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Road trip Edmonton-Whistler-Vancouver-Tofino and back to Edm

Edmonton, Canada
2 posts
Road trip Edmonton-Whistler-Vancouver-Tofino and back to Edm

Timeline: 10 days (including 4 nights in Tofino). A young couple in their forties, no kids, one (experienced) driver only.

We have done Banff, Jasper, Icefields Pkwy many times before. We have also been to Vancouver Island in the past (by plane+rental car). So now, driving our car, we want to focus on BC part, Vancouver, and while on Vancouver Island, on Tofino/Ucluelet area only.

Below is our plan - can you please review and see if it makes sense?

Friday 15th - 5AM departure, Edmonton-Jasper-west Hwy 16-south Hwy 5 to Kamloops, night spent in Kamloops

Saturday 16th - Hwy 99 (Duffey Lake Rd) to Whistler( what to see?), Sky-to-Sea to Northern Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Park, Grouse Mountain if time and weather permits, stay overnight (where?)

Sunday 17th is pretty packed: walk (cycle after bike rental?) Stanley Park, maybe Aquarium, walk downtown Vancouver, visit Van Deusen Gardens + Bloedel Conservatory (as we miss Butchart Gardens this time, and my wife loves flowers and hummingbirds), late evening ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, overnight there

Monday 18th -(ferry if we missed it previous day), drive to Tofino

4 nights in Tofino (already booked, no questions regarding this part of journey)

Friday 22nd - we leave Tofino, back to Nanaimo, ferry (to Duke Point this time?),gardens if we missed it before, Hwy 1, overnight in Hope (or roundabouts ?)

What then? We have to be back in Edmonton Sunday night. So far I prefer Hwy 3 (seems the most scenic) to Castlegar, then Hwy 6 north to Revelstoke, then Hwy 1 to Saskatchewan Crossing and back home through Red Deer. Not sure if it is doable in 2 days with one driver only ?

Thanks in advance

3 replies to this topic
Penticton, Canada
Level Contributor
21,113 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Road trip Edmonton-Whistler-Vancouver-Tofino and back to Edm


Have you been to the Okanagan? if not that is an option.. I have done Penticton to Edmontion via Banff -Calgary in 13 hrs solo driver.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
33,623 posts
62 reviews
2. Re: Road trip Edmonton-Whistler-Vancouver-Tofino and back to Edm

Unless you have a reason to stop in Kamloops, I'd press through on the 15th. With a 5 am departure, you'll be there mid afternoon. The next day is super busy, so taking off some more of that mileage makes sense to me. Personally, given your overall itinerary, I'd aim for Pemberton, but at least Lillooette.

Given you have your own car, and you are aiming for Whistler, Squamish AND north Vancouver that day (wow, big day), perhaps stay at one of the motels on Capilano Road where you can get free parking.


The problem with this location is that it gets SUPER jammed up at peak hour and the traffic getting in and out of the city is nasty at key points of the day. I like this location from a convenience perspective, but don't try and move before 10 am and once you are across the bridge, STAY there until at least 7 pm. As you are planning to head over to places like Van Deusen Gardens, just stay over that side, have dinner over there, and head back to the north shore late in the day after the traffic has settled down again.

I wouldn't bother with trying to get to Nanaimo that night. Its an easy and enjoyable one day trip to Tofino and two nights in the same hotel in north Vancouver will be easier. You'll be heading in the opposite direction to traffic in the morning, so directly up Capilano road (get a hotel on the west side so that will be a right turn) to highway 1 and directly to Horseshoe Bay. Have breakfast on the ferry, but stay out on deck for the first few minutes of the sailing because its so very pretty coming around Bowen Island.

Tofino to Hope seems reasonable, and then you have all day Saturday and all day Sunday to get home. Yes, highway 3 is a good choice I think. You have a few choices about how to split this up. Rather than Hope, you could go through to Manning Park and spend a morning there before pressing east.

From Hope to Castlegar to Revelstoke etc is doable, but that is a LOT of driving. Have you been to Revelstoke? Its a lovely town with a lot to see, so you might just spend your time there. Its a good half way point and you should be there early enough in the afternoon to be able to visit a few things.

I'm always cautious about the end of a vacation. I find we all get a bit tired and jaded and we don't really want to rush around too much. We don't have the same level of enthusiasm for active tourism as we do at the start of the trip and so I try to do the busy stuff at the beginning and then allow more sitting around time as the trip winds down.

Edmonton, Canada
2 posts
3. Re: Road trip Edmonton-Whistler-Vancouver-Tofino and back to Edm

Vancouverite67 thanks for providing this information.

I took your advice and booked a hotel in Northern Vancouver for 2 nights. On Sunday we plan to leave car in the hotel and get around by Mobi bikes and SkyTrain. Ferry next morning.

Also I did not book anything for the way back. Too many variables, we`ll see how far we can go on first return day and just get a hotel off the street wherever we happen to get to.

Any suggestions what to see between Jasper and Vancouver?

Reply to: Road trip Edmonton-Whistler-Vancouver-Tofino and back to Edm
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