's suggestion concerning booking open gate airline tickets with Vancouver and Calgary as your gateway cities if you have not already made those reservations. The distances are much greater than you might realize and you will be slowed somewhat by mountain driving although the Canadian highways are excellent. Be sure to include the Revelstoke area and the Jasper Icefields in your itinerary. Accommodations around Banff and Lake Louise are very expensive, so you may want to limit your time in these areas or use Canmore as a base as Judy suggested. Here's the official website for accommodations in Alberta: www1.travelalberta.com/content/Accommodations/

Vancouver Island has much to offer. If you decide to go beyond Victoria, you may want to reserve a rental car for travel around the island. Tofino is worth the drive and your children would enjoy playing on the beaches around Parksville. Some folks use the BC ferry system as an economical way to cruise the Inland Passage. You might want to post a request for more information on the Cruises forum or use the 'search this forum' option at the top of this webpage.
Retired_teacher is offline  
Apr 26th, 2004, 08:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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I am a 3rd generation Calgarian. Judy_in_Calgary is absolutely spot on with her loop suggestions. Start in Van and work your way east. Drive a couple hours each day and take it all in. Leave from Calgary. You will love the time spent exploring and then resting.

I have read a few comments about hotel and motel prices. Canadian dollars are only slightly higher in value than pesos so if you are coming from the US, you're livin' large.

ideaguy [at] mac.com
ideaguy is offline  
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