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Organising a self-drive itenary

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Organising a self-drive itenary

I am arriving Calgary 16 August and leaving Vancouver 8 days later.

I am planning to stay in Calgary two nights and then drive to Banff for one night carry onto Jasper and then head to Vancouver to stay 3 nights (2 full days) to allow a day trip to the Island.

So I have a couple of nights spare and wish to know where to concentrate the stays in beteeen Calgary and Vancouver. Should it be 2 nights in Jasper for example?

I am not a hiker - just want to see the terrrain and take in the views and key attractions. I like my hotel/accomodation good creature comforts.

Has anyone else done a similar drive/stay trip and suggest things that I definitely should not miss, not be over ambitious and acknowledging that essentially I am a 'towny' from the UK?

Thanks to anyone who can give me a quick response so I can confirm travel arrngements/plan.


Calgary, Alberta...
posts: 3,861
reviews: 3
1. Re: Organising a self-drive itenary


Please, I beg you, do not spend a single night in Calgary. The only exceptions would be if you have pressing reasons to be here (family, business, whatever). Calgary and Edmonton are pleasant enough cities, but they don't hold a candle to the mountains, and they are pale shadows of Vancouver and Victoria, in my opinion. Calgary and/or Edmonton have a place in a longer vacation to Western Canada, but they do not belong on an itinerary that is as short as the one you will be following -- again in my opinion. Naturally, since there are no major airports around Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, you do need to use Calgary or Edmonton (or, for that matter, Vancouver) to access the mountains.

You could try this itinerary. I'll call it the "Rogers Pass Itinerary" because it will allow you to do the beautiful drive from Lake Louise to Golden to Revelstoke on the day that you drive from Lake Louise to Vancouver. Rogers Pass, between Golden and Revelstoke, is a particularly spectacular stretch along that route.


Tue, Aug 16 ��� Arrive Calgary. Drive to Banff.

Wed 17 ��� Jasper

Thu 18 - Jasper

Fri 19 ��� Lake Louise

Sat 20 ��� Lake Louise

Sun 21 - Drive to Vancouver (warning -- this will be a long day's drive)

Mon 22 - Vancouver

Tue 23 - Victoria (Observation. Much as I love Victoria, I'm not sure it deserves a place on an itinerary that's as short as this. I feel Vancouver could use another day, indeed another 2 days. However, if you REALLY want to visit Victoria, I guess this would be the day to do it.)

Wed 24 ��� Fly home

Here is another itinerary to consider.


Tue, Aug 16 ��� Arrive Calgary. Drive to Banff / Lake Louise.

Wed 17 ��� Banff / Lake Louise

Thu 18 - Banff / Lake Louise

Fri 19 ��� Jasper

Sat 20 ��� Jasper

Sun 21 - Drive to Vancouver (As in the previous case, this will be a long day's drive. The drive from Jasper to Kamloops is less scenic than the drive from Lake Louise to Kamloops.)

Mon 22 - Vancouver

Tue 23 - Victoria (or more of Vancouver?)

Wed 24 ��� Fly home.

The things to see in the Banff / Lake Louise corridor include:

In the Lake Louise area : Moraine Lake and Lake Louise

In the Banff area : Johnston Canyon, gondola up Sulphur Mountain

In Yoho National Park (immediately west of Lake Louise) : Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls

Things to see on the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper include Peyto Lake, the Columbia Icefields, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls.

Things to see in the Jasper area include Angel Glacier at Mount Edith Cavell, tramway up Whistlers Mountain, Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake, with the possible inclusion of a cruise across the lake to see Spirit Island.

Note. Many people break the journey from the mountains to Vancouver by spending a night in Revelstoke, Kamloops or Kelowna. However, since you will be trying to fit so much into such a short time, you would use your time more effectively if you were able to compress the drive to Vancouver into a single day. The drive from Lake Louise or Jasper to Vancouver takes 9-1/2 hours, not counting stops. You are assisted slightly by the fact that your day gains an hour when you cross time zones.

Accommodations to consider. Hmmm, I don't know. You haven't stated a price range.

Buffalo Mountain Lodge might do the trick in Banff.

In Lake Louise you could consider, in this order, Baker Creek Chalets, Paradise Lodge and Bungalows, or one of the larger rooms at Deer Lodge.

In Jasper you could consider Alpine Village, Beckers' Chalets, Pine Bungalows, Jasper House Bungalows, Patricia Lake Bungalows, Pyramid Lake Resort, or Jasper Inn.

If you want luxury hotels, you could consider the Fairmont properties in Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper. Also the Rimrock in Banff, and the Post Hotel or Emerald Lake Lodge in the Lake Louise area.

Sorry, I'm not a guru on accommodation in Vancouver. I usually stay with friends when I go there.

Hope that helps.

Calgary, Alberta...
posts: 3,861
reviews: 3
2. Re: Organising a self-drive itenary

Oh, I forgot to mention the stuff you could see in Vancouver.

If you have only a day, see the attractions that are located in the central part of the city : Stanley Park, Robson Street, Yaletown, Granville Island Market.

If you have a second day, visit the North Shore. There you can go to North Vancouver and walk across the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge for free or pay money to walk across the better advertised Capilano Canyon Suspension Bridge. Then you can take the SkyRide up Grouse Mountain. Then you can go to West Vancouver and see Horseshoe Bay and spend however much time you have left driving up Howe Sound.

The Number One thing to see in Victoria is Butchart Gardens. Whale watching cruises out of Victoria also are very popular. The Royal BC Museum is excellent, and the Emily Carr House is very interesting. However, if you do a day trip to Victoria it'll really only be feasible to visit the Butchart Gardens or do a whale watching cruise and wander around the downtown core, which overlooks the charming Inner Harbour, for a little while.

If you use the more affordable bus / ferry combination from Vancouver to Victoria, it takes 3-1/2 hours to get from one downtown core to the other. If you catch the more expensive seaplane, it takes 35 minutes to get from harbour to harbour.