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October - which way round?

Bedfodshire
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128 posts
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October - which way round?

Hi

Everyone has been so helpful on here so far and hopefully this will be my last question before booking! My husband and I were considering going to Western Canada early May, but are now considering 16 nights from 30/09/2011 onwards. The reason being that I work for a Uni and am very restricted on travel times.

We plan to go Calgary - Banff - Lake Louise - Jasper - Clearwater-Whister - Ucluelet-Victoria-Vancouver.

However are we better reversing this order so we fly into Vancouver? Taking into consideration we would like to see black bears. Just thinking if it is better to be in Tofino area in early Oct or is it better to be in the Rockies early Oct?

Opinions very much welcomed.

Thanks

Al

Sechelt, BC
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1. Re: October - which way round?

Visit it the rockies first and then head to Vancouver Island. Weather being the main reason. The later you head to the Rockies increases your chances of hitting winter weather and winter driving.

Canmore, Alberta
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2. Re: October - which way round?

The longer you leave the Rocky Mountain portion the more chance you will have of snow and colder temperatures. I have had to cancel a trip from Lake Louise to Jasper on Sept 30th 2 years ago because we got almost a foot of snow overnight in Lake Louise. We knew the Columbia Icefields Parkway would be even worse in some areas because it is even higher in elevation at the summit. But it's the Rocky Mountains you can't predict anything weather wise. We have had other years where we didn't get any snow in the valley bottoms until into November.

Can't speak for the bear viewing on the island. I lived on Vancouver Island most of my life before moving to the Rockies. I don't know anyone that lives there that has done the bear viewing, as locals we just see bears as we camp etc. and sadly you can easily go to the dump near Port Alberni to see black bears.

There is still a chance in early October that you can see black bears and/or grizzly bears in the Rockies, but by chance, not by taking a specific bear tour.

Edited: 11 January 2011, 20:45
Bedfodshire
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3. Re: October - which way round?

Thanks. Seems to be a risk of snow in October which scares me a bit not used to that (mind you had an unusual amount in dec in Uk but not the norm). The only reason I am not planning last two weeks in May (can't do June because of work) is because of Victoria weekend....how much of a difference will that make, will everywhere be a lot busier and where in particular between calgary and vancouver? I guess vancouver island would be busy? Al

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: October - which way round?

Victoria Day weekend is very busy, it's true. At least here on the coast and on VI. It's the first decent long weekend (weather wise) for 7 months or so and families are chomping at the bit to enjoy it. However, the busiest days for traveling and ferries would be the Friday and the Monday. The middle two days are relatively quiet (you won't be crossing the border to so worries there) because people will be at their destination.

I wouldn't let that put you off the month of May. If you can organize your travel to be either traveling outside of the Friday and Monday, or staying put somewhere, you should be all right. If you are planning on taking a ferry to/from VI around that weekend, make sure you make car reservations on the ferry. School is in until the end of June, so other weekends and weekdays will be as usual.

If you choose May, then do the coast first and move inland to the Rockies. If you do October, do the Rockies first and then move to the more temperate climate of the coast. My take on the difference between May and October here on the coast is that in May, we are coming off the winter and the place can feel slow to heat up, whereas in October, we are coming off the heat of the summer and it seems (to me) to linger a bit into the fall. Bears will be out and about fattening up in October preparing for their hibernation. The tourist attractions in Victoria finish the season about the middle/end of September, whereas in May they are open from about May 1 and the Inner Harbour buskers and artisans will be out and about as well. Vancouver's attractions generally continue all year.

Edited: 11 January 2011, 23:30
Nanaimo, Canada
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for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
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5. Re: October - which way round?

Hi princess-al,

If the only reason putting you off of May is the Long Weekend then I think you should come in May and get something sorted out beforehand for that weekend. A simple hotel and ferry reservation (or more than one if you are moving around) is all that is needed. It is busy but is no means the kind of busy you are accustomed to on a Bank Holiday weekend.

If you are the least hestitant to drive in the snow then IMHO would abandon your idea of October. It will be snowy at some point and the cold will dampen your enjoyment of the Rockies (it was cold and super foggy when we went on the Icefield Parkway this past August).

I've been in the tourism trade most of my life in BC and I can honestly tell you that if you get your itinerary sorted soon and book the hotels and any ferry travel that you're interested in now (i.e. in January) for that May Longweekend, you'll be fine.

Go on, make the decision ;-)

Bedfodshire
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6. Re: October - which way round?

Thanks everyone.decision made!!woohoo! Last two weeks in may.not goin to worry about the weather....wil justb lucky to be in canada!AL

Nanaimo, Canada
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7. Re: October - which way round?

The right decision prevails! Congratulations!!!!

Enjoy your visit to British Columbia!

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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8. Re: October - which way round?

Apologies if anyone else has mentioned this (I skimmed all the other responses and didn't see it), but October also has a long weekend - Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October (October 10, 2011), so if you come in September to avoid the May long weekend, you will be here for the October one. Here in the Rockies, Thanksgiving weekend is not quite as busy as the May one (fewer campers, but hotels and other "fixed roof" accommodations are in high demand). The May long weekend is the beginning of the summer tourist season, and the October long weekend is the ending of the summer tourist season. Most seasonal attractions and accommodations work around these for seasonal opening and closing dates.

9. Re: October - which way round?

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