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7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

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Dublin, Ireland
posts: 194
reviews: 16
7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

Hi all Forum readers, thank you in advance for any information and taking the time to read this.

We are planning roughly a 21 day trip to Canada in May 2015 from Dublin and we are looking to plan ahead for a trip around the Rockies, I don't wish to drive as I view this as a holiday (smiles) and I do know its probably the best way to view the Rockies.

What we hope to do is, pick up some sort of tour between Calgary and Vancouver and your help on this would of course be great. We would like to stay one or two days at each of the following, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Kamlopps, Whistler. Is there many tour companies around that do this road trip as a tour ??. Any suggestions would be great.

We have most of the rest of our trip planned with stays in Toronto, Niagra Falls and Vancouver, we will more that likely take in a cruise also so any advice would be great.

Again thank you for reading this.

Edmonton, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
posts: 1,784
reviews: 3
1. Re: 7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies


First, I think you are probably best driving. With any tour, you will be restricted to their stops and see a lot less than you would with the freedom to stop when you want.

Also, I would cut down on your stops - 7 to 10 days is really just enough to drive through from Vancover and see the Rockies (neither Whistler or Kamloops are in the Rockies). The advice is generally to skip Whistler if you are going to the Rockies - it's not nearly as impressive and your time is better spent in Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper.

I would look at spending at least 2-3 nights in each of Jasper and Banff. Otherwise you will be doing more travel than getting to enjoy the sights. I would try to drive or find a tour that goes from Vancouver to Jasper, then down the Icefields to Banff, then explore Banff/Lake Louise/Yoho.

Dublin, Ireland
posts: 194
reviews: 16
2. Re: 7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

Many thanks Ksneds for your reply and advise. As I stated, while I know its the best way to view the Rockies, we will not be driving.

As our trip is not until May 2015 and no flights booked yet, based on your tips and just to get some experience of the Rockies, would we be better flying into Calgary, somehow getting to Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper staying maybe 2/3 nights in each, heading back to Calgary and fly on to Vancouver to pick up a cruise. We are also considering maybe via rail from Jasper to Vancouver. We can also do it the other way from Vancouver of course, but what is the best way of getting to these places.

I am sure there must be tours also from all these places that will give us a taste of the Rockies.

Again, any advise would be great but bare in mind we will not be driving.

Thanks in advance.

Greater Sydney...
posts: 9,667
reviews: 61
3. Re: 7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

G'day IrishDave,

You do realise that Lake Louise will still be frozen over in May, as well as all the other high mountain lakes such as Bow, Peyto and Moraine. I fact there will also still some areas where the attractions would not yet be accessible such as Moraine and perhaps Peyto, and Mt Edith Cavell near Jasper.

Tours of the Rockies will "give you a taste" but why not have the main course? Fly to Calgary and rent a car and do the rest by yourselves. You would get far, far greater enjoyment out of that I would think.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 37,612
reviews: 54
4. Re: 7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

In May it will be cold overnight, the lakes will be covered in ice, there will be an amount of snow on the ground and on the trails.

If you are not going to be driving, I would choose a circle loop out of Calgary over 7-8 nights, then fly to Vancouver. VIA Rail leaves from Jasper for Vancouver and half the journey is overnight. So because you are taking a cruise, I for one, would not recommend you start from Vancouver, take a 20 hour train journey (half in the dark) to Jasper, then sightsee, get to Calgary and return to Vancouver. I think you can make more out of your time in the Rockies by flying 1.5 hours to Calgary and touring the Rockies from there. Well, you'd get an additional 20 hours for one thing.

There are airport shuttles from Calgary airport to Banff, LL and Jasper. Brewster (link below) runs the Brewser Banff Airport Express. There is also Banff Airporter: http://www.banffairporter.com

Have a look at Brewster for possible coach tours in and around Banff, the Icefields Parkway, and Jasper.


And Sun Dog Tours whose summer tours seem to start either May 1 or April 25 or thereabouts. So that's all good.


Edit: not as fast a typist!

Edited: 2:05 am, April 23, 2014
Edmonton, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
posts: 1,784
reviews: 3
5. Re: 7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

At least for the shuttles between Banff & Jasper, SunDogs runs shuttles through April and then Brewsters starts handling the shuttles on May 1. Not sure about the formal tours.

+1 about the comments regarding it being very early in the season. If you have flexibility in your plans, I would try to schedule the Rockies as late as possible in your trip. That will give you the best chance to do a little hiking and not face really wintry weather. By the end of May, Maligne Lake may be thawed and you'd have a much better chance of being able to walk on some trails near Lake Louise.

I do agree that a tour will be limiting - there are lots of variations on the theme, but they tend to be in larger buses and make stops for limited periods of time. So you really aren't able to do any real hikes or explore anywhere but the set stops. That means you miss a lot of what makes the Rockies so spectacular.

Unless you have reason that you absolutely cannot drive, you really should re-consider at least for the Icefields portion of the trip. The driving is not stressful - speed limits are relatively low, roads not that twisty and you'd have the time to do what you wanted.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,687
reviews: 75
6. Re: 7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

I hope this page on going car-free in Banff will give you some assistance:


I'm not familiar with tours from Vancouver to Calgary, but davidmg, a regular contributor to these forums, is a tour guide and may join the thread with some good insights.

Dublin, Ireland
posts: 194
reviews: 16
7. Re: 7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

Many thanks for all your advise and tips. As we are still in the planning stage we will delay our arrival to the Rockies until around the 7th June 2015.

I have looked at all the links re tours etc as we still do not wish to drive and we will restrict our travel to cover between Calgary-Banff-Jasper and stay longer in both Banff and Jasper.

Two tour sites caught my eye that run round tours from Calgary and regulars on here might advise on them or others. They are caravan.com and Trafalgar tours, both seem to have packages that may suit us as we are still looking to spend between 7-10 days in this area.

Again, many thanks for helping us out and any further advise would be most welcome

8. Re: 7 to 10 days to spend in the Rockies

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