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The Rockies:

The Rockies actually lie on the border of BC and Alberta. The main Highway, the Jasper-Banff is actually located on the Alberta side, paralleling the border. It is a spectacular road to drive. Towns inside the National Park's, namely Banff and Jasper tend to be quite pricey and it is best to stay in a town outside the Park boundaries if you wish to save money. The town of Revelstoke on the Trans Canada Highway (BC side of Banff) has a good inexpensive hostel. There is now a Hostel in Banff as well. See the links in the table below. You can also find cheaper accommodation in Canmore, just outside the park on the Alberta side. I have provided a link to bed and breakfast accommodation, there. Both the towns of Banff and Jasper are tourist traps, but most visitors enjoy both of them. There is a heavy Japanese presence in Banff, both merchants and visitors. Both the Jasper and Banff areas offer myriad recreational opportunities such as hiking and horseback riding.

There is a one time admission to the National Parks in the form of a sticker you apply to your car. It is valid for the season. The 3 main routes to the Rockies from Vancouver are the southern route along Highway 3, the Trans Canada Route along Highway 1 and the northern route along Highway 5 and 16. There is an expensive tourist train, the Rocky Mountain Express (about $500, phone 1-800-665-7245 if you are interested) that runs from Vancouver along the southern CPR route, or regularly scheduled VIA Rail service to Jasper along the Northern CNR route. Be wary of Bears in National Parks, especially when camping, they are used to people and are attracted by food. There are Grizzlies present in both Parks. (See precautions in my "Camping" section.)  

You can get there from Vancouver or Calgary by train or bus. The southern section is only serviced by an expensive tourist train, "The Rocky Mountaineer". The cheaper public train takes the less scenic northern route via Jasper to Edmonton. Problem with that is, that some areas are crossed at night. The best option is to drive, but there are also several companies that offer coach tours. The cheapest alternative is the "Moose Bus" which is a backpacker bus with 3 departures a week along the same route. You can get-on / get-off on this service which is a bonus. Several other companies offer tours from Vancouver, ranging from 5 days (about the minimum) to 15 days at prices ranging from about $800 to over $3000. There are several links in the table below.

If you do want a tour, especially by train I recommend contacting my friends at Rocky Mountain Holidays, a family run business.

Canadian Rockies Links
Canadian Rockies  Info on Accommodations, Tours, etc. in the Rockies
Parks Canada - National Parks Page Government Web site for Canada's National Park System
Revelstoke Hostel $14 a night & up. Their web page also has info on other BC Hostels
Banff Hostel Banff, Alberta
Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts Information on 3 National Park Lodges
Castle Mountain Village Banff and Jasper Resort
Rocky Mountain Internet Junction Website based in Golden, BC
Panorama Resort, BC - Canada Ski resort
Mount Robson Adventure Holidays Tours, packages (near Jasper National Park, BC side)

 

Bus/Train Tours
Rocky Mountain Holidays My personal recommendation
Discover Holidays Coach Tours
Maverick Coach Tours
Moose Network Backpacker Bus
Rocky Mountaineer Expensive tourist train. Worth it if you have the money.
CPR Rail Tours Train Tours
Brewster Coach Tours