Marvel at western Canada's beauty on this adventurous 10-day journey through British Columbia and Alberta. Set off from Vancouver along the Sea-to-Sky Highway and enjoy stunning landscapes on your way to Whistler. Go hiking and wildlife-spotting in Jasper National Park and cruise across the turquoise waters of Lake Maligne. Soak in hot springs, climb summits, and walk across glacial ice, then head to the charming town of Banff for gondola rides and two-stepping at the local saloon.


  • Get caught up in the cosmopolitan vibe of Vancouver as you visit key sites
  • Stay loose as you walk across Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Hike in Jasper National Park and discover alpine lakes and summits
  • Walk on ice at Columbia Icefield before exploring Banff and its national park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Vancouver, Visit Granville Island Vancouver
Day 2 Excursion to Vancouver Island & Victoria Vancouver
Day 3 Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Drive to Whistler  Whistler
Day 4 Drive to Chase, Gateway to the Shuswap Chase
Day 5 Drive to Lake Louise, Maligne Lake Cruise Lake Louise
Day 6 Drive to Jasper, Hike in Jasper National Park Jasper
Day 7 Discover Jasper National Park & Miette Hot Springs  Jasper
Day 8 Drive to Banff via Columbia Icefield Excursion, Free Evening in Banff Banff
Day 9 Take the Banff Gondola to Sulphur Mountain, Optional Activities in Banff Banff
Day 10 Drive to Calgary, Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Vancouver, Visit Granville Island

Vancouver's spectacular waterfront setting
Downtown Vancouver

Welcome to Vancouver, western Canada's coastal metropolis, where the sea and mountains meet. Upon arrival at the airport, pick up your rental car, and it's an easy 20-minute drive downtown to your hotel. Enriched with the influence of First Nations, Asian, and Anglo cultures, this cosmopolitan and modern city is easy to explore on foot, with highlights like Stanley Park, Chinatown, and historic Gastown all within easy reach. If you're hungry, head to Granville Island's vibrant waterfront market, where you can sample local specialties in a buzzing, open-air atmosphere.

In the 1970s, Granville Island began its successful transformation from an industrial wasteland to one of Vancouver's favorite public spaces. Vancouver's premier artistic and cultural hub is located in an urban waterfront location and steeped in a rich industrial and maritime heritage. Start at the famous Public Market to browse over 50 independent food purveyors, then head to the Net Loft Shops and Railspur District, where you'll find many of Canada's best artists and designers. 

Day 2: Excursion to Vancouver Island & Victoria

Victoria's Parliament lit up at twilight
Admire Victoria's totems

Leave the Horseshoe Bay terminal this morning to cross the Strait of Georgia and arrive on Vancouver Island, known as the "island of eternal spring." Upon disembarking from the ferry, you will begin your tour with the First Nations people of the Cowichan tribe. Admire their many totems and learn more about their traditions before stopping for an educational visit to the Quw'utsun Cultural Center.

Continue your discovery of the island with a walk around the beautiful Butchart Gardens, then proceed to the provincial capital of Victoria. Highlights include its marina, market area, parliament buildings, Royal Museum, Empress Hotel, and Wax Museum. After a day of sightseeing, return to Vancouver by ferry in the evening.

Day 3: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Drive to Whistler 

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
View of Garibaldi Lake near Whistler

After breakfast, take a 15-minute shuttle leaving downtown to head for the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Cross the iconic suspension bridge across the raging Capilano River, then climb to Treetop Adventure and walk through the forest canopy on a series of suspended footbridges set 110 feet (30 m) up. Continue to the nearby Cliffwalk to traverse a granite precipice along the river, navigating a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs, and platforms. When you return to the city, have the car ready for the next adventure and drive to Whistler.

Hit the road and head north along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, one of the country's most iconic drives. This scenic route from the sea to the mountains offers several beautiful spots worth stopping for during the drive. Squamish is an access point for outdoor activities and adventure, and you'll spot "The Chief," the area's most famous peak, from the highway. You can hike to the summit or take the Sea-to-Sky Gondola up the mountain for excellent views of Howe Sound from Summit Lodge, where you can also grab lunch.

In the afternoon, you'll reach Whistler, an upscale, chalet-style pedestrian village built around the Whistler-Blackcomb twin peaks. Once checked in at your hotel, stroll around the village, pamper yourself in one of the town's many spas, or ride to the top of the ski area via the Peak-to-Peak Gondola. The world's longest unsupported cable car runs between the summits of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and provides easy access to alpine hiking and biking trails.
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Day 4: Drive to Chase, Gateway to the Shuswap

Explore Chase
Salmon Arm Shuswap Lake

Get back on the Sea-to-Sky Highway today and drive through the Coast Mountains. You will soon enter the Cariboo area and pass through some lovely valleys on your way to Chase. This village is located between Kamloops and Salmon Arm along the Trans Canada Highway and is nestled between the shores of Little Shuswap Lake and the South Thompson River Valley. After a 4.5-hour drive, you'll reach Chase, where you'll stay for the night. Considered the gateway to the Shuswap region, this town is known for its spectacular scenery, beautiful lakes, recreational splendor, and fabulous four seasons.

Mount Scatchard and Mount Boysee dominate the southern horizon, while the Shuswap Highlands define the northern side of the valley, rising to over 6,004 feet (1,830 m). Chase offers a beach, campsites, a floating dock, and boat launch facilities, and you could spend the afternoon boating, kayaking, fishing, golfing, hiking, or mountain biking under the area's famously sunny skies.

Day 5: Drive to Lake Louise, Maligne Lake Cruise

Looking down on the town of Revelstoke
Looking down on Lake Louise

This morning you'll cross over into Alberta to reach Lake Louise, a small town nestled within the vast wilderness of Banff National Park. Break up the drive with stops at Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, or Golden Town to admire the views and stretch your legs. Once you've arrived, start your explorations with a visit to Moraine Lake, then head to nearby Lake Louise. With its turquoise waters and breathtaking views of the Victoria Glacier, this glacial lake is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world. Once settled at your hotel, have lunch at the Fairmont Lake Louise.

Later, you'll board a panoramic cruise across Maligne Lake, fed by the glaciers of Jasper National Park. Glide past jagged mountain peaks to reach Spirit Island, a world-famous destination only accessible by boat. The actual attraction of Spirit Island is the backdrop: a ring of impressive summits and glaciers that reflect in the deep azure waters around the island. You can take a short walk along the path that forms a loop from the docks to viewing points overlooking the island, but there's no walking permitted on the island itself to preserve its natural state.

Day 6: Drive to Jasper, Hike in Jasper National Park

Mountain goats along the Sulphur Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park
Mountain goats along the Sulphur Skyline Trail, Jasper National Park

Your exploration of the Rockies continues today with a drive along the magnificent Icefields Parkway, a famous 144-mile (232 km) stretch of highway that winds through some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada. Surrounded by soaring mountains and glaciers, you'll pass the reflective waters of Bow and Peyto Lakes before entering the gates of Jasper National Park. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, deer, elk, moose, and black bears that roam near the roads as you make your way to the charming town of Jasper.

Once you've checked into your hotel, lace up your hiking boots and get above the treeline in the rugged mountains of this national park. It's the largest of the UNESCO World Heritage Parks in the Canadian Rockies, so you're bound to find the perfect hike where you'll likely have your own corner of wilderness to explore. All the trails in Jasper are well-trodden and easy to follow, but it's best to grab a map at the visitor center in town before heading off. Some of the most popular trails are The Valley of Five Lakes, Bald Hills, and Sulphur Skyline.

Day 7: Discover Jasper National Park & Miette Hot Springs 

Reach the secluded Spirit Island by boat
Sunwapta Falls

Start today by exploring more of Jasper National Park, which covers over 4,200 square miles (10,878 sq km) and shelters the great glaciers of the Columbia Icefield and countless hot springs, lakes, and waterfalls. Highlights include Maligne Canyon, Athabasca, and Sunwapta Falls. Don't miss a ride on the Jasper Tramway to the summit of Mount Whistler, which owes its name to the whistling of its many resident marmots.

Later, drive 38 miles (61 km) east of Jasper, where you can enjoy a soak in Miette Hot Springs. The springs' sources produce the hottest mineral water in the Canadian Rockies. The natural hot springs water flows from the mountain at 129°F ( 54°C) and is then cooled to a comfortable temperature of 104°F (40°C) as it enters the hot springs pools. Located in the east end of Jasper National Park, this small attraction provides the ultimate opportunity to disconnect and enjoy stunning hiking on the Sulfur Skyline trail, followed by a relaxing soak that will ease those tired muscles.

Day 8: Drive to Banff via Columbia Icefield Excursion, Free Evening in Banff

Hop on board the Ice Explorer to experience an ancient glacier up close
Experience Athabasca Glacier up close

Get back on the Icefields Parkway and head southeast to Banff. But first, you'll stop for a glacier adventure. Park your car and board a giant, specially-built Ice Explorer vehicle to travel 30 minutes across the 10,000-year-old Colombia Icefield toward Athabasca Glacier. Walk along the glacier as you learn about its ever-evolving history and glaciology. Afterward, you'll return to your car and continue to one of Canada's most visited destinations. Banff provides year-round opportunities for wildlife watching, outdoor fun, and cultural activities, and you're free to choose your own adventure today.

You could stroll the shop-lined streets to get your bearings, make your way to the Banff Park Museum for an introduction to the local wildlife, explore the trails of Bow Falls, or join a rafting excursion through Johnston Canyon. In the evening, stroll Banff Avenue to discover bustling restaurants, bars, and shops, and end the day walking along the Bow River for views of the towering Cascade Mountain shadowing Banff Avenue.

Day 9: Take the Banff Gondola to Sulphur Mountain, Optional Activities in Banff

Don't miss a ride on the scenic Banff Gondola
 Banff's main drag

Get started early today with dizzying views over Banff. Ride the town's iconic gondola up Sulphur Mountain to walk the boardwalk trail. After enjoying the mountain vistas, you could stay for lunch with a view at Sky Bistro or indulge in a dip at the hot mineral waters of the Upper Hot Springs Pool near the cable car's base. Afterward, visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site to understand how the popular park started. See the grotto discovered in 1883 that led to Banffs' national park designation, and then enjoy a morning hike choosing from hundreds of available routes. 

To satisfy your post-hiking appetite, head to Bear Street Tavern, followed by a one-hour cruise of Lake Minnewanka. If you have the energy, rent a canoe or kayak instead. Toward dusk, look for wildlife, such as beavers, elk, ospreys, and bald eagles, along the shores of the tranquil Vermilion Lakes. Have cocktails and tapas at Block Kitchen & Bar, then hang out with real live cowboys as you two-step the night away at Wild Bill's Legendary Saloon.

Day 10: Drive to Calgary, Depart

Bid farewell to the Rockies!

Your great Canadian Rockies adventure draws to a close today as you make the 1.5-hour drive to the airport in Calgary, return your rental car and catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Self-Drive Western Canada: Vancouver to Calgary - 10 Days
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