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10-Day Canada Road Trip Itinerary With Scenic Stops

by Staff

Summary

  • Scenic Adventure Through the Canadian Rockies: Embark on a 10-day road trip from Calgary to Vancouver, covering 682.2 miles, showcasing the beauty of the Canadian Rockies and iconic landmarks.
  • Diverse Outdoor Experiences: From exploring Canmore’s Three Sisters to hiking Smutwood Peak, experiencing Banff National Park’s Moraine Lake, and visiting Yoho National Park, enjoy a range of outdoor adventures.
  • Coastal Finale in Vancouver: Conclude the journey with a breathtaking drive on the Sea To Sky Highway, witnessing ocean views and exploring Vancouver’s attractions like Stanley Park and Granville Island Public Market.

It’s impossible to see all of Canada in just 10 days; this incredibly beautiful country is so vast that it’s actually the second-largest country in the world by land area. With that in mind, you’ll need to focus your adventure on a specific region to make the most of a 10-day trip. This adventure-filled itinerary follows a well-traveled route from Calgary, Alberta, to Vancouver, British Columbia, through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Beginning in Calgary, you’ll drive a total of approximately 682.2 miles in 10 days, ending in Vancouver on the West Coast. Along the way, you’ll cross some memorable attractions, hikes, and viewpoints off your Canadian bucket list.

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Day 1: Calgary To Canmore

The Three Sisters


The streets of Canmore in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Bow Valley near Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Shutterstock

The streets of Canmore in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Bow Valley near Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Day one of this exciting road trip through two of Canada’s most beautiful provinces starts when you land at Calgary International Airport in Calgary, Alberta. Upon arrival, pick up a rental car at the airport and make the 64-mile drive to the gem of the Canadian Rockies, Canmore. The drive is scenic and easy, ending with your first glimpse of the mountains.

The Three Sisters Mountains overlook the charming town of Canmore. Check-in for your one-night accommodation, then stroll to downtown Canmore for a drink and dinner. The Grizzly Paw Pub is an especially popular spot to check out.

Upon arrival in Canmore, buy a can of bear spray to carry with you for all of your hikes in the Canadian Rockies. Educate yourself on how to use it and what to do if you encounter a Black Bear or a Grizzly Bear.

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Day 2: Canmore

Smutwood Peak In Kananaskis Country


A Canadian flag in the rockies
Shutterstock 

Canadian flag in Canmore, Alberta 

On the second day of this road trip adventure, wake up early to embark on one of the most adventurous days you’ll experience. Canmore is located in the heart of Kananaskis Country and is famous for its many hiking trails. For an unforgettable adventure with once-in-a-lifetime views of the Canadian Rockies, drive to the Smutwood Peak Trailhead by 8 AM, so you have plenty of time to complete the 11.1-mile out-and-back trek.

I did this hike in September when the larches were turning a vibrant shade of yellowish gold, and that made it all the more magical. If you can, plan your trip to the Rockies during fall. But this hike can be completed anytime from mid-June to late September.

  • Distance Traveled So Far: 88 miles
  • Distance From The Previous Stop: 24 miles
  • Places To Stay/Accommodation: Mount Engadine Lodge (or return to Canmore for the previous night’s accommodation)
  • Attractions: Smutwood Peak (summit)

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Day 3: Banff National Park

Mount Rundle And Banff Town


Snow falling on a street in the town of Banff, Alberta, Canada, in the Canadian Rockies
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Snow falling on a street in the town of Banff, Alberta, Canada, in the Canadian Rockies

On day three, make the short drive from Canmore to Banff National Park. Heading deeper into the Canadian Rockies, towering mountain views await. Scenic viewpoints on the route for the day include viewing Mount Rundle’s iconic silhouette at Vermilion Lakes and dining in the charming downtown core of Banff.

There are plenty of restaurants and shops to explore in Banff town, so dedicate some time to meandering through the streets. Parking can be tricky, so note that parking at the train station is a great way to save money.

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Day 4: Exploring Banff

Moraine Lake And The Larch Valley


Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
Photo by John Lee on Unsplash

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park

With a full day inside Banff National Park, it’s time to see one of its iconic blue glacial lakes. Moraine Lake has become more difficult to access in recent years because of protocols in place to avoid tourist overcrowding. You cannot easily drive in or park at the lake anymore. Instead, you’ll need to arrange a shuttle with your hotel, or you can board a bus from a meeting point in the town of Banff. Be sure to book in advance and leave time to enjoy the views of Moraine Lake and hike on the surrounding trails for the day.

  • Distance Traveled So Far: 103.5 miles
  • Distance From The Previous Stop: 0 miles
  • Places To Stay/Accommodation: Banff Park Lodge, Basecamp Suites Banff
  • Attractions: Moraine Lake, Banff Gondola, Banff Upper Hot Springs

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Day 5: Lake Louise

The Big Beehive


Kayaking in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
Photo by Atia Naim on Unsplash

Kayaking in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

It’s time to see the crown jewel of Banff National Park on the morning of day five, Lake Louise. I couldn’t believe how blue the water is in real life; it will truly blow you away. The lake is always busy with visitors, so again, booking a shuttle to avoid parking hassles is advised. This means leaving your road trip vehicle at the hotel for the day and organizing public transportation to and from the lake.

Leave time to canoe on Lake Louise or hike up the Lake Agnes Teahouse for lunch and, of course, a cup of tea. If you have time, the Big Beehive hike takes you to a viewpoint that overlooks Lake Louise from above and is worth the time for the epic vantage point.

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5
Day 6: Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake


Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, Canada
Photo by clement fusil on Unsplash

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, Canada

Check another Canadian National Park off your bucket list on day six by driving from Banff to Yoho National Park. You’ll cross the border from Alberta into British Columbia on the drive there. Upon arrival, marvel at another glacial lake and, if it’s within the budget, splurge on a night at the luxurious Emerald Lake Lodge.

Within Yoho National Park, there are plenty of other waterfalls and hiking trails to explore, but with only a day in the park, you’ll need to be selective about how you spend your time. Choose one hike or other attraction to visit besides Emerald Lake to maximize time.

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Day 7: Whistler Via Kamloops

Whistler Village


Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Shutterstock

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

This is the longest driving day of the road trip, taking you all the way from Yoho National Park to the West Coast of Canada in Whistler. Over the course of 445 miles (which takes approximately 8–9 hours to drive), you’ll pass through incredible mountain landscapes, see wild animals, and catch a glimpse of other towns like Revelstoke and Kamloops.

If you get tired on this route and need to stop somewhere for a break, Kamloops is the ideal halfway point. Lillooet is also a charming small town that is a convenient stop for gas along the way.

Upon arrival in Whistler Village, stroll through the quaint ski village that is famous for its chalets and powder. A night here is all that’s needed to enjoy the restaurants and atmosphere before continuing south.

If you have more time to add to this itinerary, break the long driving day on day seven into two and drive from Yoho National Park to Kamloops in one day and then from Kamloops to Whistler in the next.

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Day 8: Whistler To Squamish

Shannon Falls And Sea To Sky Gondola


Sea to Sky Gondola over Howe Sound in Squamish, Canada
Photo by Josephine Lin on Unsplash

Sea to Sky Gondola over Howe Sound in Squamish, Canada

Depart from Whistler on day eight and drive south to the town of Squamish, British Columbia. An underrated destination in Western Canada, Squamish is the perfect place to stay for exploring nearby parks like Stawamus Chief Provincial Park.

For the afternoon, visit Shannon Falls and take photos of the impressive waters cascading down the rocks. Then, purchase a ticket for the Sea to Sky Gondola and ride it up for unmatched views of Howe Sound.

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Day 9: Hiking Near Squamish

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park


Aerial view of the peak
Shutterstock 

Stawamus Chief in British Columbia

With a full day in Squamish, it’s the perfect opportunity for one last hike in the Canadian Rockies. Get ready for a steep incline and epic views on the Stawamus Chief Trail, a 3.6-mile loop with three peaks.

This hike is a great workout with a huge payoff for your efforts. The first viewpoint will take your breath away and is the ideal spot to stop for a snack or lunch with a view of the mountains and Howe Sound.

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Day 10: Squamish To Vancouver

Sea To Sky Highway


Beautiful aerial view of downtown Vancouver skyline, British Columbia, Canada
Shutterstock

Beautiful aerial view of downtown Vancouver skyline, British Columbia, Canada

The road trip comes to a close on day 10, but not before you embark on one of Canada’s most scenic drives: The Sea To Sky Highway. The route winds along the West Coast of British Columbia, offering ocean views as you head towards the bustling city of Vancouver.

When you reach the city, you can return your rental car and then check in at your accommodation. The city itself has tons to offer, like biking along the SeaWall in Stanley Park or shopping and grabbing lunch at the Granville Island Public Market.

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