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.

Calgary to Vancouver

Aberlady, United...
Level Contributor
27 posts
31 reviews
Save Topic
Calgary to Vancouver

Hi Everyone

At quite short notice we're heading to Calgary for a wedding at the end of July. As I've been to this area before we are thinking of heading to Vancouver after the wedding. The problem we have is that we only have approx 5 days to ourselves after the wedding. My questions are:

a) what's the best way to get to Vancouver from Calgary.

b) is there enough to keep us occupied in Vancouver for 5 days or would you recommend a stopover somewhere

And I think that's it for now!

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Al

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
3,855 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

>>>>>what's the best way to get to Vancouver from Calgary<<<<<<

There are several ways of getting from Calgary to Vancouver, and every single one of them is a good way. There is no bad way, or perhaps I should say that 30 years of searching for the bad way has not brought it to light. :-)

Which would be the better way depends on what sort of stuff you like. Do you like wilderness areas or small, artsy towns or a "touristy" lake resort area set amongst fruit orchards and vineyards?

It also would depend on what you already had seen in the Rocky Mountains during previous visits to this area.

>>>>>>is there enough to keep us occupied in Vancouver for 5 days or would you recommend a stopover somewhere<<<<<<

Although it is possible to drive from Calgary to Vancouver in a single day, it is a long drive, and it's rather brutal to do it that way. We've done it in a single day several times, but it always was on an occasion when we were constrained for time and had a deadline to meet. I have much preferred it when we have done it over a couple of days (or more).

Vancouver is a great city, and has plenty to occupy you. However, because of the length of the drive to get there, I think you should spend AT LEAST 2 days doing the drive, with a maximum of 3 days in Vancouver itself.

SHORTEST ROUTE

This route uses the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1) to go Calgary – BanffLake Louise – Golden – Revelstoke – Salmon Arm – Kamloops. At Kamloops you switch to the Coquihalla Highway or Hwy #5 (for which a toll of $10 is charged). At Hope you switch back to Hwy #1 and proceed to Vancouver.

The distance is 605 miles. It can be driven in one, long, hard day. I do not recommend it for a tourist who is supposed to be on vacation.

If you chose to do this shortest route and break it up over 2 days, Revelstoke would make a suitable overnight stop.

OKANAGAN VALLEY

If you want to stop in the Okanagan Valley en route to Vancouver, I suggest you take the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1) as far west as Sicamous. Then take Hwy #97 south through Vernon and Kelowna to Penticton. This can be done in a day. You may even enjoy having a lazy day in the Okanagan Valley itself. Then spend another day driving from the Okanagan Valley to Vancouver (it would be nice to take the Crowsnest Highway or Hwy #3 and go via the town of Princeton and Manning Provincial Park ). At Hope turn back onto Hwy #1 and continue to Vancouver.

That route is 665 miles long. That would leave 2 days for Vancouver proper (if you had a rest day in the Okanagan Valley).

QUIETER, “ARTSY” ROUTE

If you want to take a quieter but still very scenic route with a couple of artsy towns like Nelson along the way, you could take the Crowsnest Highway (Hwy #3), which more or less hugs the Canada – USA border. Hwy #3 is a very winding route.

This route is 790 miles long. If you take it, you need AT LEAST 2 days to do the drive, and really 3 days would be more ideal.

QUIETER, “WILDER” ROUTE

Another route would involve driving the TransCanada Highway as far as Kamloops. Kamloops would make a suitable overnight stop (be sure to have an advanced reservation if you stop there on a Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday night, when the Rocky Mountaineer train stops there). When you leave Kamloops, there are at least 3 different routes that you can use to reach Vancouver. An especially scenic one is the one that goes Kamloops – Cache Creek – Lillooet – Pemberton – Whistler – Vancouver.

This route is 650 miles. It COULD be done over 2 days. However, it would be nice to have an overnight stop in Whistler, which would turn it into a 3-day drive. That would not encroach on your time in Vancouver as much as you might think, as a day trip to Whistler in any case is a popular activity amongst visitors to Vancouver. Instead of doing a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver, you would “get it out of the way” (so to speak) during your journey to Vancouver.

VIA ICEFIELDS PARKWAY AND JASPER

This route would have you taking the TransCanada Highway to Lake Louise. There you would turn north onto the magnificent Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93) to Jasper. From Jasper you would drive southwest towards Kamloops on the South Yellowhead Highway (Hwy #5). As was the case with the previous route through Kamloops, you would have further options once you reached Kamloops. However, as I said before, I favour the drive from Kamloops to Whistler and on to Vancouver.

That route is 796 miles, say 800 miles in round numbers. In theory you could do it over 2 hard days of driving. But I think it would be much more pleasant to do it over 3 days.

Hope that helps.

Aberlady, United...
Level Contributor
27 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

Judy I just wanted to say a huge thank you for this. This is just what I was looking for. Off to consider our options.

Thanks again,

Al

Calgary
1 post
Save Reply
3. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

I pretty much agree with Judy from Calgary about the route and things to do along the way. Another suggestion if you decide to break your journey would be to stay at the Burrowing Owl Winery. Although I have not stayed there myself, I have heard nothing but rave reviews. The accommodations and food (not to mention the excellent wines) are supposed to be sumptuous and it would be something a little different than the normal traveller roadside motels. Having said that, Vancouver is a fabulous city and you will probably want to spend as much time as possible there so completing your drive in one day, although tiring, will give you maximum time to spend in Vancouver and area. There is tons to do and if you are next to the ocean, Vancouver on a sunny day is about the best place in the world which is why it has been voted the best place to live for about five years running. Don't forget that Vancouver is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics so if that is of interest to you, you can tour some of the event sites, including Whistler which is a wonderfully scenic drive and will take you about 1 1/2 hours from Vancouver. Another fun thing to do is to take a float plane from Coal Harbour and fly into Victoria Harbour (Vancouver Island). Spend a few hours walking around Victoria, have tea at the Empress Hotel, then catch the bus back to Vancouver. The bus drives straight onto the Ferry and again, if the weather is nice, the ferry ride from Victoria to Vancouver is unbelievably picturesque. This round trip will cost approx. $130 per person but well worth it. My other favorite thing to do is walk, roller blade or bike around the sea wall on False Creek. Lots and lots of restaurants, bistros and parks along the way and the people watching is a hoot!! Take a tour of False Creek on the water taxis, stroll through Granville Market or sit on the deck at Monk McQueens (a restaurant) sipping wine or beer and watch the activity on the water. A fun, fun, fun city best enjoyed from the downtown area. Hope this helps.

calgary
1 post
Save Reply
4. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

i head to vancouver island every summer and back to calgary the best way is the #1 highway if you do a mapquest search it will show you the way ,I do it in one day we leave calgary early in the morning and arrive on the island that night .If you are going to do it for 5 days i suggest you go to nanaimo and camp out or whatever but you can go to newcastle island, crab fish for like $20 bucks i think not including trap ect it is a nice drive and nanaimo is the nicest place and has the nicest people you will keep going back i guarantee you that one .good luck and if you need any more info please email me at kevinmorey3@live.ca

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
Level Contributor
25,574 posts
86 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

Weisel,

Welcome to TripAdvisor and the TripAdvisor forums! Thanks for trying to help, but the original poster's trip is long since over - she was looking for advice for July 2007.

Toronto
Level Contributor
1 post
7 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

I, too, was looking at landing in Calgary and making my way to Vancouver, but the sticking point is the cost of landing in one city and leaving from another.

The cost premium for picking up a rental car in Calgary and leaving it in Vancouver is $1200 (that is over and above the rental cost).

The train cost is about $1500 and an RV is about an premium $800.

I find it hard to believe I'm the only person who wants to do this.

I'm planning on leaving the second week of Aug. 09 for 2 weeks.

Anyone have any ideas, or did everyone pay the premium?

Thanks

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
18,655 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

Try pricing it the other way around - landing in Vancouver and dropping the car in Calgary. If the rental companies need to get cars going east, they might price it better that way as an incentive.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
Level Contributor
25,574 posts
86 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

Another practical option, especially if you have two weeks, is to do a loop from Calgary to Vancouver and back again. One popular route is

Calgary - Banff - Kamloops - Vancouver - Whistler - Jasper - Icefields Parkway - Lake Louise - Calgary

But if you read Judy_in_Calgary's response on this thread, you will get some ideas for other possibilities.

9. Re: Calgary to Vancouver

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 January 2010, 05:18