Look, there’s no beating across the bush! We’re completely in love with all the perfect locations in Canada. Not solely is it utterly huge, with lovely nationwide parks and vibrant cities like Vancouver and Calgary, it’s additionally stuffed with the perfect 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 common highway journey routes between the 2 provinces, a drive from Vancouver to Calgary is a good way to expertise an epic style of what western Canada has to supply.
After visiting British Columbia and Alberta fairly just a few 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 will help you alongside your merry means, 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 perfect time exploring in Canada and drive safely!
Certainly one of our favorite cities in all of Canada, Vancouver is a reasonably particular place to go to in beautiful British Columbia.
You see, Vancouver is a kind of cities that’s bought a heap of buzzing neighbourhoods and yummy locations to eat.
Take time to discover town centre, watch a recreation of ice hockey (this was the place we noticed our first ever one).
Oh, and take a guided bike journey tour throughout Stanley Park and go to the Artwork Galleries, too.
If you happen to’re heading to North Vancouver, make sure you go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge (which has a reasonably lengthy historical past within the metropolis).
It’s very easy to accomplice 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.
In fact, you’re going to spend a while shopping Granville Market and Gastown (with all their quirky eateries, stalls and indie outlets but in addition make sure you take a brief taxi journey from the centre to go to Savio Volpe.
They conjure up a few of Canada’s greatest Italian meals that we naturally gorged on.
Simply make sure you ebook a desk prematurely, particularly on the busier weekends.
Learn extra: Our information to visiting the perfect spots in Vancouver
2.) Grouse Mountain
Like I stated, should you’re visiting Vancouver, you kinda don’t wanna miss Grouse Mountain… even should you don’t ski!
Right here, you possibly can go snowboarding, snowshoes, cross-country trekking and see the seasonal occasion that goes on all year long.
Even should you go right here to look at the sundown over Vancouver within the distance. Now, to get right here, you possibly can simply seize a taxi to go to earlier than heading off in your drive from Vancouver to Calgary; nevertheless it’s additionally fairly straightforward to incorporate as a cease once you begin your journey.
Grouse Mountain is just about 30-45 minutes from town centre itself, with loads of parking, too! Simply make 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 Landing to the Sunshine Coast (by way of Langdale).
Sunshine Coast is the sort of locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary should you’re wanting a extra chilled out and enjoyable exploring of a reasonably unspoilt shoreline with little villages with plenty of tenting and RV websites should you’re travelling in a motorhome.
Don’t count on any huge mountain ranges such as you is perhaps used to when pondering of British Columbia (however don’t see that as a adverse). 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 Company, which we beloved).
Additionally, the quaint city of Gibson is a gem. You should definitely 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 enjoyable and completely chilled.
Although, should you’re quick on time, you possibly can simply bypass the Sunshine Coast and carry up on the Sea to Sky Highway (Freeway 99) that heads in 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 straightforward stopping level to earlier than persevering with your drive up Freeway 99 to Whistler.
We beloved heading up the Sea To Sky Gondola to discover the mountain trails on the prime. 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 have 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 website 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 number of trails to wander the provincial park however should you’re not feeling an extended path (just like the Stawamus Chief path), head over to this parking lot that’s a couple of minutes from the falls itself.
Simple and delightful!
Learn extra: A day exploring Squamish
About 45-minutes past Squamish, Whistler is likely one of the most well-known locations to ski, significantly in Canada. Now, it may be just a little pricier than different ski spots in Canada nevertheless it’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, should you’re arriving within the peak snowy season, make sure you reserve your skis earlier than you arrive. They don’t have a tendency to totally promote out nevertheless it’s at all times greatest to be protected than sorry.
Most lodge 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 beloved each! Sure, within the winter you’ve gotten the chance for snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing (all, which we beloved 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 Goals (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 are so magical within the chilly winter months. We spent 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, after 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 plenty of care is required should you’re not used to driving in these situations.
Give your self loads of buffer instances so you possibly can take it sluggish 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 on your route and season.
That being stated, should you’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 wonderful time in Sun Peaks (Canada’s second-largest ski spot), particularly for the slopes! You see, they appeared quieter than Whistler, giving us rather more snowboarding time (With out having to queue for ski lifts).
Additionally, Sunpeaks is a good place to strive your hand at ice fishing, too! Now, neither of us know tips on how to fish however this was a extremely cool expertise which we beloved.
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 beloved it.
Learn extra: Finest issues to do in British Columbia
7.) Wells Grey Provincial Park
After spending just a few days in Solar Peaks, Wells Grey Provincial Park will probably be your subsequent port of name. It’s a kind 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 best method to get Wells Grey Provincial Park is to reach at their Visitor Information Centre that’s simply off the freeway. From right here, you possibly can examine in with the rangers to see which routes are open and if there are any updates you could 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, considered one of my absolute favorite waterfalls in all of Canada is Helmcken Falls, perched proper inside the park itself.
At over 140-metres excessive, Helmcken Falls is so iconic and delightful 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 best level within the Canadian Rockies. Although, to be sincere, you possibly can’t actually miss it. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a protracted 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 climbing” sort of particular person. You must have stage of climbing expertise behind you and go together with a information should you’re not completely positive.
If you happen to’re quick on time, cease by the Mount Robson Visitor Centre who can advise on the seasonally open trails to get a style of the park.
Now, we spent just a few hours right here and used it as just a little resting spot earlier than heading over to Jasper. That being stated, you possibly can simply spend for much longer should you’re actually wanting to move out on the unspoilt trails that line the park. It’s gorgeous.
Additionally, should you’ve bought time, you may as well head over to close by Chilly Hearth Creek to hitch one of many native dog sledging tours that head via the mountains.
Learn extra: Finest locations in Canada to go to
After spending just a few hours (or days) in Mount Robson Provincial Park, you’re going to observe 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 style of the world as there’s fairly a bit to see and do in Jasper. For us, it’s top-of-the-line locations to see on a drive from Vancouver to Calgary, particularly because it’s 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 wonderful. Additionally, make sure you take a drive as much as Pyramid Lake (in any season).
Within the winter months, you possibly can head out fat-biking throughout the frozen lake. A lot enjoyable… although, I can’t say my legs didn’t ache after!
Oh, and should you’re feeling like a problem, strive 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 make sure that to ebook your tour prematurely, as they are often common at sure instances of the 12 months. We headed out with Rockaboo and it was nice.
If you happen to fancy giving your legs a relaxation, head up the Jasper SkyTram for some epic views 1000’s of metres up!
Wanna squeeze in just a little extra ski time? Pop over to close by Marmot Basin for his or her powdery slopes. We beloved 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 straightforward to observe. For us, it’s one of many prettiest drives and one you possibly can’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 as a result of closures as a result of avalanche dangers. This does occur within the winter months, so at all times take this into consideration together with your timings. We needed to make a fairly large detour (including round 4-hours driving time) on our final journey.
That being stated, should you’re visiting exterior of the snowy season, you’ll seemingly not get any closures in any respect. Although, it’s at all times value 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, make 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
The latter is an unlimited glacier lake that’s turquoise in color and a very straightforward discover when getting into Banff.
If you wish to see one thing just a little totally different, away from Banff, head simply off Icefields Parkway to go to Lake Abraham. It is a lake which is stuffed with bubbles and fairly distinctive to see.
To take the stress off (and have a neighborhood skilled at hand), we booked a tour to go to Pursuit Adventures Information. Selecting to go together with a information helps as they’ll deliver all of the ice cleats and snow grips on your sneakers. Plus, will allow you to discover the perfect spots on the lake itself.
For a stunning deal with, ebook your self into the Fairmont Lake Louise that, you guessed it, overlooks considered 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 perfect 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 straightforward to go for a day while staying in Banff itself.
Oh, and to replenish, get your self to Chuck’s Steakhouse for his or her enormous meat feasts.
You’ll depart 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. It is a good spot to swap your wheels for a journey 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 will discover the right one for you.
If you happen to fancy maintaining your ft firmly on the bottom, head out with Yamnuska Adventures to discover Grotto Canyon.
Right here you’ll get to observe the frozen panorama and even come throughout centuries-old First Nation pictographs that line the route.
We beloved it and solely slipped just a few 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 should you’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 sort of place that has no cellphone service, little wifi however plenty of attraction, roaring fires and loads of trails to take pleasure in nature of the area.
We spent a full day right here and it was such a soothing keep, particularly after all of the climbing, snowboarding and mountaineering. A much-needed little bit of leisure.
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 lots going for it!
Firstly, make 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 accomplished 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 greatest 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