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Bow Valley Parkway in February

Hertfordshire
Level Contributor
52 posts
38 reviews
Bow Valley Parkway in February

Hi

We've booked a trip for next February and are staying at the Baker Creek Chalets on BVP

My questions are regarding the drive from Calgary Airport and possible weather conditions.

I was planning on using Highway 1 out of Banff but was wondering if BVP will be passable ( I know there will be snow!) or should I stick to Highway 1 and just BVP to access Baker Creek?

The drive is likely to be early evening. Is that a sensible time to be on BVP.

Also, do I need to pay for a pass? As I understand it, if we are stopping at Baker Creek we need a pass? And can that be purchased at the entry to the BVP at whatever time of day we arrive?

Thanks in advance

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
8,170 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Bow Valley Parkway in February

Welcome!

Firstly, you need a pass whenever you are in a national park, not just on the BVP. The only exception would be if you are going straight through on the TransCanada and not stopping or pulling over for any reason. You can buy daily or yearly passes ahead of time online or buy them at the gate on the TransCanada (Highway 1). You will have to pass through the gate coming from Calgary - you can't go on the bypass lanes unless you already have a pass.

You can certainly drive the BVP in the winter, but your route should depend on the conditions and time of day. BVP is much narrower and twistier than the TransCanada and not likely to be plowed as quickly. So it's not a good route if there's snow on the road or if it's snowing (especially if you do not have snow tires). Also remember that the sun will set probably around 5pm, and I would really not suggest BVP after dark. So I think your best bet is to stick to the TransCanada for as much of the drive as possible, and if you want to see the BVP, drive during daylight hours in good conditions.

Hertfordshire
Level Contributor
52 posts
38 reviews
2. Re: Bow Valley Parkway in February

Wonderful.

Thanks for your reply.

Our flight arrives into Calgary late afternoon so it will be after dark before we reach BVP so it does sound like sticking to the TransCanada might be the best idea. Presumably there's a way to access Baker Creek Chalets from Highway 1 with only a short drive on BVP.

We are staying a week so I'll do the calculation on whether an annual pass or 7 x daily passes is cheaper.

If we have a rental car for that period ( first week or two in Feb ) would you recommend getting snow tires then?

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Canadian Rockies
Level Contributor
8,170 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: Bow Valley Parkway in February

To get to Baker Creek, you'd get off the TransCanada at Castle Junction and go the rest of the way on the BVP. It would be about 15km on the BVP. Very doable, but the sun will set around 5:30, so it will likely be dark for much of the drive.

Use common sense and be ready to have a plan B for accommodation if your flight is very delayed and/or road conditions are very bad. Driving in the snow after dark is a lot trickier than during daylight.

Each pass is good until 4pm the next day. For seven passes, the yearly pass is a better deal. The yearly pass is a bit more expensive than 6 days, but it also gets you into some national historic sites, so a bit of a bonus.

In February, I would most definitely get snow tires. They are not standard, so you will need to request them - and double check closer to the date - and expect to pay extra. They are not required on any AB road other than the Icefields Parkway, but you need at least M+S tires on most roads in BC (other than the TransCanada). That said, driving safely and not heading out in conditions beyond your experience is most important, but having snow tires can help quite a bit on snowy roads.

Hertfordshire
Level Contributor
52 posts
38 reviews
4. Re: Bow Valley Parkway in February

That's great.

Thanks again for your comprehensive and very helpful reply.

I'll take on board your plan B comment.

And also investigate snow tyres on the rental car.

Thank you

5. Re: Bow Valley Parkway in February

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