Do not do this drive in February unless you have extensive driving experience. It will be winter. Ice, snow, very short daylight hours. Yes people do it. If you have the time to sit out a storm then it can be done. You will have to have a vehicle with winter tires which will be difficult to rent. Suggest you put winter driving in the BC forum search box for information about winter driving in Canada and previous discussions. Hwy 1 is the most scenic.
The roads will be in winter driving conditions, and in BC, once you are outside the Vancouver area, having snow tires on your car, or carrying chains, is a legal requirement until the end of April. The trouble is that very few rental cars have snow tires, and the rental contract usually prohibits chains anyway. Of course, if driving conditions are so bad that chains are needed (winter tires are recommended when the temperatures fall below 7C), you are better off staying put and waiting it out... so you should try to keep your plans flexible.
There are not very many routes (have a look at www.maps.google.com ), but all cross high mountain passes and are subject to occasional closures in winter due to avalanches, accidents etc. Also, winter daylight hours are short, about 7 hours per day.Edited: 29 May 2013, 07:00
Hi Nicole ~
Ah, February, what fun. For the routes to take have a look in the Top Questions to the right side. There are 3 to consider.
The coast here at Vancouver and maybe for 100 km inland will be dreary, wet, rainy, dull and overall just crummy weather in February. As you progress from 100 km inland to the 850 km inland that Banff is located from Vancouver, you will be presented with rain, sun, snow, slush, ice, black ice, avalanche, snow storms, dry roads, wet roads, and above all changeable weather. If you have not driven in a Canadian Winter, and on the other side of the road, it is no time of year to be learning.
We have 4 or 5 N-S mountain ranges between the coast and the Rockies, with mountain passes at about 1100 metres. They are the spots that will accumulate snow and can create delays.
Here is an article about driving in a Canadian winter:
VIA Rail travels 2 days per week between Vancouver and Jasper. Sun Dog tours shuttles people between Jasper and Banff, depending on weather. Brewster shuttles people between Banff and Calgary International Airport.
If you decide to drive you could stop at Kelowna and Revelstoke before arriving at Banff.Edited: 29 May 2013, 07:03
thanks For all the advice I think I will change plans on driving myself. What is the best option of getting to Banff this time of year?
thanks this has helped loads.
Thanks we thought about flying but would like to see the country. I believe Greyhound is the way we will go that is if they operate at this time of year? Does greyhound operate in February? Haven't had a lot of joy contacting them.
I reckoned you were preferring to go by land. Greyhound operates every day of the year. They are a walk up service where you can simply go to the bus depot, buy your ticket, board and go. Their coaches are never full. Do read their terms and conditions though under the Tickets and Travel Info tab. Read the Baggage info which can be found in the list on the left on the following webpage.
It's just after midnight here, so call them during the hours they say. Central time is 2 hours later than Vancouver. Their call centre customer service is notoriously bad. Their drivers are different than the call centre staff.
thanks a bunch