Itinerary for 10 days in BC & Ab
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Feb 8, 2013 10:40 AM Last Post By: ItchyFeetCanadian
Feb 6, 2013 4:13 AM
Itinerary for 10 days in BC & AbI'm planning a 10 day trip to Canada in July with a friend. We are planning to arrive in Vancouver and then travel around a bit. We want to go on mountain hikes and camp too.
I have been doing a bit of research and was thinking of the following itinerary:
Fly into Vancouver
Fly out of Calgary
Does anyone have any decent suggestions for a stop between Whistler and Banff? (Taking into account the hiking)
Also, what is the best way to travel? We are on a bit of a budget.... Train?
Thanks in advance for any help you can give!
Feb 6, 2013 7:25 AM
Feb 6, 2013 11:43 AM
Feb 6, 2013 1:23 PM
3The train from Vancouver to Banff is the aforementioned Rocky Mountaineer, which is a private, tourist service. It is pricey. The regular train, Via goes from Vancouver to Edmonton via Jasper. It, too, can be expensive. If you are unwilling to rent a car then the bus is the most budget-friendly. There are a million and one hiking destinations between Vancouver and the Rockies...and even in the vicinity of Vancouver. I'm not sure Whistler is a great option for you; it's not particularly budget-friendly and there are better places to go hiking.
You should figure out how many days you have between Vancouver and the Rockies and whether you want to do most of your camping near Vancouver, Banff, Jasper, or somewhere in between...you can then figure out whether you should drive, train, or bus. There have been some discussions on this forum about getting to trailheads in the Rockies without a car though I don't have any personal experiences. This is the general problem with public transportation. The bus may take you to a particular town but then what? How do you get to the trails? Alternatively, if there is a hostel in the particular town you stop in, then they should be able to arrange trips for you or you may make friends with a car.
If budget and driving are big concerns, you might want to get in touch with the Sierra Club in Vancouver and visit some of the big outdoor stores on Broadway (e.g. Mountain Equipment Co-op.) They often run hiking/camping trips. Likewise Google around for hiking clubs in Vancouver and arrange a trip that way. Good luck!
Feb 6, 2013 1:49 PM
4Id do a loop with a rental. Id personally drive to banff with a quick stop in Revelstoke to break up the trip. From there, either head back up to Jasper stopping at Lake Louise and the icefields. Many short hikes to chose from in these regions. A quick google will show several common ones.
IF your a wine lover, and enjoy hot temperatures, swing through the Okanagan.
Again, personally, Id skip Whistler and head to Vancouver island and spend my last 4-5 days in Tofino, Victoria, and Vancouver.
Feb 6, 2013 5:21 PM
5Rent a car @ do the loop in #1.
I disagree that Whistler is too expensive or doesn't offer as good of hikes. You can camp quite cheaply at Cal-cheak. There are also a number of great hikes in the region that rival the best of the Rockies and interior of BC, such as Wedgemount Lake, Panorama Ridge, Joffre Lakes, etc.
I'd use Whistler, Revelstoke, Banff/Louise, and Jasper as base camps and then do day trips from them.
Feb 6, 2013 11:06 PM
6I've done this trip a few times and it's amazing! It is tough to do one way and without a car on a budget though. Personally, if it's the hiking you are really after, I would consider a loop from Calgary as the Rockies are much closer. There is not much between Vancouver and Golden (for me) and Whistler takes you on a much less interesting and longer route. Vancouver is a much nicer and more cosmopolitan city, Whistler is lots of fun (especially if you mtn bike) and the Okanagan is a real draw for people who like heat and don't live by the sea.
If you are set on Vancouver and Whistler, it might work better to do a day or two day trip to Whister, and then get a bus Vancouver to Jasper or Banff.
BUT, my suggestion would be to fly into Calgary, explore Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. The hiking around Emerald Lake and Lake O'Hara (if you can get in!) is awesome and the drive/stop along the Icefields Parkway is unparalleled. Consider renting an RV, if you drive get the GyPSy Guide, watch out for Calgary Stampede and buy the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide by Patton and Robinson. Brewsters and Sundog do some bus tours (forget the train) and there is so much fun to be had in the Rockies, any time of year.
Good luck, happy travels!
Feb 7, 2013 7:50 PM
7Since you're on a budget, forget the GyPSy Guide - it's an expensive add-on. It is a GPS unit that gives you commentary as you are driving along - kind of like having a tour guide in your car. It'll add a couple of hundred dollars to your trip.
You can find lots of information about hiking in the national parks at each of the parks' websites: www.pc.gc.ca/banff www.pc.gc.ca/jasper www.pc.gc.ca/yoho etc. (The main Parks Canada site, where you can access all the parks from is www.pc.gc.ca ) As mentioned, hiking, without wheels to get to trailheads can be a bit of a problem. Here in Jasper, for instance, while there are plenty of nice forested walks accessible from town, the best - subalpine and alpine - trails are spread out all over the park and most trail heads are close to an hour's drive from town. My fave four hikes in JNP are Cavell Meadows (which may not be open next summer ... still waiting to hear what the Parks Canada decision will be in the wake of a glacier ice fall there last summer that caused flooding and damaged the road and parking lot), Opal Hills (at Maligne Lake - the Bald Hills is also a good hike), Sulphur Skyline (at Miette Hot Springs), and Wilcox Pass (at the Columbia Icefields).
Feb 8, 2013 10:40 AM
It sounds like you are mostly looking for hikes and adventures in the area right? I grew up in the Vancouver area and currently live in AB, just north of Jasper. We've done a ton of road trips between AB and BC since we moved to AB. 10 days isn't a whole lot, but you will have lots to do everyday! There is a train (Rocky Mountaineer=expensive) that goes from Vancouver to Whistler. A rental car gives you the most freedom, but the bus services are good too. Beware though, the trip will take much longer on a bus than by car. The bus from Whistler to Vancouver is quite nice and it is easy. Tons of hikes in Whistler/Pemberton/Squamish area. The chief is a hike in Squamish (south of Whistler) you might like to check out. Joffrey Lakes Provincial Park has stunning lakes and fantastic hikes. Garibaldi glacier is a full day hike and very beautiful. Pemberton (45 minutes drive outside of Whistler) has natural hot springs that you can hike to. If you are on a budget you can make Whistler more affordable by tenting! Whistler is not out of the question if you are on a budget.
If you decide to drive from Vancouver to Banff, it might be worthwhile going via an alternate highway rather than Highway 1. You could detour to Kelowna if you are interested in visiting orchards and vineyards (you can do free/inexpensive wine tastings). Or, you could drive via Highway 3 (Crowsnest Pass) and come up to Banff via Waterton Parks (reputed to be even more stunning than Banff). There are a ton of natural hot springs (i.e., on rivers or in the trees *skip the commercial ones*) on this highway that are neat to visit. We usually see a lot more wildlife (elk, sheep, moose, deer, coyotes) on Highway 3 than Highway 1.
I really recommend driving so you can set your own itinerary :) The National and Provincial Parks along the BC/AB border are absolutely packed with sights and hikes that you won't want to miss. Best of luck planning your trip. I hope that you love Canada as much as I do :)
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