Author Topic: Saskatoon to Vernon, BC  (Read 1506 times)

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Offline rvklassen

Saskatoon to Vernon, BC
« on: August 11, 2010, 03:50:37 pm »
I'm looking for routing between Saskatoon, SK and Vernon, BC.

When I go to Google Maps, the 'car' route goes via Banff and the Trans-Canada (Highway 1).
When I switch to 'walking' it changes to preferring the Crowsnest highway (3A mostly), with an alternate going through Jasper and taking the Yellowhead.

It's not clear why it suggests the latter as an alternate where it is so much further.  The Crowsnest route and #1 seem the two better choices.  But I'm not finding much more by way of details.

At one time in the past when I asked Google Maps, it sent me via the northern US.   I think I was asking about Saskatoon to Vancouver, but I'm wondering whether that might be a better alternative as well (turning north into the Okanagan valley).

The key criteria are:
- Paved only (or nearly so);
- Less steep climbs, going east to west [tandem];
- Availability of camping, services, etc.

Less critical, but nice to have/know
- road conditions (surface, shoulder),
- traffic level,
- avoid steep, tightly winding descents when going eastbound.

Any reason(s) to choose the Crowsnest over #1?  It's about 130 km further.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 06:00:09 pm by rvklassen »

Offline indyfabz

Re: Saskatoon to Vernon, BC
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 01:15:39 pm »
Did Crows Nest between Burmis and Elko last year in the third week of June.  If you go that way, detouring through Pincher Creek (private campground and motels in the old part of town and a very nice grocery store in the mall on the outskirts) to 507 back to 3 is a nice way to take a break from the traffic on 3.  507 is very rolling, but there is nothing tricky.  We maybe saw a half dozen cars if that many.  Right after the junction of 3 and 507 is the Burmis Tree.  The plaque claims that it's one of the most photographed trees in the world.

Overall, route 3 had a lot of traffic in places but a decent shoulder that had some gravel in places.  There are plenty of services east of Coleman.  There is a private campground in one of the towns.  Blairemore I think it is.  Most of the towns east of the pass are pretty ho hum.  It's coal mining territory.  West of Coleman (great cafe in a former church), you roll and then start to climb Crows Nest.  It's not steep and there is nohing tricky.  The west side of the pass is also not steep except for the first mile or less after the pass.  Sparwood is tidy town with a very nice campground at the west end that is run by a local civic group.  Wooded setting, all the free firewood you can burn and surprisingly modern and spacious bathhouses.  The world's largest truck in the town center is a must-see, and there is an Overweightea (Google it) grocery store.  There are no services between Coleman and Sparwood.

Sparwood to Fernie is o.k., but traffic picks up as you get close to Fernie, which is a ski resort town that seems to get summer tourism, too.  The stretch from Fernie to Elko has waves of heavy traffic, including some trucks.  A little past Fernie you begin a long slog up.  There is a rumple strip along the shoulder, but there is still enough of it to ride.  Our trip was west to east.  The shoulder had a fair amount of gravel debris in places but I don't remember having to enter the roadway too often.  Don't know what the west shoulder looks like.

As I think we were there relatively early, traffic probably picks up in late June.

Offline rvklassen

Re: Saskatoon to Vernon, BC
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2010, 09:14:22 pm »

I'm still leaning towards taking #1.  We are on a tandem, and as far as I can tell, Crowsnest has worse climbs.  Looks like the worst climb on #1 is Rogers' pass, with a brief stretch of >13%, but mostly <7%.   Steeper going west to east, but we're going west.