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Trip from Seattle to Banff

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New Jersey
posts: 46
reviews: 17
Trip from Seattle to Banff

We will be visiting our son in Seattle and would like to leave from there to visit Banff via car before continuing on to Calgary to fly home. We hope to spend about 8 days on this trip. I have seen plenty of itineraries from Vancouver, but would the recommended trip differ much if one were leaving from Seattle rather than Vancouver? We are a middle aged couple traveling without children and are more interested in the scenery than extensive hiking. Thanks very much for any suggestions.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 39,679
reviews: 54
1. Re: Trip from Seattle to Banff

What time of year are you planning for?

There are a couple of "routes" that you could consider for getting to Banff from Seattle. You can either head north into BC and then follow the ideas of the itineraries that you have read. Or you could cross I90 to the east across WA State toward Spokane, then north. But if you are going that far east, it would be a really good idea to consider going a bit further to Glacier NP in MT, then north.

Here's a map of both routes. In the left sidebar you will see "suggested routes." You have to hover your mouse over each one to get the blue line to move.


If travelling across WA State is a possibility, you might post your question on the WA State Forum as well. Just for additional points of view.

I think you will find a one way drop fee for dropping a car in Canada will be quite discouraging. If you find it extortionate, you might take Amtrak Cascades from Seattle up to Vancouver, then rent the car from there. You will still pay a one way drop fee but you might find it less expensive. Worth checking out.

Edited: 2:46 pm, June 12, 2013
New Jersey
posts: 46
reviews: 17
2. Re: Trip from Seattle to Banff


Vancouver, Canada
posts: 17,281
reviews: 53
3. Re: Trip from Seattle to Banff

Eight days isn't a huge amount of time for this trip. I think its pretty important to include Jasper in your plans for this area, and you want to spend at least 4 or 5 days here, leaving you with only three to get from Seattle to near Banff. This isn't unreasonable, but it does mean that you're just going to get in the car and go, it won't really be a tour.

Perhaps you might be better off to fly from Seattle to somewhere closer to Banff/Jasper? Perhaps flights in and out of Kalispell, Montana? That way you can avoid the one-way drop fee on the car.

4. Re: Trip from Seattle to Banff

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