Travel Advice - Vancouver - Jasper - Banff

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  • Aug 25th, 2019 11:38 pm
Mar 7, 2011
71 posts

Travel Advice - Vancouver - Jasper - Banff

I am planning for a trip with my wife to Vancouver for 10 days. Rough plan is to fly from YYZ to YVR, spend 3 or 4 days in Vancouver. Then rent a car from Vancouver drive to Banff via Jasper and back to Vancouver. Fly back to YYZ from YVR.

Dates: Oct 5th - Oct 13th (dates are fixed, can extend it to 14th)
Budget: 4k to 5k CAD.

Please advice on:
  • Is 10 days enough to cover 3 places?
  • Attractions and things to do? (we are in late 30's, reasonably fit and interested in nature, wildlife)
  • Is the budget enough?
  • Any other tips and advises? like Hotel recommendation in Jasper and Banff
17 replies
Deal Expert
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May 22, 2005
21202 posts
IMO, the drive from Vancouver to Banff will take a lot out of you. I drove from Edmonton to Jasper to Banff to Calgary to Edmonton, we considered starting at Vancouver too, but decided to seperate BC and Alberta and do two trips. The drive took a lot out of me ahaha, some areas didn't have reception so keep some music or podcasts ready.

As for lodging, in Jasper we stayed at Patricia Lake, not too expensive and the private lake was really nice.

If you like dogs, we went to the wolfdog sanctuary west of Calgary and had a really good time.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
9829 posts
There are many areas in Jasper/Banff with no cell reception so keep that in mind.
Mar 23, 2019
233 posts
your budget is a bit tight, we did 7k for four in 11days this summer, there always extra come up, e.g. the glaciers tour.
you could drive round trip or one way, means fly home from calgary.
Deal Addict
Jul 14, 2006
2728 posts
Vancouver to Jasper or Banff is a long one-day drive or a very nice, comfortable two-day drive. Yes, Google will say it's 8-9 hours, most people will want to stop and take pictures as it's pretty epic. And there will be a need to stop for rest, gas, food, bathrooms and such. And it's likely one would get caught behind trucks, RVs, and just generally slow drivers especially on the narrower sections of the mountain roads. Making it two days with an overnight in Kelowna is a much more enjoyable option as one can plan to stop a lot more, go for a hike, take a swim, whatever is desired. Planning on going out and back means giving up four days of the vacation which is less than ideal on a ten-day itinerary.
Mar 23, 2019
233 posts
drive skysea hiway to kamloop and then Jasper, geographical change is huge, huge forestry then moutain range then desert in kamloop, glacier in jasper. a lot of spot worth pull over to see, so make it two day trip and sleep at kamloop.

another advise is spend a day in calgary. after our trip we found calgary is way better than Vancouver.
way better road, hotel, city outlook for maybe half price. Vancouver is full of narrow street, shitty house, reckless entitled cyclist, and homeless junkies and afterall their food lodge gas price is all elevated. they all deserve it.
Deal Expert
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Jun 12, 2007
20688 posts
+1 for Calgary, Banff, Jasper. Unless you absolutely need to go to YVR this time, separate it into a different trip
Deal Addict
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Mar 4, 2007
2358 posts

If your 10 day vacation doesn't include the flying days, it can be done but you'll be very rushed.
Days 1-3 Vancouver
Day 4 drive to Banff
Day 5-9 Banff & Jasper
Day 10 drive to Vancouver
You would be better off to fly to Calgary, go to Banff, then Jasper, then fly home from Edmonton or Calgary. Save Vancouver for another time. ... mountains/ ... ckies.html
Feb 27, 2011
221 posts
royalravee wrote:
Any other tips and advises? like Hotel recommendation in Jasper and Banff
It's a lot cheaper to stay in Golden than within Banff NP itself. Golden can even be cheaper than Canmore. Driving from Vancouver to Golden is also quite comfortably done within one day, and then you are only 45-50 minutes away from Lake Louise (an hour and a half from Banff). Emerald Lake is even closer, and is also spectacular (80% as beautiful as Lake Louise with 50% of the crowds).

We did Vancouver-Golden-Calgary-Golden-Vancouver by road this summer, and it was a manageable, but busy, 8 days. The drive is beautiful, and the landscape changes completely every 2-3 hours.

If you decide to rent a car in Vancouver and then fly back from Calgary (or vice versa), I'd shop around for a rental car, as different companies can have dramatically different pricing for inter-provincial one way rentals.
Jr. Member
Oct 19, 2010
171 posts
Vancouver, BC
Be sure to check road conditions and pack warm clothing before heading to Banff from Vancouver. Snowstorms aren't a huge concern in October but you may encounter some rough weather on the drive and the temperature can dip pretty quickly, especially in the mountain regions.
Mar 7, 2011
71 posts
Thanks for all the suggestions.... I leaning towards Calgary - Banff - Jasper and do Vancouver later as a separate trip.
Deal Expert
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May 22, 2005
21202 posts
+1 to @costaguana, STAY IN GOLDEN if you're going to Banff. It's a very nice area and we stayed at an amazing AirBNB, there are tons of amazing AirBNBs for a reasonable price in Golden. We stayed here: ... nzzLpLlToi

Sign up for Aurora Borealis alerts, we managed to catch it near Edmonton, had to drive an hour north but wow, its something I won't forget.

Here was our itinerary if interested: ... sp=sharing
Deal Addict
Mar 24, 2015
1402 posts
Ottawa, ON
Last time we went to the Rockies, we did Calgary-Drumheller-Calgary-Banff-Jasper-Edmonton.
We stayed at Patricia lake for 3 days in Jasper and we paid $185 per night. It was more expensive in Banff but we preferred that as we wanted to drive less and have more time to sleep as we planned to be at Lake Louise at 6:30am. At that time parking was 3/4 full, and did the big big beehive trail (highly recommend that, as you get a chance to see mirror lake, Lake Agnes and once at the top, you get to see both lakes. By the time we came down to Lake Louise, it was a zoo. Too crowded.
We also managed to get parking at Moraine lake at 7pm as the road was open by then. It was not crowded at that time.
In all, we did 3 days in Banff, 3 days in Jasper and thought that was enough to cover what we had planned to visit.

In Jasper we did:
Maligne lake cruise (I booked about 3 days in advance as it's cheaper online. Has to be 48hrs in advance for cheaper prices, check the weather before booking)
Maligne Canyon (hiked bridge 1 to 4, then took the car to bridge 5 and 6, to save time. I heard the hike between 4 and 5 isn;t that interesting).
Path of the Glacier trail and Cavell pond (very scenic drive)
Valley of the five lakes (there is a short loop to visit all 5 lakes and there is a longer trail that goes round the first lake)
Athabasca Falls (make sure to go down to the river)
Jasper Skytram (check online, if book in the morning you get a free breakfast, if later in the afternoon you get a free burger). We went at 5pm, did Whistlers summit trail, then enjoyed the burger a nice view at 7pm)
We were lucky to see bears, goats, elks, deers, moose, marmots

on the way to Jasper we stopped at Peyto Lake viewpoint, toe of the Athabasca Glacier. We did not do the Glacier Skywalk or Athabasca glacier tour.
We also visited Takakkaw Falls and Johnston Canyon while in Banff. For Johnston Canyon, we took the shuttle from Banff as it was noon and know that parking would be difficult to find. Shuttle was $4 per adult one way.

If you are doing more than 7 days in the parks, it might be cheaper to get a discovery pass (I might be wrong on the number of days, you can the prices online).
The discovery pass gives you free entrance to Cave and Basin.

The only reason we flew from Edmonton was because we have kids and went to the West Edmonton Mall, otherwise, we would have driven back to Calgary and visit other places on the way.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
9182 posts
Had done many trips Calgary - Banff/Lake-Louise, at times add Jasper. At times add Drumheller.

If adding Vancouver, it is a much longer trip. It's better to start from Calgary, or Edmonton, as it's a lot of downhill to Vancouver. If starting from Vancouver, it's a lot of uphill climb.

Had done Edmonton, Jasper, Banff/Lake Louise, Golden/Revelstoke, Kamloops, Vancouver. Last year did Calgary (+Drumheller) Banff/LL/Golden, stayed at Canmore, much cheaper. Then to LL, Icefield Parkway, Jasper, Mt. Robson, Kamloops, Whistler, Vancouver.

All nice. Going west, Kelowna is nicer than Kamloops.

In Jasper area, there are a lot of B&B ran by older folks, not on airbnb. For many of them you'd need to email them individually to get the most up-to-date availability info. Some of them don't take deposit and can get last minute cancellations. Last year on July 2 when we went to Malign Canyon and Malign Lake, it snowed.
Deal Addict
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Dec 18, 2007
4832 posts
I actually did something like this myself.
I originally had thought about doing a road trip of sorts but from Victoria to Calgary, but ended up splitting it into 2 trips as others have suggested.
In May, I spent 9 days between Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. Earlier this month, I did something similar but went to Calgary and Canmore. Banff would've been nice but well beyond my budget. Both flights were with aeroplan during the long weekends and I was able to use points towards the hotel in Canmore to keep those costs somewhat reasonable.

As other have also mentioned, the scenery is mind blowing and you could stop and take a photo literally every 20 seconds. I had wanted to go to Jasper as well, but after talking to people there, they all suggested I go to Kootenay as Jasper was almost 3hrs from Canmore (of course depends what part of Jasper you want to visit)
I'm hoping to go back but visit Jasper next time.

The Okanagan is amazing in itself, but my thing about it, is the wines. I love BC wines so I totally geek out over there.

Anyways, both are gorgeous parts of the country. Having just been back from the Rockies barely 2 weeks ago, looking at the scenery here in TO (southern ON in general) is incredibly boring.
Deal Addict
Jan 31, 2013
1802 posts
Red Deer, AB
royalravee wrote: Thanks for all the suggestions.... I leaning towards Calgary - Banff - Jasper and do Vancouver later as a separate trip.
Good choice. Vancouver is a nice city to visit in the fall, but you’ll waste too much time driving to and from the Rockies.
We stayed once in White Rock (Vancouver) for a few days in October and stayed one night in Kelowna on our way home. It started raining just north of Kelowna, turning to wet snow near a Revelstoke. When we were near Lake Louise and Banff, it was snowing heavily and the drive was very uncomfortable, especially because we didn't have our winter tires on our car yet.
That’s not to say it’s always snowing in the Rockies in October, but there’s a chance of course.
Deal Addict
Jul 26, 2007
1425 posts
if you have a car, and you want to save $, for banff, stay in the canmore or even cochrane area (cochrane is closer to calgary). staying in banff, regardless of time of year, will be absurdly expensive.