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RV Travel thru Rockies....

salisbury
14 posts
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RV Travel thru Rockies....

Hi there,

I have been advised to give as much info as poss. We have 10 days, departing Van, and going out to Banff, then Jasper, then Whistler and back to Van. We are 2 couples in our 50's, in a large RV. We travel in 4 weeks time, and do an Alaskan Cruise first.

Would like to know areas for parking/camping RV, areas of scenic beauty for shorter hikes and bike rides. Want to do the Icefields, Love lakes, waterfalls, Gondola rides, skywalks etc. Happy to do tunnels, bridges etc. Just want to soak up loads of scenery, and hope to see some wild life too!!

We plan to spend 2 nights in RV then treat ourselves to a nice hotel, then 2 nights RV and hotel, etc..... So any suggestions/directions would be great.

We are a blank canvas, awaiting your advice.

Many thanks. Val.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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25,901 posts
86 reviews
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1. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Welcome to TripAdvisor and the TripAdvisor Forums, Val!

I hope you'll excuse me if I answer your questions back to front. First, you suggest that you will spend 2 nights in an RV and then treat yourself to a nice hotel. I'm an RVer myself, and I don't think you'll find this plan works out for you very well. First, you will be doubling your costs for the hotel nights, since it costs about as much to rent an RV as to stay in fixed roof accommodation. Second, you may find it very challenging to find a secure and convenient place to leave your RV overnight when you're staying in a hotel.

I'm not sure exactly why you want to split your time between RVing and staying in hotels, but it does sound like you're not clear on what's involved in RVing. To me, the main advantage of travelling by RV is that I have my own space which I can set up completely to my liking for the entire duration of my trip; no packing or unpacking, except at the beginning and end of the trip. I'm also self-catering in the RV, with a fridge that I keep stocked as we travel. My RV is relatively small (22'), and it can get a little bit cosy with three people on a long trip, but we each have just enough space to spread out in and relax without getting in each others' faces. Also, you are usually camping with more space between you and other campers than you typically find within a hotel. With four people, too, the little RV maintenance chores that are necessary (e.g. hooking up to campground services, lighting the furnace, lighting the fridge, dumping the sewage, changing propane tanks, etc.) can be split out four ways and make the work very light. I think your main problem with a group of four will be using the RV shower. You won't find it practical for everyone to have a shower in the morning every morning. It takes about 15 minutes for the RV's water heater to heat up enough water for a whole shower (depending on the RV and water heater, of course). Then, after one person has showered, you will need to wait for a second batch of water to be heated, or risk a cold shower. Also, unless you are at a campsite with full hookups (water, sewer, electricity), after a few showers your grey water holding tanks will be full and you'll have to dump them or risk having the grey water back up into the shower stall around your feet.

The solution to this is to plan ahead; perhaps two people shower in the evening instead of in the morning, or perhaps folks take turns using the campground showers instead of the RV's showers if everyone is keen on morning showers.

For itinerary ideas, check out these suggestions:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154910-c14636/Banff-…

salisbury
14 posts
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2. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Many many thanks for your reply.

The reason for chopping and changing from RV to Hotel, is because I have promised my sister (from Australia), that she can have a few nights in a hotel.... she likes to go upmarket all the time. But I hope that we will have enough space to make things work out ok, so that we don't need to do this (or maybe just one break for out 1st July anniversary!).

Do you know if the RV company will give us a map of the camp sites? Or where I can find out about them? My hubby and I have a static caravan here in the uk, and are more than happy with it. Just hoping to convince my sister and her husband. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, I shall have a look at the link you sent me. Kind regards. Val.

salisbury
14 posts
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3. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Love the link, looks very helpful. Thanks. Val.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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25,901 posts
86 reviews
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4. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Thanks for the explanation, Val. So one option for you to try then is for one couple to stay in a hotel while the other camps and "babysits" the RV. That way you get a little more personal space, if necessary (depending on how well you get along in close quarters).

As for a list of campgrounds, BC had a good campground guide at one time: a printed magazine format book with every single campground in the province listed. But I couldn't find a single reference to it on their tourism website ( www.hellobc.com ) in my last few searches :( It is still possible that the guide is available at tourist info centres when you get to BC. You might try posting a question about this on the BC forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g154922-i80-Britis…

There is much better information available for Alberta campgrounds. Here are some websites for campground information.

Banff National Park:

pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/visit/visit9_E.asp

Jasper National Park:

pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/Jasper/visit/visit19_e.asp

Parks Canada campground online reservations:

http://www.pccamping.ca/parkscanada/en/

Alberta campgrounds:

www1.travelalberta.com/en-ca/index.cfm…

If you want a full hookup campsite, then you should reserve ahead; the supply of full hookup campsites in Banff will be very limited, as there is construction work scheduled for the full hookup area. Don't be concerned by the name Tunnel Mountain; this campground is actually far from the train tracks, unlike the Lake Louise campground, where the RV section is right next to the train tracks, and heavy freights rumble and screech past 24/7/365.

Also, July 1 is our national holiday (Canada Day); this year, it's awkwardly located on a Wednesday, but there still may be some who make it into an extra-long weekend or decide to launch their holiday then. Better safe than sorry--make your reservations now.

Your mention of bridges brings a couple of notable bridges to mind: There's the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge in Golden, BC, which is said to be the largest timber framed covered pedestrian bridge:

www.tourismgolden.com/activities/other/142

Also, the new Park Bridge (not only newly built, but replacing the old Park Bridge) just east of Golden may be of interest (although it doesn't hold a candle to the new bridge in France I've been hearing about): …gov.bc.ca/kickinghorse/…Park_Bridge5.JPG

Here's a quick, vest-pocket route suggestion for you: take Hwy 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy) from Vancouver all the way to Banff. This route goes along the edge of the Fraser River Canyon, which is very dramatic. Another section (from Chase, BC to Sicamous, BC roughly) follows the south shore of Shuswap Lake, where you can watch Canada's largest houseboat fleet hard at play. And the section from Revelstoke to Lake Louise passes through four national parks-- Mount Revelstoke NP, Glacier NP, Kootenay NP, and Yoho NP--before arriving in Banff NP.

salisbury
14 posts
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5. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

This all sounds fantastic, but will have to have a look tomorrow, as I'm about to get ready for work.... I'm on nights. thanx for the tip about railways at Louise!!! This makes everything seem so much more real!!! Will go direct to RV Rental and ask about campsites with full hook up, and plan to book most in advance. Thanks for that tip. Yes, maybe if Pam wants a hotel, she can have it, and we can babysit RV. Good idea. Tho may make her babysit for 1st July!!!

Thanx again. lol Val.

Sechelt, BC
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6. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Also even if your camp site doesn't have full hookups most have electricty and water. You just need to learn how to dump the grey water.

And most (except for the most primitive) of campsites have showers for campers to use.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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2,682 posts
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7. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Since you mention wanting to see tunnels, I would really urge you to make your way from Vancouver to Banff via the old #1 highway (don't let the word "old" dissuade you, it's still nicely maintained) that runs north from Hope to Cache Creek. This piece of the #1 highway runs through the Fraser Canyon, and is just spectacular for scenery. It has (I think) 7 tunnels along the way. An added bonus is that, because most people like to travel on the newer "Coquihalla" highway that gets them from Hope to Kamloops more quickly, the old #1 highway has a lot less traffic on it. It's a wonderful, relaxing route. I have some photos from our trip through there in our own RV a couple of years ago, which you can view on my travel pages:

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/m/

(I have photos of the old #1 highway posted on my Hope page, but feel free to check out any travel pages there that interest you.)

For your BC campground guide, check out my homepage. In the albums at the bottom of the page you will find a lot of info regarding renting an RV and travelling in one. The first album has a link to the BC tourism page where you will find the campground guide. (BC lists campgrounds in their accomodation guide)

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/adecc/

Maybe my homepage can even convince your sister (or SIL, I forget which it was) to get excited about camping!

I hope that helps - happy planning!

- CG

salisbury
14 posts
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8. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Many many thanks for all the help and advice, we're starting to get an outline on what we'll do and where we'll stop, but any further tips always welcome!! Thanks. Val.

salisbury
14 posts
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9. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Wow, loads of info on campsites, have printed them off and will look at them at work later, cross off those that don't look so hot and keep those that look good. Then cross reference them to the areas we want to be in, and then ask for opinions. Love your pics, and Wow looks stunning. Am so excited!!! Thanks again. Val.

salisbury
14 posts
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10. Re: RV Travel thru Rockies....

Great stuff in here, love your wildlife pics. Good basic advice, with info about wildlife, safety, fun. Great. Thanks. Val.