See the best of two provinces and three national parks on this spectacular 10-day road trip through the Canadian Rockies. Setting out from Calgary, you'll drive west along some of the world's most scenic highways, traveling through a landscape of rugged mountains, alpine lakes, and wide-open skies. Your adventure ends at the Pacific, where nature meets metropolis in the coastal gem of Vancouver.

Highlights

  • Explore the vibrant mountain town of Banff
  • Hike around the famous beauty spot of Lake Louise
  • Take an unforgettable drive along the Icefields Parkway
  • Cruise across Lake Maligne to reach the secluded Spirit Island
  • See the beautiful Vancouver coastline by seaplane

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Calgary, Explore the "Cowboy Capital"  Calgary
Day 2 Drive from Calgary to Banff Banff
Day 3 Day Trip to Johnston Canyon & Emerald Lake Banff
Day 4 Lake Louise Excursion Banff
Day 5 Drive the Icefields Parkway to Jasper Jasper
Day 6 Maligne Lake Cruise Jasper
Day 7 Drive from Jasper to Chase Chase
Day 8 Drive from Chase to Vancouver, Scenic Seaplane Flight  Vancouver
Day 9 Excursion to Vancouver Island & Victoria Vancouver
Day 10 Depart Vancouver  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Calgary, Explore the "Cowboy Capital" 

Calgary's modern city skyline
Calgary's modern city skyline
Welcome to Calgary, the provincial capital of Alberta and the gateway to the Canadian Rockies! Upon arrival at the airport, pick up your rental car and then take some time to get your bearings—visiting the city's vibrant downtown and heading to 8th Avenue for great shops and restaurants. Young and dynamic, Calgary continues to grow at a dizzying pace since it stepped on the world stage as host of the 1988 Olympics. Get settled into your accommodations and rest up for tomorrow's scenic drive to Banff.

Day 2: Drive from Calgary to Banff

The town of Banff welcomes you to the Canadian Rockies
The town of Banff welcomes you to the Canadian Rockies
Hit the road today and start your journey through the enchanting Canadian Rockies by heading west towards Banff National Park. Along the way, you'll have plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, such as the elk, brown and black bears, and mountain goats that frequent this area. Admire the waterfalls of the Bow River, and stop to climb Tunnel Mountain for incredible panoramic views from the summit. Your destination for the night is Banff, a small mountain town located within the eponymous national park.
 
One of Canada's most visited destinations, Banff provides year-round opportunities for wildlife watching, outdoor adventures, and cultural activities. Stroll the shop-lined streets to get your bearings, make your way to the Banff Park Museum for an introduction to the local wildlife, or take the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain to walk the boardwalk trail. After enjoying the mountain vistas, you can stay for dinner with a view at Sky Bistro, or indulge in an evening dip in the hot mineral waters of the Upper Hot Springs Pool near the base of the cable car.

Day 3: Day Trip to Johnston Canyon & Emerald Lake

Take a hike (or a paddle) around the stunning Emerald Lake
Take a hike (or a paddle) around Emerald Lake
Take a day trip to the spectacular Yoho National Park today. Named for a Cree expression of awe and wonder, this protected area is home to snow-capped mountains, glittering lakes, and diverse wildlife. Along the drive, you'll spot the Spiral Tunnels, an engineering marvel that takes trains across the park's scenic highlights like Cathedral Mount, the Natural Bridge, and over the mighty Kicking Horse River. Stretch your legs with a walk along the paths that lead through the soaring Johnston Canyon and around the jewel-toned waters of Emerald Lake, then return to Banff in the afternoon.

Day 4: Lake Louise Excursion

The postcard-perfect Lake Louise in Banff National Park
The postcard-perfect Lake Louise in Banff National Park
Continue exploring Banff National Park today with a visit to Moraine Lake, named after the moraines deposited by the Wenkchemna Glacier. Then it's on to one of the park's must-see highlights: Lake Louise. Considered one of the most beautiful spots on earth, its turquoise waters and breathtaking views of the Victoria Glacier are recognizable all over the world. Take your time exploring the area on foot, or stop for lunch with a view at the Fairmont Lake Louise before returning to Banff in the afternoon.
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Day 5: Drive the Icefields Parkway to Jasper

Follow the Icefields Highway towards Jasper
Follow the Icefields Highway towards Jasper
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.
 
The largest Canadian national park in the Rocky Mountains, this UNESCO World Heritage Site covers over 4,200 square miles (10,878 km²) and shelters the great glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, as well as countless hot springs, lakes, and waterfalls. 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 for the night.

Day 6: Maligne Lake Cruise

Climb to views over Spirit Island and Maligne Lake
Climb to views over Spirit Island and Maligne Lake
Today you'll board a panoramic cruise across the magical 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 true attraction of Spirit Island is the backdrop: a ring of impressive summits and glaciers that reflect in the deep turquoise 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 7: Drive from Jasper to Chase

Drive west under the shadow of Mount Robson
Drive west under the shadow of Mount Robson
Leaving Jasper National Park today, you'll follow the scenic Yellowhead Corridor, admiring the imposing figure of Mount Robson (the highest point in the Canadian Rockies) on your way through British Columbia's remote Tête Jaune Cache region. Your destination for the night is the town of Chase, where you'll spend a peaceful evening in a native lodge overlooking the shores of Shuswap Lake.

Day 8: Drive from Chase to Vancouver, Scenic Seaplane Flight 

Get a bird's eye view of Vancouver by seaplane
Continue west through British Colombia's ranches and farmland to reach the coastal metropolis of Vancouver. Built on the delta of Fraser River, mild temperatures and abundant precipitation have made Vancouver a place of lush vegetation, towering trees, and temperate rainforests. This compact, centralized city is easy to explore on foot, with highlights like Stanley Park and its totem poles, Chinatown, and historic Gastown all within easy reach.

To admire Vancouver from a different vantage point, opt for an adventurous seaplane tour. This quintessential Vancouver experience offers spectacular aerial views of the city’s busy downtown skyline and iconic landmarks including Stanley Park, English Bay, the Lions Gate Bridge, and the North Shore Mountains.

Day 9: Excursion to Vancouver Island & Victoria

Victoria's Parliament lit up at twilight
Victoria's Parliament lit up at twilight
Depart 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 Native American 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 BuildingsRoyal Museum, Empress Hotel, and Wax Museum. After a day of sightseeing, return to Vancouver by ferry in the evening.

Day 10: Depart Vancouver

Sunset over Vancouver's coastline

Your adventure draws to a close today as you enjoy a final morning in Vancouver. When the time comes, you'll head to the airport to return your rental car and catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map

Map of Western Canada Panorama: Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip - 10 Days
Map of Western Canada Panorama: Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip - 10 Days