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post #16 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
Per
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I also got interesting and good information from this site: https://offtracktravel.ca/

Gemma, from that site gave me the permission to publish the letter I received from her:

"Hi Per,

Thanks for your email!

There are definitely a lot of places like that in British Columbia but those that are easily accessible (via a paved road) usually have restrictions. The places most easily reached by vehicle need to have these restrictions as they are likely to receive more visitors than the areas only reached by unpaved roads. These restrictions are in place to protect the land and also provide better recreational opportunities.

To explore outside of developed provincial, national and regional parks, you would need extensive backcountry travel experience and equipment to keep yourselves, wildlife and the landscape safe. And you'd have to be ready to do a lot of bush whacking! The British Columbia landscape can be pretty wild. The further north you go, the easier it is to access wilderness.

Here are some ideas for you though, all accessible via paved roads:

Strathcona Provincial Park - Forbidden Plateau area has awesome hiking and three campgrounds (no reservation needed). In a different section of the park, the Della Falls trail offers completely free hiking AND camping, with no reservation needed

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park - Multi-day coastal hike with camping (no reservation needed)

Valhalla Provincial Park - Completely free campsites and hiking (no reservation), though you would need to rent or borrow a canoe to paddle across Slocan Lake

Sunshine Coast Trail - Long multi-day hike (which you could just hike sections of) with completely free cabin use, no reservation needed. Some sections are only accessible via gravel roads but you could definitely organise a 3-5 day hike from paved roads

E.C. Manning Park - Lots of different multi-day hiking options, none of which need a reservation. We really enjoyed the Heather Trail - note, the trailhead is accessible via a very short section of gravel road

I hope this helps!

Gemma"


I asked about the Rookies to, and she answered in a second email:

"Valhalla is the closest of these to the Canadian Rockies, if you're referring to the Banff/Jasper etc area. I'm sure that there are some other options but I haven't found or explore them yet. The closer you get to Banff, Jasper etc, the more likely you are to need reservations for hikes. One area that you should research is the Kananaskis Valley, the area on the Albertan side of the Rockies (beyond Banff). "




I mean all of those parks, also seem very beautiful if you look them up on google pictures!
Here for example:


Strathcona Provincial Park:



https://i.pinimg.com/originals/57/b1...cd123c8750.jpg


https://i.pinimg.com/originals/66/45...971b78744a.jpg


http://www.surfingvancouverisland.co...1126barr07.jpg


Juan de Fuca Provincial Park:


https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5504/...12293780_c.jpg


http://cwf-fcf.org/assets/images/jua...ca-park-lg.jpg


https://c8.alamy.com/comp/G2JXYP/sec...ish-G2JXYP.jpg


Valhalla Provincial Park :


https://offtracktravel.ca/wp-content...ahill-lake.jpg


https://cdn-assets.alltrails.com/upl...27ec746f4b.jpg


https://farm7.staticflickr.com/6143/...d1ef76da_b.jpg


Sunshine Coast Trail:


https://sunshinecoastcanada.com/app/...rail2-7276.jpg


https://www.rei.com/blog/wp-content/...hero-image.jpg


https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a5/d4...005d998b75.jpg


E.C. Manning Park:


http://beginnerhiking.com/wp-content...o-1024x683.jpg


http://beginnerhiking.com/wp-content...o-1024x682.jpg


http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/exp.../images/06.jpg












Have you guys been to them?

Last edited by Per; 03-19-2019 at 04:39 PM.
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post #17 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esmeadows View Post
One quick note about Kelly's post. I don't believe that PLUZ regions are open to off-road vehicles. Some areas are open, but the great majority are not. Access by off-road vehicles is prohibited unless specifically permitted, and it's generally easy to stay away from those places to travel on foot or horseback. These areas offer incredible solitude compared to popular national park trails and are mostly undisturbed by motorized vehicles.

Scott
I should have been clearer. PLUZs may permit off-road vehicles or various other resource uses (forestry, oil and gas etc.) however OHVs are only permitted on designated trails within the PLUZ.

More details can be found here
https://www.alberta.ca/public-land-use-zones.aspx
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post #18 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 06:10 PM
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Coming from Sweden all the way to Canada I think it's safe to say that there are better options than the Sunshine Coast Trail.


Oh, okay, forget it - just saw your answer... yeah, first decision: Vancouver or Calgary. Right - some PP are not known or empty, because they are not around the corner.
Calgary: mountains and blue lakes
Vancouver: rain forest and sea, beaches - and also a mountain and a blue lake here and there.


And if you are so in love with Moraine Lake I guess it will be the National Park Zone and you should examine the websites for Banff, Yoho, Jasper. - even though there are people driving between Vancouver and Calgary in 2 weeks or so.

Last edited by Kokanee75; 03-19-2019 at 06:26 PM.
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post #19 of (permalink) Old 03-19-2019, 10:21 PM
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Moraine Lake is one of my favorite and its something you don't want to miss. It however can be extremely crowded in the summer. Early September may not be too bad as traffic drops off rapidly after Labour Day (Sept 2 this year). If you go, go early (plan to be at the parking lot for sunrise if you can). Berg Lake requires reservations for the campsites as its a 25km hike in, its extremely popular and reservations opened last October (most of the summer was booked within the first day). Floe Lake in Kootenay can be reached in a long day hike (22km round trip 800m elevation) but keep an eye out for cancellations for the campground located there. Iceline in Yoho is also a great day hike as is Bourgeau Lake in Banff. If you can, I highly recommend a drive up the Icefield Parkway between Banff and Jasper, the scenery is not to be missed

The one advantage with the Alberta Parks campgrounds (frontcountry and backcountry) is that they only book out 90-days in advance. You still have plenty of time to book for late August/Sept if you want to camp in these areas.
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post #20 of (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you Kokanee75 and Kelly Mcdonald.


Yes nice places. The pictures from the road at Icefield Parkway, amazing.
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post #21 of (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 08:13 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds good with plenty of time to book for late August/Sept. The only problem is that it will probably take a few months before we know if we can go to Canada ) =
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post #22 of (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellymcdonald78 View Post
Moraine Lake is one of my favorite and its something you don't want to miss. It however can be extremely crowded in the summer.
Agreed, but one can find less crowded places near Moraine Lake with a little effort ;-)
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post #23 of (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per View Post
Sounds good with plenty of time to book for late August/Sept. The only problem is that it will probably take a few months before we know if we can go to Canada ) =
I would not bother with booking months in advance. There can be spots on short notice and you can still look around for the random camping zones. If you want to do a "trek" you could check earlier (backcountry suggestions on the websites) and yes, decide the camping spots in advance... I guess something like from Banff to Lake Louise is not as popular besides the Skoki area - and if you are a strong hiker you can possibly skip a campground and take the further one. The trails themselves are easy. (by the way the Swedish ladies had a very good attitude and skills - the bear invitation wasn't their fault, Parks Canada provided a pretty bad hanging spot)

Last edited by Kokanee75; 03-20-2019 at 06:41 PM.
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post #24 of (permalink) Old 03-20-2019, 04:45 PM
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Hi Per. I recognize your name and questions from another forum. I'm glad to see your post here, and that you are getting so much good information!

Quote:
The trailheads to all of these places are generally accessible by car. Some trailheads may require high-clearance vehicles.
One thing that many Canadians are not aware of is that almost all rental car contracts expressly prohibit driving the car anywhere but paved roads. Even numbered (i.e. provincial) gravel or dirt roads, are included in this prohibition in most cases too. The risk of driving a rental car on unpaved roads, contrary to the terms of the contract, is that if there is damage to the car, the rental car insurance may be invalidated and the renter may find themselves having to pay out of pocket to cover the damage.

I was unaware of this for the longest time, and when somebody first told me about it, I had a quick read through the entire (!!) contract the next time I rented, and lo and behold, there it was. My predicament is that where I rent a car most often, to visit a family cottage clear across the country, the last two kilometers to get there are on a provincially-numbered, dirt road, and there is no other option but to drive that stretch of road (and then quite a long dirt laneway... but that's not a road, right? ;-) ). However, I have a rider on my own auto insurance policy to cover rental cars, and my insurance agent tells me that I am covered.

The trouble is that most people coming from overseas to visit the Canadian Rockies don't seem to have the option of "bringing" their own insurance coverage with them and therefore have to buy the expensive coverage through the car rental company.
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post #25 of (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
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Sounds good Kokanee75. Yes I want to decide the camping spots in advance, or the areas, parks, and parts of the parks in advance, so we now where to go.
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post #26 of (permalink) Old 03-21-2019, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Rillenkarren,


Cool


Thanks for you post, and you have a good point. Yes, we need a rental car, and need to stay on paved roads only.
So, the question I think is, what is best for this, British Columbia or Alberta?
There seems to be more random camp sites in BC, right?



So it is the access to paved road to the parks or nearby (where you can leave the car and then walk out into the wilderness), random camping, simple rules and less restrictions, easier access, and beautiful nature (blue lakes, mountains, forest etc) and wild life ( bears etc), and the number of such parks where you go, etc. Taking into account all that in combination. I guess Brittish Columbia and Alberta has both pros and cons of these. But if you combine all aspects, what do you think can be the best for us,and most worth for us to visit on a 2 or 3 week trip? Are interested in the large national parks also, but still most interested in avoiding large crowds of tourists.
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post #27 of (permalink) Old 03-22-2019, 10:11 AM
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BC will definitely have more areas that meet your criteria (as there are far more mountainous areas period). It is however a VAST province (BC alone is more than twice the size of Sweden), you'll really need to narrow down what areas you're interested in
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post #28 of (permalink) Old 03-23-2019, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellymcdonald78 View Post
BC will definitely have more areas that meet your criteria (as there are far more mountainous areas period). It is however a VAST province (BC alone is more than twice the size of Sweden), you'll really need to narrow down what areas you're interested in

Yes, hmm. I guess the Vancouver area vs the Calgary area for my criteria then?


We can fly to Vancouver or Calgary. In 2 or 3 weeks, maybe we should not drive to far away from the town/area of the of the airport. So maybe it's best to choose between those two areas?

Last edited by Per; 03-23-2019 at 03:12 PM.
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post #29 of (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Hello again,

It seems our journey can become a reality!

It seems that we have the opportunity to go 2-3 weeks. August 19 - September 9. Or similar. Thinking about booking in the week, the airplane ticket will be cheaper the earlier you book as well. But we must decide where to go first.

It gets too expensive to go to Vancouver and then go home from Calgary, or vice versa. And renting a car in one place and leaving the rental car on others seems to be too expensive. So probably choose between Vancouver / BC vs Calgary / Alberta.

We talked to a Swedish travel company the other day. The costs are as follows:

Airplane ticket: 2005 dollar for both. (13930 swedish kronor)

Cheapest rental car through the Swedish travel company with full insurance and everything: 1838.48 dollar. (12769 swedish kronor)

( I used valuta.se to figure out what the costs in Swedish krona are converted into Canadian dollars.)

Total for flight and rental car = 3844.13 dollar ( 26.699 swedish kronor.)


We expect that we will have at least 5759.21 dollar (40000 swedish kronor) over to use for other costs in Canada.


Some questions:

- Do you think that this budget is realistic for 2 or 3 weeks?

- The cost of accommodation in popular Alberta at the parks seems expensive, and seems to be booked up quickly, even at this time of the year? What do you think about the availability and costs of cheap accommodation, Vancouver / BC vs Calgary / Alberta ?

- Cheaper farther from the national parks certainly in Alberta? But the downside becomes a lot of driving back and forth several hours? And the risk is that they will be booked up quickly and you will be left without booking early? Quite sad to have to book in accommodation and plan the trip in detail every day, like to keep it up a bit, for example if you want to stay some day extra or less in any place, or come to want to include another place etc, though maybe you have to do that? Easier to find cheaper accommodation in Calgary, motel and the like? From there, drive back and forth between Banff, and Kananaski's etc parks?

- Can an alternative be renting an RV instead? The advantages I guess are that we can go where we want and stay in every place we visit and don't have to drive back and forth long distances between the parks and hotel / motel? Also, we save on all hotel / motel costs? Gasoline will be more expensive as it draws more more gasoline, but on the other hand we do not have to drive back and forth as by car between the parks and the hotel / motel far away, so it might even out? In addition, we can make food in RV etc. The downside is I guess that it is expensive, but seems cheaper if you go through a private person? Does it work well with insurance? What would you recommend?

- Or could another alternative be renting a regular car, sleeping in tents for some days, sleeping at the motel for other days and other days sleeping in the car if you drop down the chair and sleep over at the campsites?

- Total Discovery Pass for the national parks costs around 140.96 dollar, is that true?

- Other cost tips etc to think about?


Thank you.
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post #30 of (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 10:58 AM
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Hi, Per. Good that you've collected lots of information so far. Some comments about your last post:

(1) Your requirement to stay on paved roads AND avoid crowds in Canada's top two most popular national parks in peak summer including a national holiday weekend are incompatible. If you stick to paved roads in Jasper and Banff during this period you will encounter traffic jams and complete lack of parking at popular sites like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Johnston Canyon and Cavell Meadows. Parks Canada is now restricting vehicle access to many sites because of the intense overload of cars.

(2) International visitors should definitely see Banff and Jasper, but that requires advance planning for lodging. You should be booking campsites and hotels now for that time period. If you wait, you'll have very little or no choice. Campsites fill up fast and some of the largest campgrounds in the parks are closed this season for renovations, making the crunch even worse.

(3) Places like Kananaskis, Willmore and the Alberta front ranges offer scenic beauty equal to the national parks plus the advantage of solitude, but you will have to accept traveling on gravel roads.

(4) You will not find solitude, but you can access lots of multi-day backpacking opportunities from paved roads in the national parks. Just like everything else in the parks, backcountry campsites accessible from the highway will be completely full for that time period, so you must book ASAP.

(5) There are plenty of outfitters in the front ranges who can pick you up from the highway or hotel and take you on horseback or horse-assisted trips in Willmore or along the front ranges. Perhaps that could be an option. Overnight backcountry horse outfitters also operate within Banff and Jasper NPs.

(7) Backcountry lodges in the parks can be accessed from trailheads via paved roads. Their daily rates seem expensive, but prices are all-inclusive so you will have no other expenses. Meals are provided and quality is excellent. Skoki and the lodges in the Tonquin Valley offer exceptional backcountry hiking opportunities.

(8) Ray Rusmussen has some recommendation for lodging near Willmore. Some of these operators offer trailhead shuttles:

https://www.raysweb.net/willmore/pages/wheretostay.html

Hope that helps! Main point to emphasize ---> Banff and Jasper are FULL during peak summer months. Book early!

Scott

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