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Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

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Yorkshire, United...
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Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

Hi there,

We're just starting to look into visiting Canada for the first time in May/June next year.

We definitely want to spend a few nights in Vancouver but are thinking of driving there from Calgary so we can visit Whistler and a few places in between.

We wouldn't want too many stops so at the minute are thinking of Revelstoke, Kamloops & Whistler. 4 or 5 hours in a day is probably the most we would want to drive.

It would be good to see Jasper but this looks like it might be quite a detour!

It looks like most of the way would be on the highway but we would be happy to head a little off this route as long as the roads weren't too hair raising!

Any help would be much appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.

Greater Sydney...
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1. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

I would seriously consider that Jasper has a lot more going for it than Whistler, and the drive from Lake Louise to Jasper on the fabulous Icefields Parkway is rated as one of the top 20 road trips in the world by National Geographic Travel. If you really want to go to Whistler it can be done as an easy day trip from Vancouver.

With the amount of time that you have you can easily accommodate Jasper. For May/June I would recommend going about this the other way by starting in Vancouver, where the weather will be more moderate than the Rockies, then two days driving to Banff, say four days there, driving to Jasper, say two days, back to Lake Louise for say one day, then to Calgary for flight out. Don't worry about doubling back on the IP as the views are different in each direction, and the weather may have an affect one way so you would be hedging your bets.

As to the route to take, the lovely folk on the BC forums have put this article together, and make Whistler and Kamloops the least favoured alternatives for an overnighter - Whistler is too far from the Rockies anyway:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g154922-c120076/Briti…

If you might seriously be into into hiking then I would suggest longer periods in both Banff and Jasper.

Wednesbury, UK
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2. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

Any particular reason why that way round?

More chance of getting a free one-way rental from Vancouver to Calgary and you finish the trip in the Rockies!

Calgary, Canada
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3. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

If you have a chance, push back the date of your visit as much as possible, so that you will have warmer weather in the Rockies. May and June are early spring in the mountains; the Sunshine Village ski area operates until late May. It will be more pleasant for you if you can catch some warmer weather, and a later visit will help with this.

Yorkshire, United...
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4. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

Thanks everyone, definitely some things to think about there!

Well to be honest, the only way we were thinking of that way is because the place we most want to visit is Vancouver so we were just leaving that until last. At the minute we're torn between just staying in Vancouver or driving to somewhere to else.

A free one way rental may persuade us to go from Vancouver to the Rockies!

To be honest, the more we look into it the more it looks like Jasper might be more appropriate for us than Whistler. We'd be visiting places more for the scenery and to experience the place rather than for outdoor sports. Though we'd definitely like to do a little bit of hiking.

Interesting to hear about the weather. We were thinking mid-may would be getting into spring like weather. As we're coming from the UK the weather definitely plays a factor in when we'd like to be there!

For fear of sounding like an fool, how different is the temperature/climate in Vancouver or Victoria compared to places like Whistler and Jasper at that time of year?

Greater Sydney...
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5. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

This is a great site for checking historic weather averages.

www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3…

I have selected Banff, but you can go back to the Alberta heading and select other towns, and also the same for BC.

Jasper, Canada
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6. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

One thing to be aware of is that the glacial lakes in the Rockies are still ice-covered until usually sometime in the first week of June, Another weather marker - deciduous trees in the area (aspen and birch, mainly) leaf out during the last half of May.

Yorkshire, United...
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7. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

Thanks that's good to know.

This may be a stupid question but are the roads ok to drive on late May or are your roads always ok to drive on.

Our roads grind to a halt everytime it snows!

canada
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8. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

Just to add to the other excellent replies, we think Revelstoke is a lovely place to stop. There's gorgeous scenery, and walking around the town is very enjoyable - there's lots of charming shops and cafes etc, and frequently street music too. If we have to stop for the night on that trip, we always try to push through to Revelstoke, as we can always get good food and feel like we've added to our vacation rather than had to halt it.

As to your climate difference question, in my experience, it always seems like Victoria has gotten it's spring much earlier than Alberta - the flowers, greenery, and evening temperatures are many weeks ahead I feel. A spring drive from Calgary to the coast always feels to me like travelling forward in a time-lapse nature show!

Yorkshire, United...
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9. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

So much to think about! Any thoughts on Harrison Hot Springs, Kelowna and Kananaskis Village. I only ask as there are a couple of pre-arranged fly drive tours that might work out cheaper and also go to these places?

Calgary, Canada
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10. Re: Best places to stop. Driving Calgary to Vancouver in 2 weeks

Fightingfit wrote: "This may be a stupid question but are the roads ok to drive on late May or are your roads always ok to drive on"

Well, Canadians are ingenious, but we still haven't figured out how to remove snow before it falls! :-) There is a chance of snow in May, in Alberta and in the Rockies, but it's fairly small and any snow ought to be short-lasting. However, every year or two, there seems to be one really heavy snowfall in early- to mid-May, which will slow down even Canadian drivers. Just pay attention to the weather forecasts and road condition reports and you should be fine.

"Any thoughts on Harrison Hot Springs, Kelowna and Kananaskis Village."

I can't comment on Harrison Hot Springs. Kelowna, however, is a very popular summer destination for Calgarians, in the heart of the Okanagan Valley (home of fruit orchards, vineyards, and wineries). It should be pleasantly warm there in May, much nicer than in the Rockies or in Alberta.

Kananaskis Village is a village in name only; it's actually a small cluster of businesses (a hotel and a restaurant, maybe a couple other things) in Kananaskis Country. K-Country (for short) is primarily a day-use area in the eastern slopes of the Rockies (SE of Banff National Park), with hiking, golfing, and horseback riding. If you like being "away from it all", it's not a bad destination. Have a look at the K-Country website for more info: …alberta.ca/parks/kananaskis/flashindex.asp

Note that Hwy 40 (Kananaskis Trail) through K-Country is closed at the Highwood Pass (near Peter Lougheed Provincial Park) from Dec 15 to June 15 each year. This won't affect your access to Kananaskis Village, but might affect your planned route.