USA-CAN-USA, July 2017 (16 US states and 4 Canadian provinces)

I am taking a road trip this July 2017. Driving through 16 US states and 4 Canadian provinces.

The trip would be from July 4th to July 30th. And my estimate is that I will cover over 8,000 miles.

The states that I will be going through are; TX, OK, KS, NE, MO, IA, SD, ND, MN, WA, OR, ID, UT, CO, WY, MT and NM. Then the Canadian provinces I will be driving through and spending in will be Manitoba (MB), Saskatchewan (SK), Alberta (AB) and British Columbia (BC).

I am in the planning stages now and have some suggestions of what to do, but would love some suggestions of any cool things to see or do especially for Calgary, Banff, Jasper and Vancouver. This is my first time going to these provinces in Canada and I would like to enjoy seeing some really cool touristic places, especially in Banff.

Here is my planned out map of my route for the whole trip.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Houston,+TX/Winnipeg,+MB,+Canada/Banff,+AB,+Canada/Jasper,+AB,+Canada/Quesnel,+BC,+Canada/Portland,+OR/Ouray,+CO/Yellowstone+National+Park,+WY/Mount+Rushmore+National+Memorial/Pearland,+TX/@43.0954198,-116.5013862,5z/data=!4m72!4m71!1m5!1m1!1s0x8640b8b4488d8501:0xca0d02def365053b!2m2!1d-95.3698028!2d29.7604267!1m5!1m1!1s0x52ea73fbf91a2b11:0x2b2a1afac6b9ca64!2m2!1d-97.1383744!2d49.895136!1m10!1m1!1s0x5370ca45910c4afd:0xcaafaebedaac9463!2m2!1d-115.5707694!2d51.1783629!3m4!1m2!1d-116.0235194!2d51.3082575!3s0x53774ff69f687bb1:0x1a9f5382fbf44357!1m5!1m1!1s0x53832b0868553e29:0x1f2002bd0b192882!2m2!1d-118.0813581!2d52.8736786!1m5!1m1!1s0x538705ef9570a739:0x50135152a7b2230!2m2!1d-122.4949058!2d52.9817372!1m5!1m1!1s0x54950b0b7da97427:0x1c36b9e6f6d18591!2m2!1d-122.6764816!2d45.5230622!1m5!1m1!1s0x873f1f7caf7386f3:0x9003c80400295bdd!2m2!1d-107.6714487!2d38.0227716!1m5!1m1!1s0x534e1fa4815fb5c5:0x55626b0f59fce96b!2m2!1d-110.5884542!2d44.4279684!1m10!1m1!1s0x877d35d8b53ed6df:0xdaf53dbe055cc641!2m2!1d-103.4590667!2d43.8791025!3m4!1m2!1d-102.052485!2d36.5302447!3s0x870607ec0aca9267:0xc6adb244c444edf1!1m5!1m1!1s0x86405890a6fe33a9:0xcabb7507f4a5ccee!2m2!1d-95.2860474!2d29.5635666!3e0

 
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My itinerary so far... But it is not set in stone, though I most often follow my itinerary for the most part. I would like suggestions of any cool places to see at my destinations. Also, I do not mind meeting any forum members. I think that would be interesting. And if anybody needs anything from TX, feel free to let me know. I can buy it and bring it and drop it off to you, if you are on my route.

July 3rd: Get off work at 7:30pm and get home and load up the truck. Take off at 10pm for a long non -stop 24 hours drive. Since it is 2 of us, we are taking our time and getting a lot of rest on the way. Sleep in Grand Forks, ND.

July 4th. Drive from Grand Forks, ND to Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Visit The Forks for breakfast and shopping. And visit other attractions. Check into hotel and get some rest then visit forum member in the evening for some bbq.

July 5th: Visit The Forks in Winnipeg. Then in the evening, I have a FJCruiser forum member who lives in Winnipeg and him and his wife has invited us over for some yummy bbq. After bbq, we retire to our hotel for another long journey the next day.

July 6th: 13 hours drive. Winnipeg to Calgary, AB. Stay here 3 nights. Winnipeg-Redvers (start of the Red Coat Trail)-Regina(visit RCMP Heritage Centre)-Moose Jaw-Gravelbourg-Eastend(Dinasaur museum)-Governlock-Manyberries-Hwy4/Hwy61(End of Red Coat Trail)-Fort Whoop Up-Fort-Fort MacLeod-Calgary.

July 7th: Spend most of the day at the Calgary Stampede. It starts on this day. Then may visit any other attractions.

July 8th: Do Calgary; Heritage Park Historical Village and maybe Calgary Tower and Calgary Zoo.

July 9th: First thing in the morning, check out of hotel and drive the 1 hour 30 minutes to Banff where we will be staying for the next 3 nights. Visit Lake Moraine and Lake Louise and catch sunset. I hear sunrise is 5:30am and sunset is 10pm at these dates. So, that would be interesting since I have never experienced sunset so late.
Canmore: Canmore Cave Tours, Grassi Lakes, Lake Minnewanka, Johnston Canyon.

July 10th: Do Banff!!! Wake up and maybe do a sunrise canoeing on Lake Louise. Visit Moraine Lake later on. Take a ride on the Banff Gandola. May visit Johnston Canyon and Lake Minnewanka. Do Yoho National Park (Emerald Lake, Takakkaw Falls, Natural Bridge, Spiral Tunnels). Bow Valley Parkway on return trip from Lake Louise to Banff for scenic views

July 11th: Do Banff again!!! Lake Minnewanka. Bow Falls. And any other attractions.

July 12th: Drive Banff to Jasper, AB. Driving on the Icefields Parkway, which is the most scenic drive in Canada. Plan to stop often for some pictures and walking on the ice. Truly looking forward to this. 7 hours drive to get to Jasper, AB. Stay 2 nights in Jasper.
Driving fromCanmore to Jasper, stops in ascending order to Jasper: Morraine Lake, Lake Louise, Upper Spiral tunnel scenic viewpoint (watch train), Takakkaw Falls (by roadside), Emerald Lake, Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Summit and Peyto Lake, Waterfowl, Mistaya Canyon, Saskatchewan River Crossing, Weeping Wall, Wilcox Creek Campground, Wilcox Creek Campground, Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier, Glacier Skywalk, Tangle Creek Falls, Sunwapta Falls, Athabasca Falls. Tons of stops turning a 4 hour drive to 8 or 10 hours.

July 13th: Do Jasper!!! Maligne Canyon (do boat tour), Jasper SkyTram, Athabasca Falls, Columbia Icefield.

July 14th: Drive Jasper to Vancouver, BC. 16 hours drive. Driving Jasper to Prince George. Drive now on the Cariboo highway through Quesnel (stop to see gold pan) to Williams Lake. Continue and stop at 100 Mile House. Stop here at the Tourism Discovery Center. On Canada Highway 1 I will be driving next to the Fraser river. Make pit stops at Cache creek's Hat Creek Ranch, Hell's Gate Tram, Alexandra Bridge, Hope (Othello Tunnel) and Bridal Falls. Stopping at attractions. Sleep 2 nights in Vancouver.

July 15th: Do Vancouver. Stanley Park, Granville Island, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Gastown, Grouse Mountain. This night may meetup with another forum member to visit and say hi.

July 16th: Drive Vancouver to Seattle, WA. 2 hours 30 mins. Do one or 2 attractions first in Vancouver before saying goodbye to Canada and then drive to Seattle. Visit Pike Place Market in Seattle.

July 17th: Drive Seattle to Portland, OR. 4 hours drive. Visit Chihuly Garden and Glass before leaving Seattle for Portland. Stay 2 nights in Portland.

July 18th: Do Portland. Pittock Mansion. Visit Portland Japanese Garden. Multnomah Falls. Drive along the Columbia river to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. (Stop at Bonneville Fish hatchery, on the way).

July 19th: Drive from Portland, OR to Ouray, CO. 17 hours drive. So drive through the night and get to Ouray at or before 10am on July 20th. Stop in Utah to meet a fellow forum member, say hi and give him a parcel I promised.

July 20th: Get to Ouray at or before 9am. Go pay to take a shower, get breakfast and then hit the trails! Sleep 3 nights in Ouray.

July 21st: Do Ouray!!! It is 2017 FJ Summit. Town must be busy like last year. This day, I am doing Imogene Pass, Ophir Pass and Blackbear Pass (Driving only to the top of the pass and driving back down the same way, not going to the switchbacks).

July 22nd: Do Ouray. Visit Silverton. Drive to Animas Forks. Then may continue to Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass and lake Como.

July 23rd: Drive Ouray to our hotel in Gardiner, MT. Passing through Rocksprings, WY to say hi to a forum member. 15 hours drive. Spend 4 nights in Gardiner, MT.

July 24th: Do Yellowstone National Park. (Mammoth Hotsprings, Canyon Village, Yellowstone lake, Old faithful, Upper Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring)

July 25th: Dedicate this day to driving the Beartooth Highway (US 212) to Red Lodge, MT and back. I have read and seen great pictures about this route. So, being so close, I have to explore it for sure. I plan to hopefully meet a fellow forum member to say hi and maybe go on some dirt roads. Stop at Lamar Valley at NE Entrance to Yellowstone.

July 26th: Do Grand Teton National Park for the whole day. Get park map and follow the 42 mile scenic drive around the park. (major places to stop; Jackson Lake, Chapel of the Sacred Heart, Signal Mountain, Leigh Lake, Jenny Lake, Inspiration point, Chapel of Transfiguration, Craig Thomas visitor center, T. A. Moulton Barn)

July 27th: Drive from Gardiner to Hill City, SD. 9 hours drive. Stop to visit Devil's Tower in WY. Sleep 2 nights in Mt Rushmore.

July 28th: Do Mt Rushmore and Black Hills. May drive to Deadwood, SD.

July 29th: Hill City to Adrian, TX. 12 hours drive. Midpoint of Route 66. I have always wanted to stop there. So, stopping there for the night.

July 30th: Adrian, TX to HOME!!! 11 hours drive.
 
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Looks like one heckuva journey!!

Cya when you get here!

:chef: :friday:
Thanks man. It will be my first time visiting all 4 provinces in Canada, so I look forward to seeing a lot of the touristic sites out there.

Also, I am truly looking forward to that bbq.

I hope the stars do align so it can happen.
 

pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
Great trip! Any way you can hit the Black Hills after Yellowstone? Mt Rushmore and all that?
 
Great trip! Any way you can hit the Black Hills after Yellowstone? Mt Rushmore and all that?
Thanks for such a suggestion. Well, she thanks you for that suggestion because that is what she would like us to do now.

So your suggestion is changing our itinerary and adding a day to the road trip. Planning to spend 2 nights in Mt Rushmore and dedicating a full day to mt Rushmore and the Black Hills and other attractions.

Thanks again for that suggestion.
 
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Bushcoat

one trail at a time
Can you add any days? Calgary to Winnipeg is pretty boring, unless you are like me and like taking it easy and seeing the sights of what used to be, abandoned buildings, grain elevators, homesteads, etc that are usually on those back roads. I'd duck back south after Jasper/bang/lake Louise and see glacier natl park, going to the sun road, black hills, etc. east of Winnipeg is when it gets exciting again Hahahaha, I don't think you would regret going around the top end of Lake Superior, then down the east or west side of Lake Michigan, if you can afford the time. I live around Thunder Bay ON, if I'm heading west, I prefer to drive through the states one way, Canada on the way back. I'm not trying to demote Canada and the prairies but the gas prices are night and day.

Edit: sorry, I thought you were heading west first, coming back through Winnipeg.

July 12th looks like a LONG day. We did that last year beginning of June, left bang, drove to Jasper and did the stops along the way, stayed overnight in Jasper and drove back to spend the night in lake Louise. It took all day in the off season, I've been there in tourist season and it can get crazy. The day before we went it was a blizzard up at Columbia ice fields so there was a good 4-6" of fresh snow.
 
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Can you add any days? Calgary to Winnipeg is pretty boring

July 12th looks like a LONG day. We did that last year beginning of June, left bang, drove to Jasper and did the stops along the way, stayed overnight in Jasper and drove back to spend the night in lake Louise. It took all day in the off season, I've been there in tourist season and it can get crazy. The day before we went it was a blizzard up at Columbia ice fields so there was a good 4-6" of fresh snow.
You are right. Winnipeg to Calgary is truly boring, based on my research. But I plan to drive a bit of the Red Coat trail to make it a bit interesting and get a bit of history.

True, July 12 would be a truly long day. Driving from Banff to Jasper in the summer takes less than 4 hours. But since it is tourism season, my guess is traffic would be insane. But since it would be an all day event for us, we plan to cover those 4 hours in about 8 to 10 hours because of many stops and taking some time to enjoy the stops.

My hope is that the weather on that day is good and since sunset is after 9pm, it means we truly have time to stretch our journey on that highway.

Do you happen to have pictures or a thread of your trip on this highway? Would love to see.
 

vhercules

Member
Sounds like trip of a lifetime !

Drive from Banff to Jasper is breathtaking so be prepared for many many stops. give yourself enough time. Icefields pkwy you can take a bus tour on the glacier which is a good experience.
I personally liked lake moraine more than lake Louise, they are both fantastic. So see if you can do lake moraine as well. Both the lakes are very touristy spots so see if you can do it on a weekday so it is less crowded. On summer weekends parking can be a big pain !
Athabasca falls and sunwapta falls are some great places to stop by in the jasper area.
 

bcram

New member
After leaving Jasper, head to Prince George instead of Kamloops, then turn and drive through the Cariboo following the Fraser river all the way to Vancouver. There will be less tourist traffic this way alltho a bit longer distance. The Cariboo has lots of history..the gold rush, old cattle ranching area's...further along is the "canyon"with hells gate. It would add about 10 hours extra driving time but well worth it.
I live just outside of Kamloops and have traveled both routes.
Ross
 

molanginaeda

Observer
Welcome to... This is where I plan to put welcome to each state or province I drive through.
@PetitFrereArmada we will crosspath in Banff and Jasper.

I will be camping in Banff and Jasper area around the first 2 weeks in July.

Your schedule looks very tight. Around that time, Banff and Jasper area will be busy especially during weekend. So be prepared for slow traffic on icefield Parkway. Also try to find time to dip at the hot springs. It will help you relax from all the driving.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Sounds like trip of a lifetime !
Drive from Banff to Jasper is breathtaking so be prepared for many many stops. give yourself enough time. Icefields pkwy you can take a bus tour on the glacier which is a good experience.
I personally liked lake moraine more than lake Louise, they are both fantastic. So see if you can do lake moraine as well. Both the lakes are very touristy spots so see if you can do it on a weekday so it is less crowded. On summer weekends parking can be a big pain !
Athabasca falls and sunwapta falls are some great places to stop by in the jasper area.
You are right. I am trying to make it a trip of a lifetime. In my line of work, it is not easy to have 3 weeks straight, off from work for vacation. So, when it comes around, I like to make it count. So, with my limited time for real vacation, I wish to make it count. And thanks for the suggestions. I will be visiting Lake Loiuse and Lake Moraine for sure, but not looking forward to the traffic I hear will be there during that period. I just recently read about Lake Emerald and may visit that also.

After leaving Jasper, head to Prince George instead of Kamloops, then turn and drive through the Cariboo following the Fraser river all the way to Vancouver. There will be less tourist traffic this way alltho a bit longer distance. The Cariboo has lots of history..the gold rush, old cattle ranching area's...further along is the "canyon"with hells gate. It would add about 10 hours extra driving time but well worth it.
I live just outside of Kamloops and have traveled both routes.
Ross
Thanks a lot for your suggestion. I was trying to map it to see if I could do that, then I saw you wrote it would be 10 hours of extra driving. Then I concluded I would not be able to do that because of the crazy driving schedule I already have.

@PetitFrereArmada we will crosspath in Banff and Jasper.

I will be camping in Banff and Jasper area around the first 2 weeks in July.

Your schedule looks very tight. Around that time, Banff and Jasper area will be busy especially during weekend. So be prepared for slow traffic on icefield Parkway. Also try to find time to dip at the hot springs. It will help you relax from all the driving.
That is cool to know. Will you be hiking the Wilcox Pass? Don't ask me how I know it. I just watched a beautiful video of some guy driving from Jasper to Banff and he mentioned he was going to hike there. In the video, he posts a few pictures he took of the glacier and road below as he was hiking. Very beautiful pictures. If a vehicle can go to where he stood to take those pictures, I may do it. I am not a hiker, so cannot go all the way up there, well, but I can easily do a bit to get to an area where I can turn and have some great views of the area and take pictures.

As for the crowd and traffic on the Iceland Parkway and or around Banff and Jasper area, every review I have read mentions it. So, I will be expecting it and not be very surprised when I am stuck in traffic or cannot find a parking spot. And I would like to get into a hotspring for sure. I always do that when I am in Ouray, CO. So, would be nice there also.

Do you have a thread about your trip? We could meet you guys for a burger one of those days while out there in Banff or Jasper. I would say meet for beer, but unfortunately we do not drink alcohol. I will keep in touch as my trip draws near.
 
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pugslyyy

Expedition Vehicle Engineer Guy
Thanks for such a suggestion. Well, she thanks you for that suggestion because that is what she would like us to do now.

So your suggestion is changing our itinerary and adding a day to the road trip. Planning to spend 2 nights in Mt Rushmore and dedicating a full day to mt Rushmore and the Black Hills and other attractions.

Thanks again for that suggestion.
That area is really worth it - there is a lot to do.

- Mt Rushmore
- Badlands
- Wall Drug Store
- Devils Tower
- Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
- Wind Cave
- Custer State Park Scenic Byway
- Crazy Horse Memorial
 

molanginaeda

Observer
That is cool to know. Will you be hiking the Wilcox Pass? Don't ask me how I know it. I just watched a beautiful video of some guy driving from Jasper to Banff and he mentioned he was going to hike there. In the video, he posts a few pictures he took of the glacier and road below as he was hiking. Very beautiful pictures. If a vehicle can go to where he stood to take those pictures, I may do it. I am not a hiker, so cannot go all the way up there, well, but I can easily do a bit to get to an area where I can turn and have some great views of the area and take pictures.

As for the crowd and traffic on the Iceland Parkway and or around Banff and Jasper area, every review I have read mentions it. So, I will be expecting it and not be very surprised when I am stuck in traffic or cannot find a parking spot. And I would like to get into a hotspring for sure. I always do that when I am in Ouray, CO. So, would be nice there also.

Do you have a thread about your trip? We could meet you guys for a burger one of those days while out there in Banff or Jasper. I would say meet for beer, but unfortunately we do not drink alcohol. I will keep in touch as my trip draws near.
I'm still in planning phase. But hiking Wilcox pass is now one of the to-do-list when I'm in Jasper. Thanks for the info.

I'm base camping on this 2 location. I will try to explore other nearby area. Been here 2 years ago and was limited on time to explore. I'm back here to enjoy the area again and will visit the area where we missed last time. On my last visit, Moraine lake and Lake Louise was super busy (It was a weekday). I think this year will be the same as it's Canada 150 celebration. Free entrance to all Park Canada will bring more tourist to the area (you can get your free pass via mail). I suggest to visiting Lake Moraine late in the day so you can find parking. If you have plan to visit Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, plan to arrive early. The parking area will filled up quickly. Access to Moraine lake might be close due to overcrowd (happen to me). If this happen, detour and visit Yoho National Park. (20 mins from Lake Louise) Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Fall at Yoho National Park is worth the visit.

I'm camping in the campground in both area (banff first, Jasper last). Camp fire will be lite and you're welcome to crash. I will have limited beer, but plenty of steaks/bacon/burgers/hotdogs/smores/coffee/tea. I didn't post a thread about my trip, but will try to post a writeup about my trip after completing it. There are too many things can happen during the trip (not to jinx it) so I usually just plan on the fly. This trip will be about a 8000+ miles for me as I'm in the east coast.
 
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I'm still in planning phase. But hiking Wilcox pass is now one of the to-do-list when I'm in Jasper. Thanks for the info.

I'm base camping on this 2 location. I will try to explore other nearby area. Been here 2 years ago and was limited on time to explore. I'm back here to enjoy the area again and will visit the area where we missed last time. On my last visit, Moraine lake and Lake Louise was super busy (It was a weekday). I think this year will be the same as it's Canada 150 celebration. Free entrance to all Park Canada will bring more tourist to the area (you can get your free pass via mail). I suggest to visiting Lake Moraine late in the day so you can find parking. If you have plan to visit Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, plan to arrive early. The parking area will filled up quickly. Access to Moraine lake might be close due to overcrowd (happen to me). If this happen, detour and visit Yoho National Park. (20 mins from Lake Louise) Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Fall at Yoho National Park is worth the visit.

I'm camping in the campground in both area (banff first, Jasper last). Camp fire will be lite and you're welcome to crash. I will have limited beer, but plenty of steaks/bacon/burgers/hotdogs/smores/coffee/tea. I didn't post a thread about my trip, but will try to post a writeup about my trip after completing it. There are too many things can happen during the trip (not to jinx it) so I usually just plan on the fly. This trip will be about a 8000+ miles for me as I'm in the east coast.
You have a pretty busy and packed schedule yourself. And driving a lot also. I will also be doing over 8,000 miles on this road trip.

I have read so much about parking problems that I do plan to get to those places early and or late. And thanks for the suggestion about Yoho and Emerald. I have plans to go to those places also.

Yes, I found out a long time ago that Canada Parks is celebrating its 150 years and so this year is free entrance. So, I went to their website and filled out the form and they mailed me my free pass. Here is a picture of it. I got it about 2 months ago. I am so glad all national parks are free this year in Canada. That helps a lot. I hope the US does something like that someday. I don't know if they have done it before or not.



Thanks for the invite. I have never camped before, but one day I will. But we have all our hotels/motels/hostels booked. It was done like over 2 months ago. Good you have limited beer, since I do not drink that. Since I always travel with my RTIC full of water bottles, I know I will have a lot of that to drink. As for the steak, bacon and burger, count me in!!!

I will definitely keep in touch with you. Thanks again for the great info. If you think up anything new, feel free to let me know.

I enjoy giving live updates on my thread as I travel, since it is a good distraction for me every night before bed at the hotel. So, I will be updating my thread often while on my trip. Feel free to check in any time.
 
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