Travel Journal #7.
It’s finally official! Norma booked her flights, so it’s time to start planning the ultimate road trip through the Rocky Mountains! We will be traveling in late-September / early-October by car, beginning and ending in Vancouver, BC. To say that we are excited about this trip is an understatement. The trees will be changing into their fall clothing and the Elk will be in the middle of their mating season.
This trip will be a photographers dream come true! Hopefully, we will get lucky with the weather, before the grip of winter takes over the Canadian Rockies. My cousin is getting married this fall in Revelstoke, BC so everything revolves around this one fixed date. Norma will be joining me in late September and we will explore Western Canada for two weeks including the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia and Alberta!
This is ‘mostly’ uncharted territory for both of us. When Norma lived in Vancouver a few years ago, she and some friends took a short road trip to visit Lake Louise. As for myself, I have driven through the Rockies before; on a road trip to Edmonton we drove through the night past Jasper, and on the way back to Vancouver through Banff, but we didn’t have much time to stop. We are excited to spend an entire week exploring the wilderness and the mountains – and share with the world our photographs!
Aside from the 2 nights we ‘have’ to be in Revelstoke, our plans are pretty flexible. Right now we’ve started putting together a rough itinerary in order to start planning where we could stop along the way. Once we have a better idea of which route we will take, we can start looking into the best viewpoints and hikes that we can undertake on our 10-day journey.
This is where you come in! We would love to hear about your experience; any advice or tips you could share with us would be amazing! Leave a comment below or join us for a conversation on Twitter (@travels_galaxy) to help us plan the perfect trip!
So whats the plan so far? I’m glad you asked!
Highway 99 – Vancouver to Cache Creek:
Everything begins in Vancouver, where I am living at the moment, and where Norma will be flying into. We will spend Friday exploring Vancouver and head up to Squamish to visit some friends on Friday night.
The next morning we are planning to go for an early morning hike at the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola – which I visited for the first time a week ago – before heading towards whistler for a late lunch. From here we will drive north towards the Pemberton Valley, staying on highway 99 as it winds itself East through Lillooet and Cache Creek. We will likely aim to spend the night in Kamloops.
Southern Yellowhead Highway – Kamloops to Jasper:
We won’t stay long in Kamloops; we will try to cover a good portion of the drive North during the daytime hours, allowing us to stop as often as we need for pictures. I am not too familiar with any specific stops along this route, but we want to keep this day open for fun things to do along the way. We should be able to make it to Valemount in the afternoon, with time to take some pictures of Mount Robson, a nearly 4000-meter tall mountain on the BC side of the Rockies.
In total, it’s about a 5-hour drive from Kamloops to Jasper; it should be fairly easy to make it here for the evening, and we start exploring the Rockies for the next week or so.
Jasper National Park/Icefields Parkway:
We’ve made it! Time to slow things down and explore. We’re not exactly sure how long we will spend in the National Parks here, but its safe to assume we will have at least 2-3 full days to explore Jasper. We would like to do a long day hike in Jasper, spending a few hours seeking out some amazing views.
This will be the middle of Elk mating season when the Bucks charge at each other with their massive antlers in order to win over the affections of the ladies. I read somewhere that just North-East of Jasper, along the Yellowhead Highway where the Athabasca River runs close to the road, is an easy place to spot Elk. Even if it’s not that easy, we will find a way to see these magnificent animals.
From Jasper, we will drive south to Banff. This is only a 3-hour drive, but I’m fairly confident we will be stopping constantly to take pictures along the way. We will allow for a full day to take this journey, with even a few short hikes thrown in when necessary.
Banff National Park/Lake Louise:
Once again, we don’t have any specific details about how long we will be giving ourselves, but we should have a full 6-7 days to split between Jasper and Banff. Once again, we would like to do a longer hike while in Banff, and maybe another at Jasper. We are here to take pictures, and with the fall colours this will not be too difficult.
We don’t want to rush ourselves so we will try to spend at least 2-3 nights here before driving back West into British Columbia. It is a 3-hour drive from Banff to Revelstoke (even less if we spend one night in Lake Louise), and once again we will plan to make many stops on this drive. We will probably plan to spend a few hours in Glacier National Park before arriving in Revelstoke for the night.
Revelstoke National Park:
We will probably spend 3 nights in Revelstoke. One of these is of course dedicated to the wedding, which is the whole reason we are doing this trip in the first place. Another day we would love to spend doing a long hike into the National Park.
There is also an enchanted forest just outside of the city, which has a really cool tree-fort that we want to visit. There should be no shortage of fun things to do during our 3-days in Revelstoke.
Driving Back to Vancouver:
From Revelstoke, it is a 6-hour drive back to Vancouver. Depending on how we feel after 10+ days of adventure, we will decide how we chose to go back. Since we have a firm departure date at the airport in Vancouver, we might want to drive straight back to Vancouver and spend a few days here with friends and family before we fly back to Mexico.
Alternatively, if we still have some gas in the tank, we will drive south into the Kootneys, spending a night somewhere like Nelson or trail, before taking highway 3 back to the lower mainland.