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Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

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Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

Hi All,

We, Me, my kids, (5 and 6 years old) and my husband plan to travel to Canada, Vancouver from 28th March to 10th April 2014, the itinerary i've chosen is as follows:

VANCOUVER- 2 days (since our flight will be from Dubai (approx 20+ hours, we will need that rest)

WHISTLER

LILLOOET

SUN PEAKS

MOUNT ROBSON

JASPER NATIONAL PARK

COLUMBIA ICEFIELD

Lake Louise

Banff National Park

Yoho National Park

Glacier National Park

VANCOUVER

All the above by car, but i have no clue where i should stay if i want to visit these places, how will the weather be, where can we see snow (hopefully lot of it) and what is there for kids.

Also if i skip some of the above and fly from Vancouver to Whitehorse in Yukon, is there anything worth going there for? and what about the weather. what should i do there, any cheap air ticket websites from Vancouver to Whitehorse?

Sorry these are too many questions, but since im the trip planner and its my first time in Canada i need your help and any suggestions are welcome too. Many many many thanks to whoever can spare some time and try to help me out.

Have a Great Day! :)

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

Welcome to the forums, Gulnar ~

The months you are thinking about driving to the Rockies and back will be winter. Vancouver will be more temperate. If you have not driven in a Canadian winter, in snow, March is not the month, or the place to be learning how to do that.

You can expect cold temperatures, snow, snow storms, avalanches, avalanche control where they explode dangerous slabs of snow before they fall, ice and black ice on the roads. You could experience dry, sunny days with a very weak sun.

Rental car companies do not prepare their cars with winter tires and the law requires them on most highways inland from Vancouver. You would need to pack winter safety and survival equipment which you can read about on the following article from the Canada Forum:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c55003/Canada…

Although the Icefields Parkway will be open to driving, it will be on winter maintenance schedule. Almost all the attractions will be either closed or inaccessible for visiting. The Rockies are beautiful any time of the year, but in winter you might want to reorganize your plans. Stay in Vancouver for your days, then fly to Calgary and take one of the shuttle buses to Banff, Lake Louise and even take the shuttle straight to Jasper, no stops. You could stay in Banff for 4 nights, Jasper for 2-3. Then take the shuttle back to Calgary to fly out of the airport there.

www.sundogtours.com

www.brewster.ca

3 minute video of the Icefields Parkway in winter: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c55003/Canada…

Driving in Jasper, with good commentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-OXoHQ7Oa8

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2. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

OMG!! I must say im quite scared after reading the information you have provided, ofcourse i am quite thankful i wouldn't want to risk anything especially with such young kids. so you say driving around is not a good idea. hmmm... i will consider the options you have given me.

Anything on whistler and whitehorse?

Thank you loads for your time, appreciate it :)

Have a nice day!

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

There is no need to be scared.....you just need to understand that you are coming to Canada in winter and while looking at snow is very pretty, driving in it is an entirely different matter. You don't just jump in a rental car and head out on the road.

Whitehorse is very far north and is not easy to get to. Forget about visiting there.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

Well, I don't mean to scare you. Most Canadians would not drive to or through the Rockies for pleasure in March. They would if they had a well equipped car and some experience, ot they had to travel for business.

You could look into taking VIA Rail "The Canadian" from Vancouver to Jasper. This journey takes about 20 hours, more if the train is delayed by a freight train or by heavy snow. The first ~2-3 hours will be in daylight, the next ~9-10 will be overnight, the final ~7-8 will be in the morning so passengers can see the Rockies rising as they approach.

www.viarail.ca

Visit Jasper, play in the snow, Sun Dog down to Banff, try skiing, maybe snowshoeing, visit the town, take the ROAM bus around Banff, play in the snow. Shuttle to the airport.

The end of March would be a pretty good time to go to Whistler. Spring Break would be over so the large number of students would not be there. The road would be arguably better than inland BC, and the snow ploughs are very good at keeping the roads clear. You could take Pacific Coach Lines to Whistler and you do not need a car at all once you are there. The Village is very small and promotes walking, not cars. There is a world class ski school for the kids and ........ maybe the adults too? It is 2 hours from Vancouver, wonderful restaurants, good shopping, some attractions.

I would suggest you read some of the other questions that are being asked and the replies being given, even to p. 2 and 3.

www.whistlerblackcomb.com

Whitehorse is in Yukon Territory and in deep winter as well. This is a 2.5 hour flight from Vancouver. Flights up North can be very expensive, so check out Skyscanner.com for information about that. You need to explore the Whitehorse Forum: the green menu bar across the top has Things to Do that would help satisfy your curiosity there. Post on that forum if you have any questions. And again, read the questions that are being asked, the replies are nuggets of information.

With 14 days, you could organize a combination of 4 nights in Vancouver, 5-6 nights in Whistler, 3-4 nights on Vancouver Island including 2-3 nights in Victoria at the south end. And your final night back in Vancouver before your flight out. The Island is more temperate and Victoria have their annual flower count at the end of February. The rest of us have to wait until April-May! Butchart Gardens will be awash with colour in March-April.

victoriaexplorer.com/events/…

Edited: 4:00 am, November 19, 2013
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5. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

Fantastic!! That is some really cool information and not to mention suggestions :) I will only arrive, hopefully 28th March which is mostly over and im in Canada for April 10 days. I guess I could take the coach to Whistler start of April as suggested by you. Let me redo my Itinerary, and will come back with more questions if i have any.

Thanks a Ton :)

Have a Great Day!!

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

You might also want to look through this information:

tourismtofino.com/tofino-activites/storm-wat…

Tofino is a very popular year-round destination on Vancouver Island that might be a better fit with your time of year.

Jasper, Canada
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7. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

I wanted to mention, about airfare in Canada - flying is expensive. We are a small market (35 million people) in a vast country. There are no low-cost carriers here. Our main two airlines are WestJet and Air Canada, and in eastern Canada Porter Airlines. You can sign up on their websites for notice of seat sales.

Besides the issues of winter driving, since you are travelling with two small kids, you might also want to consider the driving times - it is 800 km from Vancouver to Jasper via the most direct route.

The end of March and early April are when many Canadian school districts have a week or two-week break. While many Canadian families fly south for a tropical holiday, ski resorts like Whistler, Banff and Jasper are also popular... the Christmas and spring break times are the busiest times of the ski season. So don't wait to the last minute to book accommodation.

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8. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

Thank you dear, that is some useful information, i will book accommodation soonest. thanks for the tip :)

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9. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

Being a life-long citizen of the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver) I would say save the National Parks for another trip. Having done the Vancouver to Calgary trip several times in the summer there's many parts of the journey I would not attempt in early Spring. The Rockies are beautiful in the warmer months, for example the color of Lake Louise is something to behold; in March it's still frozen over. A road trip from Vancouver up to the Rockies would be the way to go (they don't call it beautiful British Columbia for nothing).

Having said that, there's also so much to see here on the West Coast. As others have pointed out there's Vancouver Island, Whistler, Vancouver or you may want to visit Seattle. If you feel like driving a little farther, the Oregon Coast is definitely worth a visit. The PNW will not disappoint you. Enjoy your trip wherever you end up.

Edited: 2:17 pm, November 23, 2013
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10. Re: Drive from Vancouver to Alberta and back

Thank you TravellingAnne59 :) i like your comment "Enjoy your trip wherever you end up" :D

Im still struggling to get my itinerary. i dont have may days. and with suggestions from all you lovely people, i have decided to cut short on the National Parks.

I may go to Vancouver, Whistler, Whitehorse (not very sure), Banff and back.

Still working on it, nothing confirmed.

Let me know if you have anything more to add.

Thanks a ton. Have a great day!