May 8th, 2000, 12:59 AM
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My wife and I are looking at going to Western Canada for three and a half weeks in September. We would fly into Vancouver and want to go to Banff, Jasper etc and toyed with the idea of going down into USA to visit Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone etc OR driving to Alaska. Any suggestions, advice, help would be greatly appreciated - especially about the drive to Alaska!!
May 9th, 2000, 06:35 PM
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Bob, that's a pretty ambitious trip. It certainly can be done. If you want to drive to Alaska, why don't you leave Banff for another time. Perhaps just go to Whistler. Keep in mind there is a Ferry from Washington State to Alaska .
May 9th, 2000, 09:06 PM
Bob Brown
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Last summer I flew to Calgary and drove off in a Hertz car for a few thousand miles. We went first to Field, BC which is in Yoho National Park and visited Lake Louise and Lake O'Hara in Yoho before spending two nights at a back country chalet. Then we drove to Yellowstone via Bozeman, Mt, to visit the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University. We spent 3 nights at Yellowstone before driving up to Glacier NP for 2 nights at a back country lodge, and then back to Calgary for our flight home. We did this in 2 weeks.
So I think you could easily fly into Vancouver, then spend a liesurely trip to Jasper via Mt. Robson for 2 or 3 nights, then a slow trip down the wonderful, gorgeous, world-class Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise/Banff.
Then south to the US of A for a few days if that is your pleasure and then wind your way back to Vancouver via Yellowstone and the Tetons.
Looking back to my first visit to Yellowstone as an adult, I could easily spend 7 nights there and poke around the geyser basins and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
By the way, my favorite of the Canadian parks is Yoho, mainly because of Lake O'Hara and the Whaleback Trail, which is a good walk from the trailhead.
I can go on at length about these parks because I have spent 8 summer vacations there now, and enjoyed them all.
If you get to Yoho in early September, and you don't mind a rustic place, Twin Falls Chalet gives you great food, a decent enough sleeping place (foam pad and a warm down-filled sleeping bag), and proximity to some great walking.
There is one spot on the Whaleback Trail where you can see down valley for miles that is absolutely gorgeous -- greatest view I know of in North America south of the Alaskan Coast Ranges. Then there is the almost secretive Waterfall Valley that is reached on unmarked trails,
May 10th, 2000, 05:09 PM
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The ice fields parkway from Jasper to Banff is definatly the best mountain scenery we have ever done and we've done it all except Alaska. Just be aware that there are many more tourists than room in Jasper and Banff. May want to stay at Radium Hot Springs. 1/3 the cost and no reservations needed
dan and ginny
May 11th, 2000, 08:43 AM
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Sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned. I had the pleasure of touring from Calgary, Banff, Icefields Parkway to Jasper, then back, accross BC to Vicoria and Pacific Rim NP on Vancouver Island and Vancouver itself for 2 weeks in April. Wonderful!!!

The advice on this forum was also excellent - thanks Bob!! So, may be I can now add my views:

I think there is plenty of time to visit Vancouver and the Rockies in the 3.5 weeks you have. However, I can't comment on Alaska -maybe someone else can, but wouldn,t the weather already be closing in at that time of the year?. In fact, having done the trip above, we are planning a cruise (I know, a bit sedate!) to Alaska at that time.

You should definitely make a least a week for the Rockies and a few days more, say 10 days altogether for the US sights. However, I guess it depends on how much hiking you want to do. We spent a week in the Rockies and that was only enough time without many walks. In fact a lot of places were closed then. In Sept everywhere should be open as well as all roads/trails so you will be spoilt for choice for short walks, as well as just getting a bit off the beaten track for views. The "classic" run from Banff, Lake Louise, the Icefields Parkway to Jasper might lead on nicely to the north. However, you would need to backtrack to Yoho (no hardship considering the scenery) if you wanted a day or two there.

You should at least leave a few days for Vancouver - Stanley Park, Chinatown, Gastown, Grouse Mountain, Capilano etc as well as the fantastic restaurants. Being from the UK though, I didn't think V was blessed with sights, more a doing place than a seeing one. Depends on how interested you are on city life and normal touristy things, I guess.

Hope this helps
May 12th, 2000, 08:29 PM
Kenny Lee
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It is possible to drive from Vancouver to Alaska, but it is a VERY long drive. Most Southeast Alaskans use the Alaska State Ferries especially since many of the towns in the southeast don't have any roads to another town. You can catch the once-a-week ferry from Bellingham - just south of the Canada-US border. It takes 3 days to travel up the very scenic Inside Passage to Skagway, from which you can drive to Whitehorse, Yukon and enter the Alaskan Highway from there.
I think just a cruise up the Gulf is more enjoyable.

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