Canada road trip: Whistler & the Rockies

Trip ideas
Duration (in days): 8

From: Vancouver

To: Calgary

From

£960

Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Overview

Enjoy a scenic 8-day Canada road trip through British Columbia from Vancouver, travelling through the Rockies to Calgary. Expect endless panoramic vistas across lakes and mountains, historic gold rush towns, and gondola rides high above glaciers and mountain towns! Staying in a range of local B&B accommodation, you can take each section at your own pace and stop wherever you choose as you discover western Canada.

Highlights

  • Self-drive through British Colombia’s beautiful and rugged countryside
  • Visit Vancouver, Whistler, Jasper and Banff and end in Calgary
  • Explore Banff and Jasper National Park
  • Snap a photo of Maligne Lake, the most photographed lake in the world
  • Take a scenic gondola ride in Whistler and Banff for an aerial perspective
  • Discover Canada’s gold rush history with a visit to Hat Creek Ranch
  • Visit Peyto Lake and Lake Louise
  • Take a ride over the Athabascar glacier on the Ice Explorer
  • Wind up your trip with a dip in Banff’s hot springs – the perfect end to your Canada road trip!
Discover Whistler and the Rockies | map
Itinerary

 

Itinerary in brief:

  • 2 nights in Whistler
  • 1 night in Sun Peaks
  • 2 nights in Jasper
  • 2 nights in Banff

Day 1: Vancouver to Whistler 

Today you will pick up your rental car and depart Vancouver along the scenic ‘Sea to Sky Highway’, heading towards Whistler, approximately 3 hours away.

This is a beautiful drive through lakes and mountains; we recommend a stop at Shannon Falls and Stawamus Chief Rock where you can see climbers from all over the ascending the granite cliff face.

Once you arrive in Whistler, you will check into your hotel for your two nights stay.


Day 2: Whistler

The Alpine resort of Whistler is nestled between the world-renowned Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Besides ski-ing in winter, there is an extensive range of outdoor activities to enjoy here year-round, or you could spend a morning wandering through the shops and cafes.

We’ve included the Whistler Gondola ride for today, which can be enjoyed at any time during your stay. The Gondola takes you high into the mountains, where you will be treated to views over glaciers, extinct volcanos, and snow-capped peaks.


Day 3: Whistler to Sun Peaks 

Drive north today via the Duffey Lake Road. This route will provide you with breath-taking views of Joffee Glacier and snow-capped Mount Currie, rising to 2,596 metres.

Continue your journey north to Lillooet, known as the land of the Gold Rush Trail. A great place to stop is the gold rush town of Cache Creek, where we’ve included admission into the historic ‘Hat Creek Ranch’ – a chance to glimpse some Canadian history and see how and where the gold rush travellers lived. Whistler to Sun Peaks is an approximate 5 hour drive not including stops along the way.

Overnight in Sun Peaks.


 Day 4: Sun Peaks to Jasper

Set out for Jasper along the scenic Yellowhead Highway and today you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of the steep-walled gorges and crashing falls of the North Thompson River. You may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.

Once you leave British Columbia and enter Alberta, you’ll reach the quaint mountain village of Jasper, a 5 hour drive from Sun Peaks where you’ll spend the next two nights.


Day 5: Jasper

Today you have a whole day to explore Jasper and you won’t have any trouble finding something to do! We recommend you head to the great Tourist Information Centre for some local help to plan your day if you’re looking for inspiration.

Our highlights in Jasper include: visiting Maligne Lake, one of the most photographed lakes in the world (you’ll see why when you get there!) and taking the tram up Whistler Mountain.


Day 6: Jasper to Banff 

Staying in Alberta, this drive takes you over the spine of the Canadian Rockies.  Along the way you’ll witness a never-ending procession of mammoth mountains, jagged peaks, over 100 glaciers and perfectly blue lakes – a magnificent route!

One of our favourite things to do on this journey is to stop at the Columbia Icefield where you can take the Ice Explorer ride out onto the Athabascar glacier, so we’ve included it on this itinerary for you!  Another stop that can’t be missed is Peyto Lake, our favourite by far.

Lake Louise is your next stop – give yourself enough time to walk around the lake and up the trail through the trees as the view from here is quite spectacular.

Your final leg is to Banff where you will check in for 2 nights, after a memorable day.


Day 7: Banff

Banff is a great town with a bustling high street full of shops, cafes, and museums and if you’re looking for some Canadian souvenirs, this is the place to find them.

We recommend you check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site and also the Banff Gondola where you will get to enjoy the panoramic view of the Bow Valley. We’ve included admission for both the Gondola and for Banff Upper Hot Springs, the perfect way to relax in the hot mineral pools after a day of sightseeing.


Day 8: Banff to Calgary

For your final day, leave Banff for Calgary and drive across the Great Central Plains that roll to the east for 2,000km and extend as far south as Mexico! This journey takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

This is the end of your West Coast adventure, so it’s time to drop off your car in Calgary. Speak to us about options to continue your journey from here!

Info

The best times to travel in British Colombia, Canada are from March to May and September to November, this is when you’ll find milder temperatures and bargain hotel rates. May until August is peak season with prices being at a premium and lots of tourist visitors, the summer brings beautiful weather however and is a very popular season to travel to this region. December to February is winter and temperatures can drop below freezing, for winter sports fans it is worth braving the weather to take part in winter sports activities particularly in nearby Whistler.

This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

What's included: 

  • 7 nights hotel accommodation
  • 8 day car hire (please ask for details)
  • Admission to Hat Creek Ranch
  • Admission to either Banff Upper Hot Springs or Miette Hot Springs Jasper
  • Ice Explorer ride onto the Athabasca Glacier
  • Whistler Peaks Adventure Gondola Ride
  • Travel documentation, including personalised maps, driving directions, and a 480 page Canada guide

Not included: 

  • Activities, other than those mentioned in inclusions
  • Meals
  • Optional car rental extras
  • One way car drop off fee (fee to be confirmed upon enquiry)
  • Parking and toll fees
  • National Park fees
  • Tips and gratuities
Accommodation

This package is based on 7 nights’ bed & breakfast style accommodation. 

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