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Vancouver ----> Calgary [5 days Road Trip], Road Condition, Hot Spots??

Vancouver ----> Calgary [5 days Road Trip], Road Condition, Hot Spots??

Old Mar 31st, 2009, 12:04 PM
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Vancouver ----> Calgary [5 days Road Trip], Road Condition, Hot Spots??

Hi All,

I am planning a road trip next week from April 9th~ April 13th. Planning to drive from Vancouver to Calgary and drive back within 5 days. Here is my schedule

Day 1. Vancouver ----> [Kamloops/Salmon Arm/Sicarmous/Revolestokes???]
Day 2. [ ????] ----> Banff (staying at Banff for one night)
Day 3. Banff----> Calgary
Day 4. Calgary
Day 5. Calgary ----> Vancouver

Here is my questions.
Q1- How is the road condition during this period of time? Will it be too icy and cold for a road trip driving through hwy1?

Q2 - Day 1. Where is the best stop for a night? I want to drive more on Day 1(4~6hrs), so I will have more time on Day 2. Also, I was also considering to stop at some nice town that I can go few spots during the night time, or touring around the town. From Vancouver ---> [Salmon Arm/Sicarmous/Revolestoke], are there any good spots for pictures, or any attractions that I should definitely drop by for few hours? Places for a good lunch?

Q3 - Day 2~ Day 3: places in Banff. I probably will have one and half day staying in Banff area, can anyone recommends me any good places/attractions/must-see ?

Q4 - Day 4: Things to do in Calgary?? Good restaurants with reasonable price??

Q5 - Day 5. Calgary---> Vancouver. I've never done 11 hours of driving in my life, max was like 6 hours. I am not sure what's the best way to do this… can any one recommend me few spots to stop by for break? I am trying to have some break every 3 hours or so.

Thank you everyone for the helps.. Hope to hear some feedbacks soon~
bboyasan is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2009, 07:17 PM
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It is a good idea to add time on to your estimated driving time. Van - Sicamous takes me 6-7 hours (stop for food, leg stretch, heavy traffic, etc.)
Major snow is very possible for the highway. Expect delay or closure, but hope for the best! Things can change quickly..a large snowfall overnight may be a problem for a morning drive, but fine by afternoon.
Van-Calgary is a very long drive. I wouldn't do it, but know people that have. Check the website for highway conditions:
dar is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2009, 08:09 PM
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Since you're asking for ideas of things to do/see in both Calgary and Banff, I have to wonder what the point of the trip is.

April can be extremely iffy weather/road conditions in the mountains so, as dar said, be prepared for delays. Also make sure you have a good emergency kit in your vehicle which includes blankets, candles and food like protein bars.

I have driven straight between Calgary/Vancouver many times, but only in the summer months. I don't know that I'd plan on doing it in one day this time of year. However, when I have done it I usually stop in Golden, Kamploops and Hope for gas and munchies ( < 30 mins).
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Old Apr 1st, 2009, 05:43 AM
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Seems to me you're going to be doing an awful lot of driving and no sightseeing. If I were you I'd only go as far as Revelstoke and take your time getting there. You're not going to have time (or energy) to really see anything in Banff or Calgary. As others have said, the roads could be totally clear or they could have snow on them.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2009, 09:10 AM
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thanks everyone for the inputs. Seems like it's not the best time of the year to drive up there, but I've already booked the car, hotels and planning to meet up with my frds in Banff.

I've decided to drive further for the first day, so I will be staying at Rogers Pass for the first night. Can anyone suggest any good stops from Hope---> Rogers Pass ?? I've drive from Vancouver to Hope BC, therefore do not wish to stop in-between. so far the only good stop that i know is Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park.

on Day 2, i will be arriving Banff before noon, staying there for a night, and spend another full day in Banff; What kind of things over there? so far, my frd suggested go to for the banff gondola, and Lake Luise. I am a photo enthusiasm, if anyone can suggest few locations for best pictures in banff (by google maps or GPS coordinates), I will be much appreciated.

Day 1. Vancouver ---->Rogers Pass (Est. time 10hrs)
Day 2. Rogers Pass----> Banff (3~4hrs)
Day 3. Banff----> Calgary at night (2hrs)
Day 4. Calgary
Day 5. Calgary ----> Vancouver

Thanks again everyone
bboyasan is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Depending on what time of day you leave Vancouver, I have driven to Calgary in 11 hours. The one thing is after Golden the road is very hard to read. Last time the centre line was worn out and I had to use the right side line to know my position on the road. Going the other way from Calgary to Vancouver I have done at night and after Golden the road is okay. My suggestion is leave early before sunrise. If you are too excited and can 't sleep you could start out on the trip. There are lots of spots to take a nap. I haven't seen the new Kicking Horse Bridge completed but what I saw my last trip it really looked amazing. My suggestion is Salmon Arm or Revelstoke for a midway point. Drive safe.
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Old Apr 7th, 2009, 04:39 PM
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Ditto the last post. I drove out to Vancouver last October and there were some detours on the stretch between Lake Louise and Golden; my GPS kept yelling at me to get back on the highway! The road shouldn't be all that bad unless there is a heavy snowfall (which can happen any time up to June). Enjoy the trip and plan an overnighter along the way: top of the pass at Revelstoke seems good although the weather will be warmer at Salmon Arm.

IF you get away early and IF you have a co-driver to spell you off and IF the weather and traffic co-operate then Banff in a day is possible but don't plan on stopping to take photos along the way!
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Old Apr 7th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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I would stop in Revelstoke on your first day. It should take about 7 hours tops from Vancouver - barring bad highway weather though. I do that trip a few times a year (my sis lives in Revelstoke) and we usually do stops in Hope (for gas), Kamloops for lunch and stop in Salmon Arm for a slurpee for one last pick me up before hitting Revelstoke.

FYI - Revelstoke got a dump of snow a week or so ago, though they CAN see their grass now. There's lots to see in Revelstoke and surroundings but best to save that for summer months (unless you plan to stop for the day to go skiing or something).

I have also driven from Revelstoke to Banff and it took a good while and I remember being totally burnt out when we got the Banff...the road is really windy (though the scenery is amazing!) so it can fry your brain pretty quickly.
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Old Apr 14th, 2009, 04:53 PM
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Thanks everyone for responding

I just came back from the road trips and wanna share some DO-s and DONT-s with anyone who is also planning to visit Banff or Calgary from Vancouver Area

- Via Kelowna instead of Kamloops, the view is much better even though it took a bit longer, totally worth it!

- Have winter snow tires. Mountain Weather can change rapidly. When I was returning from Calgary through the Banff Area, it started to snow HARD even tho it was really sunny in Calgary!! road condition was really bad, icy and slippery. I couldn't keep my car straight with My rental Car's four season tires

- Buy a map instead of GPS. Bought a GPS on sale from London Drugs (Jensen) and it was horrible; constantly asking me to turn left on highway (left??) or making a sharp U-turn on hwy. @@

- Have a zoom lens setup ready with your DSLR and prepare for wild animal pictures in Banff Area

- Book a hotel room at Royal Mount Hotel in the heart of Banff Village. It was a really nice and clean hotel with reasonable price.

- Go to the Banff Upper Hot Spring at Day time. We went at night time, couldn't see mountains but it was still a very nice hot spring. $7 dollars per person.

- Drive from Vancouver---> Calgary in one day, it's totally Do-able. I drove about 10 hours and have about 3 hours break in between. Wasn't really tired since the drive was fun and view was gorgeous.

- Prepare some snacks and instant noodles, when we arrived Rogers Pass, the restaurant was closed (closed at 8pm) and there were no other things around that area.

- Don't stay at Glacier Park Lodge in Rogers Pass; hotel was old, room smells and the worst part is we forgot an sweater in the room, but when we called they claimed that they did not find anything in there. I would suggest to stop at peak valley lodge or three valleys lodge instead of Glacier Park Lodge.

- Spend too much time at Hell's Gate, and since we are from Vancouver; the gondola wasn't really worth the money to take.

- expect to see reflections of mountains from Lake Louise, since all the lakes around that area are still frozen. Morraine Lake road was closed as well. I saw a lot of people were doing snow-shoeing there; but if you are driving you won't have access to any of those lakes.

================================================== =========
Overall, I was a bit dis-appointed about this trip since I had a really high expectation. I might go there again during the summer time, and hopefully I will be fully satisfied next time.

Travel Log: April 9---April 13. Average Temperature: 10 degrees
bboyasan is offline  
Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:51 AM
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I'm not sure why you expected to see water in the mountain lakes in April. If you had asked that question in your original post, you would have been informed before leaving Vancouver what you would and wouldn't have been able to see. If you only took this drive to see the best the Rockies have to offer, you picked the wrong time of year. Mind you, the fact that you saw wildlife is a plus - in the summer sightings are rare.
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