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Road or Rail?

Melbourne, Australia
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17 posts
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Road or Rail?

66 year old Australian couple planning a 3 to 4 week trip to BC in the summer of 2013. Thinking of a self-drive loop from Vancouver through the Okanangan Valley, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper and back to Vancouver.

The Rocky Mountaineer gets lots of publicity here in Oz but we are not keen on organised tours, prefering to drive and take our time.

So, does anyone have a view on road versus rail scenic spectacularity? - apart from the need for one of us to keep our eyes on the road, of course.

Vancouver BC
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for Vancouver
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1. Re: Road or Rail?

Other than the costly yet fine Mountaineer, we are not a rail nation. Most of North America is not a rail nation. Enjoy the drive.

Nanaimo, Canada
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for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
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2. Re: Road or Rail?

Drive. 3 to 4 weeks driving the loop you've described will give you both an enormous amount of beautiful scenery to see.

Vancouver, Canada
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for Vancouver
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3. Re: Road or Rail?

You would have a great deal more flexibility by self driving. The RM makes one stop on the way to the Rockies for a hotel stay. The VIA Canadian rolls right through to Jasper. Your time frame would allow you to experience many locations and by returning a rental car to point of origin, avoid the one way drop fee.

Please look in the Top Questions to the upper right for a Traveller Article about choices of routes to take between Vancouver and Calgary.

Destination Expert
for British Columbia
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4. Re: Road or Rail?

Consider inserting this adventure into your plans if it works.


Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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5. Re: Road or Rail?

In terms of "spectacularity" (love it!), the train tracks run through the same valley as the highway; in some cases they are side by side, or one above the other on the same side of the valley, in others, they are one on each side of a river. The views are not much different in most cases.

Note that Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper are all in Alberta, not British Columbia. Come on over to the "Canadian Rockies" forum (which should be labelled the "Alberta Rockies", since it does not include the BC Rockies) at some point in your research for more detailed information.

Burlington, Canada
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6. Re: Road or Rail?

Another vote for drive. And as Jasper mentions, the highway does run directly beside the train tracks for much of the way. Take your time, go at your own pace, stop when you choose, stop for how long you choose, make a detour if you wish, see what you want to see, go fast, go slow, do it your way......drive.

Edited: 04 January 2013, 03:34
7. Re: Road or Rail?

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