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itinerary for calgary to vancouver

Sydney, Australia
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itinerary for calgary to vancouver

hi all, so we're flying from boston in late september (22nd) and then plan a drive to vancouver via the rockies

1) is it worth doing a day visit to calgary or do we just use it as a platform to get the car and head out? As we arrive in the afternoon perhaps the afternoon to see the town, stay one night and then get a car rental to make a weeks drive to vancouver should be suffice? thoughts?

2) so basically taking 1 week for the drive, is that ok? we stay at a place here and there for 1 night or 2 nights and basically take in the sites/views on the way to vancouver - is this generally how its done with similar trips?

Cheers

seattle
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1. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

late September can get cold in the rockies. 7 days is a very very ltd amount of time to see the Rockies. I wouldn't spend the nite in Calgary. Two day Banff or three including a day trip to Lk Louise and Moraine Lk, Drive the parkway to Jasper. Stay one or two nites then onto Kamloops and Vancouver. Taking more than 7 days will be better so your not so rushed.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

Welcome to the forums, SA21 ~

Basically, taking 5-7 nights for just the Rockies is the way to go. There is so much to see and do.

If you don't have your airfare yet out of Vancouver, then you might consider flying out of Calgary as well. A week is soooo tight to see the Rockies, drive across the province (850 km - I know, I know, you're Aussies, so just an afternoon drive!) and spend any time in Vancouver.

If you have booked your airfare into Calgary and out of Vancouver, then perhaps the following:

Drive immediately to Banff

3 nights Banff

one full day on the Icefields Parkway

2 nights Jasper

1 night Kamloops

1 night Vancouver.

It would look like this on a map: http://goo.gl/maps/EsDXf

Everything is scenic here and well worth a good chunk of time. The above route is arguably a good use of your limited time but, from Jasper along Hwy 16, then Hwy 5 and Hwy 1 down to the coast, the least interesting, IMO. Because of this, the choice of flying in and out of Calgary will give you a much better experience of, in and through the Rockies.

Drive immediately to Banff

3 nights Banff - day trip to Lake Louise

One full day on the IP

3 nights Jasper - half day trip to Mt Robson to the west

one additional bonus day on the IP

1 final night Banff to position yourself for the 2 hour drive to Calgary airport.

It would look like this on a map: http://goo.gl/maps/GzuKD

There are some places to look on this forum. To the right side, you will find a collection of itineraries (Trip Reports) that are very informative. And you will find another article about what's the best route between Calgary and Vancouver.

Let us know if you have any room to move with this time frame.

www.icefieldsparkway.ca

pc.gc.ca/eng/…visit38.aspx -- this shows you why you need a couple of full days on the Icefields Parkway. There is a link to a PDF legible version of the map just below the map image that you see.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

thanks guys and MuftiMixandmatch - 850km might seem like an afternoon drive but i know my limits for this haha :)

we havent' booked our tickets but we're coming in from Boston so assume the logical move would be to fly into calgary and then go from there. as we arrive by 2pm i think, i suppose we can technically get the car and then drive up to our 1st destination (Jasper sounds like the first point)

and wow, ok so we haven't booked our flight from vancouver - basically we'll be heading down to san fran so was thinking calgary > rockies > vancouver > fly to san fran, so reckon its not worth seeing vancouver and just doing the round trip around rockies then fly from calgary to san fran?

guess next part will be accommodation - sadly its going to be tight as we're not looking at hotels or anything expensive (currently most of our acommodation on the east coast of usa is via airbnb to save money and also get interaction from a local point of view)

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

oh i guess with our timing, we'll be going towards end of summer but hopefully this doesn't mean it will get mega cold - just enough for us to do our walks in some nice sunny weather i hope? :)

Jasper, Canada
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5. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

Regarding airbnb, you won't find very many listings for Banff and Jasper since there are local business licensing requirements for people to host visitors in their homes - if they are going to charge money, then they are running a business and they are required to be inspected (for compliance with health, building and fire safety codes), insured and licensed. In addition, because the towns are in national parks, there are residency restrictions for homes, which sit on leaseholds of government-owned land, so "vacation rentals" are not legal. There was some info posted a few days ago about one of these in Banff, and the OP included a link to the VRBO listing. Since the listing gives the street name and the address is clearly visible in the photos of the house, it is quite likely to come to the attention of the authorities; in cases like that, the visitor is taking a chance that there won't be any local enforcement and that the rental will still be available when they arrive.

But this kind of accommodation is well established in both towns - in Banff as B&B, or in a few cases as small backyard cabins, which you'll find at www.banfflakelouise.com (along with all other accommodation) and in Jasper as "private home accommodations" or PHA, at www.stayinjasper.com . www.bbcanada.com is also a national directory where you will find many of these listed.

I would recommend time in Vancouver over time in Calgary, but with only 7 days, all you have time for is a brief overview. As mentioned, we usually recommend a minimum of 5 to 7 days in the Rockies (either 3 & 2, or 4 & 3, Banf & Jasper respectively) ... this gives you time to see the main tourist sites in the two parks and do a few activities, but you could also fill an entire week in either park. It's not really the towns that are the attractions; they are just a base for the parks.

You can drive from the Rockies to Vancouver in one day, but we usually recommend two, and there is also lots to see and do on the way; this could be an entire vacation in itself. So I guess you have to make some tough decisions as to what your priorities are.

As to weather, our summer weather here in the Rockies is often very similar to the winter weather in Sydney or Brisbane (I have friends in both, and we often marvel at our similar weather on the same day and our very different perspectives on it!) In September, expect daytime highs in mid-teens to mid-20's, and night-time lows possibly to freezing. (Heck, that's also a description of our usual summer weather!)

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

As noted already above, it is usually recommended that you spend 5 - 7 days spread between Banff and Jasper NPs in order to have the time to see these magnificent world heritage parks. The downside is the cost of accommodation in this area - the more days you spend, the more expensive it gets. Some people save a bit by staying in Canmore instead of Banff, and there are home accommodations in Jasper that are a bit less, but you really have to just bite the bullet if you want to see this area. Its not worth coming if you are not going to see it.

I have to agree that you really don't have time to see Vancouver and the coast as well. That's a two week visit on its own, so save it for another time. Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Washington State and the Oregon coast can be the next trip. :>

Greater Sydney...
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7. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

G'day mate,

Great advice above from a couple of great advisers (~~ waves to both ~~). Regarding leaving Calgary to head to Jasper I would not recommend that. It will be after 3 pm when you get out of the airport, the drive is straight through 5 hours on one of the most scenic roads in the world (National Geographic) and sunset will be about 7:30 pm. I would suggest you drive to Banff on the first day. Calgary has nothing (except our daughter living there) compared to the Rockies.

(Edit) ~~ to Vancouverite as well ~~

Edited: 02 June 2013, 23:46
Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

thanks all

so we've revised our trip and we'll skip vancouver out of the trip and we'll do this another time. So we'll be flying into Calgary from Boston on an early flight arriving at 10:30am so technically we can do the following itinerary;

Drive immediately to Banff

3 nights Banff - day trip to Lake Louise

One full day on the IP

3 nights Jasper - half day trip to Mt Robson to the west

one additional bonus day on the IP

1 final night Banff to position yourself for the 2 hour drive to Calgary airport.

It would look like this on a map: http://goo.gl/maps/GzuKD

some questions about the above but will our trip be mostly going to parks, walking about taking shots of the scenery yeah?

was thinking we drive from calgary and then head to canmore (will be done via airbnb) -is the ok/

3 days in Banff to check out the walks and stuff? (including 1 day trip to lake louise)

1 day on IP - (so IP is just the scenic drive and ive got the pdf thanks krp329, do we stop along the way for anything else than taking shots? looks like some picnic places to go etc

Also the link to the accommodation was great - hopefully i'll be able to enquire some places and try get some cheap accommodations

so the plan would be in total

22nd Sept - Arrive in calgary then drive to Canmore - check into airbnb accom and relax and check out the local town

23rd - Banff

24th - Baniff

25th - Lake Louise

26th - Check out and do IP, arrive in Jasper

27th/28th/29th - 3 nights Jasper - half day trip to Mt Robson to the west

30th - check out Jasper and one day in IP, drive to calgary for one night

1st October - flight out from Calgary to San Fran

Does this sound ok now?

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

I'm seeing 4 nights Canmore, 4 nights Jasper and 1 night Calgary. Looks fine.

Be careful with airbnb. There have been some reports in the papers of scams going on (Québec) so eyes wide open there. The company seems to have good customer protection, but that comes after you've arrived to find out things are not what you thought. It may be that Canmore has regulations in place that krp can speak to.

I'm glad you will find the PDF helpful.

I hope you have an enjoyable trip with many wildlife spottings.

10. Re: itinerary for calgary to vancouver

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