Head to Alberta for a stunning Canadian road-trip (with added bears, and skiing)
The sprawling prairies and wilderness of the mountains make Western Canada the perfect place to take an unforgettable road trip. With so much to see and do, hitting the road is the best way to ensure you get to see as much of this beautiful landscape as possible. Canadians pride themselves on balancing modern life with environmental needs - choose a trip to Alberta to see how city life blends perfectly with the natural world.
Before you collect your hire car from Calgary Airport, spend time exploring this wonderful city and if you’re visiting during July, head for the Calgary Stampede, one of the largest and most famous rodeos in the world. The stampede attracts over a million visitors each year who flock to see the cowboys in action.
Calgary also hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, where the infamous ‘Cool Runnings’ Jamaican Bobsleigh team took part and you can visit Olympic Park to sit in the bobsleigh used in the film. Visit Heritage Park and the Glenbow Museum for a look at Canada’s native culture, or take a trip up to the top of the Calgary Tower to look out across the city and out to the nearby Rocky Mountains.
Road Trip Map
When it’s time to hit the road, take Highway 1 west to set off for Banff. This mountain resort town is nestled within the Banff National Park, just 80 miles from Calgary. En route, check out Kananaskis Country and Bow Valley. As you drive, keep your eyes peeled for bears, deer, elk, moose and eagles all making their way through their natural habitat. Banff is a popular destination, so it’s worth staying in a motel outside the town if you’re trying to make your dollars stretch - or if you want to experience true opulence, reward yourself with a stay in the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
Use Banff as your base point to explore the park. Nearby there are many popular mountains which you can climb, hike or simply just visit including Cascade Mountain. You should also take a trip on the Banff Gondola which takes you to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, which is also the location of the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Then head north and make your way through the park heading for Jasper. Along the way, stop off at Lake Louise, Colombia Icefields and Mount Edith Cavell for some incredible scenery.
Jasper is the centre of Jasper National Park, and it’s extremely popular especially during ski season. There are many great ski resorts in Jasper, including the Marmot Basin, which tends to be less crowded than the more famous resorts but is every bit as exciting to ski. Again, use Jasper to explore the wider park, including a trip out to Mount Robson, the highest point in the Rockies. From Jasper, take the Trans-Canada Highway east for a three-hour drive to Edmonton.
Edmonton is home to the largest Mall in North America! So if you’re a shopaholic, this is certainly the place for you. At West Edmonton Mall, you’re able to shop, swim, eat, drink and visit the cinema or theme park all under one roof. To indulge in some culture, take yourself off to Fort Edmonton Park, the Royal Alberta Museum and the Telus World of Science. If you’re visiting during ice hockey season, you should also try to catch a game to see the Edmonton Oilers in action.
Leaving Edmonton, head south back towards Calgary. There are many points to stop off along the way, including Red Deer, which has a fantastic non-mountain ski resort. Take a quick detour east and head for Drumheller to step into the Land Before Time. On your way, you’ll be able to stop off at Dry Island Buffalo Jump to see where the Natives would hunt their Buffalo and also the Tolman Badlands. These are the perfect introduction to Drumheller and a visit to the Royal Tyrell Centre. Here you’ll find a wealth of dinosaur skeletons including many found around the surrounding terrain. It makes for an aweinspiring end to your memorable road trip.
Road Trip Photos