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21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

Hod HaSharon...
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21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

Dear All,

We will be flying to Calgary on coming September 14th.

We are a family of 6. Boys aged 16,14,12 & 8.

My initial plan is to rent an RV and discover the Rockies for 21 days.

One of the inputs that I got is that we should plan only 10-15 days most for the Rockies, and add Vancouver or northern parts of the USA to our tours.

I would like to get domain expert view on this :-)

Is it worthwhile adding additional destination with a 3 weeks period, and if so, what will be the best family locations (RV based).

One more side question.

It will be great if we can spend 2-3 days or half days, mountain biking in the Rockies. Any recommendation for bike rental shop, and for routes that are not too strenuous. I would prefer to explore some single treks, even if on my own.

Thanks everyone,

Boaz

We will probably do some day long hikes and also looking to do some nice Mountain Bike toure

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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1. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

Welcome to the TripAdvisor forums! Two weeks is a generous amount of time for the Rockies, but you could easily spend three weeks and enjoy it, especially if you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor actiivities.

With boys that age, I would strongly recommend spending a few days east of Calgary visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, and Dinosaur Provincial Park near Brooks. The Tyrrell is one of the world's finest museums of paleontology, with lots of displays on dinosaurs suitable for all ages. Take some time to watch the technicians in the prep lab carefully removing dinosaur fossils from their plaster jackets and then painstakingly removing the surrounding stone matrix so that only the fossil is left.

Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dinosaurs have been excavated here for over a century, and they still have active digs. Make sure to reserve a spot on one of their many tours.

Both Dinosaur PP and the Tyrrell Museum are set in the valley of the Red Deer River, and are surrounded by surreal, softly mounded "hoodoos":

…wikimedia.org/wiki/…Drumheller_hoodoos_2.jpg

Banff's Destination Expert recently posted some good info about mountain biking on this thread:

tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g182164-i2232-k5374…

Edited: 01 May 2012, 21:38
Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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2. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

There are several good companies right in Banff that can rent you mountain biking gear. You can also do that at Waterton Lakes NP, Fernie, Nelson, or virtually anywhere else in the mountains that you want to. So I would focus on laying out the groundwork for your itinerary and fill in the other bits later, since there will be no shortage of areas to bike in, if that's what you;re after. In fact, there is a great bike trail that runs from Nelson to Salmo, in the BC Kootenays, on an old railway line. Mountain biking is not my thing but my understanding is that that particular trail is not too strenuous so it might be just what you're after.

Tyrrell Museum is an excellent suggestion, particularly for your youngest boy. My own son used to really love going there when he was younger.

With 3 weeks for your vacation, you have time to have a good look around the Rockies. You could spend about a week in the Calgary/Banff/Lake Louise area, about 5 days in the Jasper area (including travelling to/from Jasper), and still have 9 days leftover to explore the BC Kootenays, the Crowsnest Pass and Waterton Lakes NP before returning to Calgary. This would be a good loop-style itinerary that would allow you to really spend a lot of time in the mountains and enjoy all that their parks, lakes and campgrounds have to offer. You would put your RV to good use and avoid a lot of city driving which can quickly take the fun out of an RV-oriented holiday.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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3. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

I should have mentioned, in case you want to try and look this route up on a map, that the BC Kootenays basically encompasses the towns of Nakusp, Silverton, Castlegar, Salmo, Creston, Crawford Bay, Nelson, Ainsworth, Kaslo and everything in between. It is one of my favorite areas of BC.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

I love the fact that you are planning to focus your trip and spend the time you need to enjoy a place. Good for you! Here's a map I'm going to suggest for you to consider. Certainly not the only option, but one I think you'll enjoy given your stated interests

http://g.co/maps/5qj8u

I second the vote for Royal Tyrell. I've organized your trip so that you finish in the Rockies, which is the most spectacular bit, so leave it to the end. I would allow at least half your time for Banff/Jasper, maybe more, but here's a few links for you to research for some of the other destinations I've suggested.

www.discovernelson.com/htdocs/main.html

http://revelstokecc.bc.ca/vacation/

tyrrellmuseum.com/programs/public_programs.h…

history.alberta.ca/headsmashedin/default.aspx

Hod HaSharon...
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22 posts
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5. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

WOW !!!!!!!!!!

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome, and for the detailed answers.

It was well beyond my expectations, and I have been participating in internet forums for 10+ years now (Biking & Hi-Fi..).

I will go over all suggestions and do some reading.

There are also some travel books that already landed at my desk.

I will probably come with more questions soon.

Just 2 quick questions for now:

1) Vancouverite67, your route passes by, but do not include the does not include the Waterton Lakes NP. Is this something not worth exploring ?

I saw recomendation for covering this park in the MOON guide I bought.

2) We will be ending our tor on October 5th. It makes a lot of sense to end the tour in the Rockies, however weather wise, isn't starting in the Rockies on September 15th better ?

3) Does the recommended park of interest for my grown-up kids (They will be 17,15 and 13 by the time of the tour) and they tend to complain more than my 8 years old kid :-)

Thanks again everyone,

Much appreciated.

Boaz

Alberta
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6. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

One thing to mention as far as the RV, many of the provincial and Federal campgrounds will have closed at the time of year you are looking at. Many will close at the end of the Labor Day long weekend (August 31 to September 3).

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

And those campgrounds that don't close on Labour Day will close after Thanksgiving, Oct 8.

I agree that it makes more sense to start in the Rockies and finish in Vancouver, because the weather is nicer for longer on the west coast.

Hod HaSharon...
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8. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

I'm ending my trip in Calgary, so the question is whether to include Vancuver.

Based on my reading, most central campgrounds inc NP campgrounds are open till early October.

Hope I didn't get it wrong! ?

Calgary, Canada
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9. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

I think you're right, Boaz; some campgrounds do close after Labour Day, but I don't think it's as many as it once was. I think ABdiver's suggestion to double check the closing dates is a sound one, just because you don't want to be caught short.

Edmonton, Canada
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10. Re: 21 Days RV trip planning, leaving Calgary

i'd do a circle calgary, banff, southern bc, penticton area (fabulous lakes - i could easily spend 5 days around there) jasper and back through banff and calgary.