THE ULTIMATE ROADTRIP THROUGH THE CANADIAN ROCKIES: VANCOUVER TO CALGARY

THE ULTIMATE ROADTRIP THROUGH THE CANADIAN ROCKIES: VANCOUVER TO CALGARY

THE ULTIMATE ROADTRIP THROUGH THE CANADIAN ROCKIES: VANCOUVER TO CALGARY

So, here it is! The ultimate roadtrip guide from Vancouver to Calgary.

You may have already seen my detailed Canadian travel guides about Vancouver, Calgary, The Icefields Parkway and the famous lakes, but I have had lots of requests to outline our road trip as a whole for you guys. I have to say a HUGE thank you to my friend Annie-May who did a very similar trip and provided me with so much help not only when I was planning but also when we were out there!

This post is a bit of a long one but I wanted to include a daily breakdown of what we did. I know when I plan trips that one of the biggest things I am unsure on is what is realistic to fit in within one day, so I hope this helps! 🙂

A FEW FACTS:

Length of trip: 12 nights

Transport: hire car from AVIS

Accommodation: hotels

Distance driven: 2,200km!

Highest elevation: 2,451m

Approximate cost per person: £2,750

DAYS 1 – 3: VANCOUVER

DAY 1:

  • We landed at lunchtime and checked into the Blue Horizon Hotel on Robson.
  • Walked over to Gastown to see the famous steaming clock
  • Headed to the top of the Vancouver lookout to check out amazing views of the city.
  • Enjoyed dinner at The Keg Steakhouse.

DAY 2:

  • Hopped on a shuttle bus to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
  • Hiked to the top of Grouse Mountain on the BCMC trail in 1 hr 25 mins (omg so sweaty but worth it to see the grizzly bears at the top)
  • Explored English Bay Beach for the evening and had dinner at Beach Bay Cafe and Patio

DAY 3:

  • Hired bikes and explored the main sights of Stanley Park: the Totem Poles, Prospect Point, Third Beach and the Rose Garden to name a few
  • Took a boat from False Creek Cruises across to Granville Island to explore the famous market
  • Had dinner at Earls on Robson

Read more about our time in Vancouver here

Blue Horizon Hotel Vancouver

The view from our hotel at The Blue Horizon Hotel

Gastown steaming clock

Gastown’s famous steaming clock

Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver

The Capilano Suspension Bridge

Grouse Mountain Gondola

The Grouse Mountain Gondola

A grizzly on Grouse Mountain

A grizzly on Grouse Mountain

English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach

Sunset at English Bay Beach

Sunset at English Bay Beach

Views from the sea wall

Views from the sea wall

Third Beach Stanley Park

Third Beach

Stanley Park rose garden

Stanley Park rose garden

Stanley Park totem poles

Stanley Park totem poles

Vancouver City skyline

Vancouver City skyline

Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island Public Market

Vancouver city with mountain behind

Vancouver City

 

DAY 4: REVELSTOKE

DAY 4:

  • At 8:30am we picked up our hire car from Avis on Hornby Street and drove for 4 hours until we arrived in Kamloops and enjoyed lunch at Browns Social House
  • We got back on the road and arrived at The Stoke Hotel in Revelstoke for 4pm.
  • The weather was terrible so we chilled out and then had dinner in town at the River City Pub (we actually wanted to go to 112 Restaurant but were a bit drenched and underdressed!)

DAYS 5-7: LAKE LOUISE

DAY 5:

  • We walked the Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail (with the epic sights you will see during your trip I would probably leave this out)
  • Stopped at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre and bought a Parks Pass for 6 days. You have to have a park pass when visiting the National Parks in Canada and it was easier to buy them all at once rather than every day. The 6 days cost us about $95.00 between us.
  • Visited Emerald Lake (Yoho National Park) and had lunch at Emerald Lake Lodge. It rained loads and we were gutted!
  • Stopped at the Natural Bridge
  • Visited Lake Louise and hiked along the right hand side of the lake to the other end for a great view of the Fairmont Hotel. Read more here
  • Checked in at Lake Louise Inn and had supermarket sushi for dinner!
Emerald Lake in the rain

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake Teahouse Canada in the rain

Our lovely lunch spot on Emerald Lake

Lake Louise Canada

The classic stunning vista of Lake Louise

Lake Louise Canada in June

Lake Louise

View of Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel

Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel

DAY 6:

  • We drove back on ourselves to visit Takkakaw Falls in Yoho National Park as the weather was too bad to bother on Day 5.
  • Herbert, Bow & Peyto Lakes (more of a glance at them all as the weather was still pretty bad)
  • A big late lunch at the Mountain Restaurant in Lake Louise, the burgers were gooooood!
  • THE SUN CAME OUT!
  • Back to Lake Louise for a drink at the Fairmont Hotel

TAKAKKAW FALLS CANADA

DAY 7:

  • We arrived at Moraine lake for 05:45am to watch sunrise – read more about this here
  • Another stop at Bow Lake and Peyto Lake in the sunshine!
  • Continued up the Icefields Parkway to do the Athabasca Glacier and Skywalk Tour – read about this here
  • Drove a little further North to Sunwapta Falls
  • Dinner at the Pizza and Pasta Restaurant at Lake Louise Inn.
Couple looking out over Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

Herbert lake reflections Canada

Herbert Lake

Bow Lake Canada

Bow Lake

Peyto Lake Canada

Peyto Lake

Athabasca Glacier

The Glacier Skywalk

Sunwapta Falls

DAYS 8-10: CANMORE/BANFF

DAY 8:

  • We TRIED to hike to Hector Lake for some canoeing but were stopped in our tracks due to a river crossing – read more about this here!
  • Drove to Canmore and checked in at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge
  • Wandered around Canmore town and had lunch at The Grizzly Paw
  • Completed the Grassi Lakes Trail – we took the easy route up and the hard route down
  • We went to the local Safeway and bought some bits for dinner + the next few breakfasts
Bow River Crossing to get to Herbert Lake

The Bow River cut our hike to Hector Lake short!

Grassi Lakes Trail

Grassi Lakes Trail

DAY 9:

  • Lake Minnewanka
  • Johnston Canyon Trail
  • The Bow Valley Parkway to look for wildlife! We weren’t very lucky and didn’t see anything unfortunately
  • The ‘Hoodos viewpoint’ and ‘Surprise Corner viewpoint’
  • Banff Avenue shopping
  • Bow Falls
  • 7 course tasting dinner at Tapas in Canmore
  • After dinner we did an approx 3 hour drive in a loop around Kananaskis County and were lucky enough to see lots of wildlife!

Lake Minnewanka

‘Hoodos viewpoint’

‘Surprise Corner’

The famous Banff Avenue view

Wild big-horned sheep

Wild black bear

DAY 10:

  • A morning trip up Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola. We were planning to walk as the gondola is quite expensive ($64 each) but I had a bad cold and we wimped out!
  • We hired canoes from the Banff Canoe Club and rowed down 40 mile creek (don’t worry it’s not 40 miles long!) to the Vermillion Lakes.
  • Lunch at The Grizzly House in Banff – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. We cooked our own steak and seafood on a hot stove and they are also famous for their fondues.
  • We went to do a hike at Sunshine Meadows but it was shut!

The amazing view from Sulphur Mountain



DAYS 11-13: CALGARY

DAY 11:

  • We were sad to leave the mountains!
  • Drove to Calgary and checked in at The Westin Hotel
  • Calgary Tower
  • The Wonderland Sculpture
  • The Peace Bridge & Princes Island Park
  • Dinner at Guild

DAY 12:

  • Took the tram to Calgary Zoo
  • 8th Avenue shopping & Devonian Gardens
  • An amazing steak dinner at Caesar’s

Read more about our time in Calgary here.

Calgary’s Shopping District

View from Calgary Tower

Wonderland Sculpture Calgary

The Wonderland Sculpture

Peace Bridge Calgary

Peace Bridge

Peace Bridge Calgary
Prince's Island Park Calgary

Prince’s Island Park

Princes Island Park Flowers

Pandas at Calgary Zoo

DAY 13:

  • A final treat of fantastic breakfast room service at The Westin!
  • Dropped the car off at the airport and flew home after lunch.

A delicious breakfast at The Westin Calgary

 

As always, thank you for reading!

Any questions? Let me know 🙂

Check out my other Canadian posts:

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