A to B: Vancouver, BC to Calgary, AB
Distance: 650 Miles
Suggested Length: 10 Days
I drove across British Columbia on the Trans-Canada Highway to see glaciers, waterfalls, emerald lakes, and more. Highlights include four Canadian parks: Revelstoke, Glacier, Yoho, and Banff National Parks.
If you have the option, I suggest doing this trip west to east. Every stop was better than the last, ending with the amazing Banff National Park. To make the trip shorter, you can fly in and out of Calgary and plan six days to drive to Yoho and back.
Start: Vancouver, British Columbia
The absolutely best thing to do near Vancouver is the Capillano Suspension Bridge.
Stop 1: CHILLIWACK & BRIDAL VEIL FALLS
Only 1.5 hours from downtown Vancouver will get you to a very cute town called Chilliwack and just passed it, the 400-ft tall Bridal Veil Falls.
Stop 2: Revelstoke National Park
A beautiful 5-hour northeast will bring you to the first of four Canadian National Parks along the Trans-Canada Highway: Revelstoke. The Meadows in the Sky Parkway is a great drive up the mountain with stunning views and colorful wildflowers in the summertime.
Stop 3: GLACIER National Park
A quick one hour drive from Mount Revelstoke gets you to Glacier National Park. There are tons of glaciers visibile right from the road, and you can pull off at a few road-side parking lots to take photos. If you are looking for a hike, the Sir Donald Trail is an easy option to get you closer to the magnificent glaciers.
Stop 4: Golden skybridge
One hour past Glacier National Park, and you will get to the charming town of Golden, British Columbia. This city is a great place to stop for a relaxing afternoon and night. The skybridge adventure park is a fun place for the whole family to enjoy.
Stop 5: Yoho National Park
Less than an hour from Golden is the beginning of Yoho National Park. It's a beautiful drive as the Trans-Canada Highway bisects the park. Emerald Lake is a great place to stop, but the absolute must-see location is Takakkaw Falls. This is the second tallest waterfall in the whole country, and it is definitely worth the drive.
Stop 6: Lake Louise Village in Banff National Park
Just half an hour from Yoho National Park is the northwest entrance to Banff National Park. Along the drive, you'll cross the Continental Divide, which acts as the border between Yoho and Banff as well as the border of British Columbia and Alberta. The fourth and last National Park on this road trip is the best, and that's why I recommend driving west to east. There are three main parts of Banff you will want to see, and the first are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake from the area know as Lake Louise Village. This is a nice place to spot for a night with great hotels and a few restaurants.
Stop 7: Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park
Driving down from Lake Louise Village to the city of Banff, you have two options. You can take the Trans-Canada Highway for a faster drive or the older and more scenic Bow Valley Parkway. This is an absolute must as you really don't want to miss Johnston Canyon. It's a pretty difficult hike to see the Upper Falls in Johnston Canyon, but it is an awesome hike and a very cool waterfall.
Stop 8: Banff, Alberta
It's pretty interesting that the city of Banff is within the National Park, and it is not short of cool sights. The single best thing to do in the city of Banff is the Cascade of Time Gardens.
Stop 9: Canmore, Alberta
Less than half an hour from downtown Banff, the town of Canmore is not to be missed. It's a smaller and less busy version of Banff, and I found it very charming. Canmore is a great place to grab dinner and shop for souvenirs.
End: Calgary, Alberta
The city of Calgary is around 90 minutes from Banff and just over an hour from Canmore. There is a ton to do in this city, and I recommend a couple full days if you want to feel like you have time to see it all. It's the largest city in the province of Alberta, and you'll definitely want to enjoy some barbeque, see the library, and explore the Skywalk system.