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.

Tips for a month-long trip to BC

Which British Columbia hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Tips for a month-long trip to BC

Hi all,

I'm planning a month-long trip to British Columbia and Alberta between September 5th and October 4th.

I haven't planned much. What I know so far is that I'll be landing in Vancouver on Sep 5th and that I want to make it to the Banff/Jasper area (and other national parks).

In general I'm just looking to spend some time out in nature, relax, hike, etc...

In very broad terms I was thinking of heading out from Vancouver with a rental car. Still haven't decided whether I should do Vancouver Island at the beginning of the trip or when I get back to Vancouver in October before my flight back, and whether or not I should go to Tofino.

Was think of driving to Hope > Meritt > Kelowna... then from here, ummm, not sure. I want to keep going in the direction of Banff, spend time there and in Jasper and Icefields Parkway and Kootenay and Lake Louise, etc...

At a certain point I'll start heading back west, which brings up the question of maybe going another route? Any point in going via a northern route, via Prince George then south on Highway 97?

As you can see I haven't done nearly as much research as I should've by now...

I would appreciate any and all tips regarding worthwhile destinations, tips on how many nights to stay at locations, whether or not I'll be able to find motel accommodations easily or should book in advance, what type of driving routes I should be taking, etc...

Many thanks.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
Destination Expert
for British Columbia
Level Contributor
8,398 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

First off Do Not Rent From Budget @ the Airport-everything else is easy.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
56,960 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

Welcome to the forum Ninja ~

I would do the Rockies as "first" as you can. Winter comes earlier to the Rockies and the season ends earlier than on the coast. Van Island can be done later quite comfortably.

There are articles in the Top Questions that will help you get started. The Trip Reports for one, and the artle about driving from Van to Banff/Calgary.

With a month you've got lots of options.

Our online tourst info website: www.hellobc.com

Another helpful tourist oriented website: www.britishcolumbia.com

Both those can be used by region or city.

Edited: 20 August 2013, 19:34
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
56,960 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

>>With a month you've got lots of options<< Ran out of editting time to expand on that.

4 nights Vancouver

2 nights in the Okanagan Valley (From Osoyoos to Vernon, see Kelowna or Penticton)

2 nights in the Slocan Valley (Creston to Revelstoke, see Nelson)

7-8 nights in the Rockies

Hwy 1 from Lake Louise to somewhere like Cache Creek, then continue down the Thompson River to Lytton for the rugged Fraser Canyon drive to Hope and back to Van.

6-9 nights on Vancouver Island

My 2 cents

Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
12,885 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

hi

sept 6-7-8 is the penticton jazz festival - http://www.pentasticjazz.com/

this can be done in combination of visiting wineries in the area.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
3,158 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

Think of British Columbia as a succession of mountain ranges with visit-worthy valleys in between. We like the drive on Highway 3 which runs along the southern part of the province, giving access to the southern Okanagan (Osoyoos, Penticton and Naramata), the Kootenays (Nelson via Highway 3A, Kaslo) and finally Highway 93/95, which will take you up the Banff/Lake Louise area. You could then return by following Highway 1 back west and down to the Metro Vancouver area. I wouldn't drive up 97 to Prince George, first of all because of time and secondly because staying in the southern part of the province gives you access to so much wonderful scenery.

Edited: 20 August 2013, 21:55
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
25,486 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

While I agree with the over all advice to get to the Rockies sooner rather than later, even in early October it should still be really nice.

This article covers the basic routes between Vancouver and Alberta.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154922-c120076/Briti…

I personally like the highway 1 route the best, highway 3 second and highway 5 last. Others may feel differently.

I would not go Hope-Merritt- Kelowna. I would continue on highway 1 from Hope to Spences Bridge, then take highway 8 through Merritt to Kelowna. A little more scenic IMO. It stays good up to Ashcroft, and then you could take the 97C down through Logan Lake, which is another route I really like.

I would look at taking highway 33 out of Vernon to the Needles-Farquier ferry.

I would allow a minimum of 7 days between Banff and Jasper and I would drive the Icefields parkway twice. Book your accommodations in this area as soon as possible. Its extremely popular and fairly expensive. The best value places go first.

I would drive into Alberta a little bit. You have the time and its just so very different. You might go to Drumheller and then come back to BC via Lethbridge and the Crow's Nest Pass. However this may have to be a decision you make whether you take time to go into Alberta or take time to visit Vancouver Island. Both are good.

I would try to include Vancouver Island, but only if you can make at least a week out of it, 10 days is better. Its a wonderful destination all on its own.

Happy planning!

Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

Thanks so much for all the help, will be sure to check out everything mentioned.

I was wondering, in terms of accommodations, especially in the Banff/Jasper area. Are there many budget choices in that area (cheap hostels and motels) or would I have to stay somewhere else like Calgary? And if so, is it feasible in terms of being a base of operations to go on trips from each day and come back to at night?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
Level Contributor
56,960 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

For a specific question like accommodations in Banff and Jasper, you would be better off asking the experts in that location. Don't stay in Calgary. Not for the Rockies anyway. The link to the Canadian Rockies Forum is here:

http://www.trip advisor.com/ShowForum-g659487-i11598-Canadia…

My vote would be for 4 nights in Banff or Canmore. Lake Louise is a possibility but accomm there is quite expensive. Then 3 nights in Jasper. The Icefields Parkway is the highway between and that can take up to 10 hours to explore. Have a look at the points of interest here:

pc.gc.ca/eng/…visit38.aspx

Under that map, you will see a PDF link to click on to get a legible version. And as you make your way up those points of interest, you can read the reviews of some (most?) of the attractions. Just type the name in the search field above the green navigation bar across the top to go to the reviews. e.g. Sunwapta Falls or Peyto Lake.

This forum is a good place to ask your itinerary questions across the province. The CRForum is a good one for all questions for the area Banff to Jasper and in your case, any questions about the add ons to Drumheller or even Fort McLeod.

With 4 weeks, it will be possible for you to have a very rich and interesting trip.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
25,486 posts
59 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

If you are ok with Youth Hostels, there are a few of them in the Banff Jasper area. As noted, ask on the Canadian Rockies forum for the specifics. Accommodation is at a premium, but you really don't have a reasonable alternative. You have to accept that if you are going to visit the Rockies, its going to cost you and that's just how it is. There are certainly options that cost a bit less, so search those out and go from there.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
18,414 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Tips for a month-long trip to BC

Calgary is an hour's drive from Canmore, and 1 1/2 hour to Banff (town), so you would waste a lot of time driving back and forth if you stay in the city. Jasper is far enough away from the Banff/Lake Louise area that it's not a feasible day trip, so I would suggest splitting your stay in the Rockies between the two. Another good reason to split your stay is that Jasper is at the far end of the Icefields Parkway, which is one of the major scenic attractions in the Canadian Rockies national parks.

Banff has a number of hostels right in town, and there is also one in the village at Lake Louise, but there are no in-town hostels in Jasper. There are a number of wilderness hostels along the Icefields Parkway, and two hostels, Maligne Canyon and The Whistlers, are 10 or 11 km from town. A "cheap motel" in the Canadian Rockies is still over $100 per night in Banff and Canmore, and closer to $150+ here in Jasper. Jasper does have "private home accommodations" (PHA) which are rooms or a suite within a resident's home ... these range from basic, budget accommodations at about $60 per night up to much more luxurious. www.stayinjasper.com If there are two of you travelling (although from your post, it sounds like you are travelling solo?), staying in a PHA will be cheaper than the hostels. Actually, there is also a new PHA that has set up like a hostel, with a dorm room - google "The World Travellers' Fraternity"... I think they are also listed on many of the hostel booking sites.