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Are we doing too much?

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York, United Kingdom
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Are we doing too much?

I would be grateful of some advice! Have spent all day working out an itinerary of what to do when we visit BC in June.

We are prepared for 9pm bedtimes and 6am mornings to get the most out of the days and will hire a car.

I'm concerned we are hopping too much and worried we will miss something spectacular (or wasting time in areas which aren't so great)

We aren't big hikers, I'm fairly terrified of potential bear encounters, but do like scenery.

Day 1 Fly to Calgary, look around the city, sleep in the city

Day 2 Drive to Heritage Park, Calgary, spend the day here, sleep somewhere cheap

Day 3 Drive to Lake Louise and spend the day in local area - stay in Moraine Lake Lodge

Day 4 - Drive the Icefield Parkway, sleep in Ghost View Inn

Day 5 - Icefield experience (go on glacier), sleep in Jasper

Day 6 - Visit Maligne canyon, Jasper Tramway, Athabasca Falls sleep in Jasper

Day 7 - Drive to Clearwater, visit Wells Grey National Park, Sleep in Clearwater

Day 8 - Drive to Whistler, Sleep in Whistler

Day 9 - Whistler (what to do here in June?), sleep in Whistler

Day 10 - Drive to Vancouver, spend the day in the city, sleep in VC

How many days to see Vancouver and what is a "must see" there?

Is Vancouver Island worth a visit?

We have another few weeks in different areas then,but can re-jig daysif necessary.

Any advice muchly appreciated thank you!

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Are we doing too much?

What/where is the Ghost View Inn?

Cheers,

Terry

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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for British Columbia
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2. Re: Are we doing too much?

Most of what you've posted is in the province of Alberta and should be posted in that forum.

Whistler is a place you can skip since you will have already seen mountains galore.

Vancouver Island is a premiere destination with BC visitors-too many attractions to list.

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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3. Re: Are we doing too much?

Yes imo you're going to be doing a "driveby" of most places. Not sure why you're spending an entire day at Heritage Village in Calgary and then barely one day in the Banff /Lake Louise area.. I've been to Heritage Village and it's interesting but certainly not worth an entire day . It might help to know how much time you have overall for the Rockies and BC as you say you have a few weeks in different areas.. could mean almost anything.

I'd plan one one night Calgary, 2 nights minimum ( better if you have 3) Banff or Lake Louise...they're close to each other so can see both with one hotel stop, , 1 night Ice Fields parkway, 2 nights Jasper as you have it.. one night Clearwater.. skip staying overnight at Whistler..although the drive on hwy 99 from Lillouet to Whistler is spectacular.. I'd plan to stop at either Lilloet or Cache Creek after Clearwater. (this will give you longer at Wells Grey as it takes a bit of time to get into Helmcken falls)..... then drive from Lilloet to Whistler in the morning.. then on into Vancouver after a late lunch in Whistler.. then 3 nights Vancouver... if you want to add Victoria you could do a day trip fly over with harbour Air one morning, visit the Inner harbor area then head to Butchart's gardens then out to the ferry and back to Vancouver with Pacific Coach lines.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Are we doing too much?

I'd agree that you have your emphasis a bit off. Make sure you have time to appreciate the Banff/LL/Jasper corridor properly. Don't worry - the bears hate crowds and will stay well clear of the heavily used trails. If you find yourself walking in an area that doesn't seem to have hoards of other tourists around, just make lots of noise and make sure the bears can hear you coming. They will scarper off into the woods.

I don't know Heritage Park, but Banff is only a couple of hours from Calgary, so if that is a place you want to see, you will have lots of time to go around it in the morning and carry on to Banff later that afternoon, extending the time you have in the Banff/LL area.

You may find you've had your fill of waterfalls after the Icefields Parkway and may not find the additional cascades you can see in Wells Grey are worth the time. You'll have to decide on your priorities on that one. We did Wells Grey first, on our way to Jasper, and really enjoyed the day, but by the time we had finished the Icefields Parkway, I was rather through with waterfalls for a bit.

I would also drive through Whistler. Stop for a couple hours so you can say you've seen the place and carry on to Vancouver. When we ski up there, we often have dinner in Whistler and head home later, although it would be a shame to do that drive in the dark.

Vancouver Island is worth a couple of weeks on its own. You have some tough choices ahead.

Greater Sydney...
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5. Re: Are we doing too much?

I agree with the others in that your attention seems to be somewhat skewed in the wrong directions. I would get out of Calgary early and into the Rockies to Banff as suggested by my colleague Vancouverite. You do not need to stop overnight while driving the magnificent Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper, just take your time to see everything. The 3.5 hr drive should be spread over about 8 to 10 hrs there is so much along that road.

I would skip Whistler entirely, although I do like the comment from Vancouverite.

"What/where is the Ghost View Inn?"

It is so ghostly it hardly ever appears. Some say it is imaginary. Others know it is imaginary ....... :)

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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6. Re: Are we doing too much?

Ghost View Inn = Glacierview Inn (There's only one place to stay there.)

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Are we doing too much?

The Glacierview Inn is (in my opinion) a tourist trap rip-off. Zero bang-for-the-buck and horrible, over priced food.

Check out the Sunwapta Resort instead. After the day driving the Icefield Parkway and doing the walk on the glacier the Sunwapta Resort is a lovely spot to spend the night. Great staff and a fabulous restaurant too.

Cheers,

Terry

Hull
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773 posts
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8. Re: Are we doing too much?

As others have rightly remarked, on your original schedule, you would miss something spectacular- Banff and its environs, you don't even mention it!!. It's way more stunning than even the Lake Louise area- IMO. There are some very expensive hotels in L/L- the one you mention; Moraine Lake lodge and the Post in L/L village which is nothing more than a tacky rest stop. It's very expensive to eat at the Post- no make that ridiculously overpriced, again IMO.

To reserve accommodation as in your original schedule would have been a huge mistake- yet again IMO.

Mike from Chicago posted this link after his trip last year and i suggest you review his Rockies file; Picasaweb.google.com/mjneenan

As for car hire, I suggest you look into www.insurance4carhire.co.uk which does annual cover with limit of £3000pa/ £2000 per accident for c£70 worldwide- reassuring.

Note you change time zones moving from Alberta to BC-1 hour.

York, United Kingdom
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9. Re: Are we doing too much?

Thank you SO much for the awesome responses!!! Since posting and trying to figure out the rest of the schedule, we had another think about priorities and decided to drop the Heritage park for definite and will try and spend more time in Banff.

Why are so many people suggesting skipping Whistler? Everyone I know seems to say "ooh are you going to Whistler? It is lovely!" - Do you know something they don't?

I love that I said Ghost View Inn - really sorry about that, did mean Glacier View!

As Acheson says..is it really a mistake to reserve accommodation before we go? Even in the height of summer, is it likely we will find somewhere to stay? I would rather be more flexible.

Re: Clearwater, we are only staying over as it is a longggg drive from Jasper to Whistler. I would rather not stay over, so might just do the 9 hour drive in one day.

Re: the rest of our 4 week trip after ~10 days in Vancouver (18 days remaining), we arrive in Vancouver and cruise around Alaska (11 days left) then we have 8 days to see Vancouver, Seattle, Olympic National Park and Mount St Helens before flying to Las Vegas for 3 days. We are hoping to book this week, so actually have a lot of flexibility at the moment which is why I'm trying to gauge how long we need in each place

Also, are there places to stop along the Icefields Parkway for lunch, restroom, petrol etc. ?

All your help is much appreciated

Hull
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773 posts
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10. Re: Are we doing too much?

Dolly,

I meant it would have been a huge mistake to reserve according to your original schedule, not don't reserve at all. As in you'd miss Banff!

That said, June is not high season, so booking not so important (DEs??)

The IP is 180 miles of road through isolated terrain; you fill up before you start!! The main 'halt' is the Icefields Centre at midway; some services, but it's mainly for those who want to do the glacier tour. There is very little in between (DEs- Sas Crossing?) apart from paths to view points- which is what you should allow time for. Suggest you use Google Earth to get a 'feel' for it.