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Suggestions for places to visit

Eastbourne, United...
Level Contributor
946 posts
255 reviews
Suggestions for places to visit

This will be our first visit to Canada. We like to drive, take photos, take short walks (around 1 hour each way max.) see waterfalls, ghost towns, occasionally get away from crowds. We will be travelling late July / early August, accommodation is booked.

Arrive Calgary on late flight, stay at airport hotel. Pick up rental car. 3 nights Canmore, 1 night Cranbrook, 3 nights Castlegar, 2 nights Revelstoke, 5 nights Field, return to Calgary and fly out.

Plan to drive Ice Fields Parkway (probably more than once) and have researched places of interest along route. Also plan to spend time in Mt Revelstoke, Glacier and Yoho NP's, what are "must see's" here? We will use 93 between Canmore and Cranbrook, but whilst at Canmore should we take a day to explore 40 South? What about Smith Dorrien Trail? (in rental car want to stick to paved roads).

Sorry, lots of questions, but all help appreciated.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
22,109 posts
59 reviews
1. Re: Suggestions for places to visit

No, you don't plan to drive the Icefields Parkway, because Jasper isn't on your itinerary. It isn't a reasonable day trip - it would be 8 hours of driving and easily another 8 hours worth of stops, at least. You will be seeing Banff and the area around Banff, and perhaps some of the southern sections of the Parkway as far as the Columbia Icefields, which is about as far as you can expect to get in a day.

Does this map your route effectively?


Castlegar isn't usually the destination of choice in that area. Most people go to Nelson, which is charming and popular. You can drive the Slocan Valley, visit Kaslo, Silverton. Its a lovely area.

Five nights in FIELD??!! What on earth for? You will go crazy. Its a charming little heritage mining town, but there is seriously NOTHING there. Make it two nights in Field as a base for visiting Yoho, and then take the remaining three nights in Jasper, so that you can drive the full length of the Icefields Parkway and visit Jasper NP and Mount Robson PP.

Honestly, your itinerary suggests you developed it without getting any advice. Sorry, and I'm sure it will be fine, but you are missing some great stuff and putting your emphasis in the wrong places, IMO.

Eastbourne, United...
Level Contributor
946 posts
255 reviews
2. Re: Suggestions for places to visit

Thanks for your comments.

I hadn't planned to go as far as Jasper on this trip, I plan to return to see both Banff and Jasper in the winter. When travelling I'm not really looking for nightlife (other than the occasional half hour in a bar) so as long as there is somewhere to get food I'm happy. What I do want to do is take the time to get to know the area around Banff and Yoho which is why I booked the last 5 days in Field.

I' looking for suggestions of less obvious places to visit in the area as on trips to USA it seemed to be the out of the way places I enjoyed most.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
679 posts
3. Re: Suggestions for places to visit

Looks like a wonderful itinerary to me. The Kananaskis Trail is certainly worth exploring and so, of course, is the Smith Dorrien Trail. We've driven the SD Trail with an RV and rental car and, although it's unpaved it's a pretty well maintained road and easy to navigate.

Coming down the 93 there's an exit to your left just south of Canal Flats, which leads to a wonderful little park, Whiteswan Lake. It's a gorgeous drive over (again well maintained) unpaved road and about halfway you'll get to the natural Lussier Hot Springs.

I understand that all accommodation is booked, but if at all possible I would change the stay in Cranbrook for Kimberley, which is far more charming and change Castlegar for Nelson, or even better, Kaslo.

Be sure to drive hwy 3A and take the ferry across Balfour and Kootenay Bay.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
16,191 posts
100 reviews
4. Re: Suggestions for places to visit

I'm glad to hear you plan to come back to see Jasper :) and as mentioned, you'll probably want to visit some sights on the southern part of the Icefields Parkway from your base in Field. If you want relative peace and quiet and are not concerned about nightlife, choices in dining, window shopping etc., I think Field will be just fine for you. There is only one restaurant there - Truffle Pigs Bistro or Café (something like that), and there is another nearby, at Emerald Lake Lodge ($$$$). Other than those two, Lake Louise, with its limited choices, is the next closest, then Baker Creek Chalet, then Banff.

I say "relative" peace and quiet, because Field is a CPR town and long (up to two miles), heavy freight trains go through there 24/7/365 (not constantly, of course, but regularly). Canmore, Banff and Lake Louise are also on the same main line but their wider valleys help dissipate the noise. Personally, I don't find it the diesel rumble bothersome (whistling, yes) - I like how the sound echoes off the mountains, especially on a calm, clear night.

Do be aware that in both Alberta and BC, while the BAC for an impaired driving charge is .08, there is also a .05 law in effect, that your license can be suspended (for 72 hours, I believe it is). My understanding is that one drink can put some people to a .05 BAC level. So you will want to be careful in your "pubbing", maybe take turns being the designated driver.

Level Contributor
118 posts
27 reviews
5. Re: Suggestions for places to visit

In the Canal Flats / Radium area, there is the White Swan Lake Park and Lussier hot springs. the springs are verrrry rustic, and the drive to and from them is an experience in itself. Not for people who get anxious driving in the mountains.

6. Re: Suggestions for places to visit

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