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Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

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Cairns, Australia
posts: 9
Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

Hoping someone can help, please.? WE have 5 weeks ( 2 people) exploring the rocky NPs to about Aspen CO in sept/oct 2013 then heading to Utah's NP. I was hoping to hire a camper/ small RV in Canada and doing a one way trip, which is proving extremely difficult and expensive! So the current plan is hiring out of Calgary / Vancouver/C, , doing the waterton and glacier parks, returning to calgray and flying out.

Hiring RV's is confusing with expectations of Kms known and, don't operate on sundays and while google maps etc are helpful.. does anyone have any concept of possible distances travelled in and around the parks? WE can't wait to explore this fabulous part of the world, we just need others knowledge and wisdom!

Cairns, Australia
posts: 9
11. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

SO exciting to hear your responses- We will now plan for a vehicle (car) and have the week between Waterton and Glacier, returning it prior to flying into the US. Banff may be an option if we can't hire out of Calgray and have to start from Vancouver - the distances just seemed a little far to cover- hence the thought to fly onto calgray to start .. or is this silly?

Yellowstone and Teton NP are pivotal on our trip, as is the NPs in the S/ SE of Utah.

WE hope to do this as a loop with a RV, and thought flying and hiring out of say salt lake city would make sense, but hire companies seem to hire from the Californian coast. Maybe I need to post in another forum, to get info on the states?

Thanks Cruiseyyc-Whilst I know they are very different countries, I thought hire options would allow cross country travel.

Thanks

Greater Sydney...
posts: 9,721
reviews: 61
12. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

Banff has fewer car rental options than Calgary so I cannot understand your thinking there. Fly in and out of Calgary makes more sense to me.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
posts: 2,635
reviews: 66
13. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

Banff is only about an hour's drive from the Calgary airport so it's definitely an option when flying into Banff. (and you are correct in thinking it's a long ways from Vancouver to Banff!) If you decided to spend a few days in the Banff/Lake Louise area, I would recommend you continue to Waterton from Banff via the Kananaskis Trail (highway 40). You access this road from the #1 highway just east of Canmore, about a 15 minute drive east of the Banff park gates. The #40 highway would take you to the village of Longview (where there are several great restaurants to stop for a lunch break) and the #22 highway, or Cowboy Trail, as its known, which you would take south out of Longview all the way to the #3 highway. At #3 you would go east a short distance to Pincher Creek and then continue south from Pincher Creek on #6 hwy to Waterton. I would caution you to check operating hours for the Chief Mountain border crossing south of Waterton (the shortest route to access GNP from Waterton) as it has reduced hours in the fall and closes altogether for the winter in mid October. So, be sure of their hours before you head south to GNP. If the Chief Mountain crossing isn't open you would have to drive further east to Cardston and then south, to cross the border at the Carway crossing which is open 24 hours a day.

This proposed route would get you off the busy highways (#1 and #2) and provide a much more scenic and leisurely drive from Banff to Waterton. All proposed roads are major well-maintained paved highways, so no worries there.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
posts: 2,635
reviews: 66
14. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

If you aren't hikers, you won't need a full week at Waterton and GNP. In the fall there isn't much to do besides hiking and just soaking up the scenery. So, if you aren't planning to do a lot of hiking then a couple of days will be plenty for Waterton and probably 3 days in GNP will give you a good taste. You will be able to drive part way up the GTTS road with you rental car from each end of the park and I recommend you do that. The road, and the views from it, are amazing. So if you arrive and stay on the east side of GNP the first day, and explore the east end of the GTTS road, you could spend day 2 exploring east glacier, then on day 3 drive to west glacier and explore the west end of GTTS road. Day 4 would see you ready to head out for Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. If you are really in love with GNP and want more time there, you might want to consider a drive up the west side of the park to Polebridge, a tiny town that is open year round. The Northern Lights Saloon there serves up an eclectic menu of great food in the evenings. But I should caution you that the drive to Polebridge is on less than stellar gravel roads.

Cairns, Australia
posts: 9
15. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

Thankyou for all this information. WE are very keen hikers, but as it appears RVs are limiting we will need accommodation- so that will be my focus now.

Thanks especially to camping_ girl, who has put an amazing amount of time and energy into her posts. CHeers

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
posts: 2,635
reviews: 66
16. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

I can't say for certain when all of the hotels in Waterton shut down for the season, but there are at least 2 that are open year round and you would definitely be able to obtain accomodation with one of them. Those are Crandell Mountain Lodge, Waterton Glacier Suites and I think the Waterton Lakes Lodge is open all year too. If the Aspen Village Inn is still open, they have kitchen suites, I don't know if that interests you or not.

If you are keen hikers you really must come back to the area during the summer months and explore some of the trails. GNP alone has over 700 miles of hiking trails. I can guarantee you that this trip will whet your appetite - you may well end up planning your next trip before you even go home! I do have to caution you about hiking during the fall months - this is a time of year when bears are most active, as they forage for the last of their winter food. If you plan on going out on the hiking trails in Waterton and GNP while you are here, familiarize yourselves with the proper way to act in bear country, as you will definitely be in it. My travel page on Waterton has some information about all types of wildlife that you may encounter, and may be of interest to you:

members.virtualtourist.com/m/adecc/dc729/

I hope that helps, and I hope you have a fabulous vacation!

- CG

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
posts: 2,635
reviews: 66
17. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

Oops - the "bear" page is not on my Waterton travel page, it is located here:

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/adecc/

Please feel free to browse any of my travel pages that interest you!

Waterton Lakes...
posts: 34
reviews: 497
18. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

Wendy B,

If you can rent a car, I would strongly encourage you to spend some time in Waterton Lakes National Park. From what I can tell, most services should still be operational during the majority of your stay in Canada.

I know that Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co. (the tour boat operator) will be open until Oct-13, as should the Bayshore Inn, Waterton-Glacier Suites, Waterton Lakes Resort, many of the restaurants, and Pat's Waterton (gas station / convenience store / bike rentals).

In my opinion, Sept/Oct is the best time of year to visit. Most years, Waterton experiences what we call "Indian Summer" in which the area receives one last blast of summer-like weather well into late September or Early October. The vegetation begins to change color, which makes for the best photographic opportunities. The lack of crowds makes your time in the townsite more comfortable and personable, and the lack of noise in town means better wildlife sightings!

Let me know if you need to know anything else!

Best Regards and Safe Travels,

Keith

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
posts: 2,635
reviews: 66
19. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

There you have it - you now have 2 votes for Waterton/GNP in the fall! Keith echoes my sentiments about it being the best time of year to visit. :)

Cairns, Australia
posts: 9
20. Re: Travelling from Australia to RV the rockies !!!

Thanks for your continued advice.. I will be looking for a hump between the shoulders and long toe nails to single out the grizzlies, know what to ask RV companies when we hit the US and just can't wait to spend time hiking and watching. WIll be looking out for a trip along the lake too!!

So grateful for your help. CHeers