Itching to hit the road? Dreaming of an adventure in the mountains?
This itinerary starts in the Calgary area, but can easily be done in reverse from Edmonton. Here is the best road trip itinerary for your post-quarantine adventure in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.
Day 1: The Dawn of a New Adventure
Rise early to get the most of this day! Within an hour, the mountains come into view. The sooner the mountain peaks come into view, the better. Don’t drive past the quaint town of Canmore straight on to Banff. It’s got its own adventures waiting for you.
Grab a morning caffeine boost from Eclipse Coffee Roasters on the charming Main Street. Then book a trip to the depths of the spectacular deep cave adventure within Grotto Mountain. See fossils, stalagmites and other geological wonders within the dewy and dark atmosphere with the help of a knowledgeable tour guide showing you the way.
After a day of travel and wasting no time getting into the adventures, check into a hotel in the heart of Banff.
Day 2: World-famous lakes
We recommend you get an early start today to beat the crowds.
Drive the Bow Valley Parkway starting just west of Banff. Keep an eye out for wildlife! Then, stretch your legs and hike the Moraine Lake Shoreline. In under two hours, you’ll be surrounded by the unforgettable view of Ten Peaks and the crystal clear waters that attract photographers from all over the world.
Head back to Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway. For dinner, head to the all-new restaurant Farm & Fire for a casual, local and adventure-inspired dinner.
Day 3: Soar to the Top of Sulphur Mountain
Grab coffee to go at the Whitebark Café then reach new heights on the Banff Gondola. The cable cars give you a 360-degree view as you ascend above the treeline to the top of Sulphur Mountain. After you’ve explored the mountain top, including the Sanson’s Peak Meteorological Observatory Historic Site, grab a table for some appetizers and drinks at the Sky Bistro, Banff’s Cochon555 award-winning restaurant (book ahead to ensure availability).
Day 4: The Scenic Stretch – Icefields Parkway
Check out of your room on Banff Avenue, bid farewell to the majestic Cascade Mountain and get back on the road. Turn up your inspiring road trip tunes for this unforgettable voyage down scenic Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway. Let your mind wander as you move through endless mountain ranges, tiny waterfalls and deep glacier-carved valleys. After a few hours, you'll reach the Icefields Discovery Centre. Welcome to Jasper National Park! Here, park your car and head indoors to be welcomed by the friendly team from the Glacier View Lodge. This is a one-of-a-kind lodge with views of the glacier. Your stay includes an intimate visit to the Columbia Icefield Adventure, dinner at Altitude and relaxation and inspiration galore.
Day 5: Visit the Crown Jewel of Jasper
The morning starts with a delicious breakfast and a visit to the mind-boggling Glacier Skywalk, where you'll stride atop a glass-bottomed walkway clinging to the edge of a cliff.
Back at your car, it's time to continue your epic journey through Jasper. We recommend staying in a cozy chalet at Pyramid Lake Resort. You'll have full access to a secluded natural setting right outside your door.
If you’re itching to get off the beaten path and see more of Jasper’s gems, join the Discover Jasper and its Wildlife Tour. This takes you into the Athabasca Valley, Jasper’s wildlife hub, with sightings such as elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and even bears and wolves.
Back at Pyramid Lake, walk the wooden bridge across pristine waters to an island or catch the sunset from the Athabasca Overlook hiking trail nearby. There’s also dinner at The Pines Restaurant with views of the lake and peaks beyond.
Day 6: This is See You Later – Not Goodbye
It’s time to check out of your hotel, but you’re not done quite yet. Visit the glorious sights of the Maligne Valley! Start with breakfast at Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen. Take a mug of warm coffee as you explore the bridges and trail across the canyon.
Late morning is a great time to cruise to Spirit Island on Maligne Lake. The air is so crisp and clear! Stop for lunch at the Lake House Cafe. Then, it's time to leave the mountains behind and head home.
As you drive away, reflect on the time shared together, the feeling of freedom on the road, and the amazing Rocky Mountains that are in our backyard. They’ll be calling for you again soon!
Check out more tips on planning the perfect road trip here.