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Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

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Dublin Ireland
posts: 4
reviews: 46
Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

We're planning a trip to Vancouver and San Francisco in July/August 2014. We have about 9 days driving in a round trip from Vancouver and have looked at Kelowna, Revelstoke, Kamloops and Whistler. What I want to know is whether or not we'll reach the Canadian Rockies or do we need to go further east or north to get the full effect.

13 replies to this topic
posts: 1,445
reviews: 2
1. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

You need to get all the way to Banff/Jasper in order to see the Canadian Rockies - 9 days does not give you a lot of time. Does that 9 days include San Francisco?

posts: 566
reviews: 3
2. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

I am confused here........

Do you want to do Vancouver - San Francisco and back to Vancouver all in 1 trip in a 9 days time fame and also visit the cities mentioned and the Canadian Rockies ?

Or do you come to Vancouver, have 9 days driving in/around Vancouver and would you like to include the Canadian Rockies and then as a second part of your vacation you will fly to SF to stay there ?

Destination Expert
for British Columbia
posts: 5,721
3. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

Too bad the Dublin Map Centre closed they could have helped you-now you'll have to help yourself.

posts: 2,244
4. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

The Canadian Rockies are the region along the Alberta-BC border that have, at their core, the great cluster of contiguous parks - Yoho, Kootenay, Banff and Jasper National Parks plus a couple of adjacent provincial parks, altogether forming an unbroken protected area. Whistler is in the Coast Mountains. Kamloops and Kelowna are sort of between the major mountain ranges. Revelstoke is in the Columbia Mountains but that area (with Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks) is most similar to the Rockies of the places you mention.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 34,238
reviews: 54
5. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

Welcome to the forum Tonopase ~

Let's set aside San Francisco as having other time of its own. It's a bit hard to advise with some of the info missing, like where will you be arriving to, where will you be going after BC, what's your overall time frame. Flying in or driving from/to the States. Advice can become very helpful when we can see something closer to the whole picture.

With 9 days to give you could do a decent circle trip to the towns you have mentioned. Vancouver (2 n) > Kelowna (2 n) > Revelstoke (2 n) > Clinton (1 n, not Kamloops) > Whistler (2 n) > Vancouver. This is pushing it though and you would have your feet on the ground for a short time but you will see a bit of a few things.

Just can't tell if you have Vancouver time outside these days. If so, then Kelowna (3) > Revelstoke (2) > Clinton (1) > Whistler (3).

It depends on your interests too. The Okanagan (Osoyoos to Vernon) is a wine lover's delight, plus anyone who enjoys water, sun and a desert-like climate. Revy is a place for enjoying mountain scenery, a major dam on the Columbia River, railway history and access to Yoho NP.

Whistler is for active outdoor folks who would like to zipline, horse ride, bike, mountain bike, hike in the alpine, sit with a pint on a cafe's outdoor terrace.

If you wanted to go to the Rockies, you would want to scoot across the province (10 hours driving) in two legs so that the most of your time would be in the Rockies. And then fly out of Calgary. Here you would want to look into Canadian Affair which rents cars to UK residents without the one way drop fee.


Then you could do: Vancouver > Revelstoke (2) > Banff (3) > one full day north on the Icefields Parkway > Jasper (3) > one bonus full day on the IP > Banff or Lake Louise (1) > drive the 2 hours to Calgary airport.

So there are some options that would be open to you. The more info you can provide the better we can do the dovetailing with what you are doing both before and after.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 15,015
reviews: 46
6. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

9 days to get out to the Rockies and back is a very tight schedule - all driving, no seeing. Suggest you fly to Calgary to make the most of your time.

Dublin Ireland
posts: 4
reviews: 46
7. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

Thanks everyone for your help. I'm a first time poster on the tripadvisor forum and was just expecting a yes or no, but offers of advice much appreciated. Ok details...we're flying in to Vancouver and spending three nights there, then hiring a car and planning to drive a round trip back to Vancouver. We had planned 9 days on the round trip but could add one or two more days if necessary. The one-way trip from Calgary is a no as it is much more expensive to fly from Dublin to Calgary than Vancouver, go figure!!! We will probably never visit this area again and we really want to experience the majesty of the mountains so any advice about the best way to achieve this would be much appreciated. We've never been to Canada before and have found in researching hotels that it is a very expensive country to visit, particularly when you have to add a considerable tax to the cost of a hotel, but we're going and hopefully our budget will hold up. After we return to Vancouver we're planning to take a train to San Francisco...hubbie thinks it will be exciting to travel by train along the pacific coast and we've never slept on a train so that'll be a new experience...I'm not so sure and think 22 hours on a train could be a bit confined. Any advice on this leg of the trip would be appreciated also.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 12,335
reviews: 86
8. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

Nine days is do-able, but tight. We usually recommend a minimum of five or six nights in the Rockies, split between Banff and Jasper, and two days (1 nt) between the Rockies and Vancouver. So, that's 8 nights/9 days.

For cheaper accommodation in Jasper, try private home accommodation - rooms or suites within a resident's home. Most of these are private and self-contained, and half the cost, or less, compared to a hotel room, and no additional taxes and fees (which are 11% in Jasper). www.stayinjasper.com A room for two with a bathroom shared with another room would be in the $65 to $75 range, a private room up to about $120, and above that, you're getting into larger rooms or suites with more amenities.

posts: 2,244
9. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

If the Rockies are your main interest, you can do it in 9 days from Vancouver driving round trip, but you have to really focus on the Rockies. I would do something like this:

Day 1 - drive from Vancouver to somewhere like Revelstoke.

Day 2 - work your way from Revelstoke to Lake Louise, stopping for some hiking or sightseeing in Mount Revelstoke, Glacier or Yoho National Parks along the way. Or alternately, head straight to LL in the morning and begin your adventures in that area.

Days 3-4 - use LL as your base to explore Banff NP. (You might choose to stay in Banff rather than LL for more of a full-service town; it's 40 minutes to the south.)

Day 5 - work your way from LL to Jasper, allowing a full day for hikes and scenic stops along the Icefields Parkway.

Days 6-7 - use Jasper as a base for exploring Jasper NP.

Days 8-9 - the theme of these days is getting back to Vancouver. There are basically two options: either spend part of Day 8 in Jasper NP, Mt Robson Provincial Park or Wells Grey PP before spending the night somewhere along the way like Kamloops, and head to Vancouver on Day 9; or go back the way you came, basically making days 8-9 a condensed reversal of days 1, 2, and 5, getting another chance to see anything you missed on the way up. The Icefields Parkway deserves a second trip, but that option is about 3 hours of driving more than the loop option.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 15,015
reviews: 46
10. Re: Round trip from Vancouver to Canadian Rockies

I just had a look, and a loop all the way around Ireland is about half the distance you are talking about. So you are doing two laps of Ireland in 9 days. Or, if you like, its a bit longer than driving Amsterdam to Naples one way.

If flights between Ireland and Calgary are not practical, you may still want to just fly back to Vancouver from Calgary rather than doing it all in the car.

As noted, its a bit tight to do it in 9 days, and really, what you do is a hard rush across BC (which is about 10 to 12 hours of hard driving, minimal stops) the stop and see the Rockies, and then do the hard drive back to the coast. Banff is only 2 hours from Calgary.

We have some beautiful scenery here on the coast which you will be missing. Maybe you will be happier seeing that instead? The Rockies aren't going anywhere, and don't kid yourselves - you will be back if you want to be.

Oh wow, I was looking for some photos so that you could see what you will be missing here on the coast when you run off to Alberta, and I found this very cool website!


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