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12 days from Vancouver

Sandwich, United...
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12 days from Vancouver

Hi

I am looking at a 12 day trip next May from Vancouver as follows:

arrive Vancouver 1 nights

en route to Jasper 1 night

Jasper 3 nights

Lake Louise 1 night

Banff 3 nights

en route to Vancouver 1 night

Vancouver 2 nights

Do you think this sounds ok? I'm not sure where we should stay en route in both directions but would prefer smaller scenic places rather than the likes of Kamloops. Any help and suggestions would be most appreciated, thank you

Edmonton
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1. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

Overall I would say it looks pretty good. On the way to Jasper you could consider Clearwater and maybe have time to poke around in Wells Gray Provinical Park. On the way from Banff to Vancouver you could look at either Salmon Arm or Sicamous. May can still be pretty early in the mountain parks

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

I agree with Chipin, it looks like a decent itinerary. But do be aware that May is early spring in the mountain parks: most hiking trails at the upper elevations will be choked with snow, and Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Maligne Lake will have ice on them instead of the classic turquoise waters. On the plus side, the snow lingering on the mountaintops but not blanketing the mountains makes for some of the most awesome mountain views and photos in my opinion.

Be prepared for very cool mornings, with the temperature hovering around 0C until the sun heats things up a bit.

Jasper, Canada
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3. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

Banff and Lake Louise are only 45 minutes' apart by car, so you might want to just stay 4 nights in Banff.

Sandwich, United...
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4. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

Thank you all for your help.

I seems to be that you all think May is early for this trip. Would there be problems with snow and road conditions or even activities? We are cruising on the 22nd May and thought of doing this trip prior to that, maybe we should do it after? Again your opion would help. Thanks

Doylestown...
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5. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

If you have the option to do this trip after your cruise, I would support that plan as opposed to doing it before your cruise. There will still be plenty of snow around for the superb scenery and photography, but the extra 3-4 weeks in time allows for more of a thaw at lower levels. Of course the weather can be unpredictable - I was in Lake Louise on June 21 one year where the temperature rarely got above freezing and we were in Revelstoke in mid-late August last year but still managed to see the wildflowers in full bloom, one month after their normal bloom time.

Greater Sydney...
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6. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

Assuming that you are doing a 7 day cruise Vancouver return, that will bring you back at about the same time the we visited the Rockies last year. As such, I agree with all the above advice; still cold (we recorded 1c driving on the Icefields Parkway June 6 2008 near Bow Lake), but LL and Payto Lakes were, IMO, more spectacular being 3/4 thawed (see my photos in my profile) and the mountains were indeed spectacular with their snow caps.

Mostly the weather was great, but chilly, and I could certainly recommend late May early June, although conditions vary from time to time so don't hold me to it. :)

I also agree that your timing is pretty good for the road trip. Can't comment on the Vancouver/Jasper leg, as we flew into Calgary, then did Banff/Jasper/Golden/Kelowna/Vancouver.I think you could take off a day from LL and just stay at Banff, and you could consider the return trip to Vancouver through the Okanagan (Kelowna) area. It is quite different, and beautiful, country in direct contrast to the Rockies. If you do consider the Okanagan route, perhaps Penticton would be a good place to stay. We stayed in Kelowna and would have preferred a smaller place.

Sandwich, United...
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7. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

Thanks, yet once again. Even though our trip is not until next May/June I'm getting excited by your comments! Reading all your comments we have now decided to drive after the cruise and to extend the drive to 14 days, giving us an extra day on the drive each way out of and into Vancouver. Does anyone know two different routes we could take from Vancouver into and out of the Rockies now we have extended to two nights stop each way. We like smaller, picturesque places rather than large towns.

Again thanking you all in advance.

Jasper, Canada
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8. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

Maddiemoo, you're not likely to have problems with roads having snow or winter driving conditions etc. in May ... although it is possible to get snowed on in May, and there will still be snowbanks at higher elevations along the Icefields Parkway, it's not likely that there will be any snow on the roads or that any falling snow will accumulate. However, up at higher elevations, like Lake Louise (~5600 ft) and above, it is still very early spring, and the winter's snow will not yet have all melted. The ice usually comes off the lake at the end of May or early June. Moraine Lake, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake are even higher, consequently thaw a bit later. I hiked to the Lake Agnes teahouse on June 17 this year (one of the famous hikes near Lake Louise) and the lake (at 7,000 ft) was still about 90% ice-covered.

To give you another indication of the season, in the Jasper area, at about 3400 ft, the deciduous trees (aspen, birch) don't usually leaf out until toward the end of the month.

You don't say when in May you want to come but that can also make a difference in what you can see - the road to Moraine Lake, for instance, doesn't open until around the middle of the month. In the Jasper area, the Miette Hot Springs don't open until the May long weekend (Victoria Day, which is May 17 in 2010 - that weekend will be busy in the resorts; be sure to book ahead).

Whether May is too early or not really depends on what you want to do while you are here. The mountains are gorgeous all year round, and if you only plan to sightsee, mostly by car, coming in May will be fine (although you won't see the colours of the glacial waters), and the advantage of coming then is it is less crowded and hotel rates are cheaper. If you are coming to do a lot of hiking, especially into the subalpine or alpine regions, then it is definitely too early, although there are still plenty of lower elevation hiking options.

Although May and June were definitely cool this year (and last, as Frommy pointed out), we also can get very warm, summery weather too (but cold nights, regardless). You just never know.

9. Re: 12 days from Vancouver

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