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Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

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Adelaide, Australia
posts: 35
Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

Please help us, we are considering driving but it would be mid April. Not sure of the weather, we aren't use to snow conditions or ice on roads. I have researched but weather changes from year to year, so Iam asking the people who know. We would like to visit Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise all the popular destinations of the region. We are still in the planning stage.Will do a cruise. Not sure if we will start in Calgary or Vancouver, for the road trip. We do like our Independence, not keen on tour groups.Please any suggestions, if we dont drive a good tour company. Train is another option for a part of the trip. Travelling with my husband. (Iam 52, Husband 62)

Thanks for any advice given

Toronto, Canada
posts: 9,966
reviews: 522
1. Re: Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

If you do choose to drive, ensure that you do have flexibility with your schedule....storms can still pop up and provide for treacherous drives at this time of year, or you could be completely fine....

Greater Sydney...
posts: 8,787
reviews: 32
2. Re: Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

G'day pickels,

In the Rockies be aware that it will still be winter, with conditions not dissimilar to mid winter in the Aussie Snowy Mountains regions. Nearly all of the mountain lakes will still be frozen over, with the high mountain lakes, like Louise and Moraine, not thawing until early June normally. These are the average weather stats for Banff - note an average snowfall of 20 cms in April.


I would certainly not recommend that you try driving at that time, with no experience, in a hire car which most probably not come fitted with snow tires. Most of the attractions in the Rockies will still be closed, and many roads to scenic locations also still closed.

In addition the first of the Alaska cruises commence on May 2, with the season ramping up by the third week in May. I would also not recommend a cruise so early in the season either for condition factors and many excursions not being available so early.

Can you put off your trip by a month, at the minimum, which even then would not be my first choice of timing?

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 15,019
reviews: 46
3. Re: Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

We get a lot of rain in the spring here on the coast. The best months are July through September. We had a very nice spring last year, but that has not been the pattern and we can still be in gloves and woolly hats into early June. And that's here on the coast. I don't want to presume to the conditions on the ground in the Rockies, but I hear that while the thaw is starting, there will still be snow and ice around on the ground and some of the main features will still be inaccessible due to snow in the parking lots.

Our gorgeous old growth forests are still very beautiful in the rain, so if you are certain that you must come in April, then I would reorganize you plans to take you to the driest, warmest areas and focus on the places that are not disappointing in the rain. A cruise would be quite spoiled by rain (because the scenery will be encased in low cloud) so while you would still enjoy the on board amenities, the scenery off the side of the ship would be hidden in poor weather.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 34,241
reviews: 54
4. Re: Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

If possible fly into Vancouver the last week of May and do the cruise first, then drive across the province so you arrive in the Rockies about June 6-7-8th. Minimum for the self drive/stay, IMO, would be 14 nights - 4 Vancouver, 2-3 driving, 7 in the Rockies.

Do explore the article on the Alaska Forum called "All about cruising" which you will find very informative:


However, another option would be to fly to Calgary and travel by shuttle to Banff, Lake Louise and even to Jasper, then back to Calgary to fly out. Things would all be pretty quiet in April, though.



Adelaide, Australia
posts: 35
5. Re: Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

Thank you everyone for your thoughts, very helpful. My work I can't change my holidays for this year. May have to visit your wonderful country next year. No point flying 18 hours may be more and not seeing all the sights. Have to look at other places for our holiday? Thanks again for your time.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 34,241
reviews: 54
6. Re: Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

I do think that is the better choice, although the Rockies are beautiful any time of year. It is true that a visitor would benefit by coming closer to high season when the place caters to tourists and lays out the red carpet for them.

7. Re: Should we drive in mid April - Aussies

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