A Road Trip through the Stunning Canadian Rockies

Punita Malhotra


The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Canadian Rockies stretches 180,000 square kilometres through British Columbia and Alberta. Nature puts on a dramatic show of all its precious bounties all along the drive. The soaring mountains, plunging canyons, glittering glaciers, brilliant lakes, alpine meadows and dense forests of the vast landscape make it a spellbinding visual treasure like no other on the planet. And one of the most exciting ways to experience the spectacles of this fascinating region is with a road trip.


Drive an hour from Calgary to arrive in Canmore - the focal point of the stunning Kananaskis Valley, which lies at the foothill of the eastern end of Banff National Park. Look forward to teeing off on world-class courses, fly-fishing in gurgling mountain streams, embarking on the Ha Ling hiking trail, and mountain biking at the Nordic Centre. Soak up the scenic vistas at the Quarry and Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes. Indulgent urges can be satisfied with an extravagant helicopter ride over the Three Sisters Mountain Ranges.

Banff National Park

6,641 square kilometres of soaring mountain peaks, glacial lakes, and outdoor adventure come together in a vibrant kaleidoscope of treats at Canada's first national park. Banff town, located on the park's southern edge, is the ideal base to explore the national historical sites or go skiing or snowshoeing. Those keen on active pursuits can sign up for trails to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Upper Hot Springs and Sulphur Mountain Gondola ride.

The crowning jewel of the Banff National Park is shimmering Lake Louise. Go canoeing in the turquoise-green waters of the lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Hikers can look forward to a rewarding trail from the lake shores to the Plain of Six Glaciers. The climb leads to a traditional Canadian teahouse and uninterrupted glacier views. Amp up the experience with a stay at Scottish-castle-styled Fairmont Banff Springs, nestled between pine trees and mountains. The most exclusive of the 757 accommodations is the Royal Suite, with a spiral staircase, stunning artwork and a grand piano.

Icelands Parkway

This spectacular highway connecting Banff and Jasper National Parks runs 145 miles parallel to the Continental Divide. Expect to be blown away by mind-numbing mountain scenery, roaring waterfalls, emerald lakes and alpine meadows. The highlight of the route from Lake Louise to Jasper is a narrow valley of 230 kilometres between the glacial peaks of the Canadian Rockies. From the Bow Summit, you can stare at the glittering, brilliantly-coloured glacial-fed Peyto Lake hidden within wooded surroundings.

Head to the Columbia Icefield, the largest icefield in the Rockies, which feeds many underground rivers and caves and flows into three oceans. Ride an all-terrain Ice Explorer, a massive vehicle specially designed for glacier travel with an experienced driver-guide or challenge yourself to the 1.4-kilometre Athabasca Glacier Trail. Feel the adrenaline rush of walking over the glass floor of the viewing platform of the Glacier Skywalk, perched 918 feet above the ground. 

Jasper National Park

Let your love for outdoor adventures guide you into the depths of the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. This vast wilderness of majestic peaks, abundant wildlife and rugged natural beauty was once home to the indigenous peoples, fur traders and railway workers. One of the most coveted viewing spots in the National Park is Horseshoe Lake, a horseshoe-shaped swimming hole for cliff diving. Also be sure to stop at Medicine Lake to spot native wildlife like big horn sheep, elk, moose, and black bears.

A cruise across the azure Maligne Lake is the best way to see the world-famous Spirit Island, one of Canada's most photographed locations. You should also bookmark the Jasper SkyTram ride to the summit of Whistlers Mountain, the highest and longest guided aerial tramway in Canada. When you want a rest away from the multitude of activities why not choose to stay at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, a log cabin village enveloped by greenery and tucked away within looming mountains.

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