Cross Canada Trip

Discussion in 'Trip Planning and Travel Concerns' started by Paul and Susan, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Paul and Susan

    Paul and Susan
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    My wife, two dogs and I are going to go on a six month cross Canada trip. We plan on going from Coast to Coast to Coast in our Travel Trailer. We are leaving in May and returning in October.

    This website is awesome for doing our planning, and we will be posting reviews and photos on the site.

    Our initial thoughts are to go west to BC, then head north to either the Yukon Territories then over to the Northwest Territories for Aboriginal Day on June 21 (also our anniversary and one of the dogs birthdays!). We will be winging it from that point on.

    Any suggestions, tips or thoughts?

    Let us know.

    Paul, Susan and the dogs! woof
     
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  2. Texasrvers

    Texasrvers
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    Sorry I cannot help with your planning, but it sounds like a great trip. We have some wonderful Canadians that are members, and I'm sure they can give you lots of advice.
     
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  3. Rollin Ollens

    Rollin Ollens
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    Greetings Paul, Susan and the dogs.

    We like your idea of crossing Canada in six months. You are going to SEE the land. We have talked with people who have completed the trip in less than a month. We have to say that we're pretty sure that pavement looks the same in Sydney, BC as it does in Sydney, Nova Scotia. I'm not sure if they would have been been able to see much more than that.

    Your mention that you would go west to BC first. We do have some knowledge of Southern BC and the Island as well as southern Alberta. We may be able to help you out in these areas but where is your starting point? What do you like to see and do? Are you into fishing, hiking, climbing, cycling, sailing?

    We would like to just give you a quick heads up regarding the Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper areas if that is on your list of places to see. Book your sites ASAP as there are very few RV Parks that are first come first served any more. Banff and Jasper are cities that are in National Parks thus you would be looking to book with Parks Canada. The Bow Valley just east of Banff is under Alberta Provincial jurisdiction so Alberta Parks is you go to for there. Once you near the Lower Mainland of British Columbia you will find it almost impossible to get a random site on a weekend.

    When we lived in Vancouver we used to hop across the border to camp on weekends. Washington State has some very nice parks close,

    If you are looking for specifics on activities please just let us know. We are happy to give you our two cents.

    Darrell & Jerry
     
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  4. Paul and Susan

    Paul and Susan
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    Hi Darrell & Jerry, Thanks for the tips. Didn't even think about sites at Banff.

    We are starting out in Ontario and go through Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. We are planning on hiking, site seeing, and lots and lots of photography. We are both amateur photographers. Having the dogs really limits what we can do as far as museums and historical sites are concerned.

    We are planning to be Calgary for the Stampede.
     
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  5. Fun finders

    Fun finders
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    Hi Paul and Susan
    We’ve traveled across Western Canada quite frequently and we know of a few great stops that you should add to your trip. First is Anicinabe park in Kenora,ON., Very nice campground with views of the lake. Moose Jaw,Sk.is another good stop. Al Capone actually set up shop there during prohibition and built tunnels under the city. Tours are available with the guides dressed in period correct costumes.Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park south of Maple Creek is another Saskatchewan must see. Center Block Campground is situated in a Lodgepole Pine forest and is home to a dark sky observatory. When in the Calgary area our preferred campground is Bow Rivers Edge in Cochrane,I would book that one now because when the stampede comes to town you will never find a decent park anywhere. Banff And Lake Louise have so much to offer,you are best off with Google to find what to do however I would highly recommend a visit to Johnson Canyon located on the Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Lake Louise. Make sure to get there early before the tour buses arrive,parking is very limited we have to park our truck and trailer on the shoulder on the road. You didn’t mention if you would be in B.C but Murphy’s Landing in Nakusp is one I would visit,the town is turn of the century and hasn’t changed at all. Further towards the coast is Fort Langley, another tourist friendly town within walking distance to Fort Camping
    Safe travels
    Greg and Miranda
     
  6. Rollin Ollens

    Rollin Ollens
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    Alright. This helps. I totally concur with Funfinders in the recommendation for Moose Jaw, Cypress Hills (plus adding just north of Brooks, Alberta "Dinosaur Provincial Park" for the photography as well as being able to find, touch and feel dino fossils).

    The Calgary Stampede is an amazing event. Funfinders recommendation for Bow Rivers Edge in Cochrane (just west of Calgary) is bang on. I believe they offer a shuttle service to and from the Stampede Grounds. Use it 'cause traffic and crowds are nuts during those ten days. You might have to find a kennel service for your dogs unless they can "hold it" for 8 - 10 hours. You should be able to find one in Cochrane. Bow Rivers Edge is right next to an amazing off leash area right by the river. As Fundfinders suggests BOOK NOW!!

    Most of Banff and Lake Louise is Dog friendly. The history of the area is the Outdoors. Having said that.....Dogs must be leashed and under control at all times in both Provincial and National Parks. If Tunnel Mountain has nothing available when you try to book I would suggest the Lake Minnewanka Campground or stay in the Canmore area. There are a number of Provincial Parks in the Bow Valley that are close enough to Banff to accommodate you. This area is a photographers dream. A short list of lakes with amazing surrounding scenery is as follows.....Grassi Lake in Canmore, Lake Minnewanka, Bow Falls in Banff, Lake Moraine Lake and the Valley of Ten Peaks near Lake Louise (used to be the picture on the back of a ten dollar bill) Lake Louise of course as well as Peyto Lake, Takakkaw Falls, Wapta Falls and Emerald Lake around Louise. If you can, take a dusk drive along the Bow Valley Parkway between Banff and Louise, This is the best time and location for Wild Life viewing especially Bears. Just an FYI.....get to the Lake Louise area early in the morning as parking is very limited and it gets stupid crowded!!

    You might want to try some easy Mountain Climbing. Some easier scrambles in the Canmore area are Heart Mountain, Ha Ling Peak, EEOR (East End of Rundle). You can do a search on You Tube for an idea of what to expect. Once you get deeper in the mountains the climbs are not so easy. Funfinders suggests Johnson Canyon hike. Agreed, this is a must and you might want to continue the trek a little further to the Paint Pots. Oh and learn to be bear safe....pick up a can of Bear Spray and know how to use it properly.

    Funfinders also suggests a stop at Nakusp. I agree but I also suggest you plan your travels through central southern BC by heading south on highway 93 once you have had enough of the Banff area. You will find Radium Hot Springs well worth the stop. Continue on to Kimberley a town reflecting a Bavarian Flavour. From there head to Creston then turn North along Kootenay Lake taking the free Ferry across to Balfour. Then head to Kaslo where you will find another amazing Hot Spring to soak in. The town of Nelson is worth a look see and then you will follow Slocan Lake to Nakusp. From Nakusp follow the Arrow Lakes and over to Vernon and into the Okanagan Valley. This route is following the SLOW road but the scenery, IMO, is superior to following the TransCanada. There is a lot to see and do in the Okanagan and that is another story.

    I expect you will have a wonderful trip no matter what route you take.

    Darrell
     
  7. Fun finders

    Fun finders
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    I’ll have to agree that Radium Hot Springs should not be missed but I must add that Ft. Steele and Castlegar deserve a visit. Like Rollin Ollens stated anywhere in the Okanagan from Vernon to Oosoyos is a must. The old Kettle Valley Railroad lines have been converted to miles and miles of hiking and biking trails. Also plenty of vineyard and winery tours.
     
  8. Onemoretrail

    Onemoretrail
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    Paul and Susan, your trip sounds wonderful and exciting. Six months is a good length of time to see a lot of the highlights that Canada has to offer.

    Since you are starting off in Ontario and headed west first, that means a lot of backtracking if you plan on seeing the rest of Canada east of Ontario. Have you considered dividing your trip into two over a two year period?

    The reason I ask is that you will be covering a lot of territory. I live in Penticton, BC and have crossed Canada by motorhome 6 times and it takes several trips to cover the main attractions. If you want to do a true coast to coast to coast trip where you head to the Pacific ocean and then up to the Arctic ocean and back to the Atlantic, your trip might cover well over 30,000 km. Hope you don't mind paying for all that gas!

    Rollen Ollens and Fun finders has provided you with plenty of attractions along the way out west, especially in BC and Alberta. If money is no problem, I would recommend the Port Hardy to Prince Rupert ferry up along the Inside Passage. The scenery along the Yellowhead highway between Prince Rupert and Smithers is spectacular. You could take the Stewart Cassiar highway up to where it joins the Alaska highway in the Yukon to take you up to Whitehorse and then the Klondike highway further to Dawson City. If you feel you can handle it, the Dempster highway to Inuvik and a new completed road to Tuktoyuktuk takes you all the way to the Arctic ocean.
    Heading back down to the Alaska highway to its start at Dawson Creek BC takes you through the northern Rocky Mountains. From Dawson Creek you can take the Hart highway 97 to Prince George and back on the Yellowhead highway to Jasper. Lots to see in Jasper National Park. The Icefields parkway is must do drive. Lots of hiking opportunities in the park as well.
    Now I'm going to stop with the itinerary and let you know that it will be a big challenge to camp at a lot of the places you want to stay at unless you make reservations well in advance. Places like Jasper and Banff national parks and the Okanagan especially require reservations for July and August. I still remember the day years ago when we had just bought a motorhome and the wife and I went on a drive thinking we could find some place to camp at and gave up when not one site could be had within 100 km either side of our home. If you are planning a trip this year, you probably have missed out on some places to stay already. The national parks start taking reservations in January for the entire year and most of the better spots were taken within days of reservation being accepted.

    Now across the Prairies, you probably will take the Trans Canada to Calgary, so the Yellowhead highway on the way back towards Winnipeg would be your best bet. It's not as scenic as the Rockies, but you could always stop at places like the Ukrainian Village east of Edmonton, Elk Island National Park, the big Easter egg in Vegreville, Fort Battleford national historic site, Batoche (site of a battle during the Northwest Rebellion) and take in some of the neat little farm towns like Neepawa in Manitoba. You could veer off the Yellowhead to see some of the northern lakes, but the mileage really adds up when you do that. If you do that, Prince Albert national park and Riding Mountain national park might interest you.

    So you have plenty of places to visit just in the West alone. And you could double that easy with the trip east through Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. If you are adventurous and don't mind a few rough sections in the road the trip up to Labrador and the ferry from there to Newfoundland is one you will never forget. If you need information on eastern attractions, I will be happy to provide them in another post.

    Anyways, as with all big trips do your planning. It takes a lot of time to do it right. Your trip sounds great, but it is ambitious. I found that I could plan to see a lot of places and if I managed to see half of them I was more than happy. You could spend years crossing Canada and not see everything. It took me 3 trips to Newfoundland before I saw my first iceberg there. Hope this helps and one last bit of advice. Check out the campground reviews on the site. It will save you a lot of grief for sure. Good luck and happy trails.
     
  9. Paul and Susan

    Paul and Susan
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    Hi Onemoretrail,

    We have considered doing a shorter trip over two summers. My wife had a thought that we go back to NWT/YT in mid-August to see the Aurora. Lucky for us that there is lots of stuff to see and do in BC/Alberta/Manitoba.
     
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  10. Violett

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    How did your journey go? I haven't been to Canada yet. I think I'm going to go in the summer. I wanted to find reviews.
     
  11. Rollin Ollens

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    Just an FYI, During the peak periods (mid June to mid September) make sure you book well in advance for the Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper areas. There are very few first come first served sites anymore and most are booked solid three months out.

    Darrell
     
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  12. Violett

    Violett
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    Thanks a lot
     

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