Look, there’s no beating across the bush! We’re completely in love with all the most effective locations in Canada. Not solely is it fully huge, with lovely nationwide parks and vibrant cities like Vancouver and Calgary, it’s additionally crammed with the most effective highway journeys with Alberta and British Columbia being no exception. In truth, there’s a heap of locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary that you simply actually can’t miss.
Being one of many extra in style highway journey routes between the 2 provinces, a drive from Vancouver to Calgary is an effective way to expertise an epic style of what western Canada has to supply.
After visiting British Columbia and Alberta fairly a couple of instances, we lastly determined to make the leap and drive between the 2 cities. In winter of all months!
Now, the very first thing we’d say is that this that wintery situations may be powerful when you enterprise inland, so be sure you have the right tyres in your rental automobile earlier than setting off. We ended up making a mistake between “all-weather” and “snow tyres” which meant a detour again to Vancouver. Keep away from this by planning together with your rental firm prematurely and don’t get caught out like us.
That being stated, no matter what time of 12 months you go to, you’ll be assured a deal with of epic locations to see. I imply, British Columbia and Alberta actually spoil you on this entrance! You’ll be pulling over on a regular basis for pics and to discover.
So, that can assist you alongside your merry manner, we’ve popped a few of our greatest locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary. All tried and examined, it’ll hopefully prevent numerous hours in trying to find the important thing stopping factors alongside the best way.
Have the most effective time exploring in Canada and drive safely!
One among our favorite cities in all of Canada, Vancouver is a fairly particular place to go to in beautiful British Columbia.
You see, Vancouver is a type of cities that’s bought a heap of buzzing neighbourhoods and yummy locations to eat.
Take time to discover town centre, watch a sport of ice hockey (this was the place we noticed our first ever one).
Oh, and take a guided bike experience tour throughout Stanley Park and go to the Artwork Galleries, too.
Should you’re heading to North Vancouver, be sure you go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge (which has a fairly lengthy historical past within the metropolis).
It’s very easy to companion this with a visit to Grouse Mountain and also you both do that as a full day journey or on one of many days you’re leaving Vancouver in your automobile.
After all, you’re going to spend a while looking Granville Market and Gastown (with all their quirky eateries, stalls and indie retailers but in addition be sure you take a brief taxi experience from the centre to go to Savio Volpe.
They conjure up a few of Canada’s finest Italian meals that we naturally gorged on.
Simply be sure you ebook a desk prematurely, particularly on the busier weekends.
Learn extra: Our information to visiting the most effective spots in Vancouver
2.) Grouse Mountain
Like I stated, if you happen to’re visiting Vancouver, you kinda don’t wanna miss Grouse Mountain… even if you happen to don’t ski!
Right here, you’ll be able to go snowboarding, snowshoes, cross-country trekking and see the seasonal occasion that goes on all year long.
Even if you happen to go right here to look at the sundown over Vancouver within the distance. Now, to get right here, you’ll be able to simply seize a taxi to go to earlier than heading off in your drive from Vancouver to Calgary; but it surely’s additionally fairly simple to incorporate as a cease once you begin your journey.
Grouse Mountain is simply about 30-45 minutes from town centre itself, with loads of parking, too! Simply be sure you pack these windbreakers and gloves… the winds may be chilly in summer season and freezing within the winter months.
Learn extra: Exploring Grouse Mountain
3.) Sunshine Coast
Heading up the coast past West Vancouver, You’ll come throughout the automobile ferry from Horseshoe Touchdown to the Sunshine Coast (by way of Langdale).
Sunshine Coast is the form of locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary if you happen to’re wanting a extra chilled out and stress-free exploring of a fairly unspoilt shoreline with little villages with a lot of tenting and RV websites if you happen to’re travelling in a motorhome.
Don’t count on any huge mountain ranges such as you could be used to when pondering of British Columbia (however don’t see that as a damaging). You see, this coastal space is completely unspoilt, densely forested with a scattering of quaint little villages to cease by for lunch or for a tipple (for the non-driver at Persephone Brewing Firm, which we cherished).
Additionally, the quaint city of Gibson is a gem. You’ll want to cease off at Smitty’s Oyster Home the Public Market, vintage stalls and provincial parks for a ramble while driving the route. It’s so stress-free and completely chilled.
Although, if you happen to’re quick on time, you’ll be able to simply bypass the Sunshine Coast and carry up on the Sea to Sky Freeway (Freeway 99) that heads in the direction of Squamish.
Learn extra: Exploring the Sunshine Coast in Canada
Round a 60-minute drive from Vancouver, Squamish, with a go to lasting round 2-Three hours. This makes it a very simple stopping level to earlier than persevering with your drive up Freeway 99 to Whistler.
We cherished heading up the Sea To Sky Gondola to discover the mountain trails on the high. Higher nonetheless, it’s nice to move up at any time of the 12 months.
We’ve been in each summer season and winter and the paths had been beautiful in each seasons. Simply count on to put on snowshoes within the chillier months.
Sadly, the Sea To Sky Gondola has suffered two acts of vandalism with their cables being broken. So, examine on their web site for entry and openings to get to the highest.
After heading down from the towering mountains, head over to see Shannon Falls. Now, there are a selection of trails to wander the provincial park however if you happen to’re not feeling an extended path (just like the Stawamus Chief path), head over to this car parking zone that’s a couple of minutes from the falls itself.
Straightforward and exquisite!
Learn extra: A day exploring Squamish
About 45-minutes past Squamish, Whistler is without doubt one of the most well-known locations to ski, notably in Canada. Now, it may be a bit pricier than different ski spots in Canada but it surely’s bought a heap of slopes that make it a must-visit place for any skiers.
Now, we didn’t take any skis with us on our highway journey between Vancouver to Calgary, so we rented them as soon as we arrived. This made all of it a lot simpler.
One factor to notice, if you happen to’re arriving within the peak snowy season, be sure you reserve your skis earlier than you arrive. They don’t have a tendency to totally promote out but it surely’s at all times finest to be protected than sorry.
Most resort concierges can level you in the appropriate route to your closest rental spot.
Identical to Squamish, we visited Whistler in each summer season and winter and cherished each! Sure, within the winter you have got the chance for snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing (all, which we cherished in Whistler), however you’ve additionally bought a variety of epic issues to do in Summer time.
We headed out kayaking on the river of Golden Desires (aka, Alta Creek) that connects the Inexperienced Lake to Alta Lake. We booked our tour with Canadian Wilderness and it was a lot enjoyable!
Additionally, don’t overlook about visiting the Scandinave Spa which has a variety of heated swimming pools which can be so magical within the chilly winter months. We spent an excellent few hours right here.
Learn extra: Finest issues to do in Whistler
6.) Solar Peaks
Round a 4.5 hour drive from Whistler, it is a journey you begin straight after breakfast to reach good and early within the daylight. You see, once we did this drive (within the winter), the mountainous route (from Whistler to Kamloops, by way of Freeway 99) was fairly icy and blustery, so a lot of care is required if you happen to’re not used to driving in these situations.
Give your self loads of buffer instances so you’ll be able to take it gradual and seize your self some snow tyres if the climate situations worsen. Ask your rental place earlier than reserving and so they can advise on the right tyres wanted in your route and season.
That being stated, if you happen to’re travelling within the hotter months, this drive is a complete breeze (just a bit lengthy), simply pack some snacks!
We had essentially the most superb time in Solar Peaks (Canada’s second-largest ski spot), particularly for the slopes! You see, they appeared quieter than Whistler, giving us way more snowboarding time (With out having to queue for ski lifts).
Additionally, Sunpeaks is a good place to attempt your hand at ice fishing, too! Now, neither of us know easy methods to fish however this was a extremely cool expertise which we cherished.
Seems, I’m a professional at it too.
I caught a pure rainbow trout (which we popped again within the water). We headed out with Elevated Fishing Adventures and cherished it.
Learn extra: Finest issues to do in British Columbia
7.) Wells Grey Provincial Park
After spending a couple of days in Solar Peaks, Wells Grey Provincial Park can be your subsequent port of name. It’s a type of unspoilt locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary that’s completely lovely.
Round a 90-minute drive (from Solar Peaks), you’ll be capable to spend a half-day exploring the park earlier than persevering with ever-closer to Alberta. Now, the simplest option to get Wells Grey Provincial Park is to reach at their Customer Info Centre that’s simply off the freeway. From right here, you’ll be able to examine in with the rangers to see which routes are open and if there are any updates it is advisable know earlier than exploring.
As soon as contained in the park, head straight over to Spahats Creek Falls which is nicely over 60 metres excessive! Although, certainly one of my absolute favorite waterfalls in all of Canada is Helmcken Falls, perched proper throughout the park itself.
At over 140-metres excessive, Helmcken Falls is so iconic and exquisite at any time of the 12 months. Although, there’s something magical about seeing it surrounded by the snow peaks that kind at its base.
Plus, there’s additionally a heap of beautiful trails round Moul Falls that’s pretty on a extremely sunny day.
8.) Mount Robson Provincial Park
After a 150-minute drive from Wells Grey Provincial Park (by way of Freeway 5), head to the fringes of British Columbia at Mount Robson Provincial Park.
As soon as within the park, maintain your eyes peeled for Mount Robson, the very best level within the Canadian Rockies. Although, to be sincere, you’ll be able to’t actually miss it. Should you’re on the lookout for an extended and comparatively powerful hike, head out on the Berg Lake Path that stretches (there and again) round 27 miles. Simply keep in mind, this isn’t for the “new to mountain climbing” form of particular person. It’s best to have an excellent stage of mountain climbing expertise behind you and go along with a information if you happen to’re not completely certain.
Should you’re quick on time, cease by the Mount Robson Customer Centre who can advise on the seasonally open trails to get a style of the park.
Now, we spent a couple of hours right here and used it as a bit resting spot earlier than heading over to Jasper. That being stated, you’ll be able to simply spend for much longer if you happen to’re actually wanting to move out on the unspoilt trails that line the park. It’s beautiful.
Additionally, if you happen to’ve bought time, you too can head over to close by Chilly Fireplace Creek to affix one of many native canine sledging excursions that head by means of the mountains.
Learn extra: Finest locations in Canada to go to
After spending a couple of hours (or days) in Mount Robson Provincial Park, you’re going to comply with Freeway 16 past Moose Lake to reach within the small city of Jasper.
Now, we’d advocate staying right here for round 3-Four days to get an excellent style of the world as there’s fairly a bit to see and do in Jasper. For us, it’s the most effective locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary, particularly because it’s an excellent anchoring spot to discover the broader Jasper Nationwide Park.
As soon as right here, head over to hike Malign Canyon and see its unbelievable frozen waterfall that’s completely superb. Additionally, be sure you take a drive as much as Pyramid Lake (in any season).
Within the winter months, you’ll be able to head out fat-biking throughout the frozen lake. A lot enjoyable… although, I can’t say my legs didn’t ache after!
Oh, and if you happen to’re feeling like a problem, attempt your hand at mountaineering with a information.
We spent a complete morning doing this and though it’s powerful (for newcomers like us) it was fairly enjoyable.
Simply be sure that to ebook your tour prematurely, as they are often in style at sure instances of the 12 months. We headed out with Rockaboo and it was nice.
Should you fancy giving your legs a relaxation, head up the Jasper SkyTram for some epic views 1000’s of metres up!
Wanna squeeze in a bit extra ski time? Pop over to close by Marmot Basin for his or her powdery slopes. We cherished the slopes right here and it’s such a pleasant and enjoyable space to ski.
Learn extra: The place to discover in Jasper
10.) Icefields Parkway
The primary driving route between Jasper and Banff, Icefields Parkway consists of Freeway 93 that’s completely simple to comply with. For us, it’s one of many prettiest drives and one you’ll be able to’t miss while visiting all of the locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary.
One factor to notice, every time we’ve visited Alberta, we’ve at all times needed to postpone or delay or journeys down Icefields Parkway. This has been attributable to closures attributable to avalanche dangers. This does occur within the winter months, so at all times take this under consideration together with your timings. We needed to make a pretty big detour (including round 4-hours driving time) on our final journey.
That being stated, if you happen to’re visiting outdoors of the snowy season, you’ll seemingly not get any closures in any respect. Although, it’s at all times price remembering.
Alongside the best way, there’s a huge quantity of stopping factors, trails and viewpoints that line the highway itself. Truthfully, you’ll need to cease round each twist and switch of the freeway – the views are spectacular.
As you meander between the Canadian Rockies, be sure you cease off in any respect the principle spots. We’ve added Google Maps hyperlinks to a few of our favourites, like; Sunwapta Falls, see the views at Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint, Tangle Creek Falls and the spectacular Columbia Icefield Skywalk.
11.) Banff Nationwide Park
After coming into Banff Nationwide Park (while nonetheless on Icefields Parkway) hike the paths at Mistaya Canyon and see the beautiful higher viewpoint throughout Peyto Lake.
The latter is an enormous glacier lake that’s turquoise in color and a very simple discover when coming into Banff.
If you wish to see one thing a bit completely different, away from Banff, head simply off Icefields Parkway to go to Lake Abraham. This can be a lake which is crammed with bubbles and fairly distinctive to see.
To take the stress off (and have a neighborhood knowledgeable at hand), we booked a tour to go to Pursuit Adventures Information. Selecting to go along with a information helps as they’ll convey all of the ice cleats and snow grips in your sneakers. Plus, will enable you to discover the most effective spots on the lake itself.
For a beautiful deal with, ebook your self into the Fairmont Lake Louise that, you guessed it, overlooks certainly one of Canada’s most well-known lakes.
We headed out on the paths round Lake Louise, ice-skated throughout the frozen lake and had the most effective sleep (and gorge) overlooking the lake itself.
To work off a few of these energy at dinner, head on over to ski at Sunshine Village – It’s fairly simple to go for a day while staying in Banff itself.
Should you’ve bought time, head out to see the Crowfoot Glacier, Hector Lake and go to Johnston Canyon for essentially the most unbelievable trails.
Oh, and to replenish, get your self to Chuck’s Steakhouse for his or her large meat feasts.
You’ll go away stuffed.
Learn extra: 1-week itinerary to discover Banff
12.) Canadian Rockies Helicopter tour (Canmore)
After spending time in Banff Nationwide Park and as you depart south-west you’ll come throughout the city of Canmore. This can be a great place to swap your wheels for a experience within the sky! Yup, on a helicopter.
A helicopter tour over the Canadian Rockies is simply mind-blowing. The views are simply insanely good.
We went out with Alpine Helicopters and so they have a variety of excursions, lengths and costs so you’ll find the proper one for you.
Should you fancy protecting your toes firmly on the bottom, head out with Yamnuska Adventures to discover Grotto Canyon.
Right here you’ll get to comply with the frozen panorama and even come throughout centuries-old First Nation pictographs that line the route.
We cherished it and solely slipped a couple of instances. Ha!
Learn extra: Helicopter views over the Canadian Rockies
13.) Spray Valley Provincial Park
As you depart Canmore, drive south for round 60-minutes to Spray Valley Provincial Park. You see, it’s one of many locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary if you happen to’re feeling like slowing the tempo down and chilling out.
Right here, you’ll be capable to examine into the cosy Mount Engadine Lodge that’s nestled within the deepest countryside. It’s the form of place that has no cellphone service, little wifi however a lot of appeal, roaring fires and loads of trails to get pleasure from nature of the area.
We spent a full day right here and it was such a calming keep, particularly after all of the mountain climbing, snowboarding and mountaineering. A much-needed little bit of rest.
Learn extra: Our keep at Mount Engadine Lodge
After your large journey inside British Columbia and Alberta, you’ll lastly finish within the Albertan metropolis of Calgary. Although, don’t be fooled into pondering all of it ends there – Calgary has rather a lot going for it!
Firstly, be sure that to pop into our favorite restaurant, Native Tongues. This place is epic and serves a few of the tastiest Mexican meals in all of Canada. Plus, they make some killer cocktails which is nice after you’re completed with all that driving.
Alternatively, head over to Gorilla Whale – a Japanese-fusion restaurant that serves up a feast. We spent all night devouring their dishes. So good!
For a few of the finest locations to see in Calgary, head on over to Studio Bell; the house of Canadian music and head to the highest of the Calgary Tower for these views.
Learn extra: Finest issues to do in Calgary
12 Finest Issues To Do In Calgary