We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

return trip from vancouver -calgary in short space of time

Which Banff hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Level Contributor
72 posts
119 reviews
Save Topic
return trip from vancouver -calgary in short space of time

we are doing a road trip from vancouver in august and we have 9 nights to do it in. We want to see the rockies and have been told that the best road to see it is on the road to calgary, should we go all the way to calgary, would it be a waste of a night to saty in a city. also where would be the best place to stay over a night on the way from vancouver to either jasper or banff, what would be the best route with 9 nights to spare.

Calgary, Alberta...
Level Contributor
3,855 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: return trip from vancouver -calgary in short space of time

Hello dublinsdelight,

>>>We want to see the rockies and have been told that the best road to see it is on the road to Calgary<<<

There are different ways of getting from Vancouver to the Rockies. All of them have pros and cons. The route from Vancouver to Calgary is very scenic, but traffic on the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1) is heavy, you share the road with big trucks, and people drive fast.

>>>should we go all the way to calgary, would it be a waste of a night to saty in a city<<<

If you had more time it would be worth going to Calgary. However, if you have only 9 days in which to do a round trip, I believe it would be a waste of time to go to Calgary. I recommend that you go no further east than the Banff / Canmore area.

>>> what would be the best route with 9 nights to spare<<<

Before I suggest an itinerary for your 9 night journey to the mountains and back, let me first say that I hope you have allocated at least 3 full days to Vancouver.

Anyway, here is an itinerary you could consider.

1 ��� Drive to Kelowna. Although you can use the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy #5) and do the journey in 4-1/2 hours, I prefer Hwy #3 through Manning Provincial Park and Princeton.

2 ��� Explore the Okanagan Valley from your Kelowna base.

3 ��� Drive to Lake Louise or Banff. You will drive over spectacular Rogers Pass between Revelstoke and Golden, BC. When you are in the Revelstoke area, take note of the inland temperate rainforest consisting of spruce, fir, hemlock and cedar. I have read that British Columbia is the only place in the world that has temperate rainforests that grow so far inland. Stop to see Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park between Golden, BC and Lake Louise, Alberta.

4 ��� Explore the Moraine Lake / Lake Louise area. There is great hiking around here. Go to Moraine Lake first because its parking lot fills up. Overnight again in the same Banff or Lake Louise base.

5 ��� From your Banff or Lake Louise base, explore Banff and its environs. Include a visit to Johnston Canyon. Go there first thing, because its parking lot fills up. The walkway is crowded until the Lower Falls, but people thin out if you go further, to the Upper Falls. They REALLY thin out if you go further still to the Ink Pots.

6 ��� Drive the Icefields Parkway (Hwy #93) to Jasper. Expect this drive to take the better part of a day, because there are so many scenic lookout points. The bare minimum list of things to see is Peyto Lake, Columbia Icefields, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls.

7 ��� Explore Jasper���s environs.

8 ��� Drive to Kamloops. Take the side road into Wells Gray Provincial Park to see Helmcken Falls.

9 ��� Drive to Vancouver. Instead of taking the fast Coquihalla Highway (Hwy #5), consider taker the longer TransCanada Highway (Hwy#1), which will take you through the Fraser River Canyon.

Another itinerary to consider.

1 ��� Drive to Kamloops. As was the case with the previous itinerary, consider driving via the Fraser River Canyon.

2 ��� Drive to Jasper, seeing Helmcken Falls on the way.

3 ��� Jasper.

4 ��� Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise. Overnight in Lake Louise or Banff.

5 ��� Moraine Lake and Lake Louise. O/N in same Banff / LL base.

6 ��� Explore Banff���s environs. O/N in same Banff / LL base.

7 ��� Drive through Radium, Invermere, Fairmont to one of the towns in SE British Columbia. You could go only as far as Cranbrook, or you could go further to Creston or even as far as Nelson.

8 ��� Drive to the Penticton / Kelowna area.

9 ��� Drive to Vancouver.

When it comes to staying in the Banff / Lake Louise area, you can choose amongst the larger towns of Canmore and Banff, which have a larger stock of accommodation and restaurants and Lake Louise, which is a small village with a much smaller stock of accommodation. If you are a "town person" you probably will like Banff or Canmore, and if you like quieter surroundings you probably will like Lake Louise. I personally prefer Lake Louise, but I know many people who prefer Banff.

I typed this in Microsoft Word and copied and pasted it into a TripAdvisor message. My experience is that apostrophes and dashes often come out as question marks when I do that, but I hope you'll be able to make sense of my message.

Hope you have a great trip.