Itinerary in brief
- 2 nights Banff
- 1 night Lake Louise
- 2 nights Jasper
- 1 night Kamloops
Day 1: Calgary to Banff
Today you’ll collect your hire car to begin your self-drive adventure. If you feel like exploring Calgary a little bit more, you can spend the morning exploring the city, before hitting the road and driving the hour and a half to Banff.
On arrival in Banff, check into your hotel for your two night stay, and the rest of the day is free for you to fill. We recommend visiting one of the many coffee shops, or hunting out a restaurant serving Poutine (a traditional Canadian delicacy)!
Day 2: Banff
Banff is a lovely Alpine town where you can spend time shopping and soaking up the relaxed charm.
Banff National Park is easily accessible. We recommend visiting the Cave and Basin national Historic Site, and we’ve included a ticket for the Banff Gondola where you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Bow Valley below.
In the early evening, we’ve included admission to the Banff Upper Hot Springs – the perfect way to relax after some sightseeing. A word of advice; you get used to the smell of sulphur very quickly, so don’t worry about the initial ‘eggy’ smell!
Day 3: Banff to Lake Louise
Although it’s only a short 40 minute drive today make an early start so you can spend as much time as possible at Lake Louise. You’ll be driving along the Bow Valley Parkway, and en-route, you can stop at Johnston Canyon for a short nature walk.
Once you reach Lake Louise, known as the “Jewel of the Rockies” we recommend hiking the ‘Plain of Six Glaciers’ trail. Not for the faint-hearted, this trail takes you on a slow and steady route up above Lake Louise; trust us - the views are worth every single step! You’ll be greeted by the historic Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse just when you need a pit-stop… plus, coming back down is a breeze!
Day 4: Lake Louise to Jasper
After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to hit the road for one of the most scenic drives of your whole trip (in our opinion!).
You’ll be driving over the spine of the Canadian Rockies along the absolutely amazing Icefields parkway. The wildlife, bright blue lakes and sparkling waterfalls will quickly fill up your camera’s memory card. We recommend a stop at Peyto Lake on the way.
You’ll come across the Columbia Ice field, where we’ve included a ride on board the Ice Explorer, your chance to get out onto the Athabasca glacier and experience this spectacular landscape.
The total drive takes around 3 and a half hours (not accounting for your stops) ending in Jasper. After this exciting day of beautiful scenery and landscapes, you’ll be glad to check into your hotel for your two night stay, where you can put your feet up and relax.
Day 5: Jasper
Today you have a whole day to explore Jasper and its National Park. A visit to Maligne Lake won’t disappoint – it’s one of the most photographed lakes in the world. You could also take the tram ride up Whistlers Mountain; be prepared to witness some incredible views!
Jasper has some great shops and restaurants so if you are on the hunt for some Canadian souvenirs, here’s the place to partake in a spot of retail therapy.
Your car hire comes to an end today, so don’t forget to drop it off before heading out for drinks at the local bar.
Day 6: Jasper to Kamloops by rail
The next stage of your adventure starts today, as you’ll be boarding the famous Rocky Mountaineer train.
Your first day of rail travel takes you on a scenic journey to Kamloops in the interior of British Columbia. Leaving Jasper National Park, you’ll travel the “Yellowhead” route past the sprawling grandeur of Mount Robson, which is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and then follow the mighty Thompson River to Kamloops. Prepare for some great views, a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, and a lovely care-free day.
Upon your arrival in Kamloops you will be taken to your hotel, where you will check in for your one night stay.
Day 7: Kamloops to Vancouver by rail
Back on board the Rocky Mountaineer this morning, you’ll leave Kamloops and follow the Thompson River through Ashcroft.
Passing through Rainbow Canyon is a real highlight – as the name suggests, the cliffs are striped with pinks, greens and greys, creating a stunning rainbow effect. When you pass through Fraser Canyon, you’ll get to see Hells Gate and watch the water torrent pass the canyon walls at its narrowest point.
The last leg of your rail journey takes you through the fertile farming region of the Fraser Valley, and you will then be delivered into Vancouver by late afternoon.