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.

Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,578 posts
173 reviews
Save Topic
Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

We (wife and kids aged 17 and 14) will be driving from Calgary to Vancouver from the middle of July and I have booked accommodation along the route, although all can be changed. We arrive to see the last day of the Stampede (and have tickets) and then have a week's driving, stopping at

Lake Louise x 2 nights with an icefields trek booked

Golden x 1 night

Revelstoke x 1 night

Kamloops x 2 nights

Vancouver

The stops are currently planned so we don't have too much driving in any one day and we have time for activities en route.

First question is if we should stay only one night in Kamloops and then go via Whistler to Vancouver? I know that will add a couple of hours to the drive, but it will be over two days. Since we are from the UK, we may not get to this part of the world anytime again soon, so it's a chance to see Whistler and it's also my son's 18th birthday that day so there may be nicer places to eat in Whistler than Kamloops. Is Whistler worth this detour?

Other questions are; where along our route would it be best to see bears and is there a tour worth doing? My daughter would love this, although we know there are no guarantees of sightings. We would also like perhaps to do some horseriding and gentle (for my wife) rafting or kayaking - ziplining too. Finally, any recommendations for whale watching in Vancouver, given that we will be staying downtown?

Thanks

Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
26,060 posts
98 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

One night in Kamloops, head to Whistler! Not sure what you would do all day long in Kamloops, unless you chose to do horseback riding there.

Rafting along the Fraser Canyon route is fun! Kumsheen Rafting is popular.

http://kumsheen.com/ You could even stay there the night instead of Kamloops.

Then from Lytton, head to Lillooet, then take the Duffie Lake Road to Whistler.

Prince of Whales operates out of Vancouver for whale watching.

http://goo.gl/maps/MakHw

I hope my map worked! It shows the route from Kamloops to Whistler, with Kumsheen Rafting marked.

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
Level Contributor
12,460 posts
151 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

Don't move so much! Not enough time in the Rockies...add 1 night to Lake Louise and drop Golden. Are you planning on driving up the ice Field Parkway at all? Also not a fan of Kamloops and not for 2 nights! Do you have time in Jasper? Maybe you can post your complete itinerary? Helps to see the whole picture to give advice

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
62,303 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

I'm afraid to say that choosing your overnight locations in order to not have to do much driving is counterproductive in these parts.

How many nights do you have to spend. It looks like 6 nights, but no night in Vancouver? Can you spare 2 more nights? I will assume you are flying out of Vancouver and not moving on to Seattle or Vancouver Island for more holiday? I see a baseball game in there too! :-)

I would rather you spend 4 nights in the Rockies out of Calgary, then fly to Vancouver. Although I don't usually suggest Whistler in the same sentence as the Rockies, because Whistler is generally redundant after the Rockies, in your case it might be a plan because you can do the bear searching tour, rafting, horseback riding, ziplining in that area.

Calgary to Jasper for 2 nights (about 5 hours drive)

Explore the Icefields Parkway in BOTH directions and take your Icefield sno coach on one of the days.

2 nights Banff

Drive the 2 hours to Calgary to fly to Vancouver

2 nights Vancouver

** 2 nights Whistler --- this is why I asked if you had 2 more nights to spare

** Drive the 3 hours to YVR to fly out

But if you are going to drive, then I would suggest you have a look at:

3 nights Banff, with your Icefields day trip from here. Banff will give you many more amenities/hotels, at lower prices than LL.

1 night Kelowna

2 nights Vancouver

** 2 nights Whistler - the early morning and late evening bear watching tours would find the bears more active than the mid day ones.

** Drive to YVR to fly out

xxx

Have a look at Canadian Affair for one way car rentals with no one way drop fee.

http://www.canadianaffair.com/en/car_hire/

It would be very helpful to have an idea of your overall itinerary. It is quite hard to show you a journey with meaningful stops for your stated interests with only the given 6 nights.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
28,423 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

I'm not sure I should even be replying to this post - there's really not much about this entire plan that I like, and so my first instinct is to entirely rewrite your plan. However, this is your bed, so perhaps I should just let you sleep in it.

First and foremost, the Canadian Rockies National Parks are the jewel in this crown - Banff and Jasper. It is generally recommended that people dedicate 5 - 7 days to see this area. However, perhaps you have been here before and this is just a drive through for you, or perhaps you have other reasons for not spending much time in the Rockies during this trip.

However, you have dedicated a fair bit of time to some places that I seriously have to question. Golden and Kamloops are both rather far down the list of places you should stop and see on your way across BC. You should be allowing for about 6 hours of driving on your driving days in order to make some time and distance, or you are wasting a lot of time in areas that don't deserve it, especially on such a short time frame.

With only six days, my first line of attack is to second Mufti's advice to tour the Rockies and then fly to Vancouver from Calgary. A one-way driving trip needs 8 - 10 days, and that's including driving days that are 6+ hours. Plan B is to sacrifice Jasper (which you have done) spend 3 nights in Banff and two in Revelstoke.

Do Whistler as a day trip from Vancouver.

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,578 posts
173 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

OK, sorry if I wasn't clear. We have two full days in Calgary, inc one day co-inciding with the last day of Stampede.

We also have four nights in Vancouver at the end, giving us three full days there, inc a baseball game the evening we arrive.

We weren't planning to 'see' places like Golden, but just thought that after 2 1/2 days of activities in or around Lake Louise we could cover some k/m by driving 75 minutes further along our route and just use it as an overnight stop.

Staying in LL and doing the Icefields glacier trek means we are driving about halfway to Jasper, but I didn't appreciate the need to drive all the way there and all the way back again on the same road.

Cambridge, United...
Level Contributor
6 posts
150 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

I did this journey about 5 years ago and entirely agree with the earlier comments. Spend more time in the Rockies. I travelled in September so was able to see something of the salmon run at Adams River. I had to stay with family in Lilooet, otherwise I wouldn't stop there. Go via Whistler as the drive is prettier and the chances of seeing bears greater. I drove via Lytton on another visit, to Vancouver. My advice to travellers is fly into Vancouver and out of Calgary. The scenery improves going west to east.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
62,303 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

I think LL is a lovely place to visit, with the lake and the trails, but there is really nothing there. A couple of hotels, the lake and the trails. There is no "community" there. There are no town streets to window shop on and restaurants that Banff will provide. You may be aware that driving from Banff to LL takes only 45 minutes.

I think the Rockies are special and really, you're not spending enough time there, which I am pretty confident you will regret if you don't. You're coming a long way. However, it's all about priorities and how you want to spend your time. You might take a few days to do a bit of research. You are a bit pinched for time at this point for a stay in the Rockies in July. Whatever you decide, we can help you with.

The Icefields Parkway is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is worth spending one whole day moving from attraction and view point to attraction and view point. Then, because the views and aspects are different on the southbound journey, it is worth doing it a second time. On the following link you will see a fuzzy image. Below the image is a link to a PDF to click that will produce a clear image. You will immediately see why this highway is worth a packed/picnic lunch and an immersion in it.

www.icefieldsparkway.ca

But because it takes a whole day to appreciate everything, staying over in Jasper is the solution. Both Banff and Jasper are simply settlements in the "middle of" their respective parks. You don't drive from Banff to Banff NP, you are already in it.

Tourism for Banff and LL: http://www.banfflakelouise.com/

Tourism for Jasper: http://www.jasper.travel/

Sorry if I'm providing tourist information you already know about.

It makes perfect logic to think that getting some km out of the way by staying in Golden would be a good idea. I would suggest that if you are going to spend nights somewhere, let them be good locations with some attractions and appeal. Which is why I "rearranged" your stops. To repeat, I would not choose Golden or Kamloops, but would choose Revelstoke and Kelowna.

Many options are possible, it's a matter of decisions. Incorporating your new information, here is a suggestion for your consideration. You could split the attractions on the IP between the northbound and the southbound travel.

Drive Calgary to Jasper

2 nights Jasper, with boxed lunch and a full day on the Icefields Parkway

3 nights Banff, with boxed lunch and a day southbound on the IP. Take your sno coach on one of these days.

1 night Kelowna

4 nights Vancouver

***

Of the 4 nights in Vancouver, you could take 1 night for Whistler - the early morning and late evening bear watching tours would find the bears more active than the mid day ones. I do think you would find good opportunity to do the activities that you mentioned.

Drive 3 hours from Whistler to YVR to fly out

xxxxxxxxx

OTHER RESOURCES:

The Top Questions on each and every forum.

Canadian Rockies Forum: tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g659487-i11598-Can…

Banff Things to Do: tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g154911-Activiti…

Jasper Things to Do: tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g154918-Activiti…

Revelstoke: britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/index.asp…

Kelowna: britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/index.asp…

Golden: britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/index.asp…

Kamloops: britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/index.asp…

Whistler: www.whistlerblackcomb.com

BC Tourism: http://www.hellobc.com/

xxxxxx

This BC forum is a good one for questions for travel across the province of BC. For specific Rockies questions, it would be best to post on the Canadian Rockies Forum. It would be a very good idea to read every Top Question on the Canadian Rockies Forum.

Edited: 09 June 2013, 22:31
Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
Level Contributor
12,460 posts
151 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

Mufti has given you an excellent option ( as usual) you will definitely not regret trading Golden and Kamloops for Jasper!

You'll find the highways here are very easy to drive and a 6 hour drive will be well worth it in terms of being able to visit attractions.

Edited: 10 June 2013, 01:03
Greater Sydney...
Level Contributor
18,557 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

"I'm not sure I should even be replying to this post - there's really not much about this entire plan that I like, and so my first instinct is to entirely rewrite your plan."

Vancouverite, these were my exact same thoughts when I first read the O/P within 30 mins of it being posted, so did not reply (late at night here then). I absolutely agree with the others, jonben. Insufficient time enjoying the best that Canada has to offer IMO. I would also drop Whistler from the schedule or do it as a day trip from Vancouver.

Edited: 10 June 2013, 04:48
10. Re: Clagary to Vancouver - a few questions

-:- 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: 11 June 2014, 06:16