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Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

portsmouth england
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Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

Last minute opportunity to vist Vancouver/Rockies for 16-18 nights starting middle of August with 2 teens 17 and 19 and 2 drivers. Looking at fly drive into Vancouver and out of Calgary(or reverse) Which is better or is there really no difference?

Need to include couple of days golf for the guys and trailriding/ATV/rafting/snocoach /zipline as we travel.

17 yr old has some mobility issues so no long or steep or more than half day hikes .

Thinking of

1 Vancouver 3nights

2 whistler 1 night

3 gold bridge 2nights

4 clearwater 2nights

5 jasper 3nights

6 banff /lake louise 3nights

7 calgary or close 1night

Picked this as it seems to be reasonably spaced route for driving but not sure about stop offs chosen particularly 2,3,4, so if there are better places or our stays are too long or too short please say

I did look at adding in Vancouver Island but thought the distances and ferry times might make that too much crammed in

We will be flying from UK so will have some jet lag I expect.

If there are any good local tour operators that could assist in putting this together could you PM me The ones I have found on the internet seem to prefer to use 5* hotels which we don't need or camp which we can't do. Looking for something in between and hopefully not all chain hotels.

Any suggestions would be great

Nanaimo, Canada
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1. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

There is not a whole lot in Gold Bridge or Clearwater. Can I assume you are wanting to go here for the horseback riding, trailriding???

Clearwater is again, not much there, but there is Wells Grey Park, a beautiful area to explore.

And yes, adding in Vancouver Island will be exhausting for sure. Beautiful, but you would need to leave something else out....or need that holiday once you got home!

Gold Bridge and Clearwater won't have a lot of choices for hotels/motels either, and given the short notice, you will need to book something soon! It is a busy time of year in B. C. as the kids are not back to school until September.

You may want to think about starting in Calgary, touring Banff area first, only because it will be somewhat warmer then. A couple of weeks can make a huge difference when you are in the mountains.

And besides, from Calgary to Vancouver is "downhill" all the way ;o)

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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2. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

It's a good itinerary, not too fast paced. I agree, adding in Vancouver Island (which is beautiful and could be a full 1 or 2 week holiday in itself) would be too much.

If you are looking for a packaged holiday, try googling "fly/drive holiday" or similar. When I think "local tour operators", I think of small local companies that offer day excursions. Maybe you need a travel agent to set up a personalized itinerary for you. I think perhaps Brewster Vacations over here (based in Banff) does that sort of thing, and on your side of the pond, there are outfits like Inghams and Canadian Affair that do packages in western Canada. (According to some reports here in the forums, Cdn Affair seems to have better car rental rates than many, with a smaller, or no, one-way fee.) But with the help of all of us here in the forums, you could set it all up yourself, without a "middle man".

ATVing is not permitted in the national parks, so you will want to arrange that for somewhere other than Jasper or Banff. There are golf courses all over western Canada; the courses here in the Rockies at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and the Fairmont Banff Springs are quite famous, and sometimes have unique "hazards" (elk, grizzly bears, coyotes etc.). There are many horseback riding outfits in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper; they all offer a "nose to tail" guided ride experience, which is great for beginners, but may not suit you if you are experienced horsey people.

You'll find all accommodation options for Banff and Lake Louise listed at www.banfflakelouise.com and can compare with reviews here on TripAdvisor. That website has a great search function - you plug in your dates and it will pop up a list of all the places that have availability, with rates. Jasper hotels and cabins are at www.jasper.travel and private home accommodations (PHA)/B&Bs are at www.stayinjasper.com . PHA is a room or suite (sometimes a full apartment with kitchen) in a residents' home; they are typically much more economical than a hotel stay.

I would suggest getting on with booking accommodations, especially in the Rockies, since it's the more popular and better value accommodations that book up earliest, and your trip starts in less than a month. Depending on your needs and your budget, you may find availability getting limited already.

Vancouver
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3. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

Your trip is definitely doable, however I would do it slightly differently. Either direction is good. But, as JOan mentioned, BC is vast with long stretches of absolutely unbelievable scenery, but not a lot in the way of amenities. We absolutely love driving trips, and one of my most favorite is the route north of Whistler through to Lillooet.

If I were doing this trip, I would drive longer each day, and then settle in my destinations a little longer and make day trips from there. The destinations I would choose would have lots of amenities, options for activities, etc.

1) Vancouver then 2 hour drive to Whistler

2) Whistler (you can Zipline in Vancouver at Grouse Mountain, or in Whistler)

3) From Whistler I would either drive to 108 Mile House (5 hours), Clinton (3.5 hours), or Ashcroft (5 hours). I would stay at one of the following if possible:

108 Mile House – Hills Guest Ranch http://hillsguestranch.com/ (this would be my preference)

Clinton – Sundance Guest Ranch http://www.sundanceguestranch.com/

Ashcroft – Big Bar Ranch http://www.bigbarranch.com/

4) Then I would travel from there to Jasper (6 hours from 108 Mile House, 7 hours from Clinton, and 6.5 hours from Ashcroft). This is one of the reasons I would choose 108 Mile House over the others, it is closer to Jasper. I have also stayed at the Hills Guest Ranch and it was lots of fun.

5) Then Banff

6) Then Calgary

This itinerary has you sleeping in 6 places as opposed to 7, so you can spread your nights out according to the activities you want to do in each place. Driving will be a little longer, but honestly, there isn’t a lot to do in some of the smaller towns along the way except gas up.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

Gold Bridge is right out - logging service roads to get there and I'm pretty sure none of those are paved. Your car insurance will prevent you from driving on unsealed roads. Was there something particular about Gold Bridge that was drawing you there? You have almost a week between Gold Bridge and Clearwater - what on earth were you planning to do?

With 16 - 17 days, you have a good length of time, especially when you are planning a one-way trip (good choice). Heading to Vancouver Island for 4 - 5 nights seems like a really good plan, even though it means looping around a bit.

If you have the budget and the ferry schedule works out for you, you could look at this trip:

http://goo.gl/maps/hbt6

Which includes this overnight trip:

http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/discovery/

Lets see if the math works out here:

Vancouver 3 nights

Tofino 3 nights

Telegraph Cove 2 nights

Ferry 1 night

Tatla Lake (or Nimko or somewhere like that) 1 night

100 Mile House 1 night

Jasper 3 nights (that's going to be about 7 hrs of traveling, so a longer day)

Banff 4 nights

So thats....17 nights! Its doable.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

If that itinerary looks a little intimidating, then I would look at spending some time in the Okanagan and the Kootenays rather than that week you have dedicated to Gold Bridge/Clearwater.. Something like this:

http://goo.gl/maps/RzeP

This would have you doing the Icefields Parkway twice, which is totally worth it. Either of my suggestions could easily be done in reverse if the scheduling works better that way. Accommodations are going to be tight at this late stage, especially in Banff/Jasper, so I would seriously get those dates booked soon.

You don't need an agency unless you really don't want to do this yourself. We expect you to do your own legwork around here, but we'll make sure you get something good put together. :>

portsmouth england
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6. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

Thanks so much to everyone for all this info. I had replied last night but must have been so tired I forgot to send as this morning it wasn't there!

We are definitely starting in Van and ending in Calgary as flight times better and cheaper.

Looking at rentals in Vancouver and Whistler

It seems to be between Kitsilano,Yaletown.and Commercial Drive? but right near the shore there.

Any views on what might be best . It would be good if teens could get out and about locally with a few things to keep them occupied and we would not have a car for Vancouver.

You were right about Jasper and Banff and the search links pprovided were great and saved loads of time altho B and B when you need 3 separate beds is almost impossible this late

Have posted on Jasper forum with just about the only available options in budget

Overlander mountain Lodge

Marmot lodge

Moligne Lodge

And in Banff

Am looking at Charltons Cedar Ct

Banff Beaver lodges and

Bannf Y lodge I know this will be basic but it seems to be central and cheap and will try to get feedback from Banff forum too

If any of you know these places please let me know what you think

I am sorry the original itinerary must have raised a few eyebrows! I had included Gold Bridge as it was on one of the tour itineraries i had (For 3 nights) and seemed to have lots of activities there but on closer investigation these were all based at the one resort Tyax and so we have ruled it out especially so after reading the posts!

Looking now at extending Vancouver by 1 or 2 nights as we won't be there until evening onthe first day and adding maybe side trip to V Island prob just Victoria and whale watch.

Any good early morning activities for our 1st day when on previous experience we will be raring to go by 0630

Whistler as before

Clinton /100mile house

depending on main driver 1 night just to break the journey

Thanks for the recommend for 100 mile house I have looked at that and Sundance and if just me and teen that would have been great but the other 2 are pretty much allergic to horses...we would prob ride while they golf possible at Sundance but probably wasted for one night.

Wells Grey/Clearwater 2nights

Yet to look for accomodation

Jasper

Banff/

Calgary as before

Does this seem like a better plan?

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

I was going to say... there are some incredible wild western style horse ranches in/around Gold Bridge. I think most people assumed you were going there as a random dot on the map - they didn't know that you're going there because of a resort/ranch. I wouldn't necessarily skip it - the scenery there is truly spectacular. I'm not familiar with Tyax, but Chilcotin Holidays is supposed to be incredible (and they're based out of Gold Bridge too):

http://www.chilcotinholidays.com/

p.s. I've never been to Chilcotin Holidays but had considered going there years ago.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

Yes, that's a great plan. Very achievable and some interesting country. 100 Mile house is a little bit past your turn off to go across to Clearwater, but only a little. Of the two, I think Clinton is the more interesting town (you can do a "drive through" on Google Streetview to get a feel for the two different places) and it has a very good museum that's worth a bit of time. I think there are fewer accommodation choices around Clinton, but for one night I'm sure you can find something that works.

When we were at Wells Grey a couple of years ago, we stayed here:

http://www.helmckenfalls.com/home

The location was good - very close to the park gates - and it was a serviceable place. The staff were courteous and the prices were reasonable. I talked to someone who stayed in the cabins (we were camping) and they said they were nice enough. Not a 5-star place by any means, but good value.

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

I think too ambitious. If you motorhead from Edmonton to Vancouver you are looking at 12 plus hour drive. I would really spend time in Whistler (for all the outdoor activities) and Vancouver, and then spend more time in the Rockies (e.g. Banff-Lake Lousie-Japser).

Not sure what your plans are in Gold Bridge but it's up on the Hurley Road... the Chilcotins are beautiful but you will need a 4x4 to get there...Clearwater has Wells Grey Park a 30k drive in from Hwy 1...so again what are your plans here?

Hiking the Coast Mountains (e.g. Whistler/North Shore/Fraser Valley) are more difficult and technical (IMHO) than the Rockies, so if you 17 yr old has mobility issues, save hiking for the Rockies...

Edited: 22 July 2012, 19:54
Nanaimo, Canada
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10. Re: Is this itinerary doable and should we try to do it!

Yaletown and Kits Beach area would be good for the teens. I would think Yaletown would be that bit better because of being closer to downtown and more walkable.

6:30 in the a. m... after breakfast, head to Stanley Park and walk around the seawall! Maybe check the night before, about renting bikes. I doubt they are open that early, but you never know!

If you choose Kits area, there is the Planetarium, the Maritime Museum, and the wonderful beaches. You could walk across Burrard Street Bridge to downtown, but it is a looong walk back after a long day. Of course, there are lots of buses that go over the bridge too. And don't forget Granville Island Market too. It's a nice walk from Kits to the Granville Island. There are also the cute little boats to get you from the downtown side to Granville Island.

I would not bother with Commercial Drive at all.