Vancouver + Jasper + Banff

Jan 6th, 2007, 10:08 AM
  #1  
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Vancouver + Jasper + Banff

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum. I came across this forum while searching for articles related to Banff NP. I am planning to visit Vancouver, Jasper and Banff NP during first week of July. I was hoping to get some tips and suggesstions since it will be my first visit to Canada and I am very much looking forward to it. I am planning to rent a car from Vancouver and drop-off at Calgary. My current itinerary is as described below;

29th Jun - Arrive in Vancouver
30th Jun - Vancouver
1st Jul - Vancouver
2nd Jul - Clearwater
3rd Jul - Jasper NP
4th Jul - Jasper NP
5th Jul - Lake Louise.
6th Jul - Banff NP
7th Jul - Banff NP
8th Jul - fly out of Calgary

I would welcome any suggestions on lodging and activities or sidetrips. I enjoy sightseeing and short hikes. Lastly, would July be a good time for whale watching in Vancouver ? If so, I would appreciate any recommendation for a tour operator for whale watching.

Thank you very much in advance.
mtravel is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 11:07 AM
  #2  
 
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Hi mtravel,

July is a good time to see whales. However, I am not familiar with the whale-watching cruises that operate out of Vancouver, so I'll leave it to someone else to recommend one.

Your proposed itinerary is similar to a suggested 9-day itinerary from Calgary through Jasper to Vancouver that appears on my website:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...ips/9days.msnw

The major differences between your itinerary and mine are:

(1) Yours is from west to east whereas mine is from east to west. That hardly makes any difference. Most of the information is equally applicable in either direction.

(2) Your itinerary has an extra day built into it, so you can spread the drive from Vancouver to Jasper over two days. That is a GOOD thing. Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in a single day, while it is possible, is not desirable. Your overnight stop at Clearwater will enable you to take a detour of a couple of hours into Wells Gray Provincial Park to see Helmcken Falls before you continue to Jasper.

Other than Helmcken Falls, which is absent from my itinerary, that page of my website suggests the major attractions to see in Jasper, Yoho and Banff National Parks.

You could consider spending 3 nights in Lake Louise instead of splitting those nights betwee Lake Louise and Banff townsite. The two places are 45 minutes' drive from each other, so it's possible to use one as a base for seeing the other. Here is a thread in which the relative merits of Lake Louise and Banff townsite are discussed:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...9&tid=34923467

Where you spend your last night depends on the time of your departure from Calgary. If you have an early morning flight out of Calgary, you pretty much have to spend the previous night in Calgary (although you could spend all of your last day in the mountains and only drive to Calgary in the evening). If your plane takes off at noon or later, you can still spend your last night in the mountains, as you then will have enough time to drive to Calgary and check in for your flight. Read the page of my website that describes the logistics of departing from Calgary:

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

Mountain weather is very quirky. Average daytime highs in Banff in July are 20 deg C (70 deg F) and average night time lows are 7 deg C (45 deg F). But the averages tell you very little. In the mountains you could encounter temperatures as high as 30 deg C (90 deg F) and as low as freezing. The weather can change dramatically within the hour. To be equipped for this you need LAYERS. That is explained in more detail on my What To Pack page:

http://groups.msn.com/CalgaryandCana...urwebpage.msnw

About accommodation, are you looking for luxury, moderately priced or budget accommodation? Do you like large hotels, small hotels, chalets or B&Bs?
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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Postscript. Your proposed itinerary is excellent. It gets my rare If-It-Aint-Broke-Dont-Fix-It seal of approval (with the caveat that you could combine Lake Louise and Banff into one stop if you chose and you need to pay attention to your flight's departure time from Calgary).
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Thank you Judy for your detailed response and posting useful information at your website. I liked your suggestion to spend three nights at Lake Louise. I am looking for a budget accomodation with private bath. I will be traveling with my wife. I was planning to stay at Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver downtown and at Patricia Lake Bungalows Motel near Jasper NP. I am yet to find lodging at Clearwater and Lake Louise. I would be interested in hearing your suggestions. My flight from Calgary departs at 1pm in afternoon.

Thanks once again.
mtravel is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 01:34 PM
  #5  
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Also, I was wondering if I need to rent an SUV or a compact/full-size car would do fine. Thank you.
mtravel is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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You're welcome, mtravel.

Your Vancouver and Jasper accommodation choices are excellent.

A person whose opinion I value told me about a good chalet that she and her husband stayed in at Clearwater. I'll look through my e-mails and get back to you.

Lake Louise is an expensive place. To the extent that it has "budget" accommodation, you could try Mountaineer Lodge or Lake Louise Inn (although even they are not cheap in the summer).

You do not need an SUV at all. You'll be travelling on good, paved roads all the way.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 09:55 PM
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PAT Lake is great choice.
The roads are good.

The Icefields Parkway has only one major ascent/descent that I recall. It is near the boundary between Jasper and Banff parks.

If I recall correctly it is Sunwapta Pass and the views over the folded mountains is spectacular.

The only problem I see with your plans is that dropping the car will incur a major fee.

bob_brown is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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Thank you Judy and Bob for your feedback. It is very comforting to hear your comments on lodging. Judy, if you could post the name of chalet at Clearwater that would be great. I looked at the lodging thread again for Lake Louise, Canmore or Banff. Based on what Judy and Bob suggested, I think spending around 200$ per night to get lodging in Lake Louise would be worth it due to its central location. I will pick one from Paradise Lodge and Baker Creek Chalets.

Bob, about the car, National is showing a reasonable deal. The cost is same as returning the car back to Vancouver. I will go ahead an reserve it before it disappears.
mtravel is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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You are right about the car. If you can get a "dropless" rate, grab it before it goes away. I have had similar thoughts in the past and ended up driving a loop from Calgary because the drop fee was $900 C.

I could have flown from Calgary to Vancouver and rented a second car for less money.

Last time, we decided that we would drive from Jasper to Prince Rupert, take the Queen of the North (and a prayer for its victims) to Port Hardy. From there we meandered to Victoria, then back to the Rockies, Calgary and home.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Queen of the North, it was one of the sleekest ferries in the BC Ferry fleet. For reasons best known to a higher authority, the Queen got off course in the inland passage during a storm, struck a rock, and sank.

Some of the people who live on the islands in the area heard the alaRM AND went out in the middle of the night in their boats to rescue and assist as many people as they possibly could. The last I read, only 2 people were never accounted for.

Question: Has there been a press release on the most probably cause of the tragedy?

My guess is that the new navigational system on the Queen had a bug in it that caused the ship to be off course. I have read nothing, however, to substantiate that idea.
bob_brown is offline  
Jan 7th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Judy, Lake Louise Inn worked out ok. I have sent them a request. I hope I get the room. Thanks for recommending.

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Jan 7th, 2007, 08:42 AM
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Alright, I booked the car for about $450 for the rental period and the lodging at Lake Louise for $170. Now I am just awaiting confirmation for Jasper lodging and have to find lodging at Clearwater. I am glad I came across this forum.

Is it recommended to pay for any sort of insurance coverage for car rental in Canada ? I have denied them all for now.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 09:22 AM
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I have reserved a night at Ace Western Motel for lodging at Clearwater for now at $85. I can always cancel it later.
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Jan 7th, 2007, 07:04 PM
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Mtravel, the Clearwater property about which I received a recommendation was Dutch Lake Resort & RV Park (and specifically the Grizzly Cabin). Note, this this is not the same property as the Dutch Lake Motel. Dutch Lake Resort & RV Park's website is www.dutchlake.com .

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 07:20 AM
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Judy, Thank you. I will check with them. It turned out that Patricia Lake Bungalows have a 3 night minimum stay in summer. I was trying to get their $85 per night motel room. It would be great if you or anyone else could suggest any other budget accommodation in Jasper.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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One word.

Crayston's

Do a word search of this forum to find out what I'm talking about.

If you cannot get into Crayston's, do a Google search for HOME ACCOMMODATION + JASPER.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 09:55 AM
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Hi mtravel!
Nice to hear you'll be visiting B.C. As a resident, I will say with absolutely no modesty you are in for a treat.
Be sure to visit Granville Islamd while you're in Vancouver! It is just a tiny bit touristy, but has some great little shops and there are usually tons of buskers and entertainers out in the summer.
To get there easily by Skytrain, catch the '50 False Creek' bus from the stop right outside the Waterfront Skytrain Station. It'll take you right there and the bus driver will usually announce which stop to get off at if Granville Island is your destination; the bus drivers are generally quite helpful if you have questions about the route.
Stanley Park and the seawall usually make for a great walk, but due to a recent windstorm there have been thousands of trees felled in the park, and I'm not sure if it's open to visitors or not yet. But you can check it out.
I hope you enjoy your visit! Make sure to bring a raincoat, just in case.
Karen_232 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 03:12 PM
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Thank you Judy for the lodging details and Karen for sharing useful tips for visiting Vancouver. I have added Granville Island on my todo list and I am sure your directions on how to get there would come handy. Thanks.

I am most likely going to book 105 Patricia St. at Jasper since they have already responded and I see that Judy has stayed there and recommended the place. Also, I heard from The Windmill B&B at Clearwater. I am deciding if I should cancel my reservation at Ace Western Motel and switch to The Windmill B&B. Dutch Lake Motel seems bit away from main highway and their restaurant menu did not have much choice for vegeterians. The Windmill B&B appears closer to the highway and their rate includes breakfast. Any comments ?

Thanks a bunch everyone for all your help and suggestions with the trip planning. It has been very helpful.
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Jan 8th, 2007, 07:51 PM
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Bob, one excuse mentioned was a lack of training, but, amazingly, nobody's really talking.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 03:54 AM
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M;

There is no need to pay for any additional insurance coverage. The major rental companies have at least 41 million in liability coverage that is primary. CDW works the same way in Canada as in Europe, and elsewhere - you are responsible for all damage to the car unless you purchase the waiver. Using a credit card that offers coverage or having the advantage of an endorsement on your personal policy that covers your liability for damage to rental cars are tow other ways around the need to purchase the CDW.
Aramis is offline  
Jan 10th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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Aramis, Thanks for the information. That's great. I will check with my credit card and insurance companies to verify their coverage for rentals in a foreign country.
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