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Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

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Manchester, UK
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Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

Yes, I know it's daft.......we probably should have stopped over for 1 night between Vancouver and Jasper but we're not. Hotels are booked so there's no way around it.

My question is - setting off around 9am where would be the best place to stop off for lunch and what time would you expect to arrive in Jasper? Google maps says about 9 hours but is this realistic?

Thanks

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1. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

The good news is that it's not impossible; Calgarians do a similar drive all the time, driving from Calgary to Vancouver (or vice versa) in a day. That 9 hour figure is driving only and is realistic given clear conditions, but you need to add time for food, fuel, and bathrooms stops.

However, a couple of tips.There are stretches on that route where it is 100 km between fuelling opportunities; either plan your gas stops (regular travellers know where they usually refuel along the way) or make sure to refuel at the half-tank mark. Pack some snacks, and plan to get lunch in Kamloops at around 1 pm. If you make a late start or are delayed by weather or construction, stop for lunch in Merritt. There really isn't much of anything between Hope and Merritt, or between Merritt and Kamloops.

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2. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

I assume you are coming via the shortest route - the Coquihalla (#5) to Kamloops, and then continuing north on #5 to #16 - ? I haven't driven it all in one go in many, many years so can't speak from my own experience, but 8 to 10 hours sounds about right. Kamloops for lunch? Or if you need to stop earlier, Merritt (there is basically nothing in between). If you go beyond Kamloops, after Clearwater (one hour north), all the towns are very, very small until you get to Valemount, but even so, there are places to eat along the way - you'll see signs along the highway.

Will PM T47, who drives this route through to Saskatchewan every year and hopefully she can pop in with some info for you.

On edit: LOL *snap* Country_Wife!

Edited: 11:47 am, June 05, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

Agree that T47 will have good advice for you, but I'm going to pop in anyway. :P

Kamloops is the largest community enroute an is going to provide you with the most options for lunch and other supplies. You should be fine to get to Kamloops without any stops and it should take a little over 3 hours, so not a half way point, but a good one to shoot for.

What's your style on drives like this? Do you lock in for the long haul and take longer breaks? Or do you drive short stints and then hop out for short stops along the way? Can you plan on 4-5 hours of driving without breaks? It goes faster if you do it that way. Its difficult when you are touring to drive by all the neat little roadside stops, but this is a pretty long day you are planning, so I'm going to suggest you resist the temptation to pull in too often.

Usually our approach is to have food in the car, and combine gas stops with bathroom breaks and some quick food and make short stops (10 - 30 minutes) every four hours or so. We don't do a sit down meal in a restaurant - takes at least an hour out of your driving time. With the kids, I've limited our driving to 6 hours most of the time, but we're doing a couple of long drives on our way to California this summer (8 - 10 hours) so we'll see how that goes!

Port Moody, Canada
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4. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

Hi there and no you're not daft. In fact I think that getting to Jasper lickety split is a good idea as there is so much to see and do there. ;)

As noted we do this drive every year..in fact we drive all the way through to Edmonton which is 12 hours and is a bit daft.. I've driven the route by myself more than once without a share driver and it's an easy route to drive. Like the others I'm assuming you're taking hwy 1 to Hope then hwy 5 over the Coquahalla and then on to 16 in Alberta.

We've found the actual drive time is less than 8 hours. You will lose one hour when you cross the border into Alberta. Ideally I'd try to leave a bit earlier than 9 am..you will have daylight from about 5 am until close to 9:30 at night if you're driving in the next 2 months. The traffic getting out of Vancouver can be brutal and for some reason a lot of people seem to start out for their daily shopping etc around 9 which tends to make things worse especially as you hit the Langley to Chilliwack stretch of hwy 1.

Note that between Chilliwack and Hope the RCMP are often out doing highway patrolling for speeders..just a heads up.

From Vancouver to Hope will be about 2 hours. Pull into Hope and top up your gas. Drive another 2 minutes into downtown Hope to the Blue Moose for a coffee and pick up some snacks/lunch to go..lots of good choices here.

http://www.bluemoosecafe.com/

The Coquahalla is one of my favorite drives. Lots of people don't like the highway but I think the vistas are magnificent. It's a divided 4 lane and in some spots 6 lane highway. lots of long up hills and a few long downhills. No services between Hope and Merritt which is why you've topped up your gas in Hope.

If you haven't picked up snacks then drive into Merritt and have lunch at the Petit Cafe Diane , 2101 Quilchena Ave.

From Merritt you'll head through grasslands/cattle country. we never stop in Kamloops.. just too much hassle pulling off the highway and into town and it takes up too much time.

There are a few spots along the river where you can pull over, have a leg stretch and eat your picnic lunch that you got at the Blue Moose.

Little Fort, 2 hours north of Merritt, is a good place to stop for another leg stretch,bathroom break, gas and ice cream. There's a large general store there..there's also a good fly fishing shop with some great flies if either of you are fishers.

( we always have to see what's new and what's the local action)

From Little Fort to Jasper you've got another 3.5 hour drive..there are places to stop for gas , bathrooms etc in Clearwater, Blue River, & Valemount which are the communities you'll pass through ( some in the blink of an eye..we're not talking big towns here lol) so if you need gas or a bathroom or something and you see a place... stop!..do not think oh there'll be another place just down the road because there won't.

( I speak from personal experience and once just making it to Blue River on gas fumes)

The drive on hwy 5 is gently rolling with long wide curves with the river often in sight . As I said it's a lovely drive.

Once you hit Tete Jeune Cache the road will head east and you're about one hour from Jasper proper. The highway intersects here with the hwy to Prince George and as you head east there's a long hill here with a passing lane and then the road narrows. You will find some big trucks here will let you pass others can be real road hogs.. just be aware that the passing lanes can be very short in some sections so either drop back and take it easy or be prepared to pass quickly if you can. There is very good signage on the highway about passing lanes being 2 kms ahead and so on.

The highway speed is reduced once you hit the park which will be long before you hit Jasper. It is also well patrolled. We've seen people getting speeding tickets at 12am ( yes midnight) There are often animals on the road..in the middle of the road..beside the road..

For sure make a stop at Mt Robson..it's an easy pull off. You'll find lots of people with picnics here ( you might even see us if you're travelling in August)....you may find time to come back during your stay in Jasper to explore but even so this is a wonderful view point and worth a leg stretch.

Jasper will be your next stop. If you've left Vancouver at your 9 am time and stopped for leg stretches and lunch then I'd expect to be in Jasper by 7 pm..don't forget there's that dratted time change.

Do enjoy the drive. Be sure to take the tramway up Whistlers Mountain in Jasper.. not to be missed!

Manchester, UK
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5. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

Hi guys, some really great advice here :)

I'm planning on hwy1 to Hope - hwy5 to Valemount (ish) - hwy16 to Jasper

What I'm taking from all of your replies is to have plenty of food/water in the car and stop as little as often and base the stops around filling up with petrol, be careful about being caught speeding and keep any eye open for signs that indicate passing places etc..

We'd like to stop at as few places as possible and food stops are more about grabbing a sandwich and cake rather than stopping for a sit down meal.

I think we will aim to set off before 9am and it will be on a Sunday in mid-August so hopefully avoid work commuters / shopping traffic. We'll just have to see how the jet-lag is affecting me as I'm sure my body won't really have a clue.....coming from the UK the day before and with the 8 hour time difference, heaven knows what time I'll think it is:)

Looking at the map against your replies I think I'll stick fairly rigid to traveller47 suggested itinerary.

So.............

Vancouver to Hope - 2 hours - stop to fill up with petrol - call in Bluemoose cafe and stock up with sandwiches, cake and drinks.

Hope to Little Fort - 3 hours - stop to fill up with petrol - call in the general store and stock up with (more) sandwiches, cake and drinks.

Little Fort to Mt. Robson - 2.5 hours - (stop along the way at Clearwater for fuel and more food) and have a picnic

Mt. Robson - Jasper - 1 hour

Can't wait!!!!!!

And thanks again guys, the info you've given me here is invaluable :))

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

Ok, doing this the day after you fly into Vancouver is sounding a bit more daft..... However the time change will be in your favour. You'll likely be up and awake between 4 and 5 am and ready to go by 7 am, which would be a good way to approach this.

It will only be a 7 hr time difference by the time you get to Jasper! Don't forget about that time change, it can throw you off a bit at the end of a long day when you have an hour less to get dinner and checked into your hotel than you thought.

calgary
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7. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

My question is why you decided to fly into Vancouver instead of Calgary or Edmonton if your destination was Jasper and the Rockies??? I know it's too late now to make any flight changes but it would have made more sense and been a much shorter drive for you. Why are taking the Number 1 from Vancouver to Hope? The Coquihalla (Highway 5) would cut off some time for you.

Port Moody, Canada
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8. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

The easiest way to get from Vancouver to Hope is the #1. The # 5 is the Coquahalla which I've suggested in the itinerary the #5 starts at Hope not in Vancouver.

one7six yes you'll probably be up early and as you're heading out on a Sunday traffic out of town shouldn't be too bad. I'm not sure how the rental agency will handle the toll for the Port Mnn bridge. you'll be going across a toll bridge and it's by far the easiest for you..toll may be added on to your final car rental bill..about $4 I think? anyway just so you know.. you may also not need to buy gas at everyplace along the way...but it's a good idea to top up, stretch and keep and eye on the gas gauge..enjoy your trip

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9. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

Obviously my brain wasn't working earlier, of course the Coquahalla starts in Hope.

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: Driving from Vancouver to Jasper in 1 day - stop off points?

I asked the Port Mann question when I rented a car a couple of weeks ago. Their car has a decal in the window. They said they let you know, you go on to the website to pay the bill, done and dusted. If you let the company pay the bill, they charge an administrative fee. This was Hertz.