We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Yet another itinerary question!

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
2,758 posts
259 reviews
Save Topic
Yet another itinerary question!

Hi all, this is my first post on the Rocky Mountain forum, but I have been ‘lurking’ a while and I know there are loads of itinerary questions, so please bear with me on this one! A little about me and my husband, we’re mid 30’s and we’re hoping to have two weeks in Western Canada from 1-15th Sept. We love beautiful scenery (but not into energetic hiking or outdoor activities) we also love pretty towns and villages, with lively restaurants and a bit of retail therapy! This will be our first time in Canada, we’ve been to the US several times and have done two road trip holidays, one on the West Coast and last year we travelled around New England. We especially loved New England, and loved the mix of beautiful scenery and pretty towns, so hoping to find more of the same in Canada.

We have 2 weeks, my plan is to fly into Vancouver, and home from Calgary. My first stab at an itinerary is as follows:

Vancouver – 3 nights: then pick up car to drive to Jasper, ideally I would love to do this drive in one go, but it probably isn’t feasible, with gaining the hour etc.

Stopover – 1 night: Any suggestions on a stopover point? Would like to get more than half of the drive done on the first day

Jasper – 4 nights

Lake Louise – 2 nights

Banff – 4 nights

Then drive to Calgary on the morning of our flight.

Then I got to thinking, do we really need 2 nights in Lake Louise? As well as the beautiful scenery, we like a lively town, from what I read here; there isn’t much in the town itself. Would we be better to add a night to Banff and do Lake Louise as a day trip? That would leave us with a night spare, where should I allocate this night, Vancouver? Jasper? Or somewhere new?

Sorry about the novel I’ve written here, I guess my main questions are as follows:

-Has anyone done the drive from Vancouver to Jasper in one day?

-If a stopover is a must, where best to stop? (Preferably over the half way point)

-Are we best to stay in Lake Louise, or is a day trip sufficient?

-If we don’t stay in Lake Louise, where should we allocate that extra night? (Or two if we do the drive from Vancouver to Jasper in one day)

Thanks for taking the time to read this and any replies much appreciated, we are just at the planning stage, so totally welcome any suggestions or changes!

Hull
Level Contributor
773 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Hi- the 'lurking' worked! you've just about got it bang on, I'd say.

Lake Louise village is nothing but a truck stop, a few tacky souvenir/ fast food outlets and zilch else.

Definitely better to 'do' LL out of Banff unless staying at the Chateau is on your 'must do' list.

The extra night in Banff, given your preference for scenery which is there in wild abundance.

The DEs will come up with detailed suggestions to flesh this out.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
Level Contributor
25,577 posts
86 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Welcome to the Canadian forums, ncmc!

First, a quick reminder that the Labour Day long weekend falls during your holiday. It's the weekend of Sept. 1-3. You'll want to make sure your accommodations for this weekend are booked well in advance, and you should reconfirm your reservations shortly before you leave home.

Yes, you can drive from Vancouver to Jasper in one day. (Or from Vancouver to Calgary, for that matter.) But you won't really enjoy it. You'll feel like a blob of wet jelly when you get out of the car at the end of the day, and you won't have really seen the sights along the way or stopped for anything because your focus will be getting to your destination rather than enjoying the trip. The folks who do this drive all in one go have done it many times before, and know what to expect both in terms of traffic, route, and scenery. You will be new to all of it.

I should also point out that you need to keep an eye on your fuel gauge and either plan your fuel stops in advance, or refuel at the half-tank mark. There are several places along your proposed route where it is 100km or more between fuelling opportunities. (This is true of Western Canada in general, by the way.) There are signs to warn you about this, but it's surprising how easy it is to miss them.

For your stopover between Vancouver and Jasper, the two obvious choices are Kamloops and Clearwater. Kamloops is a small city on the Thompson River, at the intersection of Hwy 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy) and Hwy 5 (Coquihalla Hwy). It's 4.25 hours from Vancouver. Clearwater is a small town about 90 minutes past Kamloops, making it nearly 6 hours from Vancouver. It's near Wells Gray Provincial Park, which is a popular destination because of Helmcken Falls. (Remember, these times are just driving times and don't include stops for scenery, food, fuel, or bathroom breaks.) Here is that route on Google Maps: http://goo.gl/tjZx2

Don't forget that the route connecting Jasper and Lake Louise is the incredibly scenic Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93N). Plan to bring a picnic lunch and spend the whole day driving this route and enjoying the various viewpoints.

Staying one night in Lake Louise will give you a chance to see it in the evening and in the morning, when the tourist throngs have mostly departed. However, it's entirely feasible to visit it as a day trip from Banff.

If you have an extra night, consider rerouting so that you go along the Icefields Parkway twice (northbound and southbound). It would be a shame to miss the great scenery just because of rainy or cloudy weather on the single day that you ddrive the parkway. And if the weather is nice both days, you'll find the views are different but equally lovely in each direction. Here's that route on Google Maps: http://goo.gl/Hj2tg

For more about visiting the Rockies, have a look at this TripAdvisor Traveller Article, "Canadian Rockies for First-time Visitors":

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g659487-c161219/Canad…

London, Canada
Level Contributor
3,759 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Great options already. I might suggest driving all the way to Revelstoke (7hrs from Vancouver) and then the next day enjoying the 3.5 hr drive to Lake Louise (plus stops for photos) from there. It takes you through some spectacular country, and you'll be fresh and ready to enjoy it. You can spend one night in Lake Louise, experiencing the best of it without crowds.

Like CW, I'm also a big fan of driving the Icefields Parkway in both directions---it's unforgettable----and you really will want to take your time, stopping to take photos or doing one of the short walks here and there at viewpoints.

From Lake Louise, go to Jasper and after that, visit Banff. I would actually add the extra day on to Jasper, but either there or Banff offers lots of opportunity both to explore and relax.

http://tinyurl.com/6rrgqqg

Just make sure to give yourselves lots of time to get to the airport too...

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
2,758 posts
259 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Thank you for the great suggestions, it would never have occurred to me to visit Lake Louise first and get to drive the Icefield Parkway twice. As mentioned, if the weather isn’t great one direction, it isn’t a total loss. And Revelstoke looks nice too, so will have no problem spending a night there. In an ideal world, I’m not a fan of one night stays in places, but as Country Wife says, we don’t want to be totally exhausted from a long drive and not be able to enjoy the scenery. We will already be tired from a crazy long flight, so don’t want to exacerbate things further! So my itinerary would be as follows:

Vancouver – 3 nights

Revelstoke – 1 night

Lake Louise – 1 night

Jasper – 4 nights

Banff – 5 nights.

How does that sound?

Greater Sydney...
Level Contributor
16,408 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Thumbs up from me (he says with jealousy dripping onto the keyboard).

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
Level Contributor
25,577 posts
86 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

An alternative to Revelstoke is Golden, an hour further east. It isn't as nice as Revelstoke, perhaps, but if you get to Revelstoke and still feel energetic, pushing on one more hour to Golden will save you an hour's driving the next day.

On the other hand, this assumes that you won't have reservations for Revelstoke or Golden and that you're comfortable with taking that risk.

Cranbrook, Canada
Level Contributor
222 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Good itinerary.

I agree with the Golden recommendation over Revelstoke.

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
2,758 posts
259 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Thanks again for all the comments,

Frommy, we first began planning this trip back in 2006, but we thought it too expensive at the time and put it off, so very excited at the prospect of getting to take this trip at last! My husband declared last night (after Google imaging Banff National Park) that he could see those views and then die happy!

Country Wife and djlbtravel, I will look into Golden V’s Revelstoke. Only problem is, I’m not really the ‘wait and see’ kinda gal! I am a bit of a ‘type A’ planner type and would have to have my route planned and accommodation booked way in advance! I have Google mapped Vancouver – Golden and it is listed as a 9 hour drive versus Revelstoke being a 7 hour drive. I think I would lean towards Revelstoke for that reason, because to be honest, I think if I was going to drive 9 hours, I would push on and do the full drive in one, and I don’t want to overdo it (well, overdo my husband as he will be the main driver!)

Oh I am getting seriously excited even thinking about it, is it wrong to wish it was September already!

London, Canada
Level Contributor
3,759 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Considering you'll still be recovering a bit from jet lag, I think a 7 hr drive to Revelstoke is the better alternative. As well, the Rogers Pass is just too stunning (and requires a wide awake driver!) to do it later in the day.

And I agree that being able to know where you're staying overnight is a plus.....Even in September, it's still very busy in the Rockies. So do book ahead, and then you can relax on the journey. I'm not one for one night stops either, but I think in this case it really offers you the best way to experience the glorious Canadian Rockies!

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
18,667 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Yet another itinerary question!

Or how about 2 nights in Revelstoke (instead of one in LL)? There are two mountain national parks nearby - Mt. Revelstoke National Park, and Glacier National Park. Revy is a nice little town too, and if you are interested in railway history (and Canadian history, since the building of the railway helped created the country), they have a great museum there, and are also located close to the site of the "Last Spike" (Craigellachie - just west of Revy). Continuing on to Lake Louise, Rogers Pass (in Glacier National Park, between Revy and Golden) is a national historic site (also railway-related) and then the Spiral Tunnels viewpoint explaining the engineering on the "Big Hill" down from Kicking Horse Pass between Field, BC and Lake Louise rounds out the railway theme quite nicely.

Parks Canada's website, where you can access information for ALL the national parks - Mt. Revy, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Kootenay - is www.pc.gc.ca .