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time planning 2 weeks vancouver to calgary

Dublin, Ireland
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time planning 2 weeks vancouver to calgary

Hello there,

I have been peaking the forum for some ideas. And I realised I need a quick advice about time planning.

Me and my mate are heading to west Canada for a wedding somewhere near Montrose, halfway from Vancouver to Calgary, by the end of April. We are flying to Vancouver and flying out from Calgary, arriving on Saturday 21st and leaving out in 2 weeks time (the next Saturday 5th may). The wedding days are going to be Friday 27th (to get all stuff ready), Saturday 28th (wedding day) and Sunday 29th (recovering and staying with friends).

Our idea is splitting the holidays in two.

Week 1

-> Half Saturday and full Sunday in Vancouver.

->Monday we pick up a conversion van which will be returned in Calgary.

->Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday stuff in west coast.

->Thursday (full day driving, probably Wednesday late afternoon starting with the driving towards east).

->Friday, Saturday and Sunday weeding days

Week 2 ( Monday - Friday)

Jasper and Banff & Co.

Would it be crazy to go to Vancouver Island with the van for 2 nights/ 3 days? is it doable do the Jasper and Banff lot in 5 days?

Thanks guys for your time!

Edited: 26 February 2012, 00:16
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: time planning 2 weeks vancouver to calgary

Welcome to the Forum, Ari P ~

I think you will find BC to be quite huge. And with travelling in April, time planning becomes a good question. Once you are east of Vancouver, you will need to allow time for things like snow storms, avalanches, avalanche control, slippery roads, other delays. Plan A and Plan B often are needed from Hope east in winter.

I would suggest you do not need a car while in Vancouver at all, just extra expense as Vancouver is completely walkable or accessible with public transit. You could easily spend all 4.5 days in Vancouver. You could even go to Victoria by coach/ferry and not need a car at all. There might be some skiing/boarding up Grouse and Cypress in April, only about 45 minutes away by public transportation. Depends on what our spring temps are going to be.


On the map above, I've indicated daily segments that would make a good drive, especially when you don't know what the weather's going to do.

April 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 in Vancouver/Victoria, plenty to see and do. Even a day trip up to Whistler, 2 hours away from Van.

April 26 1 night in Osoyoos

April 27, 28, 29 in Montrose (near Trail)

May 30 1 night in Fairmont Hot Springs, Invermere, or Radium Hot Springs

April 1, 2, 3, 4 in the Rockies

April 5 drive to Calgary airport, 2 hours drive from Banff, to fly out. Or perhaps the night before if you have an early am flight.

There are a couple of options for the Rockies. You could stay all 4 nights in Banff and take a side trip to Lake Louise (45 min away), take a day trip half way up the Icefields Parkway, or stay 2 nights in Banff, 1 night in Jasper and a final night in Banff to put you close to the Calgary airport. Again, it's all going to depend on clear days, snow fall, or storms.


And one thing you might not think of is how much daylight? We will be on Daylight Savings in April so you will have about 14 hours of daylight, a good thing. Sunrise ~6h00, sunset ~8h00.

You could spend the first 5 days in Vancouver. You could do one of those as a day trip to Victoria (about 4 hours one way by land/ferry + visiting time.) You could fly by seaplane in about 35 minutes and have a good portion of a day before heading back by coach to Vancouver. You could stay over one night.



I think you have the time to enjoy getting across BC. Without much leeway for side trips. You may be thinking, "we'll just drive right through" but I would have a lot of respect for winter weather here. The following is an article about driving in the winter in Canada. Not meant to give you heart palpitations, but to get you to prepare for the drive:


I like your plan. It's not rushed at all. But it will be cold and snowy where you're headed.

Edited: 26 February 2012, 01:30
Dublin, Ireland
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2. Re: time planning 2 weeks vancouver to calgary

Thanks a lot Mutfi! i really appreciate your help. I didnt consider the daylight and winter conditions, i guess probably i was expecting it would be all right by that time of the year. Anyway I realise now i should have omitted all that even more considering i was in yellowstone last year mid june and there was a few big patches of snow on north side face, so yes, i made quick assumptions. Ooops.

We already have the van confirmed, so only staying in Vancouver a day and a half (Saturday and Sunday). Do you think it is mad if we hop into the ferry to Vancouver island to stay 2 nights around, probably Tofino or Campbell? Is it correct what many says Nanaimo to Tofino 3h driving? google map said me something like 4hours or bit more.

Thanks again Mufti, if anytime you need travel plan for Catalunya (Barcelona area) just give me a shout :-)

Port Moody, Canada
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3. Re: time planning 2 weeks vancouver to calgary

The drive from Nanaimo to Tofino will be about 3 hours.. but you also have to factor in the ferry getting to Nanaimo.. so altogether plan on 5 hours minimum ( at ther ferry terminal 1/2 hour before ferry departure, 1.5 hour ferry ride, 3 hour drive) plus drive time from downtown and this is a minimum so assume 6 hours Vancouver downtwon to Tofino. There are also lots of neat places to stop on the way into Tofino. Usually recommend at least 3 nights for Tofino because of the time spent just getting there but you could do it with the time you have. I think the biggest issue will be the drive back to Montrose.. as mentioned weather is the determining factor.. it could be just fine or it could be a nightmare..especially late April as it can start to warm up and avalanches can be an issue for road closures ( often there are short closures so they can do avalanche blasting) for this reason you probably want to head off the island on Wednesday but you could play it by ear if the weather is good and leave late on Wednesday. Again you have to count on at least 5 hours from Tofino to the mainland , minimum. then it's a 7 hour drive from there to Montrose

imo you'd be just as well to stay on the east coast of the island.. the Parksville area has some wonderful hiking, Englishman Falls park, Cathedral Grove , Qualicum Falls Park, Rathtrevor Park are all worth a visit

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: time planning 2 weeks vancouver to calgary

¡Muchas gracias!

Well, I personally think that going to Tofino needs at least 3 nights (2 full days). Yes, it's ~3.5 hours from Van to Nanaimo, then ~3 hours from Nanaimo to Tofino. The west half of Hwy 4 is hilly and twisty, which would slow some people down. Then the same amount of time back, so you really want to stay a while once you're there. If you got a reservation on the ferry, you need to be at the terminal between 30 - 60 min in advance, so that saves you some wait time over the first come first served method which often need closer to a good hour ahead of sailing.

Here are the 3 legs of the journey: http://g.co/maps/j6y7q

What's "calling your name" from Campbell River? Your thoughts on that would help inform the advice that the local posters here will give you about the Island.

Then when you look at google maps for getting from Tofino to somewhere on the way to Montrose in one day, you will see that it will take about 6 hours to drive from Tofino to only Hope, BC. Next stop would likely be Manning Park Lodge in Manning Park. Next stop would likely be Princeton. So you can figure out with google maps how far you would have to drive to find a place to overnight after Hope. The Hope-Princeton (section of hwy) is mountainous.

People do this all the time, as long as you know that driving from Tofino to the east is a bigger trip than driving out of Vancouver.

Edit: T47 and I were typing at the same time.

Edited: 26 February 2012, 19:59
Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: time planning 2 weeks vancouver to calgary

I'm going back to your original plan and starting from there.

First, whether or not the island is worth the time and money for two days. I would say no, just because it really needs 10 days. All two days will do is frustrate you and leave you feeling like you need to come back and do it properly. Plus, that time of year it will be cold and wet. If you are OK with that, then I suppose that's up to you. Given the ground you are covering elsewhere, I would just focus on what you know you are going to see and hope that life will allow you time to come back and visit the island and some of the other great coastal areas another time.

I would look at spending your 2 - 3 days in the Okanagan. You should still be able to ski at Big White or Apex that time of year, and you can visit the beautiful lake areas and walk some trails. That is the time of year when you really can ski in the morning and go swimming in the afternoon. Its a neat thing to do.

Taking this approach allows you to enjoy your drive to Montrose and explore and experience all the terrific scenery and areas to explore along the way.


Hot springs, hiking, boating, golf, wineries, skiing, etc, etc.

6. Re: time planning 2 weeks vancouver to calgary

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