Which road from Calgary to Vancouver?
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Jun 25, 2013 10:56 PM Last Post By: vsail
Jun 9, 2013 4:27 AM
Which road from Calgary to Vancouver?Hi!
I'm going to drive from Calgary (after the Stampede) to Vancouver. Which road do you recommend that I choose? I've looked at the road via Golden, Revelstoke and Kamloops and via Cranbrook and Kelowna? I can't decide on which one. They both look like they have tons of things to offer. Any suggestions?
Jun 9, 2013 5:01 AM
Jun 9, 2013 6:08 AM
2How much time do you have? Do you want to just get to Vancouver as quickly as possible or do you want to stop and do things?
Revelstoke is a cool town and nearby Glacier National Park is quite beautiful. However, going via Kelowna puts you in the Okanagan Valley, which is a very different landscape from the Rockies. Hence the scenery is quite different; dry pine forests transitioning to even drier sagebrush with a lot of fruit orchards and lakes. You will also have the opportunity to explore the region's wineries. If that is something that does not interest you or if you don't have the time to explore the area then, yes, stick to Hwy 1.
Jun 9, 2013 9:53 AM
Jun 9, 2013 2:38 PM
Jun 9, 2013 3:06 PM
5You really cannot go wrong whichever way you choose. I drive across BC several times a year and it's always a tough choice which way to go. As mentioned, the Icefields Parkway is a big highlight - IF the weather is clear. Then you'd come down Hwy 5 alongside Wells Grey Park to Kamloops. Do NOT go west to Prince George along Hwy 16 - that IS a boring route.
But the choice between Hwy 1 and Hwy 3 is a hard one. You mentioned quaint towns. So in that case I would take Hwy 3 to where it intersects with Hwy 6. Head north to Nelson - quaint and artsy is the definition. Then 3A north east to Hwy 31 to Ainsworth Hot Springs (for the obvious)and then Kaslo (fresh cinnamon buns first thing in the morning on the water). Turn west onto 31A to New Denver then Hwy 6 to Nakusp (lots of ghost towns up here) . There are some fun (free) ferries on the lakes and at this time of the year lots of bears and other wildlife to watch for. Follow the Arrow Lakes south then west to Lumby where you must stop for lunch in town at the bakery. Amazing. Keep going then to Vernon and you are in the heart of the Okanagan region which is iconic for three reason: vineyards and wineries; orchards and fruit; hot summer weather on the lake. There are TONS of provincial parks/campgrounds through the Okanagan.
You will eat so much amazing tree-ripened fruit - not something city dwellers often do; you will visit the wineries for elegant lunchs in beaultiful settings and you will get sunbunt lying on an air mattress in the middle of the lakes. BC'ers LOVE the Okanagan.
So just keep following Hwy 97 down through Kelowna, Summerland, Pentiction to Keremeos where you head west again on Hwy 3.
At Hedley there is an old mine/ghost town type thing you can visit - you mentioned you like ghost towns :)
But you know what? If you pick a differnet route you will still have an amazing experience because BC is an incredible place to travel. I live here and I NEVER get tired of heading out on the road to go exploring again.
Jun 9, 2013 4:43 PM
Jun 11, 2013 12:10 AM
7My favourite route would be to go west out of Calgary, turn off hwy 1 to take the Icefield Parkway to Jasper and from there drive to Kamloops, Cache Creek, turn north there for just a few miles and catch the road west towards Whistler and then Vancouver. Sure, no wineries, but no super hot weather either. It's all a trade-off, and just another suggestion. Highway 1 in B.C. (the Trans-Canada) was in deplorable condition as we drove it this April. The effort to build two lanes each way is going very slowly, and upkeep on present roadway may be suffering with the hope of new construction, but in difficult terrain. Drive the TCH very carefully.
Jun 11, 2013 2:24 PM
Jun 16, 2013 11:54 PM
Jun 25, 2013 10:56 PM
10If one were to just drive continuously (with stops for breaks/lunch/snacks/etc), one could easily reach Vancouver from Calgary in a day. I am assuming you start early morning.
Thus, if you have a couple of days, there's a lot of things you can do. Depending upon how many days you want to spend, you can do a number of things on the trip. If you have two or more days, and want to sight-see most of the "big" spots, then that's also I believe easily possible. I am thinking a trip to Jasper, Kelowna, Golden, etc..
Last time I had friends over, I managed to do the following with more than enough time at each spot to take pictures, and enjoy the scenery (and have fun!). I left Friday around noon from Calgary to Banff (city plus nearby lakes). Then Lake louise and the other nearby lake. Return back to banff for the night. Next day we left for Jasper, covering all the lakes and falls enroute as well as the Athabasca glacier. I think we might have also covered the Canyons over there that day (or early Sunday). Spent the night in Jasper. And then returned on Sunday back to Calgary for a flight in the evening.
And that was just Albertan rockies.
One thing I do want to tell you is that due to the recent flooding in the region, the highway from Calgary to Banff (and perhaps more after that) is highly affected. Roads and bridges have disappeared literally. Last i heard, the Army had setup temporary bridges over these parts to allow the travel possible. So, you may experience some unusual traffic on the way. That is now, as of June 25th.
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