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Banff to Jasper to Kelowna

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Banff to Jasper to Kelowna

We are travelling on the 11th April and are currently planning on spending 4 nights in Banff, then onto Vancouver via Kelowna. After reading a few posts on here I am wondering whether to cut back our days in Banff to 2 and spend the other 2 days in Jasper and then onto Vancouver via Kelowna.

Is this advisable? We have a rental car (Jeep Grand Cherokee) and have requested winter/snow tyres.

My concerns are the weather conditions for driving from Banff to Jasper and then Jasper to Kelowna. Is the drive from Jasper to Kelowna more treacherous than Banff to Kelowna?

Thanks for your help

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Banff to Jasper to Kelowna

From Jasper to Kelowna and from Banff to Kelowna is the same choices of routes once you have reached Kamloops. When you consider driving from Banff to Kamloops vs. Jasper to Kamloops, the Banff route travels over two much higher passes than the one that the Jasper route uses. (Kicking Horse and Rogers Passes vs. Yellowhead Pass) Both routes are very scenic but the Banff to Kamloops route is more dramatically so, but the Jasper route also goes through beautiful mountain scenery. The Banff route is more prone to avalanches - getting through Rogers Pass with its many avalanche tracks and sheds vs. none on the route from Jasper.

However, of all the routes you are considering, the highest and most prone to bad conditions would be the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper. It traverses two passes at almost 7000 feet, and since it is a parkway and not a through highway, it is not as high a priority for snow clearing as either highway #1 or #16 (west from Lake Louise and Jasper, respectively). Still, chances of horrible road conditions lessen from now as time goes on, but it's still a good idea to check on the weather forecast and road conditions report before setting out. www.drivebc.com for BC routes, and www.511alberta.com (or the national park websites www.pc.gc.ca/banff www.pc.gc.ca/jasper).

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Banff to Jasper to Kelowna

With a late winter dumping lots of late season snow, the avalanche conditions are pretty bad this year. Make sure to check road conditions which ever way you go. Remember that avalanches are just as likely on a warm, sunny day - while most avalanches happen in the back country and slopes above highways are monitored and controlled, things do happen.

Calgary, Canada
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for Canadian Rockies
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3. Re: Banff to Jasper to Kelowna

Yes, keep a careful eye on the road condition. I would not venture out without snow tires - they might well still be required on the Icefields in April.

I was on the southern part of the Icefields between Lake Louise and Bow Summit yesterday and the conditions were pretty miserable. I suspect that we as much as 30cm of snow over the weekend and not much work done on the road. Even after it had been (sort of) graded/scraped the road was totally snow covered - and then some, with fairly deep rutss and only about 1.5 lanes cleared in places (total, not for each direction!). There were basically no shoulders, and certainly no turnouts plowed, which also meant that there were a fair number of vehicles parked right on the roadside (backcountry skiers).

I did OK in my non SUV with snow tires, but had to get several pushes to get out of an unplowed parking lot. And never got over 70 kph on the road, slower most of the time. People in SUVs with snow tires were OK, but not conditions I would have ventured out with had I not been on a backcountry trip.

It could be very different in 10-12 days, but it's been a snowy spring thus far. So keep a close eye on the road conditions and if you aren't sure, take the cautious approach. If you go on the Icefields, do be careful about going on turn offs or unplowed roads unless you have snow tires and are sure that your SUV has enough clearance (many actually have pretty poor clearance).

4. Re: Banff to Jasper to Kelowna

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