Sumas, WA to Waterton Lakes National Park? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 01-21-2014, 10:19 AM   #1
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Smile Sumas, WA to Waterton Lakes National Park?

Hello,

My wife Pam and I will pick up our new Escape 21' at the end of May. Like many, we are planning to take the long way home, first heading to Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Google Maps shows several recommended auto routes, one north, one south, and one a winding due easterly course.

Do any of you have suggestions for getting there from Sumas, WA after we accept delivery? I know this will be a mountainous drive and I am prepared for that, but I'm looking for the straightest route with the least elevation gains. We plan to complete the journey in 2 to 3 days, so suggestions for stops along the way would be appreciated as well.

I would be grateful for all suggestions.

Thanks!
Fletch
of Pam n Fletch San Jose CA
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:23 PM   #2
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Elevation will be an issue regardless of the route but well compensated for with the beautiful scenery. I suggest taking Highway 1 (Trans Canada) then Highway 3 near Hope and following it through to Alberta. Go through the Crowsnest Pass, then south to Waterton. Stretch the trip out a day or two more and take the time to enjoy it. There are some pretty nice wineries in the Okanagan and if you go through the Crowsnest, you should stop and look at the Frank Slide Interpretive Center.
On the return trip, head south into Glacier National Park and make your way back through Montana then Idaho. Suggest stopping and hiking into a few of the remote natural hot springs as there should be fewer people around at that time of year. The soak is well worth it.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:31 PM   #3
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Any particular hot springs or campgrounds near the hot springs that people would like to recommend?
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:30 PM   #4
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Goldbug near Salmon Idaho is about a 2 or 3 mile hike with a bit of a climb towards the end. Nothing that can't be done if you just take your time. There are several campgrounds near by.
Jerry Johnson and Weir Creek Hot springs are south of Missoula and have short hikes into them. Lolo Hot Springs which is a commercial hot spring is also nearby. Lots of springs in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, etc. I've been thinking of doing a hot spring tour to see how many I can get to....Caution though, some of the springs may be clothing optional at certain times.....
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:44 PM   #5
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.Caution though, some of the springs may be clothing optional at certain times.....
Ain't that the TRUTH! But as my very elderly Mother reminds me... If you haven't seen it before... you won't know what it is. If you HAVE seen it before... you've seen better!
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:09 AM   #6
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Suggest stopping and hiking into a few of the remote natural hot springs as there should be fewer people around at that time of year. The soak is well worth it.

Yes, I hear the bears like their meat well done ...
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:09 PM   #7
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Suggest stopping and hiking into a few of the remote natural hot springs as there should be fewer people around at that time of year. The soak is well worth it.

Yes, I hear the bears like their meat well done ...
Hi: CADreamin... Here about now there are some "Stewed Tourists" but most are "Covered in oil". Alf
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:22 PM   #8
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Ain't that the TRUTH! But as my very elderly Mother reminds me... If you haven't seen it before... you won't know what it is. If you HAVE seen it before... you've seen better!
Yep, dat be da truth! LOL
Good way to put it too.
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:27 PM   #9
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Jim B,

Can you believe it's already Wednesday?
Sorry.

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Old 01-22-2014, 02:31 PM   #10
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I hear ya, wish the clock would stop for a while. Just finished off some lunch, and waiting on others to go back snorkeling for a while. Off for a long walk after that.
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:07 PM   #11
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I hear ya, wish the clock would stop for a while. Just finished off some lunch, and waiting on others to go back snorkeling for a while. Off for a long walk after that.
Obviously not sitting in Calgary at this time.....
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:59 AM   #12
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No matter which way you go in Canada, there will be mountain passes. Basically 2 main routes. The #3 highway from Hope B.C. all the way to Alberta or the #1 trans Canada highway to Golden B.C. and then south to connect to the #3 to get to Waterton park Both good highways, but the #3 is quite slow with lots of curves. Also a lot of truck traffic on the #3. The route with the least amount of elevation gain is probably the I-90 to Coeurdalene Idaho and then north through bonners ferry, Cranbrook B.C., Fernie B.C. and on to Waterton. We live in Kimberley B.C. 30 minutes from Cranbrook. Once you hit Cranbrook you have about 3 to 3 and a half hours to Waterton. We quite often take the I-90 route to get from Kimberley to Vancouver B.C. The time is about the same going that way as doing the Canadian highways. The bonus of the Canadian drive will be the scenery, and traffic in May shouldn't be too bad. Also gas prices will be a lot less on the U.S. side.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:11 AM   #13
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By the way, the cabella's store in Post Falls Idaho just off the I-90, but far enough away to be out of the highway noise, has a free R.V. lot(last time we were there was a year ago) with a free sani dump and a couple of potable water stands. The lanes are marked for rv's. and a sign welcoming RV'rs. Also dog kennels and horse corral s for the weary traveller and any livestock. We've pulled in there a couple of times and stayed over night. There is a Walmart within walking distance as well.
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:40 AM   #14
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No matter which way you go in Canada, there will be mountain passes. Basically 2 main routes. The #3 highway from Hope B.C. all the way to Alberta or the #1 trans Canada highway to Golden B.C. and then south to connect to the #3 to get to Waterton park Both good highways, but the #3 is quite slow with lots of curves. Also a lot of truck traffic on the #3.
All true, but unless you want to visit somewhere on the route through Golden - and you might - that would be an enormous detour. Traffic would need to be crawling on #3 for the detour to be worthwhile on the basis of time, and going further and faster will certainly take more fuel. I like the Crowsnest highway (#3), in part because of the curves.

Also, if going up to the Golden area, there is a choice at Hope of using all Trans-Canada (hwy #1), or more quickly but less scenically climbing the big grades (and running the long descents) of the Coquihalla (#5) to Kamloops.

If you truly hate the Crowsnest, (#3), you could take the Trans-Canada all the way through Rogers and Kicking Horse passes, then head south in Alberta (after the Rockies) to Waterton. This would be good for someone wanting to see the mountain park tourist destinations such as Lake Louise and Banff.
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:12 AM   #15
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Hi,

All terrific input so far. Keep em coming! Since we have several months to decide, I'll be scrutinizing a lll the routes, probably up to the time we leave with our trailer!

Thanks very much again!
Fletch
of Pam n Fletch San Jose CA
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:42 AM   #16
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All true, but unless you want to visit somewhere on the route through Golden - and you might - that would be an enormous detour
I just checked in Google Maps, and was surprised to find that the route through Golden (from Hope, Highways 5, 1, and 3) is only 100 km (about 10% of the distance) longer than just taking Highway 3... obviously Highway 3 (the Crowsnest highway) is very twisty! The timing for any route which goes up the Coquihalla (Highway 5 from Hope to Kamloops) probably assumes travelling at a speed (110 km/h, 70 mph) which few rigs will be able to accomplish on the uphill sections.

The other alternative that I mentioned of going all the way through Banff at the east end is actually the fastest route, according to the (sometimes questionable) calculation method used by Google Maps. If you want to get out of the foothills, you could keep going right to Calgary and go south on Highway 2; if you do that, be aware that some of highway 2 down there routinely sees very high crosswinds which are a concern for some trailers. Highway 22 is more scenic and perhaps better suited for towing.

Fletch, enjoy exploring the options!
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:57 AM   #17
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I, like Brian B-P, also prefer route #1 rather than #5 route at Hope BC. It has less steep and long grades. I also find it much more scenic driving up the Fraser Canyon and Thompson River to Kamloops along #1.
I have no experience driving the I90 route through Washington State. I have driven some parts of that route and certainly enjoyed the drive. Without doing the math it certainly looks much longer as Brian also noted. I have driven Hwy 20 (N Cascades Hwy) Washington Sate, many years ago and quite enjoyed that (without a trailer in tow).

You are faced with the struggle I always have - choosing a route in western Canada and the USA - they all have something beautiful and interesting to experience and can only do one at a time! Whichever you choose, you will be certain to have a good experience.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:17 PM   #18
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You are faced with the struggle I always have - choosing a route in western Canada and the USA - they all have something beautiful and interesting to experience and can only do one at a time!
Not a bad problem to have! Perhaps the solution is to buy lots of Escape trailers, and pick each of them up in person, providing the opportunity to try out each route.
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:31 PM   #19
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Not a bad problem to have! Perhaps the solution is to buy lots of Escape trailers, and pick each of them up in person, providing the opportunity to try out each route.
That would be the Jim (cpaharley) approach to buying trailers.
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:05 PM   #20
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Although Jim ( cpaharley ) seems to like shipping them which seems like a poor choice. The drive through the B.C. mountains is a must for everyone. I have been lucky enough to have seen alot of the N.American continent and there isn't much that compares to our mountains . The added bonus is with one trip up the coquihalla you will know if your tow vehicle is suited for the trailer you bought
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