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Travel between Vancouver and Calgary via Jasper

Travel between Vancouver and Calgary via Jasper

Old Jan 13th, 2006, 02:18 AM
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Travel between Vancouver and Calgary via Jasper

Hello all,
I'm new to this and also to the type of holiday we're planning so all advice and help gratefully received.
We are flying to Vancouver on 9th Sept 2006 to go on an NCL Alaska cruise on 10th for a week. Slightly nervous as not normally our type of holiday but husband wants to see Alaska (or a very small bit of it) and finaces permitting this seemed our best option. Now the bit we need real help with especially as we are being told things get booked up quickly - when we get back to Vancouver on the 17th we have until morning of the 25th Sept to get to Calgary airport for flight back to London. We are up for driving but some of the distances seem vast and we'd like to have a relaxing week rather than all driving as do alot of that at home (though on the left which also concerns me!). Train seems expensive but may be an option. We think we'd like to have a couple of days in Vancouver and visit at least Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff and we keep hearing about the fantastic scenery between Jasper and Banff. Any suggestions of where to go, how to get there and places to stay? Would normally go for the smaller hotels rather than the very large if possible within reasonable budget!

Thanks for any help.
Emma
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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 07:21 AM
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ltt
 
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well the best choice is renting a car and driving. it's a beautiful drive. you can drive from vancouver to interior bc in an easy day. stay the night and then head onto jasper. few days there, take the banff/jasper hwy, stay in banff and then onto calgary. you'll have to check around though because the drop off fee (for picking up in one city and dropping off in another) for the rental car will vary between companies.
if you don't want to drive, take via rail from vancouver to jasper. then check out brewster's tours for the jasper and banff areas.
there are lots of B&B's in jasper if that interests you. just do a search of "jasper accommodations".
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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 07:30 AM
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Hello Emma,

I don't think you should worry about driving in Canada. Once you get out of a city like Vancouver, it's a doddle. Traffic is much lighter than in the UK.

I agree with everything that ltt said. Here's one possible interpretation of her driving itinerary:

Sun, Sept 17 - Cruise docks at 7 am. I've never been on a cruise to Alaska, so don't know how long it takes to disembark. I'm guessing you have to go through immigration formalities. Even if I picture a worst case scenario, I can't imagine it taking more than a couple of hours. That means you basically have that whole day to look around Vancouver. Although it would be too early to check into your hotel room, most hotels are willing to store their guests' luggage until check in time.

Normally I would recommend that a visitor spend their first day visiting centrally located landmarks (Stanley Park, Granville Island Market, Yaletown). However, another of my favourite Vancouver attractions, the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, is closed on winter Mondays. So I recommend that you visit the MOA on this day.

Mon, Sept 18 - Visit the previously mentioned attractions that are centrally located.

Tue, Sept 19 - Drive to Whistler and then on to Kamloops.

Wed, Sept 20 - Drive to Jasper, making a detour near Clearwater to visit Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Thu, Sept 21 - From your base in Jasper townsite, visit Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake, and Mount Edith Cavell.

Fri, Sept 22 - Drive the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. This takes a full day if you take advantage of even a few of the many scenic lookout points.

Overnight in LL, Banff or Canmore, depending on budget considerations, whether you prefer a smaller village or larger town, etc. LL is smaller, closer to nature, quieter, but it also tends to be more expensive. Banff is larger and very touristy. Some people like the "buzz" that comes with lots of restaurants, pubs, shops, etc. Canmore also is a larger town, although it's a little more laid back than Banff townsite since it's outside of the national park.

Sat, Sept 23 - Visit Moraine Lake (14 km from LL) and Lake Louise, and then drive further west to see Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park.

Sun, Sept 24 - Visit Johnston Canyon, go up the Sulphur Mountain gondola, and stroll through Banff townsite.

Drive to Calgary, and spend the night there. The most convenient area in which to stay for access to the airport is the NE quadrant of Calgary. When you do an Internet search for hotels, the ones in that area are obvious from the fact that their street addresses end in NE and/or their names have the word "airport" in them. The fact that their names include "airport" does not mean that they're actually inside the airport complex. There is only one hotel that's part of the airport complex, and that's the Delta Calgary Airport Hotel.

If you have a morning flight out of Calgary, it is not practical to spend the previous night in Banff. You'd have to leave Banff five hours before your flight. I've explained all that on this page of my web site:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...s/airport.msnw

However, since it takes 1.5 hours to drive from Banff to Calgary, it would be feasible to have your evening meal in Banff before continuing to Calgary for the night.

Since you have such a short time in which to see Vancouver and the Rockies, I suggest that you spend no time in Calgary beyond using it as a place from which to access the airport.
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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Thanks that was really helpful. Our other option is the Rocky Mountaineer? From what Judy has said on previous occasions I think that would be to Banff and then pick up a car only problem then is we be having to double back on ourselves?
Emma
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Old Jan 13th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Hello Emma,

With the Rocky Mountaineer, you have a choice of 2 routes. The "Kicking Horse" route goes to Banff. The "Yellowhead" route goes to Jasper. The Kicking Horse route is somewhat more scenic. Both trains go from Vancouver to Kamloops. Passengers overnight in local hotels and motels. So, up to that point, both journeys are the same.

The journey from Kamloops to Banff includes the stretch from Revelstoke to Golden (and that in turn includes impressive Rogers Pass). The journey from Kamloops to Jasper is very scenic, but a little less spectacular than the journey from Kamloops to LL / Banff.

(However, the detour into Wells Gray Provincial Park, which you can do if you are driving from Kamloops to Jasper, is great.)

Since your itinerary is a bit tight from a time point of view, I think you would be better off travelling from Vancouver to Jasper rather than from Vancouver to Lake Louise / Banff. I do consider that to be a bit of a compromise. But, hey, since you also will have been to Alaska on the same trip, you will not have been starved for scenery. Also, if you drive Japser - Lake Louise - Banff (and include a detour into Yoho National Park), you will travel through some of the country that Rocky Mountaineer's Kicking Horse train would have taken you through.

Keep in mind that the Vancouver - Jasper train route also is served by relatively affordable VIA Rail (albeit VIA Rail travels through the night and you miss some of the scenery).

Another thing to keep in mind with all of the train options is that they depart Vancouver only about 3 times a week. You don't have your choice of departure day and time the way you would if you were driving.
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