Look, there’s no beating across the bush! We’re completely in love with all of the best places in Canada. Not solely is it fully huge, with beautiful national parks and vibrant cities like Vancouver and Calgary, it’s additionally stuffed with one of the best street 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 just actually can’t miss.
Being one of many extra fashionable street 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 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 will be powerful when you enterprise inland, so be sure you have the right tyres in your rental automotive 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 along with your rental firm upfront and don’t get caught out like us.
That being stated, no matter what time of yr 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 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 looking for the important thing stopping factors alongside the best way.
Have one of the best time exploring in Canada and drive safely!
You see, Vancouver is a type of cities that’s bought a heap of buzzing neighbourhoods and yummy places to eat.
Take time to discover the town centre, watch a sport of ice hockey (this was the place we noticed our first ever one).
Oh, and take a guided bike ride tour throughout Stanley Park and go to the Artwork Galleries, too.
In case you’re heading to North Vancouver, you should definitely go to the Capilano Suspension Bridge (which has a reasonably lengthy historical past within the metropolis).
It’s very easy to associate 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 automotive.
After all, you’re going to spend a while looking Granville Market and Gastown (with all their quirky eateries, stalls and indie outlets but in addition you should definitely take a brief taxi trip 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 you should definitely e book a desk upfront, particularly on the busier weekends.
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 may 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 may simply seize a taxi to go to earlier than heading off in your drive from Vancouver to Calgary; however it’s additionally fairly straightforward to incorporate as a cease once you begin your journey.
Grouse Mountain is just about 30-45 minutes from the town centre itself, with loads of parking, too! Simply you should definitely pack these windbreakers and gloves… the winds will be chilly in summer time and freezing within the winter months.
3.) Sunshine Coast
Sunshine Coast is the type 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 numerous tenting and RV websites should you’re travelling in a motorhome.
Don’t count on any huge mountain ranges such as you may be used to when considering 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 liked).
Additionally, the quaint city of Gibson is a gem. Make sure 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 enjoyable and completely chilled.
Round a 60-minute drive from Vancouver, Squamish, with a go to lasting round 2-3 hours. This makes it a completely straightforward stopping level to earlier than persevering with your drive up Freeway 99 to Whistler.
We liked heading up the Sea To Sky Gondola to discover the mountain trails on the high. Higher nonetheless, it’s nice to go up at any time of the yr.
We’ve been in each summer time 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 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 selection 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.
Straightforward and delightful!
About 45-minutes past Squamish, Whistler is likely one of the most well-known places to ski, notably in Canada. Now, it may be somewhat pricier than different ski spots in Canada however 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 street 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, you should definitely reserve your skis earlier than you arrive. They don’t have a tendency to completely promote out however it’s all the time finest to be protected than sorry.
Most resort concierges can level you in the best path to your closest rental spot.
Similar to Squamish, we visited Whistler in each summer time and winter and liked each! Sure, within the winter you’ve the chance for snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing (all, which we liked in Whistler), however you’ve additionally bought a variety of epic issues to do in Summer time.
Additionally, don’t overlook about visiting the Scandinave Spa which has a variety of heated swimming pools which might be so magical within the chilly winter months. We spent a superb few hours right here.
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 sunlight hours. You see, after we did this drive (within the winter), the mountainous route (from Whistler to Kamloops, through Freeway 99) was fairly icy and blustery, so numerous care is required should you’re not used to driving in these situations.
Give your self loads of buffer instances so you may take it sluggish and seize your self some snow tyres if the climate situations worsen. Ask your rental place earlier than reserving they usually can advise on the right tyres wanted in 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 far more snowboarding time (With out having to queue for ski lifts).
Additionally, Sunpeaks is a superb place to strive your hand at ice fishing, too! Now, neither of us know easy methods to fish however this was a very cool expertise which we liked.
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 liked it.
7.) Wells Grey Provincial Park
After spending a couple of days in Solar Peaks, Wells Grey Provincial Park might 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 stunning.
Round a 90-minute drive (from Solar Peaks), you’ll have the ability 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 may examine in with the rangers to see which routes are open and if there are any updates you might want to 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 delightful at any time of the yr. Although, there’s something magical about seeing it surrounded by the snow peaks that type at its base.
Plus, there’s additionally a heap of beautiful trails round Moul Falls that’s pretty on a very sunny day.
8.) Mount Robson Provincial Park
After a 150-minute drive from Wells Grey Provincial Park (through 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 may’t actually miss it. In case you’re in search of 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 mountain climbing” type of particular person. You must have a superb degree of mountain climbing expertise behind you and go together with a information should you’re not completely certain.
In case you’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 a couple of hours right here and used it as somewhat resting spot earlier than heading over to Jasper. That being stated, you may simply spend for much longer should you’re actually wanting to go out on the unspoilt trails that line the park. It’s beautiful.
Additionally, should you’ve bought time, you too can head over to close by Chilly Hearth Creek to affix one of many native dog sledging tours that head by way of the mountains.
Now, we’d suggest staying right here for round 3-4 days to get a superb style of the realm 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 a superb anchoring spot to discover the broader Jasper National Park.
As soon as right here, head over to hike Malign Canyon and see its unimaginable frozen waterfall that’s completely wonderful. Additionally, you should definitely take a drive as much as Pyramid Lake (in any season).
Within the winter months, you may 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 mountain climbing with a information.
We spent an entire morning doing this and though it’s powerful (for learners like us) it was fairly enjoyable.
Simply be sure to e book your tour upfront, as they are often fashionable at sure instances of the yr. We headed out with Rockaboo and it was nice.
In case you fancy giving your legs a relaxation, head up the Jasper SkyTram for some epic views hundreds of metres up!
Wanna squeeze in somewhat extra ski time? Pop over to close by Marmot Basin for his or her powdery slopes. We liked the slopes right here and it’s such a pleasant and enjoyable space to ski.
10.) Icefields Parkway
The primary driving route between Jasper and Banff, Icefields Parkway consists of Freeway 93 that’s completely straightforward to comply with. For us, it’s one of many prettiest drives and one you may’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 all the time needed to postpone or delay or journeys down Icefields Parkway. This has been because of closures because of avalanche dangers. This does occur within the winter months, so all the time take this into consideration along with your timings. We needed to make a pretty big 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 possible not get any closures in any respect. Although, it’s all the time price remembering.
Alongside the best way, there’s a huge quantity of stopping factors, trails and viewpoints that line the street 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, you should definitely cease off in any respect the primary 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 enormous glacier lake that’s turquoise in color and a completely straightforward discover when getting into Banff.
If you wish to see one thing somewhat completely 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 an area skilled at hand), we booked a tour to go to Pursuit Adventures Guide. Selecting to go together with a information helps as they’ll carry all of the ice cleats and snow grips in your sneakers. Plus, will aid you discover one of the best spots on the lake itself.
For a stunning deal with, e book 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 one of the best sleep (and gorge) overlooking the lake itself.
Oh, and to refill, get your self to Chuck’s Steakhouse for his or her enormous meat feasts.
You’ll go away stuffed.
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 great place to swap your wheels for a trip 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 they usually have a variety of excursions, lengths and costs so you will discover the right one for you.
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 liked it and solely slipped a couple of instances. Ha!
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 have the ability to examine into the cosy Mount Engadine Lodge that’s nestled within the deepest countryside. It’s the type of place that has no telephone service, little wifi however numerous 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 mountain climbing, snowboarding and mountain climbing. A much-needed little bit of leisure.
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 considering all of it ends there – Calgary has quite a bit going for it!
Firstly, be sure to pop into our favorite restaurant, Native Tongues. This place is epic and serves a number of the tastiest Mexican meals in all of Canada. Plus, they make some killer cocktails which is nice after you’re executed 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!