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Driving from banff to kamloops via?

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Brisbane, Australia
posts: 4
reviews: 4
Driving from banff to kamloops via?

Hi there, we are driving in (Jan) from Banff then Kamloops, but I had booked a night in between the 2 at Jasper. I am told at this time of year the trek would be unpredictable as to whether we'd get thru to Jasper. It was suggested that we stay at Rogers Pass instead, however I was wondering also about Salmon arm or Revelstoke? So in a nutshell should we drive Banff to Kamloops stoping over where, given that it is winter time. Should we not stay at Jasper as I had initially booked because of the chance of not making it thru?

Jodie

Parksville, Canada
posts: 1,095
reviews: 20
1. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

First of all, have a look at this recent forum just so you're current on everyone's thoughts + advice about winter driving in the Rockies.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154943-i81-k47582…

The thing about driving to Jasper in order to get to Kamloops is that you are adding a whole bunch of extra mileage onto your trip. "Google Map" it and you'll see the difference. Having said that, driving the more direct, southern, route, to Lake Lousie and then west through Golden, Rogers pass and Revelstoke will be more challenging in the winter. Higher mountain passes, etc.

Having not driven either route in the winter, I realize other posters may have differing opinions - but I'd probably stick with the shorter mileage and drive through Golden, etc.

Assuming fair road conditions, I'd plan to overnight in Revelstoke. Nice town, lots of accommodation options (not so much in Rogers Pass) Summer driving conditions it's a 4-hour drive, not including any stops.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 37,857
reviews: 54
2. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

Hi Jodie and welcome today to TA.

I do think that careful reading of the thread link that Robin has posted will tell you almost everything you want to know about driving in the winter in the interior of BC.

I have a question of you. So many Aussies seem to plan a driving trip from Vancouver to the Rockies in our winter. Is a northern winter vacation to the Rockies really promoted a lot down there?

Greater Sydney...
posts: 9,733
reviews: 61
3. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

Mufti,

If I may answer. No.

Greater Sydney...
posts: 9,733
reviews: 61
4. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

Jodie,

It has got me stuffed why you would consider Jasper to be "in between" Banff and Kamloops. If you do some quick work on Google maps/Get directions you will see that Banff to Kamloops, in summer, will be about a 7 hour drive on the most direct route @ 496km, while Banff/Jasper would be about 4 hours (289 kms) then Kamloops 5.5 hours (441 kms).

This would be a lovely drive in summer on the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper, but you will see from the thread linked above that it could be quite daunting in winter, either route.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 16,306
reviews: 53
5. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

Just to clarify - Jasper is not "on the way". Kamloops is west, Jasper is north. Now, lots of people do the Rockies "loop" (mostly in summer!) but I hope you don't think that Jasper is on the way to Kamloops.

Highway 1 is a major transportation route for goods, so there are lots of crews in place to keep that road open. However, should there be a snow storm or an avalanche, then the road will be closed until it is safe to travel again. Because of this, we usually advise winter travelers to have lots of flexibility built into the schedule, so that if a road is closed, you don't completely ruin the trip and can just wait it out.

The other thing to consider is how much daylight you have to work with. It will about approx 9 am to 3 pm that time of year, and the roads can ice up pretty badly once the sun goes down, so driving after dark is riskier than driving during daylight hours.

Keeping in mind that you need to drive substantially slower in winter, and you have few hours to travel in, you will probably need to adjust your expectations about how far you can travel in a single day.

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 4
reviews: 4
6. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

Hi, in answer to your question, I don't think the drive is necessarily promoted a lot in Australia. Us Aussies are used to driving, perhaps longer distances than I know Europeans are, so I don't know if Canadians or Americans think we're strange for that too! But we don't mind driving, gives you a chance to be more flexible, see the country and is often cheaper and less hassle than flying, especially in inclement weather!

Jodie

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 37,857
reviews: 54
7. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

I see. I didn't think it was the long drives actually. Oz is full of them. We do long drives too, we have to to get anywhere! (BC is actually larger than NSW but half the size of Q'land.) I think it must be that Aussies are not familiar with how incredibly inconvenient driving in the winter, in the mountains, can be. When it comes to visitors, with flight times and day plans, we know that those plans could well be well messed up. Thanks for posting back.

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 4
reviews: 4
8. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

Thanks everyone for your advice!

Blind Bay, BC
posts: 1,002
reviews: 6
9. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

Not to scare you Jodie but read through this posting on driving in the Rockies during our winter season.. It's not for the faint of heart and for someone with NO winter driving experience..

tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g154943-i81-k475829…

Sechelt, BC
posts: 685
reviews: 33
10. Re: Driving from banff to kamloops via?

My suggestion is to map out the route you wish to take. My suggestion is the more direct route along Hwy 1. There is always some chance that the road is closed or the conditions are severe enough you need to choose an alternate route. I wouldn't even bother making a hotel reservation. This is especially true if you aren't too picky about where you stay. That way if driving conditions are good and there is still lots of daylight you can keep driving and vice versa if you are making slow time and it is getting dark you can stop.

Pay lots of attention to the weather forecasts. For example, if it is a good day of driving but the next day's prediction is not so good you should consider driving further (i.e. all the way to Kamloops).