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Holidaying in the Rockies

Southport, England
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Holidaying in the Rockies

I am looking for some help in planning an itienary. My wife and I are flying to Vancouver on the 12th of July where we intend to spend to nights. From there we have allocated ourselves 6 nights to be spent sightseeing in the Canadian Rockies. Initial thoughts are driving to Jasper first, spend a night and then head down to the Lake Louise/Banff area and set up a base from where we can explore the area. Any information on accomodation would be appreciated. Just to add, we are due to head to Seattle around the 20th to meet relatives.

Calgary, Alberta...
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1. Re: Holidaying in the Rockies

Hello Bez851,

I do not think you know what you are asking. You will be here during the Calgary Stampede (July 8th to 17th). There is a big demand for accommodation in the Canadian Rockies throughout July and August. Because large swaths of territory are covered by national parks in which the government limits development, there is a big demand for accommodation in relation to the amount that is available. That becomes all the more true during the Stampede, when visitors want to go to the mountains before or after seeing the rodeo events.

What I suggest you do before anything else is try to find accommodation in Jasper on July 14th and 15th. I would consider those to be the preferred dates. If you are unable to find Jasper lodgings on the 14th and 15th, try for the 18th and 19th.

The logic behind getting Jasper accommodation on the 14th and 15th is to be able to do my suggested clockwise route, if you are agreeable to it. The logic of securing Jasper lodgings for the 18th and 19th is to be able to do my suggested counter-clockwise route, which I consider to be the second best one. (Its disadvantage is that it gives you a horribly long drive from Jasper to Seattle on the last day.)

The reason that I am placing so much emphasis on finding accommodation in Jasper is that that is the place with the smaller stock of accommodation, in which it will be more difficult to find something. It is easier to find a place to lay your head in the Banff area. So I recommend getting the Jasper arrangements in place first, and then working the other destinations around that.

You have not stated a price range for accommodation, so I don���t know what to suggest. In any case, I think it would be safest for you to take what you can get. Read the small print. Pay attention to 2-night minimum stay requirements (more common in Jasper and Lake Louise) and stringent cancellation policies.

I will post suggested itineraries in the next message ......

Calgary, Alberta...
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2. Re: Holidaying in the Rockies

CLOCKWISE ITINERARY

12 Vancouver

13 Vancouver

14 Jasper

15 Jasper

16 Banff / Lake Louise

17 Banff / Lake Louise

18 Banff / Lake Louise

19 Kelowna

20 Seattle

July 12th : Land in Vancouver.

July 13th : See the centrally located attractions in Vancouver (Stanley Park, Robson Street, Yaletown, Granville Island Market).

July 14th : Drive to Jasper via Kamloops. It will take 9 hours, not counting stops. In addition to actual driving time, you will lose an hour when you cross time zones a short distance west of Jasper.

July 15th : From your base in Jasper, see the nearby attractions (tram up Whistler's Mountain, Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake, and maybe a cruise across the lake to Spirit Island). An alternative activity to the tram is a visit to Angel Glacier at Mount Edith Cavell, which is a most delightful drive.

July 16th : Drive down the Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93) to Lake Louise. Although the drive nominally takes 3 hours, count on spending the better part of the day doing it. See Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, the Columbia Icefields and Peyto Lake.

You can stay in Lake Louise, Banff or Canmore. Any one of them can serve as a base for seeing the rest. Lake Louise is quieter, closer to nature, and closer to the best scenery in my opinion, but there is a much smaller stock of accommodation, and it���s much more expensive. It would be more difficult to find accommodation there at this point. Banff is the busiest of the 3 towns in terms of tourist bustle. Banff and Canmore both are well stocked with accommodation, and they offer you the best hope of a bed for the night.

July 17th : Check the forecast in the morning. If it calls for reasonable weather, go to Moraine Lake and Lake Louise at the west end of Banff National Park. Follow that up with a foray into Yoho National Park, just to the west of LL, and see Takakkaw Falls and Emerald Lake. Go to Moraine Lake first, because its parking lot fills up.

If the forecast calls for rainy weather, go to Johnston Canyon outside of Banff townsite. You do not need good visibility to appreciate the beauty of the canyon. After that, go up Sulphur Mountain if visibility is good and if you did not go up the tramway in Jasper. Regardless of the weather, stroll down the main shopping street of Banff. If time permits, visit Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake.

July 18th : Do whichever of the above mentioned July 17th itineraries you did not do on July 17th.

July 19th : Drive to Golden, Revelstoke, Sicamous, Vernon, Kelowna. Drive will take 6 hours, not counting stops. However, you will gain an hour when you cross time zones between Golden and Revelstoke. In what remains of the day, enjoy Lake Okanagan.

July 20th : Drive south from Kelowna on Hwy #97. Just before you reach Peachland, turn west onto Hwy #97C. When you reach Hwy #5A, turn south onto the very scenic road towards Princeton. At Princeton turn west onto Hwy #3, and drive through lovely Manning Provincial Park towards Hope. At Hope join Hwy #1 and drive west to Chilliwack, which is a sort of far outer suburb of Vancouver.

It is somewhere around here that you need to think of turning south to cross the Canada-USA border. There is more than one border crossing, and there are people here who are much more familiar with the options than I am. Drive on to Seattle. The route I have given you will take about 7 hours of driving. If you allow an hour for lunch and an hour for the border crossing, that will be a total of 9 hours. I have not provided you with the shortest, quickest route. However, the drive through Manning Provincial Park is pretty.

COUNTER-CLOCKWISE ITINERARY

12 Vancouver

13 Vancouver

14 Kelowna

15 Banff / Lake Louise

16 Banff / Lake Louise

17 Banff / Lake Louise

18 Jasper

19 Jasper

20 Seattle

Happy trails.

juniper35@gmail.com

Southport, England
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3. Re: Holidaying in the Rockies

Thankyou so much for your time and effort it is very much appreciated. We are both looking forward to experience the Rockies. Cheers