Ideas for 3 Week Road trip in BC & Alberta

Travel Forums North America Ideas for 3 Week Road trip in BC & Alberta

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1. Posted by llawjm (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Fellow Travellers!

You guys have helped me out before, and all your suggestions for my most recent trip to California were very helpful, so I send a huge thank you to you all!

So our next trip is British Columbia & Alberta and we're trying to compile a list of "must see" places on our road trip. We (German 25f and Aussie 31m)

We'll be hitting Vancouver on the 11th of October 2010 and have 3 weeks to play with before flying out of Vancouver.

Having read up on Western Canada, there's so much to see and do. We love nature, and most of our time shall be spent outdoors of course.

We've got a few places in mind to visit, although very vague:

- Vancouver Island (Victoria)
- Vancouver
- Jasper
- Icefields Parkway
- Banff
- Whistler

Our transport shall be a rental car (something with guts to tackle the mighty Rockies), and accommodation shall be a mixture of hotels, hostels and private accommodation offered via the NP websites that we've been reading about. Has anyone done private accom in the National Parks before?

So if you have any tips, suggestions, accommodation or road trip itineraries that will occupy us for 3 weeks then that would be just so helpful to us.

Thanks again, any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Matt & Mel :)

2. Posted by llawjm (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Having looked at some posts, and getting some more ideas, could the following looped road trip be done inside 18 days or so?

Vancouver, BC
Whistler, BC
Pemberton, BC
Lillooet, BC
Cache Creek, BC
Kamloops, BC
Clearwater, BC
Blue River, BC
Valemount, BC
Jasper, AB
Canmore, AB
Sulphur Mountain, AB
Banff, AB
Moraine Lake, AB
Lake Louise, Banff, AB
Revelstoke, BC
Shelter Bay, BC
Nakusp, BC
Osoyoos, BC
Hope, BC
Vancouver, BC

3. Posted by dbl-nkl (Budding Member 26 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Where to start????

A little background: I live near Vancouver, since 1996. I lived in Edmonton 8 years. I'm an automobile tourist & amateur photographer.

You like outdoors, don't seem to have serious budget restrictions & plan to drive everywhere.

First I'd like to add a far-away BC destination to your lists: the Queen Charlotte Islands. Exotic, really off the beaten path (ie expensive) but different from anywhere else I've been to in Canada (Newfoundland & the Territories are the only places I've not been to). I'm sure the web can help you for more info.

I'd like to eliminate a few places from your list, because I've been there and I didn't find much: Pemberton, Lillooet, Cache Creek.

Vancouver Island: add Tofino on the west coast where you could surf, go sea kayaking or whale watching. There's a hotel, I think in Tofino, that was built on a rocky shore for people who like storms. Almost everywhere on Vancouver Island is interesting; but there are also many islands accessible by ferry & float planes that are ...maybe... more interesting, though smaller.

You listed Nakusp, Osoyoos, Hope in BC. Hope is on the way to Osoyoos from Vancouver. You could also hit Harrison Hot Springs, kind of on the way to Hope but via another highway. What is called the BC Interior is very interesting for tourists; for instance... Did you know there were camels used in some of the old mining towns?

You mentioned Jasper, Banff, Icefield Parkway, Valemont... When I lived in Edmonton, I used to go for 3-4 day photography weekends "in the Rockies" - stop anywhere, anytime & take some opportunity shots, maybe a little bit of hiking. One can easily get interested in just about anything between Banff & Jasper, for a week or more. Maybe take a tour bus at first just to get a feel for the place or find some destinations you want to go back to on your own. There are other "rockies" parks you might consider, like Yoho.

3 weeks seems like a long time for a visit, but you could spend a week in Vancouver & Vancouver Island, a week between Jasper & Banff, and another week in the Interior visiting places like Barkerville, Nelson, Kelowna & Kamloops...

The west side of the Rockies is much more rugged that the Alberta side; I found a day trip in the Alberta foothills via highway 22 - from Crowsnest Pass to Calgary - is relaxing, has interesting vistas, all kinds of little towns, the "kinda morbid" but fascinating Frank Slide disaster.

Sometimes the "tourist attraction" is the actual drive: Highway 1 from Vancouver to Golden which could be stretched to two days if you stop here & there or make some short side-trips.

I wish you a great trip, I doubt you'll be disappointed wherever you choose to go.

On a personal note, I'm driving from Vancouver to Montréal this year with my camera, a laptop, a credit card, some laundry soap; I'll be gone for ±6 weeks.

It was nice reminiscing while writing this. Thanks.



PS: Try renting an Altima from Enterprise Car Rentals

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Jul-2010, at 17:48 by dbl-nkl ]

4. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!


That looks like a lot of destinations for 18 days! I think that I would take dbl-nkl's advice. It sounds pretty good. I don't know BC and Alberta as well as he does, but I have done a lot of hiking in Banff and Jasper National Parks. There is one hiking guide that I have used called Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies: An Opinionated Hiking Guide by Kathy and Craig Copeland, available on . It is a really easy read, has lots of information, and is user-friendly. I think you will benefit from this guide. I know quite a few people who use and swear by it.

Anyway, a hike in either (or all) Banff, Jasper, or Yoho National Parks is a must on your trip, especially for nature lovers!

Have a great trip and I hope that I have helped!


5. Posted by jambo101 (Respected Member 414 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Sounds like a great trip,i did the same trip 2 summers ago going as far west as Tofino and south of Calgary to the Waterton Lakes park, did the Pemberton to Cache Creek area and not much there other than a scenic drive,especially coming into Lilouet, the whole trip was done easily in a Toyota Yaris sedan with wife and 2 kids so you dont need a hulking behemoth SUV to make the trip, if you were doing the trip in the summer i'd recommend renting a Mustang or Sebring convertible but late October can get very chilly up in the mountains and snow could be a slight possibility. You may find some of the summer tourist areas closed at this time of year but there will be enough going on to keep you busy.,enjoy the drive and interesting destinations will pop up frequently,i would pack some motion sickness pills (Gravol or Dramamine)for your passenger as hours of twisty mountain roads driving can become physically nauseating for some.

[ Edit: Edited on 03-Jul-2010, at 04:07 by jambo101 ]

6. Posted by Barbara S (Budding Member 11 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

We've just returned home from Canada to the UK today. Maybe you would be interested in our blog

7. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Take it easy on the winding mountain roads through steep canyons. Don't be afraid to drive a little slower and more cautiously. Better safe than sorry. As there may be snow on the roads, I would advise a rental with snow tires. They can save your life. Roger's Pass is the worst of it. After that it isn't as bad.

8. Posted by jessejames (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

keep in mind though that roger's pass gets really treacherous in the winter--i suggest that you cross it first (the earlier the better given your timeframe) so that you can get back before the snow really sets in. then hi northern bc if that's your intention, then do the lower/south stuff. highly recommend a loop through the kootneys, especially nelson--very cool little town. ditto on bypassing lillooet, pemberton and cache creek, and i might add kamloops to that.

definitely add tofino, barkerville and the queen charlottes and other islands if you can fit them in.

have fun!

9. Posted by DaveinMD (Full Member 199 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

We've been to a lot of places but the drive from Jasper to Banff is in our top 5. If you do make the trip take a few minutes and stop at Peyto Lake, it 's not a detour so it won't be a big deal. Here's why:

10. Posted by llawjm (Budding Member 7 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi Travelers!

We've been very lucky to have so many responses to our forum posts. I've not had enough time to collate all the information and tips as yet, however from what I have read we are both in for a lovely trip in October.

Quiet a few people have mentioned that traveling through the Rockies in October is going to be hit and miss weather wise.

Would it be wise to try and head as far north as we can (Jasper) and then work our way down towards Banff etc. Thus driving clockwise from Vancouver.

Thanks again for every one's advice and tips. We shall certainly report back!