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Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

Calgary, Canada
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Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

Hi,

I moved to Calgary from France a few months ago and my parents are coming to see me this August. We're planning on a 2 weeks road trip From Calgary to Vancouver and back .

I'd like some advice as to what road to take and where to stop. We're planning on going up to jasper through the Icefield Parkway and spend a couple of nights there, while exploring around.

After that we're hesitating between going down to Vancouver passing through Pemberton, Whistler and finally Vancouver. Then exploring Vancouver Island, going all the way to Tofino and Victoria before heading back to Calgary.

Our other option would be going all the way to Prince Rupert and taking the ferry down the inner pass to Port Hardy, driving down Vancouver Island to Tofino, then head back to Vancouver for a couple of days and back to Calgary again. This option would take a lot more time and the ferry ride is very expansive, would it be worth it though?

And finally on the way back what road would you advice we take? Follow transcanada 1 maybe going through Kelowna for a stop, or taking the south road and going through Fernie and Waterton, knowing that we'll also spend a week in Calgary and we'll have time then to go to Banff, lake louise, morraine lake and everything around there.

I know it's a long post with a lot of options but any advice would be welcom, and also nice places along the road where we could stop for a bit of sightseeing and sleeping would be perfect!

Thanks everyone.

Banff, Canada
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1. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

Hi bigben113. Do yourself a favor and drop the Vancouver Island part of your itinerary. Here in Banff, visitors frequently take 14 days just to see Banff, Lake Louise, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper. Trying to see Banff, Jasper, B.C, Whistler, Vancouver AND Vancouver Island is waaaaay to much in my books. I know you want to show your parents the scenery - but trust us when we say there's lots of it between here and Vancouver.

If you wanted a great road trip and awesome Circle Drive: Banff to Jasper, Jasper to Kamloops, Kamloops to Kelowna, Kelowna to Osoyoos, Osoyoos to Nelson, Nelson to Kaslo/Nakusp/Revelstoke and back to Calgary. You could easily spend 2 weeks in the East Kootenays and enjoying Highway 3. You could easily spend 2 weeks in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley. And you could easily spend 2 weeks enjoying the Banff and Lake Louise area and the 4 surrounding National Parks. 14 days is not a long time and our distances our huge.

I would also think about skipping Vancouver - to give yourself more time in the other places. Vancouver is lovely - but it's going to take away from your time spent in these other places. Vancouver also takes time because it is lovely - I would save it, Vancouver Island and the inner passage for another holiday and focus on the National Parks and interior B.C.

Ponte Vedra Beach...
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2. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

We are planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies. We thought we'd fly into Calgary, stay overnight (Does anyone suggest spending any time in Calgary?) renting a van (6 of us) and heading to Banff and then Lake Louise. We were planning on 8 days.

So, the big question is should we add 3 more days to the trip to drive north to Jasper, too? It's another 150 miles sooooo. Is Jasper that much different of a "feel" we'll get for the Canadian Rockies by just spending time in Banff and Lake Lousie?

Thanks for any comments.

Edited: 12 April 2012, 01:10
Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

The road between Lake Louise and Jasper is the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93N). National Geographic Traveller magazine named the combined Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A between Banff and Lake Louise) and Icefields Parkway one of their 20 "drives of a lifetime". It's that good. In fact, we generally recommend that travellers drive it twice - northbound and southbound - on two different days, if at all possible. That's because the views are different (but equally specatacular) in each direction, and because if you encounter limited visibility due to weather on your northbound drive, there is an opportunity for you to see those views on your return trip.

For more about the Icefields Parkway, see:

www.icefieldsparkway.ca

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g659487-c74055/Canadi…

Just for future reference, TripAdvisor forums usually work best if you ask your question on a new thread rather than tacking it onto an existing thread.

Banff, Canada
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4. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

@ bigben -- I very much agree with the advice given to you by banfflakelouise in the first post. Doing Banff, Lake Louise and Moraine from base in Calgary is also not a good plan: four hours of driving each day to get to/from the place you actually want to be.

Plan a leisurely two weeks in Banff, Jasper and the Okanagan/Kootenays area. You'll have much more seeing and doing, and much less sitting and driving. Everyone will have more fun.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

bigben ~

I'm going to throw out another idea. Spend 7 nights split between Banff (LL) and Jasper, 2 nights on the way to Vancouver, perhaps in the Okanagan Valley (Kelowna) and 5 nights in Vancouver. Do this with a one way car rental, usually with a one way drop fee, then fly back to Calgary on WestJet or Air Canada in 1.5 hours.

This would give your parents 3 vistas: the big mountains, the dry, warm vineyards and lakes of the Okanagan Valley and the city life in Vancouver.

I do think the ideas above about spending all your time in the mountains and small towns of BC are good ones. The Rockies and BC are close enough that you can do any part of it again. You will need to consider what focus and variety you want to choose for yourself and your parents this time.

I will also add that getting from Vancouver to Tofino will take you ~7 hours and getting from Tofino to Victoria, 5 hours. Victoria to Vancouver takes 4 hours by land/ferry. It is possible to fly non stop from Victoria to Calgary, again in 1.5 hours or so. But I would also suggest you drop Vancouver Island. You will want to enjoy the places you visit and you will need to choose fewer places in order to do that.

Sept 3 is Labour Day and a busy long weekend in Canada. Families are on the roads heading home for the first day of school on the 4th.

www.hellobc.com is a great online tourism guide.

And finally the best tool of all for plotting routes, driving distances and times is ..... maps.google.com

Oh, this is your first post. On each and every forum you will find Things to Do, with the tabs of Attractions and Tours in the left sidebar. To the upper right, you will find Top Questions with unique questions. Have a look at the Canadian Rockies Forum, Okanagan Valley Forum, Nelson Forum, Revelstoke Forum and Vancouver Forum to help you with your research.

On the following thread from the BC Forums, you will find an assortment of Trip Reports that previous visitors have left to help future travellers get an idea of what's possible

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154922-i80-k42028…

The Canadian Rockies Forum's Top Questions have a link to more TRs.

Greater Sydney...
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6. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

G'day bigben, and welcome to the TA forums.

While I do not disagree with much of the advice provided above, and not knowing how much longer YOU will have in the area for your parents to again visit, or how much you have already experienced, may I throw in my thoughts as also someone who had to travel a long distance in 2008 for a few weeks in the area. I might mention that our daughter also lives in Calgary, but while you would still have a strong French accent, all traces of her Aussie accent disappeared many years ago being in Canada now for about 17 years.

Let me put myself hypothetically into the shoes of your parents if I may, assuming that like us they had not visited western Canada before. For such a long trip we want to make the best of it and see the most of it. We appreciate that it is not possible, but we also do not want a whirlwind trip. In that case Vancouver Island is out - tick the above advice.

We want to see the best of western Canada - well that is just a few hours away from you as you have recognised and we liked Banff, but Jasper even more so. Icefield Parkway - oh what an experience.

We also want to see some of BC and Vancouver for the variety and contrast to the Rockies.

For those reason, from our experience, I like the idea proposed by Mufti which is very close to what we did. Yes, you could easily just spend the time in the Rockies, and that could be a good idea - so tick that advice as well.

I think that you should run this past your parents. I know that the advice from our daughter was not to stuff around in Calgary, but to get up into the Rockies at the first opportunity, which we did after one night in Calgary to recover a bit from about 20 hours of travelling. We had a great trip.

I hope this may be of some assistance.

Regards from Aus.

(Edit) Oh, and also drop Whistler off the agenda unless as a day trip from Vancouver. After the Rockies, Whistler was a bit ho hum to us and a waste of a day. I would be interested in doing the Peak to Peak, but it was still under construction when we visited.

Edited: 12 April 2012, 12:00
S G
Mumbai, India
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7. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

planning a trip around calgary -banff -wistler area. I have 7 days and this will be the first time i will be visiting canda . Any suggestions ?

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

Hi S G, and welcome to the forum ~

You have posted to a thread that is currently underway for the Original Poster bigben. To avoid having any replies confuse things between you and him, it would be better if you started your own thread.

Click on the blue print "ask a question" just below the reply box. Your trip is unique to you and warrants your own thread and replies. Please include the dates you are considering and the nature of your group, i.e. a couple, a family with children? Also please indicate if you will rent a car. It would also be helpful if you also mentioned what is bringing you to this location, i.e. what things you would like to see and do.

Banff, Canada
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9. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

And just a reminder that the OP's trip took place in August 2012 -- just so we don't get any more responses to the OP on this thread.

Edited: 07 March 2013, 16:25
Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Calgary - Jasper - Vancouver - Calgary road trip advice

Hi

I am planning to visit Bannf (from Toronto) , Lake Louise, Jasper, Whistler and then Vancouver. Take flight from Vancover and back to toronto. We are planning to spend 10 days all together for the above mentioned destinations.

Any idea? How many days we need perfectly to explore. We also want to drive on Icefield Parkway going to Jasper.