You might want to plan to stay on for a few days to see a bit of the country too. Either go in your own car, or sign up for a bus tour with Brewster Travel Canada to visit some of the most beautiful country in the world.
The WEG Planning Committee is not organizing a bus tour as Brewster Travel has more options than we could ever offer!
Brewster Travel Canada has been providing excellent natural experiences to guests of the Canadian Rocky Mountains since 1892. They now own and operate five of the biggest attractions in the Rocky Mountains; the Banff Gondola, Banff Lake Cruise, Glacier Adventure, Glacier Skywalk and Canada’s #1 boat cruise Maligne Lake Cruise. They are local travel experts who help all their guests get the very most out of their Canadian Rockies holiday.
If you would rather plan your own road trip (or trips) here are a few suggestions. And don’t forget, because it is Canada’s 150th anniversary all visitors get free passes for ALL National Parks.
A two- or three-day trip in the mountains:
From Calgary, drive 90 minutes west to Banff. The National Geographic Traveler magazine named Banff National Park one of the best destinations in the world to visit in 2017! Spend a few hours exploring the town and surroundings (allow a half-day).
From Banff drive 1/2 hour west to Lake Louise which is one of the most visited places in Canada. If you have not had lunch already, one of the restaurants here might be a good place to eat!
After Lake Louise, head north on the Banff-Jasper highway (also known as the Ice fields) Parkway, which is arguably one of the prettiest drives in the world. This about a 3 3/4 hour drive, but along the way you will want to stop at
The Columbia Ice Fields, and if you are feeling adventurous, the Glacier Skywalk.
There are many other lovely stops along the way.
Stay overnight in Jasper. Make sure to book your room well in advance! Trip Adviser is probably your best bet for finding the right room for you.
You can either head back down the way you came, or go four hours east from Jasper to Edmonton, with a stop at Miette Hot Springs (which has the hottest hot springs in the Canadian Rockies) along the way.
You can either stay overnight in Edmonton, or drive 2 1/2 hours south on the QE2 highway back to Calgary.
Some other suggested sites and road trips
A great day trip:
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, which was used by First Nations people for more than 6,000 years
the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, The site of Canada’s deadliest rock slide,
and historic Fort Whoop Up, the original fort built by the Northwest Mounted Police to combat the whiskey traders coming in from Montana.
The trip: Make a leisurely 2-hour drive south from Calgary on the QE2 highway and a short jaunt west on Highway 3 (the Crowsnest highway) to the Buffalo Jump. It has a great interpretive centre, and you can go to the top of the jump where you can see the amazing prairie vista, and clearly see why the jump worked so well.
After seeing the Buffalo jump, drive another hour west on Highway 3 to the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. It is truly an amazing experience to drive through the slide of huge rocks that careened down the mountain and wiped out half of the town of Frank. The interpretive centre tells the story.
From the Frank Slide, drive 1 1/2 hours east on highway 3 to the city of Lethbridge where you can see Fort Whoop Up.
While you are in Lethbridge you might also visit the beautiful Nikka Yuko Janapanese Garden.
The drive back to Calgary will take about two hours – a long day, but worth it!
Another interesting day trip:
The Royal Tyrrell Museum nestled in the Alberta Badlands just 90 minutes northeast of Calgary.
Head north on Hwy 2, then east on Hwy 72, which turns into Hwy 9 taking you to Drumheller. En route stop at the Horseshoe Canyon scenic viewpoint, just outside Drumheller. Continue on to the World’s Largest Dinosaur, located at the town’s visitor information centre. Climb up and peer out from its jaws for a sweeping view of the badlands. Next, head north on the Dinosaur Trail (Hwy 838), through Midland Provincial Park and follow the signs to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It’s considered one of the world’s finest dinosaur museums and features fascinating galleries and skeletons from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
The museum features ten signature galleries devoted to paleontology, with 40 dinosaur skeletons with more than 110,000 fossil specimens. You could easily spend two days there, but a few hours will at least give you a taste!
Back on Hwy 838, drive north to the Horsethief Canyon lookout. Grab your camera and stand at the edge for a breathtaking view of the valley below. Continue on and cross the Red Deer River on the cable-operated Bleriot Ferry – one of the few left in Alberta. On the other side you’ll find you’re back on the Dinosaur Trail. Follow it south for a scenic tour through the Drumheller Valley.
Pick up the Hoodoo Trail (Hwy 10) and drive to the protected hoodoos site where you can see up close the impressive eroded sandstone and limestone chimneys of rock. Continue on through coal-mining country to visit the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site. Here you can climb inside the last wooden tipple in Canada and see for yourself if these old buildings really are haunted.
Head back along Hwy 10 and connect with Hwy 10X. Cross 11 single-lane bridges to the hamlet of Wayne and its historic Last Chance Saloon. Grab a picnic table outside, or sit inside and listen to tunes on the vintage jukebox. After a day of exploring, you’ll be ready for some cooked-to-order Alberta beef and an ice cold beverage.
DINOSAUR PROVINCIAL PARK
From Wayne, take highway 10, and then highway 36 to Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Visiting Dinosaur Provincial Park is like stepping into another world. There’s a chance for a new discovery around every corner! Explore badlands, camp under the stars or participate in an authentic dinosaur dig. Be amazed by the abundant fossils, unusual wildlife and stunning landscapes of this UNESCO World Heritage Site near Brooks, Alberta. If you’d like to take a guided tour into the park’s Natural Preserve, we highly recommend booking your tour seats ahead of your visit. These programs are very popular and sell out during the summer months.
From the Park, it is about 2 1/2 hours back to Calgary. The end of another perfect day!