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Vancouver to Banff & Jasper & Kelowna in 6 Days in late May!

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May 11th, 2012, 11:27 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Vancouver to Banff & Jasper & Kelowna in 6 Days in late May!

Planning a short trip to Banff & Jasper and have read through the various postings. As we will be arriving from overseas next Friday, and having to deal with jetlag, we plan to head out to Banff the day after Victoria Day. We'll stop at Revelstoke, before heading to Banff, Lake Louise & most lkely Jasper.

1 night Leave Vancouver and overnight in Revelstoke
2 nights Banff/Lake Louise
2 nights Jasper
1 night Kelowna

We got a room for 2 nights in Lake Louise, but I'm now wondering whether we were better off being based in the town of Banff itself, or to get a condo in Canmore. Or maybe even stay a night in Banff town, and the next night in Lake Louise before we head to Jasper. Altho packing & unpacking is such a pain, and I did not want to be backtracking. We are trying to cover at least the essentials of what to see/visit in Banff because I am not sure when we will get around to do this again. I sure hope it warms up so that the roads to the Lake Louise is open, and the lake thawed by then. If not, where else can we go to view turquoise colored lake : )?

We heard that the drive up the parkway to Jasper is beautiful and that was why we decided to extend our trip to Jasper, before we head back to Vancouver. I have not firmed up my reservations at Jasper -- your suggestions are welcome! Saw that there was a suggestion for us to stay at Becker's Chalet, Patricia Lake Bungalows & Pine Bungalows, so these are great ideas. We are a party of 5 so we've been trying to get suites or large rooms so as not to need 2 rooms. Anywhere else that we should consider? Have not finalized our stay in Jasper because the cancellation policies in Jasper for the chalets & bungalows are much stricter than your typical hotel. Are we making the right decision to head to Jasper given our limited time?

We are avid photographers but not great hikers, so we can only do easy hikes along the way. Also, on the way back to Vancouver, we stop in Kelowna and visit one or two winery - any one that we should not miss? Any difference with staying at West Kelowna or Kelowna -- or are they not too far from each other anyway. All we want is a good night's sleep with all the driving that we will be doing!

Your suggestions on possible itineraries hotels & would be most helpful! Thanks and looking forward to getting your travel tips!

CJ
CJAinDC is offline  
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May 11th, 2012, 05:35 PM
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Banff is a larger town with a very active night scene, lots of shopping and restaurants galore. It also has the hot springs on the outskirts of town. Lake Louise is a village and has far fewer restaurants and not much shopping (a small strip mall and the tourist shops in the hotels).

Assuming you'll be out sight-seeing the mountains during the day, what you like to do in your evenings should be the deciding factor on where you should stay.
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May 14th, 2012, 08:43 AM
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It is still early in the mountains. I would check www.canadianrockies.net to find out what the weather is like right now. That site also has a forum where locals can answer your questions. I would pack fleece and a few warm layers.

I like staying in Lake Louise. Where have you made a reservation? There is no town in Lake Louise but I like the convenience the location has to places we like to visit. It is closer to the trails we hike, to Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake and the Icefields Parkway. I don't think the road to Moraine Lake is open yet. We have stayed in Banff in the winter. We have also spent the last evening of our September trips in Banff--it's about a half hour closer to the airport and we can check out Banff before we head home. Banff will not be crowded though so I wouldn't hesitate to stay in Banff next week.

Baker Creek is in between Lake Louise and Banff. They have cabins that may sleep 5.

You should be able to get discounted rates on your lodging right now. Check on www.kayak.com to get a quick check of prices. They may have discounted rooms at the Banff Springs Hotel which is nice. The room quality varies greatly though so I would suggest you not book the cheapest room. It is one impressive place though.

If the lakes are still frozen, I believe Lake Minnewanka and Johnson Lake near Banff are at a lower elevation and may be thawed.

Is the Icefields Parkway open all the way to Jasper? The Rockies got a lot of snow this year. We have never visited in May and I think the higher part of the road closes for the winter. I could be wrong about that. It is a beautiful drive.

In Jasper, I believe Alpine Village has cabins that sleep 5. We have enjoyed our stays at Beckers and Patricia Lake. Alpine and Beckers are located right before you enter the town of Jasper. You drive beyond Jasper to get to Patricia Lake
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May 14th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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CJAinDC - the road to Lake Louise is always open (meaning year round). At the end of that road is Chateau Lake Louise, and lots of activities winter and summer. It's actually the road to Moraine Lake that will probably still be closed in late May.

By late May many of the lakes are thawed (except those on the north side of mountains - mostly in shade all day), and this past winter has been much warmer than average, plus the spring hasn't been too bad (22C = 72F in Banff yesterday) so you have a good chance of finding at least one turquoise lake during your travels in the Rockies

The Icefield Parkway (Lake Louise to Jasper) is open year round, it closes during winter only when the weather is bad (blizzard), or there's an avalanche somewhere. It should be fine at the end of May. The Columbia Icefied tours (to the top of the glacier) open sometime in April.

Becker's is a very pleasant place to stay - right on the Athabasca River,with a fairly good dining room on site (and it's about a five minute drive south of Jasper townsite).

If you are considering Patricia Lake, look at the newer places in "the Grove" - very nice and comfortable. (this is a nice 5 minute drive "up" and north of Jasper townsite; there is a new walking/cycling trail all the way from Pyramid Lake, past Patricia Lake, and "down" to Jasper town. We have seen a wolf - and many deer - along that trail!!).

Whenever we've been in Kelowna, the traffic has been quite bad. I would keep away from the main roads for your accommodation (noisy), and you may want to consider staying at one of the area charming B&Bs (check out "B&Bs in BC") for a more relaxing experience.

For more up to date information, check out the Parks Canada websites for Banff and Jasper;

http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/index.aspx
http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/jasper/index.aspx

Hope this helps.
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May 19th, 2012, 07:01 PM
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We stayed in Banff for two nights back a few years ago in June.
We stayed at the Banff Inns and had it almost to ourselves...it is huge...reminded me of 'The Shining' with Jack Nicholson going nuts through the corridors but it was just great as far as the rooms were concerned.It was actually called the Inns of Banff now that Im looking at the album ...
Room 573 had two double beds and was spacious.
It was a half hour walk to town and I remember having a great meal at the Balkans Restaurant...3 dips, lambchops and chicken soup ... all good
We went to Lake Louise the next morning..loads of traffic on approach ...but it was breath taking..truly one of the best bits of country I have ever seen ( Im going there again next winter but I expect it will be very different to the summertime Lake I fell in love with )

We actually drove from Vancouver ...took two days and an overnight in Nelson... stayed at a great place called the HUME HOTEL and stayed in room 213..was cheap with dinner included..we got interconnecting rooms for the price of one. GREAT bed!
Nice bit of shopping too...around Baker street.
Dinner was good back at the hotel...very nice dining room..Breakfast, too, was good with yum sourdough toast and big generous fat slabs of French toast. All in all a charming town
11:15 We then drove on though Kootenay Country all round Nelson...Kootenay Pass Kootenay Lake Forest ... all gorgeous

Bright green/ yellow crops...never did find out what was growing..wish the farmers would put signs up lol

11:50 We stopped at Cranbrook...had some coffee and fudge and then enjoyed the lovely views on the way to Fort Steele.

Skookumchuck, a small town, was next...took a few pics from the bridge.
Lake Columbia is really pretty too.
Saw Hoodoos..beautiful rock formations...lovely pale sand colour...saw them first on the internet and fell in love with them and was so happy I got to take some great pics.
4:22 we were at Radium Springs and were warned of bear sightings round Olive Lake
We had a quick look round the hotsprings and Bridge Canyon...watched the people swimming in the pool which is heated by the springs but we didnt stay too long
We left by 5:15 and headed on to Banff
Passed Numa Falls by 6:40 ..it was raining hard so we didnt stop to look at them
By 7 pm we had reached the border of BC and Alberta and stopped to read about the The Continental Divide
Gorgeous View Point looking at Sundance Range Mt Howard Cascade Mountain and Sulphur Mountain
With only 6 km to Banff we headed off again and made it into town by 7:40

Whirlwind but totally possible...Id like to do it at a slower pace one day ...

On the way back we didnt travel the same route but opted to head down through to the US border.
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May 19th, 2012, 07:04 PM
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Oh and we did do a day trip up to Jasper...so many wondrous sights...we started off early and made it back to Banff by 930..with still some bit of light...I was worried about hitting animals on the way back but luckily we didnt see any.
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May 20th, 2012, 05:46 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Way too much driving for 6-7 days: About 2000 km!
Trouble is, the bargain rate of $250 a week may be only for Americans & Canadians because it does not provide collision insurance, but National will rent a car at the Sandman Hotel of downtown Vancouver one-way to Edmonton or Calgary for C$250 a week, unlimited km & no drop charge or other penalty! If you can get this, I'd recommend driving to Kelowna or Kamloops the first day, then Jasper, then Banff, then Calgary. Either fly one-way YYC--YVR or change your overseas ticket to return home from Calgary.
Banff is better for staying overnight. Just spend a few hours in Lake Louise en route from Jasper to Banff or vice-versa.
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May 22nd, 2012, 10:35 PM
  #8
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Many thanks to all! Now in Lake Louise for 2 nites as we were too lazy to pack/unpack n we got a good rate for the Fairmont so my family opted to stay here. Nice well appointed rooms, although we did have to get 2 rooms instead of a large site. Lake Louise is still frozen and the road to Lake Moraine is still closed. It has been raining on and off, so hopefully, tomorrow will be better when we spend our day in Banff as well as possibly side track to Emerald Lake. There were two nearby hotels as we headed to the Fairmont, that looked promising for future visits -- Deer Lodge and Paradise Bungalow, all nearby.

It is indeed a lot of driving on the 1st day (~7 hrs from Vancouver to Revelstoke) and last day, but otherwise, it has been manageable. Was able to get a fantastic rate from Alamo for a minivan rental by booking via Costco Travel a month ago - C$200 total and I just used my credit card for the insurance. I will check on National next time I do this trip.
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May 23rd, 2012, 05:40 AM
  #9
 
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How nice you could stay at the Chateau--hope the weather improves. If it is still raining, check out Banff--walk around the town and the Banff Springs Hotel. Johnston Canyon is paved if you have ponchos.

Enjoy your visit
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