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Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

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Sydney, Australia
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Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

Hi Friends,

I have read lot of earlier posts and FAQs on Tripadvisor but still need direct help for my queries.

We are travelling to Canada and staying with a friend in Kelowna. While we can explore Kelowna and around during week days, our friend would be free on weekend and I am planning a weekend trip from Kelowna to Banff and around on 5th and 6th October.

Is it a good idea or possible to do Banff and around from Kelowna in 2 days? I would love to cover the following: Banff Gondola, Banff Upper Springs, Lake Louise, Icefields Parkway, Columbia Icefield.

Is this all doable from Kelowna or should we do this from Calgary?

We are also travelling to Calgary later on 11, 12 and 13th October. 12 and 13th is again weekend and we can plan a 2 day trip to Banff from Calgary.

If the wishlist above is not possible - what are the best options - National Parks etc which are weekend getaways from Kelowna?

Please help me plan this in a way that:

Day 1 - we leave Kelowna early on Saturday morning, cover what is possible on Day 1,

night stay recommendation please.

Day 2 - cover the rest on Day 2 and fall back to Kelowna.

We may not be able to cover these with ample time in hand, but we will have to live with the limitation we have.

Cheers, Ashim

Kelowna, Canada
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1. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

The only thing I can add is that October could find snow storms on Mnt passes which will slow your driving time down from Kelowna. If you have no experience with winter driving it might be something to consider. I would think you are pushing it in the time frame you suggest from Kelowna.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

Thanks Gibee... Please suggest what would be a better option for the weekend trip from Kelowna.

Do you suggest Calgary will be a better start point for Banff Gondola, Banff Upper Springs, Lake Louise, Icefields Parkway, Columbia Icefield. Is it possible to cover all these from Calgary on a weekend - 2 day trip on 12th and 13th October.

I have no clue of the local weather and dynamics and hence depend on your advice and guidance.

Cheers. Ashim

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

Calgary to Banff is a 2 hour drive. Calgary to Jasper is a 5 hour drive. Many people without much time travel halfway up the Icefelds Parkway from Banff to the Icefield, then turn around. If you stay around the Banff area and Lake Louise, visiting from Calgary would be doable.

Jasper, Canada
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4. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

Banff is not a day trip from Kelowna. It's almost six hours of driving each way.

Driving from Calgary to the Columbia Icefields is about four hours each way, without stops, so you are looking at a very long day. We normally recommend spending an entire day on the Icefields Parkway drive (from Lake Louise to Jasper) so that you can enjoy as many of the scenic stops (lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, viewpoints etc.) as possible. I would suggest one day for that, and another day for other Banff activities - the gondola, drive up the Bow Valley Parkway to Lake Louise stopping at Johnston Canyon on the way, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake (if the road is open).

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

While I think its doable to drive from Kelowna to Banff on Saturday and then return on Sunday (6 hours of driving on each day) the trip would be more about the driving between Banff and Kelowna and you wouldn't have any time to see the area around Banff. It would just be a road trip. As you are going to Calgary as well, that is by far the more sensible place to see the Rockies from.

Kelowna is in the lovely Okanagan Valley, which is worth seeing all on its own. How far do you think you might drive for one night away? Me, I'd probably limit myself to no more than about 3 hours of driving for one night.

Just looking at the map and one option would be a loop over to Harrison Hot Springs and back, although the drive along highway 3 would be a longer day.

http://goo.gl/maps/knE4V

Another longer loop would be over to the West Kootenay via the Needles ferry

http://goo.gl/maps/5YVZH

Or you could just go to Revlestoke for the weekend. This is an easy 2.5 hr drive in a lovely valley surrounded by mountains and several worthwhile things to do.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

the more I think about it, the more I think a trip to Revelstoke will fit the bill.

http://seerevelstoke.com

Spectacular mountain peaks, beautiful lakes...everything Canada is supposed to be.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

With all due respect V67, that advice may be 'discomfitting' for the OP as it is 'vastly different' from their stated plans. Sorry, but can't ignore the irony.

Kelowna, Canada
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8. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

In the time frame you are looking at it could be difficult drive. Much easier from Calgary. My thoughts are that winter driving may be a new experience for you and to do it in two days is something I would have difficulty doing. What ever, enjoy your time in Kelowna.

Nanaimo, Canada
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9. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

What about heading south from Kelowna, then turn east at Osoyoos to Castlegar, then back north along highway 6 and Slocan Lake, to Nakusp, then a ferry ride across Lower Arrow Lake to Vernon and south.

Winter driving conditions would still apply though. And the time needed may be just as long as a drive to Banff.

Would YOU be the driver, or would your friends be doing the driving? And would it be their own car, or a rental? Some rental companies don't have winter tires.

http://goo.gl/maps/vY5Ha

Hope my map worked!

Jasper, Canada
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10. Re: Kelowna-Banff-Kelowna?

Winter driving? It is possible, but we're talking early October here, and Thanksgiving weekend., so it's not that likely.