Pack your warmest clothes and hit the road for a 16-day active winter adventure in the Yukon and Alberta. In Whitehorse, you'll learn to mush a dogsled, hunt for the northern lights, and go ice fishing. Then, in Banff, you'll soar above the beautiful national park and slide down its snow-laden slopes on skis or a snowboard and inner tube. Once in Jasper, you'll discover glacial ice and soak chilled muscles in Miette Hot Springs before ending your time in nature in Calgary with ice skating or a hockey game.

Highlights

  • Visit the Yukon Wildlife Preserve to spot bison, moose, and caribou
  • Sit down for a gourmet meal at Sky 360 at the top of Calgary Tower
  • Join your guide for a sunsets and stars tour in Banff National Park
  • Ride the country's longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Jasper

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Whitehorse (Yukon), Self-Guided City Walk Whitehorse
Day 2 Dogsledding Adventure, Northern Lights Evening Excursion Whitehorse
Day 3 Free Morning, Afternoon Yukon Wildlife Preserve Tour Whitehorse
Day 4 Visit the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, Relax in the Takhini Hot Springs Whitehorse
Day 5 Half-Day Snowshoe & Icefishing Tour Whitehorse
Day 6 Fly to Calgary (Alberta), Visit Glenbow Museum, Dinner at Sky 360 Calgary
Day 7 Drive to Banff, Scenic Helicopter Ride, Sunsets & Stars Walking Tour Banff
Day 8 Johnston Canyon Icewalk, Ride the Banff Gondola, Optional Lakes Visit Banff
Day 9 Snow Tubing, Cowboy Guided Sleigh Ride & Banff Upper Hot Springs Banff
Day 10 Ski or Snowboard in Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, or Mount Norquay Banff
Day 11 Ski or Snowboard in the Nakiska Ski Area Banff
Day 12 Drive to Jasper via Icefields Parkway, Columbia Icefield Adventure Jasper
Day 13 Explore Jasper National Park, Ride the Jasper SkyTram Jasper
Day 14 Relax in the Miette Hot Springs, Visit the Jasper Planetarium Jasper
Day 15 Drive to Calgary, Free Afternoon in the "Cowboy Capital" Calgary
Day 16 Visit the Calgary Farmers' Market, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Whitehorse (Yukon), Self-Guided City Walk

Spend your first day in Whitehorse exploring the city on your own

Welcome to Whitehorse, the capital of northwest Canada's Yukon territory. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel to check in and acclimate. When ready, venture out to explore the area before it gets too dark and cold. You could head to the MacBride Museum of Yukon History, housed in a historic log building, to learn about the region's rich history. Discover displays highlighting the Klondike Gold Rush, First Nations culture, early pioneer life, and the natural history of the Yukon before continuing to the Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre.

Here, you can learn about Beringia, a land bridge that once connected Asia and North America during the last Ice Age. Learn about the diverse wildlife and ecosystems that once thrived in this region, like the prehistoric woolly mammoths and saber-toothed wells, as well as the First Nations people who adapted to this changing landscape. In the evening, set out to find a restaurant overlooking the Yukon River to indulge in local delights like bison burgers, Arctic char, or wild game prepared in a stew, steak, or sausage. 

Day 2: Half-Day Dog Sledding, Northern Lights Evening Viewing Tour

Watch the sky come alive as the northern lights appear

Thrill to a dogsledding adventure in the Yukon wilderness today. Transfer to the kennel outside of Whitehorse and learn how to operate a sled and lead your team of dogs safely. Once you have the necessary gear and supplies, step onto the sled and guide your dogs across the untouched snow. Look out at the towering evergreens and snow-covered landscape as you traverse the trails, keeping an eye out for wildlife like moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. After two hours with the dogs, return to the kennel and warm up with a hot tea or cocoa. 

In the evening, set off on another tour, this time to chase the northern lights in a comfortable minibus. Your experienced guide will pick you up at your hotel and chauffeur you to a specially crafted viewing location to watch nature's light show. Watch the sky transform into a canvas of dancing colors while you enjoy hot drinks and complimentary snacks. Your guide will be available to share the science behind this natural phenomenon and help you snap clear pictures of the glowing lights. After the four-hour tour, you'll return to your hotel and have the rest of the evening free. 

Day 3: Free Morning, Afternoon Yukon Wildlife Preserve Tour

Snap pics of any and all animals you come across in the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Enjoy a free morning to explore Whitehorse and its surroundings. You could partake in winter sports like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing along some of the scenic trails in the city or stay warm in local cafés or breweries.

In the afternoon, join your guide for a half-day tour of the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, just 20 minutes outside the city. Traverse the picturesque countryside, passing lush valleys, snowcapped mountains, and the winding Yukon River. When you arrive, your guide will navigate the preserve's different ecosystems, from forested areas to open meadows, in search of wildlife. Have your cameras ready, as you may spot moose, elk, mountain goats, bison, muskoxen, deer, and caribou throughout the tour. You'll also learn about each animal's behavior and natural habitat, as well as the preserve's conservation efforts to protect these endemic creatures.

After spending three hours looking for wildlife, transfer back to your hotel in Whitehorse. You can stay in to relax or venture back out to Old Town, a charming neighborhood with historic buildings and a selection of eateries, to find somewhere for dinner. 

Day 4: Visit the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, Relax in the Takhini Hot Springs

Visit Kwanlin Dun Cultural Center
Explore the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on your own or join a guided tour

Start the day with a self-guided visit to the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, situated on the banks of the Yukon River. Step inside to browse the interactive exhibits, displays of traditional artwork, and artifacts that highlight the heritage and traditions of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. The center also hosts cultural events, workshops, and performances, providing opportunities to engage with First Nations teachings, music, and dance, so check what's on the schedule during your visit. 

After exploring the cultural center, head to the Takhini Hot Springs, 25 minutes outside the city in the tranquil boreal forest. Unwind in the soothing waters rich in calcium, magnesium, and iron, surrounded by snowcapped mountains and crisp northern air. There are two pools ranging from 96°F (36°C) to 107°F (42°C), so you can work up to the hottest temperature. Sufficiently relaxed, you'll wander down one of the surrounding trails to look for wildlife or simply take in the rugged beauty of the Yukon. 

Day 5: Half-Day Snowshoe & Icefishing Tour

Cast your line and wait atop the ice for a fish to bite

Make sure you bundle up today as you venture out on an ice fishing and snowshoeing tour. Transfer to a frozen lake, where you can strap on your snowshoes and learn how to walk in them. When you're ready, cross the icy terrain to get to the middle of the lake. Your guide will help you drill a hole through the thick ice and set up your gear. Then, cast your line into the water and wait patiently for a fish to bite. If you're lucky, you may catch northern pike, lake trout, arctic grayling, or whitefish. After four hours on the lake, return to your hotel to warm up.

Day 6: Fly to Calgary (Alberta), Visit Glenbow Museum, Dinner at Sky 360

Sit down for a delicious dinner at Calgary Tower's revolving restaurant

Say goodbye to Whitehorse this morning as you transfer to the airport for a 2.5-hour flight to Calgary, a bustling Albertan city nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel to check in and unwind. You'll have the rest of the day exploring Calgary at leisure. If you want to learn more about the province's rich history, head to Glenbow Museum. Browse the collection of First Nations artifacts, documents, and artworks, providing insight into the heritage and creativity of Western Canada.

When tummies rumble, consider finding your way to Calgary Tower's revolving restaurant, Sky 360, for dinner overlooking the city. Choose from a selection of dishes, such as seared Pacific scallops or roasted Arctic char, made with locally sourced ingredients. At the same time, you enjoy ever-changing views of the city, Rocky Mountains, and sweeping prairies beyond. Afterward, head to the observation deck for one last glimpse of the skyline before returning to your hotel for a nightcap.

Day 7: Drive to Banff, Scenic Helicopter Ride, Sunsets & Stars Walking Tour

Board a helicopter and fly above the Canadian Rockies

After a restful night in Calgary, it's time to pick up your rental car and hit the road for a 1.5-hour drive to Banff, a resort town in the Canadian Rockies. As you drive west along the Trans-Canada Highway, try to spot grazing wildlife like elk, bears, or mountain goats. If you want to stop and stretch your legs, the charming towns of Cochrane or Canmore are perfect for a wander or to grab a bite to eat. Upon reaching Banff, jump right into the action with a 25-minute helicopter ride over the Rockies. Soar above the lush Spray Valley and the towering Goat Mountain, which are all covered in snow. 

Plan your trip to Canada
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
In the evening, join your guide for a sunset and stars walking tour within Banff National Park, the first national park in Canada. Watch the sun slowly set over the mountains, casting the rugged peaks in a golden glow as you follow the 3.5-mile (5 km) trail. When darkness falls, turn on your headlamp and journey deeper into the park in search of nocturnal creatures, such as coyotes, foxes, and owls. When the stars appear, your guide will point out the glittering constellations away from city lights. After a couple of hours, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 8: Johnston Canyon Icewalk, Ride the Banff Gondola, Optional Lakes Visit

Ride the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain for panoramic views of the surrounding peaks

Today's activity is a four-hour guided tour of the frozen Johnston Canyon, taking place in the morning or the afternoon. Either way, begin with a 30-minute transfer to the canyon, where you'll follow your guide down the well-maintained path along the frozen Johnston Creek. Walking, you'll encounter intricate ice formations, towering limestone cliffs adorned with icicles, and frozen waterfalls. Admire the Lower and Upper Falls from different viewpoints to marvel at the frozen-in-time sculptural ice they've turned into. After the four-hour tour, return to town and explore the area as you choose.

Before or following the Johnston Canyon tour, detour a short way to check out stunning Lake Louise and Moraine Lake ahead of returning to Banff to board the Banff Gondola for a ride up Sulphur Mountain. At the top, step out onto the observation deck for panoramic views of snowcapped mountains, emerald lakes, and sprawling forests below. You might spot a bear on the ride up (or down) with some luck. You can access many trails from the top, such as the Sulphur Mountain Summit Trail or the Sanson's Peak Loop Trail. However, if you want to appreciate the view in the warmth, step inside the Summit Cafe for a snack or the Sky Bistro for a fine dining experience.

Day 9: Snow Tubing, Cowboy Guided Sleigh Ride & Banff Upper Hot Springs

Go snow tubing at the Mount Norquay or Lake Louise Ski Resort

Get ready for one of Canada's favorite winter activities: snow tubing. Bundle up and head to either the Mount Norquay Ski Resort or the Lake Louise Ski Resort to conquer the slopes. Snow tubing is one of the more leisurely winter activities, as both resorts have a towing system that will pull you and your tube to the top of the snow lane, saving you from a trek each time. At the top, you can choose to go solo or link up with friends or family for a tandem ride. Either way, you'll speed down the groomed lanes, enjoying panoramic views of the snow-dusted forests and towering peaks. 

With tubing behind you, explore more of the park with a sleigh ride through the picturesque Bow River Valley. Snuggle under the warm blankets as you pass towering mountains and frozen rivers. Following the 40-minute ride, sit around the fire to enjoy a hot chocolate and s'mores. Cap the day off with a relaxing soak in the mineral-rich waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs

Day 10: Ski or Snowboard in Sunshine Village, Lake Louise or Mount Norquay

Hit the slopes of Banff Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort

Banff is known for its ski resorts, so you can spend the next two days hitting the slopes. If you want to explore multiple resorts, consider the SkiBig3 Lift Ticket, which gives you access to Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, and Mount Norquay for 1 to 14 days. You'll also get access to a shuttle to and from each resort, so you don't have to worry about driving and finding parking. Aptly named Sunshine Village offers three mountains that receive constant sun, illuminating your way down the mountain. Despite the sunshine, the resort has excellent snow conditions throughout the season, thanks to its high elevation.

Lake Louise is the largest ski resort in the Canadian Rockies, so there's plenty of room for beginners to learn and experts to navigate the black diamond runs. Finally, Mount Norquay is ideal for those seeking a more intimate experience as it's the smallest of the three. Despite its size, the resort is especially popular among locals for its technical terrain, mogul fields, and tree skiing opportunities. The resort also offers the only night skiing in Banff National Park, so you can stay out late before retiring to an on-site chalet for a warm meal.

Day 11: Ski or Snowboard in the Nakiska Ski Area

Ride the chairlift in the Lake Louise Ski Resort or head to Nakiska Ski Area

Enjoy another full day on the slopes around Banff. You could return to one of the ski resorts you visited yesterday or try a new one if you didn't get the pass. One option is the Nakiska Ski Area, located an hour outside Banff in the Kananaskis Country. The resort hosted alpine events during the 1988 Winter Olympics, so you can glide down the same slopes that Olympians navigated. With the variety of trails spanning 1,000 acres (404 ha), runs are suited to every level of expertise. After a day of shredding powder, head to one of the cozy lodges for an après ski hot chocolate and hearty meal.

Day 12: Drive to Jasper via Icefields Parkway, Columbia Icefield Adventure

Board the Ice Explorer to get to the iconic Athabasca Glacier

Discover more of the Canadian Rockies today as you hit the road for a 3-4-hour drive northwest to Jasper, a charming mountain town home to one of Canada's oldest and largest national parks. The drive takes you up Icefields Parkway, an awe-inspiring highway surrounded by towering peaks, pristine forests, and sparkling glacial lakes. On the way, stop at Lake Louise if you haven't already. The lake's turquoise waters and the towering peaks that encircle it make for quite the view as you wander the shore. You'll also see the 1.86-mile (3 km) long Victoria Glacier and Fairmont Château Lake Louise.

Stop at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre to board the Ice Explorer, an all-terrain vehicle that can take you to the Athabasca Glacier. When you arrive, step out onto the frozen landscape and admire the beauty of the ancient ice. The tour also includes a stop at the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, a glass-floored observation platform suspended high above the Sunwapta Valley. After admiring the view of the surrounding peaks, complete the drive to your hotel in Jasper. 

Day 13: Explore Jasper National Park, Ride the Jasper SkyTram

Discover Jasper and its national park at your own pace

The day is yours to spend as you wish. You might start with a visit to the pristine Maligne Lake to see it blanketed in snow and ice. Although you won't be able to cruise across the water, you can still enjoy the view from the shores or venture down one of the surrounding trails on snowshoes or cross-country skis. Continue to Maligne Canyon for a guided ice walk through the winter wonderland. Navigate the icy terrain, passing frozen waterfalls and towering ice sculptures while your guide teaches you about the canyon's geological history.

Back in town, ride the Jasper SkyTram, the country's longest and highest guided aerial tramway. You'll be transported 7,472 feet (2,277 m) above sea level in just seven minutes. When you reach the summit, explore the interpretive exhibits, walking trails, and viewpoints to admire the surrounding wilderness. If you're up for something more strenuous, take a self-guided hike in Jasper National Park instead. From leisurely strolls along frozen lakes to challenging ascents up snowy mountain peaks, there's a trail suited to every skill level.

Day 14: Relax in the Miette Hot Springs, Visit the Jasper Planetarium

Look up at the stars with your naked eye or through a telescope at the Jasper Planetarium

Spend another day exploring Jasper at your own pace. You could head to Miette Hot Springs to unwind in the hottest water in the Canadian Rockies. Or, if you're up for a trek, follow the Source of the Springs Trail along the Maligne River, surrounded by the snow-covered forest. Listen to the flowing sounds of water until you reach the source of the bubbling hot springs. 

Go to the Jasper Planetarium in the evening to learn more about space. Start with an immersive show about local First Nations constellations and the Milky Way in the domed theater. Then, step outside for a look through the largest and most powerful telescopes in the Rockies. You may even spot the northern lights shimmering above you if you're lucky. When you get hungry, return to town and sit down at a restaurant serving Canadian fare to try local delights like a bison burger or Alberta steak.

Day 15: Drive to Calgary, Free Afternoon in the "Cowboy Capital"

Watch a hockey game at the Scotiabank Saddledome to end the night

Begin your final full day with a 1.5-hour drive back to Calgary, where you'll check into your hotel, refresh, and then venture out to explore the city. Make your way to Olympic Plaza, which transforms into an outdoor skating rink in winter. Lace up your skates and glide across the ice, then warm up with a hot chocolate from one of the nearby vendors.

Those who want to return to nature can visit Fish Creek Provincial Park, just 25 minutes outside of the city. Wander along the snow-covered trails, past frozen ponds and alpine meadows. Watch for wildlife like white-tailed deer, red squirrels, and coyotes. Or, if there's a game, end the night at the Scotiabank Saddledome to cheer on the Calgary Flames in a classic game of hockey, Canada's national winter sport. 

Day 16: Visit the Calgary Farmers' Market, Depart

Browse the stalls full of fresh produce at the Calgary Farmers' Market

If there's time before your departing flight, head to the Calgary Farmers' Market to browse the stalls of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts. Pick up a souvenir or two or indulge in local delights, like jerky made with Alberta's famous beef or prairie berries in a pie, jam, or syrup. When it's time, drive to the airport, return your rental car, and head inside for your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map

Map of Winter Adventures in Canada's Yukon & Alberta: Whitehorse, Calgary, Banff & Jasper - 16 Days
Map of Winter Adventures in Canada's Yukon & Alberta: Whitehorse, Calgary, Banff & Jasper - 16 Days