Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Canada to Las Vegas

Hi Jamie,

I was looking at your website....and was wondering how long it would take to drive from the Calgary area / Canadian Rockies and finish off in Las Vegas. We thought of doing it in two weeks?? Is it enough or do you need more days?




Hi Amy --

Thanks for your message!

Basically, two weeks is PLENTY OF TIME to have a great trip along the Rockies, down to Las Vegas. The Canadian Rockies are wonderful and wild -- and could keep you busy for 2 weeks by themselves, if you are outdoors-oriented. Banff is charming, and the scenery all around is stupendous. Allow at least 4 days up here -- as much as you can afford, really (especially in summer, it is not a cheap place to explore)

Heading down into Montana, I hope you'll make the trek east, to the wonders of Glacier National Park, which is also splendid (with lovely old 1920s lodges, all over the park.) he drive "over the top" along the Going to the Sun road is unforgettable. Give Glacier a couple of days, if you can, and enjoy the nightlife in tiny Whitefish, which give as good sense of Montana lifestyle.

(Again, hiking and biking and drinking beer features pretty high on the agenda...)

For a change of pace, there are buffalo herds on the the Native American lands around Flathead Lake, then the truly engaging small city of Missoula -- fun for literary-minded, beer-drinker types, for sure. Again, amazing location, with rivers and mountains all around. Then there's the unspoilt Bitterroot Valley, which I think could be a national park in itself.

Next up heading south is Idaho, which doesn't get the press that Banff and Glacier get, but to my mind it is at least equal in travel opportunities. The area around Stanley is open and loaded with yet more mountain scenery -- and I would recommend a detour west over to Boise, just to relax after all this wilderness.

The last stage of the trip, across the sagebrush plains of Nevada, is a whole new experience -- much drier, much less populated, but still breathtaking. And extremely lonely -- I doubt there are many other places where you can drive for 500 miles and barely see another car.

Besides encouraging you to explore, I have one tip: fill your fuel tank whenever you can (never pass a gas station with less than half a tank!). And of course, at the end of it all there's Las Vegas, which is surely the craziest place on the planet. My personal limit is 24 hours here, but if you've never been to Las Vegas it's definitely an appropriately intense finale to an intense two weeks of travel experiences.

Hope it goes well -- and thanks again for getting in touch.

Happy Trails,

Jamie Jensen

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