Fifth Wheel on Icefield Parkway

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MargieK

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I am new to this forum and this is my first post :) We are planning a trip for next year. One leg was to drive from Jasper to Banff via the Icefield Parkway. RV Life routing does NOT suggest this for our situation, a 35' fifth wheel towed with a 2017 Silverado 2500 gas truck. Wants us to go to Edmonton and Calgary to get there. Obviously this is adding many hours to the trip. So my question is, is our vehicle and trailer really too long or the hills too steep for us to take the Icefield Parkway? Has anyone does this with a 35'+ fifth wheel? Thank you.
 

TonyL

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We have hired RV's in Canada 7 times and done the Icefield Parkway 6 of those times. We have passed and been passed by many 5th wheels on those journeys, so the journey is very do-able. You say not advised for your situation, but apart from your unit, what is your situation? Whilst I think your truck might be a little undersized for 35 foot of fifth wheel, I assume you have years of experience with the set up and are comfortable. There are a couple of fairly steep grades but nothing too scary.
Put it this way, hopefully we will be able to cross into Canada still next year, and we have every intention of going up the Icefield Parkway from Banff with our 34ft fifth wheel and F350 diesel.
JUST be advised, finding campgrounds with our size trailers between Jasper and Lake Louise will need luck.
If you get to do the journey, leave the trailer in Lake Louise and take a drive to Moraine lake, near Lake Louise. In my opinion, it's a thousand times more scenic, especially if you take the short steep hike from the car park to the view point.
 

TonyL

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By the way, don't even consider the route before end of May, I doubt the road will be open. Watch for bears, we average 5 -10 every time along the roadside.
 

MargieK

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Thank you for your quick reply. Our situation is just the unit. I read that the pullouts for scenic stops may not handle a unit such as ours. We have travelled with it and the truck many times with no issue, but are not familiar with the roads near Banff. We even thought should we leave the unit near Jasper (we are coming from Mt Robson Park) and drive to Banff and back with just the truck. Stay over one or two nights in a hotel near Banff. That way we would have more flexibility stopping places to hike along the way. But obviously this adds quite a bit of time to the trip.
 

MargieK

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By the way, don't even consider the route before end of May, I doubt the road will be open. Watch for bears, we average 5 -10 every time along the roadside.
We are looking at going early August. Are the campgrounds all first come first serve, or do some allow reservations? Our big plan is Bend - Victoria - Vancouver - Whistler - Bridge Lake - Mt Robson - Jasper - Banff - Waterton Lakes - Yellowstone - Dinosaur National Monument. 6 weeks
 

TonyL

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The last time we were in Canada was 2018 and were disappointed that a lot of the provincial campgrounds were around 70% bookable with the remainder FCFS With Covid this may have gone the way of a lot of US sites and are now fully bookable. We've always done the journey in mid June, and aim to be sited by mid afternoon.
The route you are considering has some points that are scarrier than the IP. Mount Robson through Pemberton to Whistler had several metal bridges with what could be low headroom for a fiver. We did it in a 36ft Fleetwood bounder, but that was 21 years ago (our first ever RV trip) So I would Google map it.
 

TonyL

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There are many pull outs that would easily accommodate a fifth wheel, but as ever, it depends who is there when you arrive as to space. Bear jams are common with all types pulled over and we have never had issues with the police breaking the jam. Sorry, but the police are very accommodating to travellers in Canada. If you stay in Banff, definitely travel the Bow Valley Parkway up to Lake Louise but you won't be able to tow the fifth wheel. You will also need a park pass in Canada.
 
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TonyL

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For anyone doing the Icefield Parkway in either direction, fill up with fuel at Lake Louise or Jasper, as there was only one place in between to get fuel, at Saskatchewan crossing, with prices to reflect the isolation.
 

Roy M

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Going north to south the trip is very doable with your rig but gear down and spare the brakes coming off the summit and down to hwy 1, those are steep grades. Going the other way your truck would struggle with that much trailer.
 

JayArr

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It's a beautiful drive and as long as your truck is in tip top shape for hauling up steep hills you'll be OK. My Envoy wouldn't make it so we stayed in Jasper and drove down without the trailer to the iceields and back. It was great to have only the car and not have to worry about the trailer so that I could enjoy the scenery. We also got to see it from both directions as we drove back to Jasper.

There is another route from Jasper to Banff that doesn't take the IFP and doesn't have you going all the way into Edmonton and Calgary. On the way east from Jasper turn south onto Hwy 22 at Entwistle. You'll drive south through Drayton Valley, down to Rocky Mountain House and eventually to Cochrane where you can head west on 1A into Canmore and then Banff. It's a long drive but an easy one, rolling hills and the rocky mountains to your west the whole way for scenery.

We made this drive then stayed in Banff for a couple of days and drove back up to the ice fields from the south (without trailer) again it was spectacular and not having to worry about the trailer helped in the relaxation and enjoyment of the scenery.

Lake Moraine has been mentioned and I'd advise you not to miss it. If you have to chose, skip Lake Louise and see Lake Moraine.
 

steveblonde

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its very doable - BUT - there are no campgrounds that can handle a 35th fiver. they are upgrading some of them but so far as i know none can handle that size and its a National Park there are a few private campgrounds outside of Jasper no worries, i would camp there and do day trips
 

creativepart

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Your trip sounds lovely - and we've got fond memories of our Banff, Jasper, Kootenay trip 15 years or so ago when we lived in Jackson, WY. BUT... I think you'll regret trying to do so much in just 6 weeks. You have 10 major places on your list and each one could easily consume one full week. I suggest you slow down and limit your major stops to no more than 6 or so. I'd cut the places in the West Coast of Canada and stay east. Victoria - Vancouver - Whistler - Bridge Lake - Mt Robson are all very worth visiting, but they too deserve their own 6-week trip. And actually, Yellowstone should be pared with Grand Teton NP and that's another 6-week trip.

You'll really do yourself a favor if you don't try to do it all on one epic trip.
 

steveblonde

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Tunnel Mountain Resort in Banff is really nice and there is also a campsite in Canmore at the park gates. In Jasper they just reopened a big campground that had a bunch of renos Whistlers i believe or Wapiti is another and there is a Koa just outside the park gates. You can park at the Columbia Icefields but i dont think they allow overnights
 

JayArr

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If near Jasper AVOID Couger Creek Cabins and campground. The operators are famous for starting litigation for "damage" by campers, read the reviews for yourself, it's comical if it's not you that is going through it. The place is incredibly run down so how they would know what is freshly broken is beyond me. They are grumpy and have a long sheet of "rules" they give you on check in with associated "fines" for infractions. Just a horrible place to stay IMHO.
 

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