Help with a Canada trip

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SEMHarness

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Hi - we’ve just booked a last minute trip to tour BC in September.
We’re planning on doing Vancouver-Whistler-Clearwater-Jasper-Lake Louise-Golden area- Whistler-Vancouver and we would really appreciate some campsite recommendations. Especially ones with full hook ups! We’re pretty new to this.
Thanks in advance for any help
Sarah
 

TonyL

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Hi Sarah, welcome to the forum. We're also from the UK, but now spend 6 months of the year over in the US. We've toured Canada 7 times and can tell you your in for a great time.
I assume that you're hiring an RV?
I know you've asked for full hookup, but I doubt you'll need them, and where they are available, they don't come cheap. We've always traveled in June, so I don't know what availability will be like in September. I would advise downloading an app called Campendium, this will allow you to look at many of the campgrounds and reviews of them.
Everyone's needs from a campsite varies, we prefer the Provincial park campgrounds, they tend to offer a little more privacy than the commercial parks.
If you're starting in Vancouver, we've always used Burnaby Caribou. The pitches aren't large, and no site in Vancouver will be cheap. What it does offer is really easy access to downtown Vancouver by public transport. It will allow you to unwind from the flight and get sorted.
To advise further would take ages to type, but your route is a really good one.
If I can help you further, send me a private message and I could give you our cell number which is available through WhatsApp.
Happy travels.
Tony and Anne
 

JayArr

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By your list of locations I think you need to know something.

The road out of Whistler to the north, the one that goes to Pemberton, Lillooet and Cache Creek - is not to be taken lightly. The hills are steep and full of switchbacks. You'll burn your breaks trying not to run away down the hills and you'll creep up the passes in low gear.

It's a great highway for a motorbike or a sportscar but not so great with a trailer or RV.

The scenery is fantastic, I mean it's a trip you will never forget, just jaw dropping views, but it's not a great "second day out in a rental RV" kind of road. Be careful, sections are unpaved, there is no cell service in a lot of areas, there is no gas or services and it's a long walk home if you get into trouble.

Google "Duffy Lake Road" for more information.
 

TonyL

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The route you are proposing was the first route we ever did back in 2000 with a 36' Bounder. I can't remember any steep hills but the road was narrow in places. I also know that at the moment the road from Golden to Lake Louise is closed for widening.
Jayarr is a British Columbian resident so I would heed their advice without knowing what you are using.
There's several other routes and they also have stunning scenery, our favorite is highway 3 from Hope, through Manning Park to Penticton, up to Kelowna and across to the Arrow Lakes. Cross on the free ferry to Nakusp and up to Revelstoke. Then through Rogers Pass, across to Lake Louise via Radium Hot springs, up to Jasper and back on the Icefield parkway. However, I see that you're starting and finishing in Vancouver, so your route will be dictated by how long you will have in Canada. Remember, hire companies will not normally allow you to collect the RV the same day as your flight. Also, you will need to moderate mileage each day to really appreciate the stunning scenery. How many of you will be sharing the driving?
 

SEMHarness

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By your list of locations I think you need to know something.

The road out of Whistler to the north, the one that goes to Pemberton, Lillooet and Cache Creek - is not to be taken lightly. The hills are steep and full of switchbacks. You'll burn your breaks trying not to run away down the hills and you'll creep up the passes in low gear.

It's a great highway for a motorbike or a sportscar but not so great with a trailer or RV.

The scenery is fantastic, I mean it's a trip you will never forget, just jaw dropping views, but it's not a great "second day out in a rental RV" kind of road. Be careful, sections are unpaved, there is no cell service in a lot of areas, there is no gas or services and it's a long walk home if you get into trouble.

Google "Duffy Lake Road" for more information.
Sounds a bit scary ! We’re in a C25 motorhome so I think that’s a relatively small one. Do you think it would still be a problem for us?
 

SEMHarness

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The route you are proposing was the first route we ever did back in 2000 with a 36' Bounder. I can't remember any steep hills but the road was narrow in places. I also know that at the moment the road from Golden to Lake Louise is closed for widening.
Jayarr is a British Columbian resident so I would heed their advice without knowing what you are using.
There's several other routes and they also have stunning scenery, our favorite is highway 3 from Hope, through Manning Park to Penticton, up to Kelowna and across to the Arrow Lakes. Cross on the free ferry to Nakusp and up to Revelstoke. Then through Rogers Pass, across to Lake Louise via Radium Hot springs, up to Jasper and back on the Icefield parkway. However, I see that you're starting and finishing in Vancouver, so your route will be dictated by how long you will have in Canada. Remember, hire companies will not normally allow you to collect the RV the same day as your flight. Also, you will need to moderate mileage each day to really appreciate the stunning scenery. How many of you will be sharing the driving?
We’ve got a a couple of nights in Vancouver before picking up the motorhome - which is a C25. Then we’re on the road for 10 days and there’s 2 of us. I think the longest drive we have planned at the minute is about 7 hours.
 

TonyL

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I really don't want to burst your bubble, but 10 days to do a return journey from Vancouver to Jasper isn't going to be much of a holiday. We've nearly always booked a one way trip and still allow at least 14 days. I'm not saying it can't be done, just not something I would do, especially the route you are proposing. There are other options, but it will depend on what your particular interests are, scenery, nightlife, wildlife etc?
 

JayArr

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That's a lot of driving in ten days, it can be done but when it's over you may feel like all you did was drive and look out the window.

If you're using google to plan a route keep in mind that the times it gives you aren't really accurate. The algorithm it uses to determine times doesn't account for slow RVs, gas stops, lunch, scenic stops or getting stuck behind a slower vehicle on a single lane highway. Our first trip out with the trailer we planned some "long haul" days where google said it would be 7 hours and it turned out to be more than 9 and closer to 10, not fun.

Here's an idea. If you're in Vancouver for a couple of days before you get the RV rent a car and drive up to Whistler, it's a really nice 2 hour drive and it's easy since the fixed the road for the Olympics. Spend the day there, have some lunch, take the chair lifts up to the top and see the glacier (we ski all year long up there) then return to Vancouver and when you get the RV head east. You can still make Clearwater in a long day, I think I made it there by about 4 in the afternoon.

By cutting out the Whistler part of loop you'll have a much nicer vacation in the Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff, Golden area which is just gorgeous.
 

TonyL

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If you have the time whilst in the Rockies, I would thoroughly recommend doing the Maligne lake cruise out to Spirit Island, the Glacier tour and the Banff Gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain.
You can get a package ticket for all three for around $190cad which is around $30 cheaper than individual tickets. The boat tour on the lake near Banff is nowhere near as good as the Jasper one in our opinion.
 

TonyL

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For your 10 days, to get the most time in the Rockies, if that's what you prefer, I can't see any other way than a hard drive from Vancouver to Jasper using highway 5,with a stop over on the way somewhere near Kamloops. Perhaps 2 or 3 nights near Jasper to take in the scenery and get over the drive, then down the icefield parkway to Lake Louise / Banff area again for 2 or 3 nights. Then return to Vancouver via Golden (according to BC highways, Kicking horse pass will be open) and Revelstoke and use remaining nights for the return journey. The only other option is to reduce the travel by staying in BC.
 

JayArr

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Jasper in two days is an easy reach, Clearwater is a good stopping point. There is a KOA in Clearwater that is decent for a stopover night, power and water on site with fire pits. It's just off the highway which isn't good for long stays but for a stopover night - it's great, easy access and walking distance to a grocery store. You'll get to Jasper mid afternoon the second day, have a visit and lunch then go find your campsite.
 

TonyL

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Jayarr, I agree about Clearwater, but most hire companies don't release until anything between 1 and 4 in the afternoon. Their overnight stop will be dictated by what time they leave Vancouver.
 

JayArr

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I never thought of that, we leave Mission around 9 and take our time.

If you can get away early (1?) then try to make Cache Creek (4-5 hours) and go a few miles east and there is a nice little Provincial park with power and water at the sites (pretty rare to get power at the sites in a Provincial campground in BC)

It's called Juniper Beach and you'll need to drive down the hill from the highway to the river to get into it. A lot of the sites are right on the river. It's one of the smaller campgrounds and I think it gets overlooked. We've driven in on a Friday and found waterfront sites empty.

You can still make Jasper the next day if you get away in the morning.
 

Larry N.

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If you're using google to plan a route keep in mind that the times it gives you aren't really accurate. The algorithm it uses to determine times doesn't account for slow RVs, gas stops, lunch, scenic stops or getting stuck behind a slower vehicle on a single lane highway.
Amen to that! No computer mapping program gives accurate times- I always have to allow more. The floks suggesting that your planned itinerary is rather ambitious are correct that you'll not get the enjoyment out of it that you want

I find that in a motorhome I'll average (including stops) 50 mph or a tad over when driving the Interstate highways, starting from my morning departure to my evening stop.

When taking routes that are NOT on limited access highways (Interstate, et al) that average drops. And traveling by RV is slower and more tiring than traveling by car. Note, too, that many of the mountain raods are such that you'll be lucky to average 40 mph- many with speed limits of 45 mph or less.
 
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