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Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May

posts: 75
reviews: 27
Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May


My husband and I are planning to go to both Western and Eastern Canada, we plan to fly in to Vancouver on 21 May, then do the Rockie Mountain Trip by driving to Calgary, from Calgary fly to Montreal. I would be very appreciated to have all your advise and suggestion on my itineraries + accommodation.


1. 21 May 2014 -Arrive Vancouver 13:10 pm.

2. 22 May 2014 -Vancouver

3. 23 May 2014 -Vancouver

4. 24 May 2014 -Kamloops (Drive about 4 hrs from Vancouver)

5. 25 May 2014 -Jasper (Drive about 5 hrs from Kamloops),* Drive to Jasper (with

two hour detour at Clearwater to see Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park)

6. 26 May 2014 -From Jasper to Lakes Louise (Drive 2.5 hrs) & Banff (Drive about

3 hrs) from Jasper. Take the Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93), Stay in Lake Louise, Banff townsite or Canmore.

From the chosen base, explore the Canmore - Banff townsite - Lake Louise - Yoho National Park area.

8. 27 May 2014 -Banff

Explore the Lake Louise area ( Moraine Lake and the lake of Lake Louise). If do a half-day hike in the Moraine Lake / Lake Louise area, that's about all be able to fit in. If do not hike, add a visit to Yoho National Park to the west of Lake Louise. There can see the Spiral Tunnels, Takakkaw Falls, the natural bridge over the Kicking Horse River, and Emerald Lake.

9. 28 May 2014 -Banff, leaving late to stay in Calgary, preferable accommodation

which walkable or got free shuttle to Airport.

10. 29 May 2014 -Fly to Montreal at about 10:00 am.

Is it too rush for my itineraries to travel all these place? Or any place I should drop or add? Is it a wise choice to rent a car straight after arriving Vancouver at the airport? Or I should rent a car after touring Vancouver? Or it is better to travel by public transportation in these area?

Thank you.

11 replies to this topic
posts: 75
reviews: 27
1. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May

Please help !!!

Many thanks

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 15,779
reviews: 47
2. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May

Not while we are sleeping....! No need for impatience, we're only just waking up over here.

First, be aware that you are traveling in the mountains in very early season. Some things in the mountains will still be under snow and ice.

As this is such a popular itinerary, we (those of us who post regularily) have written a series of articles to cover the main points. Here's a few to get you started.





Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 23,563
reviews: 67
3. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May

Just a few quick thoughts, to get the discussion started:

Day 5: Skip Helmcken Falls and instead continue east on the Hwy 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy) to Lake Louise and then head north to Jasper on Hwy 93N (Icefields Parkway). This drive is much more scenic, has more waterfalls, and is well worth doing twice. Why? Because you may miss the views due to weather on one day, and because the views are different but still great when driving north and driving south. When you drive the Icefields Parkway, pack snacks and a box lunch. There are very few places to stop for food (just 4) and they tend to be busy and expensive for what you get. You want to be able to go slowly and enjoy the scenery, not spend time waiting in line for boring, expensive food. Also top up your fuel before leaving Lake Louise or Jasper, as there is only one gas station on the Icefields Parkway, and it is both busy and much more expensive.

You will want to have rooms reserved before you arrive in Banff, Canmore, or Lake Louise. This TripAdvisor Traveller Article describes the advantages and disadvantages of each location, plus a few others:


Hiking in Lake Louise and around Moraine Lake will be very limited, as the area will still be very snowy. You will just be able to walk around the shoreline. The road to Moraine Lake may even be closed due to snow, it really depends on the weather. Last year the road opened in late May and then there was a heavy snowfall and they had to close the road again for several days; the folks staying at the Moraine Lake Lodge were stuck there.

Calgary airport hotels: The nearest hotels to the airport are Delta Calgary Airport (just a short walk from the terminal, you don't even go outside); Best Western Freeport, Acclaim, and Hampton Inn by Hilton Calgary Airport North (the one on 100 Ave, NOT the Hampton Inn on 37 Ave). Homewood Suites by Hilton is scheduled to open near the airport at the end of April:


The Hampton Inn just opened a few months ago, it is a brand new building. The Homewood Suites will also be a newly-built hotel (not just renovated or a change of brand). New hotels may have some start-up problems, but they are usually very eager to please. All four of these hotels should have free airport shuttles, but double-check their websites to be certain.

Edited: 11:48 am, March 29, 2014
Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Lake Louise
posts: 2,689
4. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May

Be aware that conditions can be variable at the end of may. The Yoho Valley Road up to Takkakaw falls will not be open by the end of May (it typically remains closed until the end of June).

As Country Wife mentioned, Moraine Lake Road may or may not be open at that time of year depending on snow levels and seasonal temperatures. You can also expect that Lake Louise and Emerald Lake will still be ice covered. Both are certainly beautiful places to visit, regardless of ice cover, but just be aware that they will not be the same brilliant colour as most of the photos.

Places like Johnston Canyon on the Bow Valley Parkway would be great a great alternative for a hike at this time of year. The trail is hike-able all year round (2-5 km round trip), and the waterfalls in the canyon are spectacular! (Even if Moraine Lake Road is open, the trails will be snowbound.)

There will also be more in the way of hiking around the Banff Townsite area, as it is at a lower elevation than Lake Louise. Check out Parks Canada's trail report at www.pc.gc.ca/apps/tcond/cond_e.asp… when you get closer to the date.

posts: 75
reviews: 27
5. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May


Thanks to all of you for the useful information and links, and your advices as well.

I would take Country_wife suggestion to get to Lake Louise on DAY 5. Then DAY 6 head north to Jasper on Hwy 93N (Icefields Parkway). Is it good to make it a day trip, or an overnight trip at Jasper to return to Banff the next day?

Is it easy to get car park in the Rockie mountains ? How much is the cost roughly?

We have an additional 1 day now as we will arrive in Vancouver on 20 May 1:30 pm., should we add this extra day to Vancouver or the Canadian Rockie?

Do we need to rent a car to explore Vancouver ? Or the public transportation is good enough?

Thank you for your patience & time to help me.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 12,762
reviews: 86
6. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May

Driving time from Banff to Jasper is about 3.5 hours, one way, but we usually recommend planning to make a whole day of it so that you can stop and enjoy the various sights - waterfalls, glacial lakes, viewpoints etc. Some of them may still not be accessible at the end of May - the higher elevations along the parkway will still have lots of snow beside the road, and although they are still gorgeous when ice-covered, the glacial lakes may not yet be thawed (the ice comes off Lake Louise in the last week or May or first week of June, depending on spring weather). So, doing a return trip in one day makes for a very, very long day.... it can be done, of course (7 hours of driving time, plus stops) and there are very long daylight hours at that time of year.

To be able to see anything in Jasper National Park other than the Icefields Parkway drive, you would need to spend an additional night in Jasper, ie. at least two nights in total.

Parking in the Canadian Rockies national parks is usually free, with a few exceptions (i.e. staying at the Chateau Lake Louise). There is an entry fee for the parks, which is just under $20 per day for one vehicle with two to up to seven people.

You'd be better off without a car in Vancouver - you will have to pay for parking there, as well as dealing with city traffic etc. The transit system is good.

posts: 75
reviews: 27
7. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May


Is it better for us to take the flight to Calgary and start our Canadian Rockie trip from there, rather than driving all the long way from Vancouver ? Or the driving from Vancouver trip will be more interesting ?

What are the most and best I can plan for my Vancouver stay for 1 & 1/2 days with public transportation?

Thank you.

Edmonton, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
posts: 1,599
reviews: 3
8. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May


Vancouver is lovely, as is the drive across British Columbia. However, with your fairly limited timeline, I think you would be a lot less rushed if you flew to Calgary. The Rockies are spectacular and I don't think you'd regret taking a few extra days so you can slow down & enjoy the scenery.

Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 15,396
reviews: 84
9. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May

Vancouver has several hop on buses which for a few days would be useful as they show you around then you can get off and explore on your own. Look at


posts: 75
reviews: 27
10. Re: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May

Thank you Ksneds and Davidgmg.

My Itineraries

20/5 arrive Vancouver 1:20 pm

21/5 Explore Vancouver

22/5 Fly to Calgary to arrive at noon time.

rent a car and drive to Lake Louise.

23/5 Stay one more night to explore Lake

Louise area.

24/5 Drive to Jasper, exploring the

beauty of Icefields Parkway.

overnight in Jasper.

25/5 One more day in Jasper to explore


26/5 Drive Icefields Parkway back to Banff

27/5 explore Banff area and stay in Banff

28/5 explore Banff area. Leaving to

overnight in Calgary

29/5 Fly to Montreal.

Any advices and suggestions ? Lake Louise area seems to have less choice of accommodation, and more expensive, do we need to just stay in Banff or it's worth to pay extra to stay in Lake Louise area? any suggesion on whice area to stay in Banff and Jasper?

Thank you

Edited: 8:51 pm, April 01, 2014
Reply to: Trip to Vancouver and Canadian Rockies End of May
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