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Grayhound bus Montreal to Vancouver through Rockies

Glasgow, Scotland
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Grayhound bus Montreal to Vancouver through Rockies

Me and two friends have bought Grayhound Discovery Passes for 7 days to get from Montreal to Vancouver this June.

The route we have provisionally chosen to take is Montreal-Jasper-Banff-Lake Louise-Vancouver.

As we only have a week to do this journey, we're considering missing out Jasper, which would cut around 12 hours travelling time. Any thoughts on whether Jasper is worth the extra travelling time? I understand the bus has to go around the Rockies rather than through them to get from Jasper to Banff. If we do decide to go to Jasper, is this journey scenic enough to be worth doing it during the day, or would we be better spending the day in Jasper and travelling overnight?

Also, does anyone know how easy it is to get cheap accommodation in the Rockies if you haven't booked?

Any advice is much appreciated!

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1. Re: Grayhound bus Montreal to Vancouver through Rockies

To get to British Columbia, you must go through the Rockies, which are a chain of mountains running roughly northwest to southeast along the BC/Alberta border. The major routes are (from S to N), highway 3 through Crowsnest Pass, highway 1 (Banff, Lake Louise) via Kicking Horse Pass, or highway 16 (Jasper) via Yellowhead Pass.

Greyhound does not offer service between Jasper and Banff along the Icefields Parkway, one of the world's most scenic drives - and one of the main attractions of Banff and Jasper National Parks. (See www.icefieldsparkway.ca for more info.) Brewster does though. If you take Greyhound, you go back to Edmonton, then to Calgary, then to Banff (then to Lake Louise). That's about almost eight hours of driving (bus will be longer because of connections), whereas driving directly from Jasper to Banff, a distance of 300 km, usually takes about 3.5 to 4 hours. However, most sightsee-ers (and also, the Brewster tour, I believe) make a whole day of it, as there are lots of scenic sights/sites to stop at along the way.

Banff has hostels and the "Y" right in town. Jasper's hostels are out of town and difficult to get to without a vehicle. You can find vacancies at private home accommodations at the Visitor Information Centre - you can expect to pay about $60-80 per night for a modest room with a shared bathroom (i.e. $30 to $40 each), or more, if you want a room with private bath or breakfast.

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2. Re: Grayhound bus Montreal to Vancouver through Rockies

If you already have the Greyhound passes, then you are rather stuck on a long (uncomfortable) journey.

I've bussed through the Rockies between Vancouver and Calgary once, and that was enough for me.

However, as a recommendation from one who has driven the Rockies a bit, I can suggest you go for Jasper more than Banff - its a personal preference of mine as I have found Banff to have become much too commercial over the years.

The first leg of your journey from Montreal to Jasper or Banff is going to be tiring (and uncomfortable). I would have suggested flying to Calgary instead and then bussing or driving it from there through the Rockies.

By the way, I have a friend who drives for Greyhound from Vancouver into and through the Rockies, and even tells me that the buses are getting old. Don't expect too much comfort.

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3. Re: Grayhound bus Montreal to Vancouver through Rockies

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