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itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

Silver Spring, MD
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itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

Hi all,

I am planning a trip from Vancouver through the Rockies to Calgary this July. I know it is late, that's why I need your help. Please comment on the general itinerary, and, more importantly, tell me what should be reserved first. For instance, I presume I can always find somewhere to stay in Vancouver, but what about the parks?

We are a couple in our sixties in good health. We are flying from Washington, DC. We don't want to drive too long on any one day. Our interests include wildlife, scenery, culture, good food and historical sites. We are not interested in shopping, art museums or going somewhere you have to be dressed up.

Very tentative itinerary

Day 1 Fly to Vancouver

Days 2-4 Vancouver

Day 5 Pick up rental car and drive to Okanagan Valley

Day 6 Okanagan Valley

Day 7 Drive to Banff

Day 8-11 Banff and Lake Louise

Day 12 - Drive Icefield Parkway to Jasper

Day 13 Jasper

Day 14 Drive to Calgary

Day 15 Fly home

Is it worth adding another day to visit Victoria as a day trip from Vancouver? Should we base ourselves in Banff for days 8-11 or spend part of that time at Lake Louise? Any other advice?

Thanks in advance.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

>>going somewhere you have to be dressed up<< Perfect! :-))

Your itinerary is pretty good. You will have a long-ish drive from Kelowna to Banff, about 6.5 hours. And a 5 hour drive to Calgary, but I would invite you to consider staying the final night in Banff (unless your flight out is early morning on the last day) so that you can enjoy a second exploration of the Icefields Parkway.

You could take a seaplane for 35 minutes to Victoria. Take an early flight spend some time visiting the city. Then a couple of options. 1) fly back the same way, or 2) take the 1h00 pm departure with Pacific Coach Lines which spends a couple of hours at Butchart Gardens en route to Vancouver, arriving back about 7h30 pm.

www.harbour-air.com

pacificcoach.com/Sightseeing-Tours/Victoria/…

I am not relating very well to your itinerary, it seems cramped somehow which it shouldn't for 15 days. So I am going to write it a different way to see if I've got it.

4 nights Vancouver

2 nights Okanagan Valley

5 nights Banff

2 nights Jasper

1 night Calgary - or Banff?

Fly out

If that looks right, then I think it's pretty good. And I think you should get onto accommodation in the Rockies tout de suite (right now!)

Edit: You could also consider 3 nights Vancouver and move that spare night to Revelstoke to make two shorter legs out of Kelowna to Banff.

Edited: 19 May 2014, 05:25
Silver Spring, MD
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2. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

Thanks, Mufti.

Do you think it's best to spend 5 nights at a hotel in Banff or split it up between Banff and Lake Louise?

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

Often people spend 3-4 nights in Banff because there is enough to do there. And then 1-2 nights in Jasper because there is hiking to do from LL for a full day and the lake of course, but it is not a town in the sense you would expect: no "main street." It is nice to be there in the morning and evening when the mob from the tour coaches is not around.

I think it comes down to knowing what activities you want to do in and around LL and then see what kind of time you need to do those things. If you are going to keep it simple with sightseeing, then you might avoid moving hotels for the 45 min drive to LL from Banff. If you want to hike around for a day's worth of outdoor activity, you might want to stay a couple of nights.

Edited: 20 May 2014, 03:12
Silver Spring, MD
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4. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

OK, I have read some more and made some tentative hotel reservations. Here is my updated itinerary

June 30 Fly into Vancouver.

June 30-July 4

sight see in Vancouver, will post any questions on BC forum

Coast Coal Harbour Hotel

July 4 pick up rental car and drive to Penticton

July 4-6 Black Sea Motel

take bus to wineries, go in lake if it's warm enough

July 6 drive to Banff

July 6-11 have reservations at Juniper Hotel in Banff townsite for one day that overlaps with the next hotel

Hike and view sites in Banff. Visit Lake Louise one day.

July 10 or 11 drive to Jasper hotel

July 10-13 have reservations at Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge.

note - this actually on the Icefields Parkway, not in Jasper town

July 13 drive to Calgary

July 14 fly home

What's on the way from Penticton to Banff that we should stop and see?

Do you think it's better to have the extra day at Banff or Jasper?

I think its a 4 hour drive from Jasper to Calgary, so I would hesitate to do that on a day I'm flying. Correct me if I'm wrong on that.

We hike, enjoy scenery and especially like viewing wildlife.

We have traveled out of the U.S. a lot, but have never been to western Canada before, so if there's something unique, please let me know.

Any other advice or comments?

Thanks in advance.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

Two quick comments. >>And then 1-2 nights in Jasper <<. should have said LL.

It will take 4-5 hours to drive to YYC airport. And you need approx 3 hours from check in for returning the car, security and US Customs preclearance. So your flight might want to be 5 pm or later. IMO it is better to drive from LL or Banff, approx 2 hours. More flexibility timewise if something should go sideways on your last day.

Edited: 24 May 2014, 00:11
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6. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

Just a quick thought It is Canada day long weekend on July 1st the drive through certain parts can be very very busy from Kelowna to Golden the new road is built I think the amount of things to do and see will be new by every turn in the road. Enjoy the sights

Silver Spring, MD
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7. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

Iownthisj, we will be in Vancouver on July 1 and won't drive west until July 4. Are you saying the traffic will still be bad then? I hope not, but there's not much I can do about that. Anything special we should do in Vancouver on Canada Day?

Mufti, yes, I agree it's a shorter drive from Banff to Calgary, but it's also shorter from Penticton to Banff. Are you suggesting I stay 3 nights in Banff, then 3 nights in Jasper and then return to Banff for 3 nights before driving to Calgary? Maybe I misunderstood, but that seems like too much back and forth to me. In any case, that's why I plan to drive to Calgary the day before the flight out to allow plenty of time.

Any other replies to my other questions?

What's on the way from Penticton to Banff that we should stop and see?

Do you think it's better to have the extra day at Banff or Jasper?

We have traveled out of the U.S. a lot, but have never been to western Canada before, so if there's something unique, please let me know.

Thanks.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

You'll be driving east. West will put you in the salt chuck. :-)

I think July 4th will be busy. It's your long weekend and Americans are getting good value out of their $ here in Canada. With families heading out on holiday, it should be busy by all logic.

I am suggesting that for the last night before your flight home you spend it in Banff or LL.

IMO, no one should pass up a repeat day on the Icefields Parkway. It is spectacular and contains 20+ things to see and do, if you're interested. I suggest that no one wants to rush through the Icefields Parkway at all.

Have a look: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g659487-c112507/Canad…

Have a look: …nationalgeographic.com/travel/…

IP things to see: http://www.todocanada.ca/icefields-parkway/

Have a look, and open the PDF link below the image you see: pc.gc.ca/eng/…Parkway.aspx

Have a look at:

3 nights Vancouver

2 nights Penticton

4 nights Banff

One full day on the Icefields Parkway, with packed lunch for freedom and flexibility, and not having to line up with the Tour Coach pax at the expensive and average eateries at Saskatchewan River Crossing

3 nights Jasper

One bonus full day on the IP, with lunch

1 night Banff or LL

1 night Calgary - leave the Rockeis early and have almost a full day in the city

Fly out

See if you think there will be enough of what interests you on the IP to warrant spending two days. We don't consider that doubling back at all. Rather a grateful bonus.

Vancouver has all day activities on Granville Island and fireworks at 10h30 pm in the harbour:

All day information: http://www.canada-day.ca/vancouver/

Canada Place: http://www.canadaday.canadaplace.ca/

Other locations: …about.com/od/…Canada-Day-in-Vancouver.htm

Kelowna, Canada
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9. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

Hi!

Laura from Tourism Kelowna.

There will be lots to see and do in the drive in the Okanagan Valley and then to Banff. From Penticton to north of Kelowna in Lake Country there are lots of wineries to visit. You will find some fruit stands or farmers' markets selling strawberries, cherries and fresh vegetables. Farmers' markets are usually open in the mornings on weekends. In Kelowna the Farmers and Crafters' Market is open Saturday morning and Wednesday morning.

If you do choose to stay in Penticton , Peachland is about half way between Penticton and Kelowna. There is a bakery - Bliss Bakery - that would make a great stop for breakfast pastries or lunch. It's across the street from the lake and picnic benches.

Downtown Kelowna has undergone some neat changes, with wide sidewalks, lots of benches for sitting and yummy restaurants with outside patios that are great for people watching. Check out the imprints in the sidewalks that celebrate different aspects of the Okanagan. If you prefer a picnic, City Park is at the end of Bernard Avenue. It has lots of picnic tables and benches.

North of Kelowna, on the left hand side, is The Jammery which makes small batch jams. And you can taste to see which ones you like best.

A little further north in Lake Country, Kangaroo Creek Farm has been breeding kangaroos and wallabies for over 20 years. It has been open to the public for a few years now.

A stop in Vernon could include Planet Bee, Davison Orchards or the Alan Brooks Nature Nature Centre.

Armstrong Cheese, in Armstrong, of course, has been making cheese since the beginning of the century . They have a sample cart with a wide variety of cheeses so you can try before you buy.

No trip toward the Rockies would be complete with out a stop at Dutchman D Dairy in Sicamous. They have so many ice cream flavours that it takes a bit of time to choose. Go for a double! They do not accept debit or credit cards so please make sure you have some cash.

The 'Last Spike' at Craigellachie, is an interesting historical site, as is the Revelstoke Train Museum, both of which give information on the building of the railway through the mountains.

Rogers Pass National Historic Site also has information on the building of the railways. This is a good stop for a potty break, too.

Please be aware that there are no gas stations between Revelstoke and Golden, a two hour drive, so make sure you have enough gas.

Safe travels and enjoy your holiday!

10. Re: itinerary help and what to reserve first - Rockies in July

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