Cross-Canada Trip: Leg 1 Preview

The Hubby and I are embarking on a 2 week long Vancouver to Montreal trip in September, so we’ve started the early stages of planning. I’ll be doing some posts with research on the different legs of the trip. We’ll begin today with Leg 1: Vancouver to Edmonton, codename: Rocky Mountain Sunset.

Oh the Rockies! I will miss the drama! Lake Edith Cavell in Jasper National Park.


It’s just over a month away that we embark on our big cross-Canada adventure! The first leg of the trip will be kind of our Farewell to the Rocky Mountains, and the dramatic scenery that they create.

For the trip as a whole, we plan on taking Hwy 1 as much of the trip as possible – according to South Park, we’ll be following the only road (sorry for the crappy link, Canadian copyright restrictions). Since we’re detouring up to Edmonton to stay with a friend, we will have to detour off Hwy 1.  I have two itineraries, but both would take 3 days:

  1. Day 1: Vancouver to Kamloops, via Hwy 5 (about 5 hours of driving). Day 2: Kamloops to Jasper, via Hwy 5 (5.5 hours of beauty), and some evening hiking. Day 3: Morning hiking, then Jasper to Edmonton via Hwy 16 ( 4.25 hours of what I’ve been told is boring by comparison).
  2. Day 1: Vancouver to Jasper via Hwy 5 (a 10.5 hour slog). Day 2: Day in Jasper to tool around a bit of Hwy 93 and hike. Day 3: Jasper to Edmonton via Hwy 16 (4.25 hours, still boring).

There are benefits to both plans. Plan 1 allots for a late start on Day 1. If packing everything takes super late into Day 1, we will still make it to Kamloops. If we get up early on Day 2 and leave late on Day 3, then we would have some time to check out the park. The downside of this plan is that we will be seeing a lot by car, and our legs and The Dahg might get crank-tastic.

Plan 2 is ideal, but we have to make really good time on Day 1. I lean toward it, because I think I would rather spend Day 1 transitioning toward gettin’ outta dodge.  I’ve seen Kamloops and that chunk of Hwy 5. Plus it allows for more time exploring on Day 2.

Or we could combine both plans and take 4 days! Why not!  We just have to account for how long we are able to have the trailer.

While in Jasper, it would be lovely to head over to Miette Hotsprings. I’ve heard it’s cheap, and after a long time in the car it could be just the ticket! As long as it isn’t too hot, and as long as we tire The Dahg out with a hike before it would be lovely.

It would be nice to take a scenic drive on the Maligne Valley Road to Maligne Lake. We’d be staying at either the Pocahontas or Whistlers campground, both of which are near hiking.If we stay at Whistlers campground, we’d probably hike around Pyramid Lake. If we stay at Pocahontas campground, we’ll probably hike to the Devona Lookout and Celestine Lake.  Another hike to consider is the hike to Lake Edith, which looks pretty iconic.  All three are shortish hikes, but since we’ll be at a pretty high altitude it might be better to underestimate our exercise capacity! If we were in Grouse Grind shape, or if my knee weren’t still aching from a good twist on our trip to Hawaii, then we would hike the Sulpher Skyline, which is supposed to have some of the most amazing views Jasper has to offer. Perhaps I can get it feeling better in the next month?

If we felt touristy/richer , and didn’t have The Dahg, a guided hike to the Columbia Ice Fields followed by a ride up the Jasper Tramway and mountaintop dinner would be lovely!

Has anyone been that route? Do you have suggestions of hikes or other things to do in Jasper?

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2 Comments to “Cross-Canada Trip: Leg 1 Preview”

  1. As I was just in Jasper last weekend, I recommend the Cavell Meadows. Sure it’s famous, sure everyone goes there, but there’s a reason for that – it’s gorgeous. I went with my parents, and we left early (got there around 9am), and it was still peaceful with lots of wildlife (small, friendly wildlife, like pikas and marmots). And not too strenous a hike as most of the elevation is driven up. If you’re interested in the Tram, but don’t want to pay, I think you’d be able to hike up (and then tram down). I haven’t tried it, but it was on my maybe list.

    Also, if you’re looking for food, two locally owned/operated places I recommend are the Bear Paw’s Cafe and Coco’s Cafe. Both have solid vegetarian options, and I’m pretty sure they’d have vegan too.

    Also – Whistler’s campground may be a better choice if you wanted to see the town, as Pocohontas is a little further out. And Pocohontas was closed for cougars when I was there.

    • Thanks for the suggestions, Sarah! Cougars sound like no fun, and being close enough to check out town, at least for dinner, would be nice. Although all “in town” excursions on the trip will depend on the convenience of leaving the trailer AND the Dahg, which could prove tricky.

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