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Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

UK
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Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

Read lots of posts on this forum and would really appreciate someone’s expert view on our proposed itinerary. My partner and I enjoy easy to moderate walks, max 3-4 hours, would love to see some wild life (wouldn't everyone!!), and quite enjoy early starts (5-6am). We are planning to fly into Calgary 14th June and out of Vancouver on 1st July. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also I have read it is the rainy season in June, is it likely to rain heavily every day, or more like occasional heavy rain and some showers?

Well here goes - please let me know if I'm trying to fit too much in.

Day 1: Land Calgary midday. Drive to Waterton or as close as possible to Waterton dependant upon time. - Is this approx 3 hours drive?

Day 2: Waterton national park. Red rock parkway, Cruise on upper Waterton lake, Walk at Cameron lake.

Day 3: Early morning, drive red rock parkway. Drive to many glacier. Afternoon many glacier.

Day 4: Glacier national park, Drive going to sun road’ if open, if not explore east side of glacier national park.

Day 5: Drive to Kananaskis, through Peter Loughead, stop in Kananaskis.

Day 6: Drive to Banff, Banff gondola, Hoodoos, Banff town site.

Day 7: Banff, Cruise on lake minniwanka, drive bow valley parkway, walk Johnston canyon.

Day 8: Drive circular route, kootenay, yoho back to bow valley. Stop at Johnston canyon lodge. Will we be able to access after 6pm and before 9am or is highway 1A completely shut during these times?

Day 9: Spend day at lake louise, and Moraine lake. Walks and gondola. Saty at lake louise area.

Day 10: Set off to drive icefields parkway, stopping at peyto lake and other sights along the way. Stop over night at Saskatchen river crossing.

Day 11: Drive Saskatchen river crossing to Jasper, stopping at sights along the way. Explore Jasper on evening.

Day 12: Jasper national park. Moose lake, Maligne canyon, maligne lake, drive miette road. Stop in Jasper.

Day 13: Drive to mount robson, via yellowhead highway and onto wells gray provincial park. Stop at Clearwater.

Day 14: Morning at Wells gray, long drive to Whistler.

Day 15: Spend day at whistler, ride gondola, possible quad bike or hummer tour. Stay at Whistler.

Day 16: Morning at whistler, drive to Vancouver, evening at Vancouver:

Day 17: Day at Vancouver, Stanley park etc.

Day 18: Possible early morning whale watching, Catch 23.00 flight home.

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1. Re: Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

if you posted this in the Banff park forum Judy in Calgary would give you an opinion. From what I know only day 10 doesn't make sense. There is no reason not to drive all the way to Jasper and stop at the icefields along the way. Peyto Lk to the crossing is a very short distance. You can do a lot more on the way to Jasper like Sunwapta Falls etc. Spend the nite in Jasper. Remember the daylite in summer in this area can be past 10 pm, so you have very long daylite hrs to explore.

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2. Re: Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

Thanks David, I did mean to post it in Banff, but as It's my first post I got abit confused!!

I will try and re-post it.

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

Hi,

Your itinerary looks pretty good, I only have a couple of comments for you:

1. Your chances of driving GTTS road in GNP are very slim. The road is generally not cleared of snow until the second half of June, but this year they have other problems as well. Heavy rain washed out part of the road in 3 spots, and this will have to be repaired before the road is opened this year. I doubt very much that it will be open in June at all this year.

2. On the day you plan to drive from GNP back to Kananaskis, you are going to have a long day. I wouldn't hesitate to do it myself, but thought I would mention this fact, in case it is a concern for you. I would estimate 6 hours on the road by the time you clear customs, not counting any other stops.

3. If it were my vacation, I wouldn't overnight in Saskatchewan Crossing on Day 10. Instead, I would make Jasper (or somewhere very close to Jasper) my final destination for this day. Sask Crossing food and lodging choices are not that great, IMHO. Plus, as has already been mentioned, you can very easily drive from Banff to Jasper in a day and make all the stops that you want to make along the way.

As far as the rain goes.......... your bet is about as good as anyone else's. the past few years have seen extremely high levels of rain in June (think flood levels) although that certainly isn't the norm. You can probably at least count on a couple of rain days, I would think.

The website

www.wunderground.com

is a great place to look up historical weather for a particular location. You will find historical info under the "trip planner" page.

Hope this helps you.

Regards,

- CG

Jasper, Canada
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4. Re: Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

Hi,

The others have given you good advice (especially as regards Sask. Crossing), but I thought I would address your question about rain. June is the rainier month in the Rockies, but it is not very often that it is a heavy all-day rain. A frequent pattern is clear skies in the morning, getting cloudier through the day, rain showers in the afternoon/evening and then clearing. It is certainly possible to be socked in, grey & raining (and cold) all day long but that does not happen all that frequently. The weather in the Rockies is very changeable in general... I've heard this said for a few places, but it is certainly valid here: If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes.

Calgary, Alberta...
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5. Re: Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

Hello CP&NA,

Other posters have given you great advice.

I will not comment about the parts of your itinerary that are fine. In fact most of your itinerary is fine, and I congratulate you on coming up with such a good one.

Here are the areas in which I think you could tweak your itinerary:

>>>>>>Day 1: Land Calgary midday. Drive to Waterton or as close as possible to Waterton dependant upon time. - Is this approx 3 hours drive?<<<<<<

Yes, it’s about a 3-hour drive. Also take into consideration the hour or so that it takes to get through immigration and customs at the airport. Also, you may want to use an ATM at the airport to withdraw Canadian cash. So it may be 4.5 hours from the time that you land to the time that you arrive in Waterton.

You may be feeling okay after your flight, but you may be feeling tired. Also, since your bodies still will be on UK time, it will feel later in the day than it is according to the local time zone.

The highway for most of the way from Calgary to Waterton is very easy to drive. It’s a straight, 4-lane, divided highway over quite flat countryside. Still, you should listen to your body, and if you’re tired you should stop before Waterton. Make sure your hotel reservation allows you to cancel without penalty till 6 pm.

>>>>>>Day 5: Drive to Kananaskis, through Peter Loughead, stop in Kananaskis.<<<<<<

I see no point in stopping in Kananaskis Country for the night. There are few accommodation choices in K Country (although the few choices are good). It would not take that much more time and effort to keep going till you reach Banff townsite. Then you’ll have fewer accommodation changes.

ALSO NOTE : You will only just be in time to drive this route, as the road through the Highwood Pass is closed until June 15th. I mention it because even a small change in your itinerary would mean a change of route. It would be highly desirable to time this drive so that you COULD go through K Country, which is very pretty.

>>>>>>Day 6: Drive to Banff, Banff gondola, Hoodoos, Banff town site.

Day 7: Banff, Cruise on lake minniwanka, drive bow valley parkway, walk Johnston canyon.<<<<<<

In my opinion, you are spending too much time in Banff townsite. You need spend only two nights there, namely, Days 5 & 6.

My suggested activities for Day 6 : Explore Banff and its immediate environs (Sulphur Mountain Gondola, Lake Minnewanka (with or without cruise), Hoodoos, stroll through town.

My suggested activities for Day 7 : Drive Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy #1A) from Banff to Lake Louise, and stop at Johnston Canyon on the way. Visit Moraine Lake and Lake Louise in the afternoon. Overnight in Lake Louise.

>>>>>>Day 8: Drive circular route, kootenay, yoho back to bow valley. Stop at Johnston canyon lodge. Will we be able to access after 6pm and before 9am or is highway 1A completely shut during these times?<<<<<<

It would be fine to drive the circular route on this day. You just as easily could do it from a base in Lake Louise as from a base in Banff. Actually, it would save you a little time if you did it from Lake Louise.

You can access Johnston Canyon Lodge from the Lake Louise / Castle Junction side of the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy #1A). My understanding is that it is from Johnston Canyon (or thereabouts) to the intersection with the TransCanada Highway (Hwy #1) on the Banff side that the Bow Valley Parkway is closed from 6 pm to 9 am from March 1st to June 25th.

But I don’t know why you would want to access Johnston Canyon Lodge. Perhaps that is the place you had intended to use as your base for the Banff portion of your trip. Be aware that the one-way drive from Banff townsite to Johnston Canyon is about 20 minutes.

>>>>>>Day 9: Spend day at lake louise, and Moraine lake. Walks and gondola. Saty at lake louise area.<<<<<<

That is a good plan.

Even if you’ve visited Moraine Lake and Lake Louise briefly on Day 7, time spent in the Moraine Lake / Lake Louise area on this day would be time well spent. You could do one of the half-day hikes in the area. For example, the Larch Valley hike departs from Moraine Lake, and the Plain of Six Glaciers and Lake Agnes hikes depart from Lake Louise.

>>>>>>Day 10: Set off to drive icefields parkway, stopping at peyto lake and other sights along the way. Stop over night at Saskatchen river crossing.<<<<<<

As other posters have stated, it would be possible to drive the Icefields Parkway in a day.

If you made it all the way to Jasper on this day, it would give you an extra day in Jasper, and I think that would be beneficial. I do not think it is realistic to do justice to Maligne Valley Road and Miette Road and all they have to offer on the same day. It would be nice to be able to explore them on separate days, which you’d be able to do if you travelled from Lake Louise to Jasper in a single day.

One other comment. You should leave yourselves enough time for the drive from Clearwater to Whistler. It takes about 6 hours, not counting stops. You’ll want to stop somewhere for lunch. The road from Lillooet to Pemberton is very winding. Just after Pemberton you’ll have an opportunity to visit Nairn Falls, which I recommend, but which takes about an hour. So I think you should assume that the drive from Clearwater to Whistler will take you at least 8 hours.

Hope that helps.

UK
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6. Re: Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

Thank you all sooo much. This is a really big help. I've read lots of books but nothing compares to first hand advice. We will defiantly drive Icefields parkway in one day to give us the extra day at Jasper. And we'll rethink about day 5 glacier to Kananakis. All I need to do now is get some accommodation booked!!!

Once again thanks for your advice, no doubt I'll requesting some more once I start on hotels.

Jacksonville...
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7. Re: Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

We did a Canadian Rockies trip two years ago. Started in Mt. at Glacier and went up to Waterton. We spent two nites in Glacier and then did the going to the sun road to Waterton. We were eariler in June than you are palnning and the road was open - lots of snow at the top tho. We stayed in Canmore and then two nites in Johnson Canyon Lodge to access Banff and Lake Louise. Quieter than Banff and nice cabins in an absolutely gorgeous setting. Good food in the lodge tho a little pricey. I didn't find too much at Lake Louise Took the gondola and hiked. Be sure to take the glacierr tour on the way to Jasper on the Icefields highway - fantastic and worth the money! Also if you have time stay in the Invernness area - it is lovely. Also we went west to Revelstoke and the ride was gorgeous - hope this helps. "The Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump" is a wonderful museum (near Ft. MacLeod I think) about the indian and how they hunted - if you are anywhere near there----GO! One of the highlights of our trip!

8. Re: Help -Rockies Itinerary, Calgary to Vancouver- 18 days

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