June 19, 2018, 01:59:52 PM

Author Topic: Western Canada  (Read 9352 times)

ethanz

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Western Canada
« on: January 17, 2018, 09:59:51 PM »
Hello everyone,

A friend and I are interested in vacationing in western Canada this August with a car. What are some of the top places to visit and things to do? What is it like camping in those places? I read through the previous thread about this, but am hoping for some more input. I know there is one CR member who definitely knows the area (and posts pictures from there all the time).

(Anyone willing to let a fellow Canon-ite stay with them would be welcome too  ;))
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Western Canada
« on: January 17, 2018, 09:59:51 PM »

Ryananthony

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 10:05:14 PM »
Hello everyone,

A friend and I are interested in vacationing in western Canada this August with a car. What are some of the top places to visit and things to do? What is it like camping in those places? I read through the previous thread about this, but am hoping for some more input. I know there is one CR member who definitely knows the area (and posts pictures from there all the time).

(Anyone willing to let a fellow Canon-ite stay with them would be welcome too  ;))

Western Canada is huge, where abouts are you planning on heading?

ethanz

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 10:17:56 PM »
Hello everyone,

A friend and I are interested in vacationing in western Canada this August with a car. What are some of the top places to visit and things to do? What is it like camping in those places? I read through the previous thread about this, but am hoping for some more input. I know there is one CR member who definitely knows the area (and posts pictures from there all the time).

(Anyone willing to let a fellow Canon-ite stay with them would be welcome too  ;))

Western Canada is huge, where abouts are you planning on heading?

I know it is. Our last road trip we drove 6000 miles. So most things really aren't out of the question.
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R1-7D

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 10:28:52 PM »
I live in Alberta, and it's the heart of Western Canada. You'll want to come to Alberta and spend some time in the national parks, such as Banff. Morraine Lake and Lake Louise are a must. But do some research; there's a ton to see here.

HarryFilm

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 11:45:43 PM »
In terms of camping, if you go in the spring/summer many sites in the Vancouver/lower mainland/vancouver island area will be already booked by March!

There is a BC Camping booking website "BC Parks Reservation Service" (do a search on google) where you can pre-book a specific site in many parks (some have fees, many don't). These managed parks (i.e. Golden Ears Park or the Harrison Lake area) have nice amenities like well maintained beaches, washroom facilities and showers (and some even have food kiosks and laundry!)

If you want TRULY WILD camping, I suggest some of the parks or unmanaged Crown Land (i.e. public land Wild areas) on Northern Vancouver Island past the City of Comox and past Sechelt/Sunshine Coast on the mainland side.

I also suggest driving to Kelowna on Lake Okanagan which is a HUGE lake. Many of it's beach areas are free during the day but some parks do charge or need to be BOOKED ONLINE for overnight camping before March/April for a daily fee. Of course, if you go onto Crown Land that is free but you might have to use a 4x4 vehicle to drive on old logging roads!

Do remember that many parts of western Alberta and British Columbia are TRULY WILD areas which mean Bears (Black bears and Grizzlies) and Cougars (mountain lions) and plenty of deer may be present. I ALWAYS suggest bringing bear spray and maybe a cheap satellite phone (about $300 US if you buy used) for emergencies. If you are from the USA, do remember that handguns (i.e. 9mm or .357) are BANNED ALL OVER CANADA so don't bring them. The border services people WILL arrest and jail you if you do have them! You ARE allowed to bring long-guns (i.e. hunting rifles) if you have your requisite permits from Canada BEFORE you go over the US/CANADA border.

Do also be aware that if the summer time gets unusually hot (i.e. last two years!) that campfire bans may be in effect which means you will have to bring along a small (or large!) propane barbecue to do your cooking as there will be no open campfires or fire-pits allows during the dry season (June/July/August).

One place I REALLY LIKED was near Smithers and New Hazelton in British Columbia. There is a GIGANTIC park called Omineca Provincial Park and Omineca Protected Area which is bigger than some entire States!  That is a TRULY WILD area and do bring your camera to MAYBE get that million-dollar photo of Sasquatch (aka Bigfoot) which has supposedly been seen MANY TIMES in the area! The many decades-old logging roads going to the Babine Lake and surrounding area have some great small streams to fish in and camp nearby. That is for the really WILD camping!

If you like more "Civilized" accomodations and more urban things-to-do, then I highly suggest Lake Okanagan, Shuswap lake and just outside of Vancouver i.e. Harrison Lake and Manning Park.

And finally do remember these areas such as BC/Alberta are HUGE and bigger than the state of Texas! So on logging roads bring LOTS of extra fuel because there might not be a gas station for sometimes up to 200 miles in the Northern areas!

For more information, see the "BC Parks - Province of British Columbia" website!

I hope this helps!

ethanz

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2018, 01:52:00 AM »
Thanks for the wealth of information Harry.

Any recommendations for other places at Banff to stay at besides http://www.assiniboinelodge.com/ they seem quite expensive.
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stevelee

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2018, 11:47:20 AM »
Thanks for the wealth of information Harry.

Any recommendations for other places at Banff to stay at besides http://www.assiniboinelodge.com/ they seem quite expensive.

I stayed in the Fox, so named because it is near where Fox St. comes into the main drag. It was part of a package with my Rocky Mountaineer trip, so I don't know the cost, but it should be relatively reasonable. I took the low-end hotel version of the tour. The people on the high end stayed at Banff Springs, a Fairmont. The Fox was modern and clean. They have a pool you can soak in from a hot spring. The night before I had stayed at the Lake Louise Chateau, and my room at the Fox would have fit in my bathroom there.

Spend some time in the Jasper area. That may be the prettiest area of all, including lakes that have already been recommended. Between there and Lake Louise, tour the places along the ice field route, including going out to walk on a glacier. Nearby is a triple continental divide. I found that area so scenic that I made a panorama in Photoshop and printed it out on 13"-wide roll paper. I think the resulting picture is about 3 feet wide. I had it framed, and it hangs over my mantel.

Besides that corridor, I would recommend following the Fraser and Thompson rivers as much as you can in a car. That is very scenic between Jasper and Vancouver. Vancouver is an interesting city in itself. And if you get that far west, you will want to go to Victoria on Vancouver Island and also tour the gardens on the island.

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2018, 11:47:20 AM »

ethanz

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2018, 01:15:21 PM »
Wow, Chateau Lake Louise is even more expensive than Assinboine and you have to pay for every single activity! I've heard Lake Louise is very crowded and touristy.
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Talys

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2018, 01:15:30 PM »

If you like more "Civilized" accomodations and more urban things-to-do, then I highly suggest Lake Okanagan, Shuswap lake and just outside of Vancouver i.e. Harrison Lake and Manning Park.


Ohh.  I can second Harrison Lake.  You can enjoy the hot springs and the whole spectrum of restaurants for the "civilized" part, and there are amazing photography opportunities, especially if you go when it's not a downpour (unless you like photography in the rain).  Everything from spectacular landscapes to eagles and other wildlife.

stevelee

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2018, 05:34:26 PM »
Wow, Chateau Lake Louise is even more expensive than Assinboine and you have to pay for every single activity! I've heard Lake Louise is very crowded and touristy.

At the time I booked the trip I asked about upgrading the hotel to the Chateau and was told "Everybody stays at the Chateau." So it was on the low-end version of the tour as well as the high end. I added an extension to Victoria to the tour, and the agent said they would have given me an extra free night in Vancouver, but since I wanted to go to Victoria, my free night would be there. I stayed at the Empress. I didn't do the $70 afternoon tea, though.

A longtime online acquaintance lived in Calgary, so when he found out I would be in the area when he was home with some time off from work, he came over and paid for our breakfast/brunch buffet. It was nice to meet him in person.

I know a lot of people go there, but it is a spacious area with trails into the mountains and such. The morning in July that I went out making pictures around the lake, this is how crowded it looked:



This is the terrace beside the hotel, leading right up to the lake. The path goes around the right side of the lake, so I walked out to the end and back while taking pictures. The light was changing all the time, and I was seeing things from the opposite side, so I took about as many pictures on the way back as I had going out. This is the view of the hotel from the other side of the lake:


Jack Douglas

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2018, 03:22:50 AM »
It would probably help if you were a little more specific on details.  I live in Alberta and love to travel to BC but try to avoid the commercial areas because my love is more for untouched beauty and fewer people.  I absolutely loved my Edmonton to Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii trip which could be described as the opposite to Banff.

That trip primed me for this year's Bella Coola venture into the great bear rain forest, which I'm presently researching.  For me camping means unserviced 20' RV parking since I have solar.  I'm too old to enjoy tenting.

If you are interested in Haida Gwaii PM me and I can answer questions.  Otherwise all the well known spots in Alberta/BC are really nice and especially the drive from Banff to Jasper.  There are loops within the interior of BC that are very nice and scenic.  Barkerville is a very interesting ghost town and well worth visiting.

If in Saskatchewan, the Qu'appelle valley is an oasis in a prairie wheat field desert.

Typical scene between Banff-Jasper.

Jack
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 03:29:29 AM by Jack Douglas »
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AJ

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2018, 10:33:22 AM »
Note that Assiniboine is a backcountry lodge.  It's a short helicopter ride or else a ~15 mile hike.  The area surrounding it is spectacular.

I suggest purchasing a copy of "How to photograph the Canadian Rockies" by Darwin Wiggett and building some of your itinerary around that.

ethanz

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2018, 11:49:51 AM »
Note that Assiniboine is a backcountry lodge.  It's a short helicopter ride or else a ~15 mile hike.  The area surrounding it is spectacular.

I suggest purchasing a copy of "How to photograph the Canadian Rockies" by Darwin Wiggett and building some of your itinerary around that.

Yes, I am very intrigued by Assiniboine Lodge. Even figuring in the helicopter ride, it isn't much more than other places in Banff.
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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2018, 11:49:51 AM »

Monchoon

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2018, 07:57:34 PM »
Hello everyone,

A friend and I are interested in vacationing in western Canada this August with a car. What are some of the top places to visit and things to do? What is it like camping in those places? I read through the previous thread about this, but am hoping for some more input. I know there is one CR member who definitely knows the area (and posts pictures from there all the time).

(Anyone willing to let a fellow Canon-ite stay with them would be welcome too  ;))

Western Canada is huge, where abouts are you planning on heading?

I know it is. Our last road trip we drove 6000 miles. So most things really aren't out of the question.
Where do you think you might be mainly. Is your vehicle AWD 4x4 ( I know you said car, but) I wouldn't be taking a car on some of the logging roads in BC.

Remember Western Canada spans from BC to Manitoba. Also what are looking to photograph, wildlife landscape etc. both or just take a tour and have a great time, or maybe both.

ethanz

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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2018, 08:15:40 PM »
It would be a rental car, could be an SUV if necessary, but we probably wouldn't be going on crazy dirt roads.

Well I'm not really sure where, mostly looking for ideas of great places.

This is a rough idea of a possible trip itinerary:
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Re: Western Canada
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2018, 08:15:40 PM »