HELENE’S TRIP

TO WESTERN CANADA 

15 DAYS/8 STOPS 

 

From Vancouver to the Rockies: from the Mountains to the City, to the Ocean.

Discover Helene’s travel profile and all her favorite trip itineraries.

We started with a city trip to Vancouver and continued with 12 days of sea, mountains, lakes and wildlife experience. We explored the beauties of Vancouver Island and observed orcas and whales in their natural environment. On our way to the Rockies, we discovered Wells Gray National Park, a hidden gem of British Columbia. We also enjoyed the breath-taking views of the Rockies on the Icefield Parkway between Jasper and Banff, typical for Western Canada. In 15 days, we stayed an average of two nights per location and we drove a total of 2,000 km and spent 26 hours on the road. This itinerary is from August 2014.
Photo ©helenedwds
NEW YORK -VANCOUVER
CALGARY-NEW YORK
5 hours direct flight  or via Tornto
$600 per person
RENTAL CARS
2000 km in 15 days
26 hours on the road – 8 stops

 

AVERAGE BUDGET PER PERSON
$2225 / pp for 10 nights 
$14004/pp for 10 nights (without breakfast)
$225/pp for rental car & ferries
$600 /pp for rental car & taxis
 
Wells Gray Provincial Park

Flying salmons in Wells Gray Provincial Park
The Orcas near Vancouver Island
The scenic road of the Canadian Rockies (Icefield Parkway)
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Lodging and activities
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A snapshot

A snapshot

1GrnCircleAIRPORT TO
VANCOUVER

20 km/20 mi

Vancouver

Vancouver

Citytrip
2 NIGHTS
  • The Sylvia Hotel : a boutique hotel, ideally located on English Bay, close to Stanley Park and just 5 minutes from downtown Vancouver. Built in 1912, the Sylvia Hotel is a city landmark and one of Vancouver’s greatest treasures. The have family rooms for 5.
  •  
    The first afternoon we rented bikes and explored the 400-hectare Stanley Park and enjoyed scenic views of water, beaches, mountains, park and the Lion’s Gate Bridge, along Stanley Park’s famous Seawall.


    The next day we visited Gastown, the Harbour Centre Tower (beautiful views of the city, the sea and the mountains) and Chinatown and its peaceful Chinese Garden. We also  made a stop at the olympic village

VANCOUVER TO TOFINO
(VANCOUVER ISLAND)

1h40 + 200km / 3h15
 
Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island

Pacific
2 NIGHTS
  • In an Ocean view cabin at the Middle Beach Lodge : perched on 40 acres of secluded West Coast oceanfront, the Lodge features almost a mile of private beach, rugged headlands, a good restaurant (complimentary breakfast, definitively try the dinner) and great activities you can book through the reception.
    Don’t forget to make a reservation four you and your car on the ferry to Vancouver Island (from Vancouver Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo) !
  • We hiked the 2 loops of the Rainforest Trail in the Pacific Rim National Park and then we hiked to Long Beach on the Schooner Beach trail. The beach is beautiful but the water is very cold !
     
    We went on a bear watching tour by boat. At low tide, bears are coming down to some beaches and rocks to eat shellfish. Great experience !
     
    The next day we hiked the Lighthouse loop on the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet before crossing back the Island to Campbell River.

TOFINO TO
RIVER (STEEP ISLAND)

280 km/4h15 + 0h20
 
Campbell River

Campbell River

Orcas
2 NIGHTS
  • Steep Island Lodge : an incredible lodge on a tiny island in the heart of Discovery Passage (the “Water Highway” to Alaska). We stayed in a very comfortable cabine with a huge deck overlooking the Discovery Passage (at night, you can see the big cruise ships heading to Alaska). All the meals are included and are delicious (homemade bread, fresh fish and vegetables, by far the best meals of our trip !). To get to the island, you go to the Campbell River Marina and somebody from the lodge  will pick you up with their boat (it’s a 15 min boat ride).

  • We spent a whole day on the boat on an eco-tour. Imagine stunning views, a gourmet lunch in the magic of Desolation Sound, Discovery Islands and Johnstone Strait. We had the opportunity to see a gray whale, 6 orcas swimming around our boat for an hour, sea lions, and Pacific white-sided dolphins. It was just the five of us and 3 crew members. An amazing day !


CAMPBELL RIVER TO
PEMBERTON

1h40 + 300 km/3h30
 
 
Pemberton (Whistler)

Pemberton (Whistler)

Stopover
1 NIGHT
  • The Pemberton Valley Lodge : comfortable hotel for a 1 night stopover on our way to the Rockies. We had a 2 bedroom suite with washing machine. The hotel has a swimming pool, great to relax after a day on the road.

  • We took the ferry back to the mainland and drove on the Sea-to-the-Sky Highway (Highway 99) from Vancouver to Whistler and Pemberton. We made several stops on this scenic road to watch the incredible views, mountains, waterfalls…

PEMBERTON TO
CLEARWATER
 
400 km /5h
Clearwater

Clearwater

Magic
2 NIGHTS
  • Moul Creek Lodge : a fantastic bed and breakfast with 3 independent suites in a log cabin (build by the owners), close to Wells Gray Provincial Park entry. 
  •  
    The first afternoon we hiked to 2 beautiful waterfalls : Moul Falls (a 5km quite easy hike), the fun part is you can actually walk behind these falls ! On our way back we stopped at Helmcken Falls with its impressive 141m drop !


    The next day we went on a guided tour with Gy from Discover Wells Gray. We hiked the “Trophy wildflowers meadows and alpine mountains”, our day was a mix of wildlife, flower meadows and alpine lakes and mountains. Beautiful day !

    After our hike, we finished the day with one of the most magical moments of our life : watching the salmon jump at Bailey’s Chute. It is an overwhelming experience that you can witness from mid-August till the end of September.

CLEARWATER TO
JASPER
 
340 km / 4h
Jasper

Jasper

Lakes
2 NIGHTS
  • Becker’s Chalets : comfortable rustic cabins just south of Jasper with nice views on the river and the mountains.
  • On our way to Jasper, we stopped at various point of views, it is a quite scenic road.
     
    The first afternoon, we hiked the Valley of the five lakes trail, this is an easy 2-hours hike around 5 clear lakes with unique shades of jade and blue.
     
    The next day, we went to Maligne Canyon in the morning and spent the afternoon hiking at Maligne Lake (the Moose Lake Loop). The views at Maligne Lake are stunning.

JASPER TO
FIELD (ICEFIELDS PARKWAY)
 
250 km / 3h45
Field Yoho NP

Field Yoho NP

Glaciers
2 NIGHTS
  • Cathedral Mountain Lodge : Luxury log cabins in the heart of the Rockies central to all the activities of Banff and Yoho National Parks. Restaurant is delicious.

  • We drove down the Icefields Parkway from the North to the South and made various stops on what we think is one of the world’s most scenic drives. These are the “must-do’s” (but there are lots of point-of-views, just stop whenever you feel like it) : Athabasca Falls , Columbia Icefields, Weeping Wall, Waterfowl Lake, Mount Cephren, Peyto Lake.

    The next day we went to see the Takakkaw Falls (second highest waterfall in Canada with a drop of 381m !). In the afternoon we hiked the Emerald Lake loop (another jewel of the Canadian Rockies, one of the few lakes with a trail all the way around it).

FIELD TO
LAKE LOUISE
 
75 km / 1h
Banff-Lake Louise

Banff-Lake Louise

Scenery
2 NIGHTS
  • The first night at the Hidden Ridge Resort in Banff : a classic ski resort condo. The last night at the Hampton Inn & Suites Calgary-Airport before taking our flight back home the next morning.
  •  
    We started our day early (to avoid the crowd) at Moraine Lake. We hiked the lake shoreline and then did some canoeing on the lake. The views are stunning. On our way back we stopped at Lake Louise but it was so crowded that we didn’t stay very long.
     
    In the afternoon, we took the Lake Louise Gondola (on the other side of the valley) and were lucky to see a grizzly bear just under us from the open chair lift. On the top there is a very interesting Wildlife Interpretive Centre and of course scenic views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Louise. 
     

    The next day we wandered in Banff, did some shopping before taking the road to Calgary for our last night.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Be aware of the wildlife and especially the bears
  • Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains, always be prepared for colder or wet weather even when the sun shines
  • Definitively eat salmon, Pacific Canadian wild salmon is delicious