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Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

Sydney, Australia
2 posts
2 reviews
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Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

Hi, We are from Australia and planning a 3 week trip to Canada in July this year. As part of this we will spend a week in the Rockies and a day or two in Calgary to see the Stampede at the end.

At this stage we are thinking about renting an RV for the camping experience as we have 2 kids (4 and 7). We are thinking 2-3 days Banff, 1 day Lake Louise, 1 day Icefields Hwy and 2-3 days in Jasper. Also interested in knowing what is a must see in Kootenay and maybe Yoho?

As we will be in an RV and you need one to get around, how do we reserve a campsite (physically) and then still use our RV? Many of the forums say you need to be there by 11am to get a site - well once there do we need to stay there with our RV for the rest of the day or can we drive it away and no one will take our spot? Also do we need full hookups or can we mix it up. What sort of power does an RV have of its own for an evening? Can anyone recommend the campsites they have found to be fantastic within these areas?

Thanks for your help

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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1. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

Hi and welcome to the TripAdvisor forums!

I don't know if you will be in the Rockies for any holiday weekends - those are extra busy. There is one at the beginning of July (July 1, Canada Day, is the holiday) and the beginning of August (first Monday in August). If either of those weekends falls in your holiday, a reservation would be a good idea, or else plan to be in place before the weekend and stay put unless you have a reservation elsewhere.

Once you are registered in a campsite, there is usually a little post where your camping permit goes. This shows that the site is occupied, usually with your departure date on it. Of course, if you camp at the larger campgrounds that have staff, they keep track of which sites are already rented and won't send someone else to your site. If it is a self-registration campground, you pick up a registration envelope near the entry (there is usually a map, the forms, and a secure place to drop your payment in), drive around and find an unoccupied site, fill out the form and tear off and post the permit, and then drop your payment envelope into the secure box.

It's usually a good idea to leave something behind at your site when you are away with the RV, like a tablecloth clipped to the picnic table, or a couple of chairs.

There are not very many campgrounds in the national parks with full hook-ups, and they are the bigger, busier campgrounds and those sites do book up. If you go to the camping page for whichever park you want info for (www.pc.gc.ca is the main Parks Canada site and then you can navigate to the park in question, and then from the menus "Visitor Information/where to stay/camping"), there is a list of all the campgrounds in each park, with amenities, location, number of sites etc. etc. Whether you want the convenience of having hook-ups, or whether you prefer the smaller campgrounds further away from towns, or a mix of the two, is entirely your preference.

I am not a RV'er (have only been once, many years ago) so I can't give you many tips about RVing; others here will chime in tomorrow, I am sure. There is battery power from the vehicle's battery, which will re-charge when you are driving the next day - but obviously you don't want to run your battery too low.

You will probably also find some useful info in this "Traveller's Article": tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g659487-c104900/Canadi…

Amsterdam, The...
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2. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

2pm is usually a good time to check into a campground and reserve a spot. On holiday weekends an early reservation is a good idea.

On-line reservations for national park campgrounds: www.pccamping.ca

Phone reservations: 1-877-737-3783

There are only a few(the bigger ones) campgrounds in the parks that are reservable, but they will also hold a number of sites on first-come-first-served.

The big campground in Lake Louise(LL trailer park) lies right next to the railtracks and the trains will wake you up(or keep you awake), so earplugs are recommended.

You don't a full hook-up, there's only one camping in Banff National Park that supplies them and two more with electrical hook-ups anyway.

Without hook-up you can't use your microwave and your heating and, of course, your outlets have no power.

The fridge works on gas. The lights and car radio/cd work on the second battery, so they won't drain yous car battery.

All campgrounds have a sani-dump and a water filling station(the water, however is not always potable).

My favorite campgrounds:

Banff:

Two Jack Lakeside

Johnston Canyon

Castle Mountain

Lake Louise and Yoho:

Mosquito Creek

Monarch

Jasper:

Whistlers

Snaring River

Honeymoon Lake

Jonas Creek

You find a lot of information about RV travelling in Canada on:

www.gorving.ca

Amsterdam, The...
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3. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

"The fridge works on gas" - gas as in propane.

Edmonton, Canada
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57 reviews
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4. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

you mention spending a day or two in calgary for the stampede. almost all of calgary gets books up for the stampede. if you want hotel reservations you better make them now. you might want to check out this forum which is totally geared to rving http://www.rv.net/forum/

Blind Bay, BC
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1,002 posts
6 reviews
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5. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

Here is a website that has reviews of RV parks :

http://www.rvparkreviews.com/

Book your RV sites sooner than later.. Especially if you want to visit the stampede in Calgary.

rv.net/forum/…26842833.cfm

Cranbrook, Canada
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2 posts
141 reviews
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6. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

Its a brilliant way to see canada! We are back in may for 3 weeks - our 8th time! We have never found rv parks overbooked except on public holiday weekends. There are always plenty of spaces and plenty of parks. However it pays to have a look on the internet abd plan your intinerary a little bit, www.travelalberta.com is a good site. Also if you haven't booked your rv try www.motorhomebookers.com. have used these for our last 4 trips and they offer the biggest selection / best prices. Don't be fooled into thinking you can get it cheaper last minute / on the day - you will not! The internet is a great wealth of info about places to visit etc. Good luck and hope you enjoy it. You will become hooked!,

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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25,693 posts
86 reviews
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7. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

Yes, if you will be staying in Calgary during Stampede Week, book your campsite or hotel room ASAP, or you may find you're out of luck.

http://www.albertawow.com/ is also a good site for info on Alberta campgrounds.

Sydney, Australia
2 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

Thanks for your response. Just the information I needed.

Alberta, Canada
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320 posts
66 reviews
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9. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

Before purchasing our fifth wheel, we read the rv forums for about 6 months before & after, and they are still our go-to sites when we need a question answered. As some posters have mentioned, forums like rv.net & gorviing are great - a wealth of information from filling/dumping your tanks to just about anything you need to know (and didn't know you needed to know). If you run into a problem during your trip, a quick question to the rv forums will usually yield a quick response. Keep in mind that while it's nice to have the room in a larger rv, it will be more expensive fuel wise and will be harder to manoeuver & park. You will need to decide what size will work best for you. Also, I would keep a large jug of drinking water on hand, just in case the campground water isn't potable and when you do your walk-thru/prep, be sure to take notes! I've read some horror stories about people who have rented from shady rv rental agencies and it ruined their vacation, so be sure to do thorough reviews before plunking down your money. Because of the cost of fuel here, we don't travel too far with our fifth wheel and when we go on road trips, we find it cheaper to 'motel it' rather than pay the cost of fuel & campgrounds. But RViiing is wonderful and I think you will have a great time!

Cranbrook, Canada
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2 posts
141 reviews
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10. Re: Canadian Rockies Trip - First Time Travelling in an RV

also have a look at wwwcruisecanada.com, they have some great advice about rv rentals and even have orientation videos about rvs - great help if your new to it.

can also recommend these as a good company to hire from - reliable motors and very helpful

Edited: 09 April 2013, 19:22