There are many great wilderness regions on our planet that are crying out to be explored, but western Canada surely has to be one of the very best. The grandiose vistas of turquoise lakes, stunning, snow-capped mountain ranges and rolling forests combine brilliantly with vibrant cities, friendly people and thrilling outdoor adventures that make it an unforgettable destination for the ultimate Canadian RV road trip.
Western Canada RV Road Trip Itinerary
There’s literally so much to see and do that planning an RV itinerary can be a bit of a headache. That’s why we’ve decided to do it for you, and come up with a 15-day trip that is simply jam-packed with sights, attractions, and experiences. The beauty of western Canada awaits, all from the comfort of your RV and a road trip that you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Day 1 – Calgary
You’re welcome to begin your ultimate RV road trip anywhere you like, but we’ve decided to begin in Calgary – the heart of Canadian cowboy country. Here in the shadow of the majestic Rocky Mountains, the famous Calgary Stampede is held every July and is one of the largest rodeos in the world. Over one million visitors come to witness what had been dubbed “the greatest outdoor show on earth.”
Even if the festival isn’t your thing, Calgary has a lengthy list of enjoyable attractions to suit every taste. The nightlife is booming with a young crowd, the shopping on 8th Avenue is world-class, the historic zoo is hugely popular with families, and Prince Island Park offers a beautiful greenspace getaway with eclectic concerts in the summer. Don’t miss the views from the top of the Calgary Tower for a wonderful birds-eye view of “Cow Town.”
Days 2 to 4 – Banff and Surroundings
Next, you’ll head to Banff, a resort town in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and one of the most visited vacation destinations in the world. Located within Banff National Park, it’s your first port of call along your road trip in western Canada and a playground for anyone who is into the great outdoors. Climbing, hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing are all readily available in the region, as well all the winter sports you can think of during the season.
It’s here that you’ll get to experience the otherworldly delights of Lake Louise – a picture-postcard destination and ski-resort that is framed by the dramatic Rockies. Famous for its gorgeous turquoise color, the lake attracts kayakers and canoeists in the summer and is a breathtaking ice rink in winter. A visit to the Cave and Basin hot springs is essential, but if you’d rather keep away from the crowds, then nearby Yoho National Park offers glaciers and waterfalls in abundance in a hiker’s paradise.
Day 5 – The Drive to Jasper
Highway 93 North is otherwise known as the Icefields Parkway and is one of the most beautiful road trips on the planet. It’s 232 kilometers of jaw-dropping scenery that you can enjoy from the comfort of your RV as you continue on your western Canada tour. It will take you about three hours, but you’ll want to stop regularly to take it all in, snap some great photos, and explore this historic and fascinating landscape up close.
The biggest challenge will be deciding where to actually stop during this leg of your journey, as there’s so much to see and do it could take up your whole vacation itself. Peyto Lake is the most visited lake in the Rockies and should be viewed from Bow summit. The Weeping Wall is a series of waterfalls 100 meters high that look like the mountain is crying. The Columbia Icefield contains the largest glaciers outside the arctic circle, and the Glacier Sky Walk offers a glass-floored viewpoint 280 meters above the stunning Sunwapta Valley floor. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg along this section of this great Canadian road trip.
Days 6 to 7 – Jasper and Surroundings
Your next port of call on this western Canada itinerary is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jasper. Here you can enjoy the Maligne Lake cruise – one of the best experiences in Canada and highly recommended by everyone who has experienced it. Included is a visit to the mystical Spirit Island, which is the most photographed island in the world. This is certain to be a genuinely unforgettable experience as part of your ultimate RV road trip.
The village of Jasper is well worth visiting – not least to see local wildlife wandering its charming streets. If you have a head for heights, take in the Jasper SkyTram – which is the country’s highest and longest guided ariel tramway. With the scenery alone in and around Jasper – for body and mind – this part of the world is certainly one of the healthiest places to travel in.
Days 8 to 9 – Wells Gray Provincial Park
The Yellowhead Highway is another stretch of tarmac crying out for the wheels of your RV. You’ll be heading to Wells Gray Provincial Park, which boasts 1.3 million acres of wilderness and wildlife. Along the way, you’ll pass by the highest point in the Canadian Rockies – Mount Robson. Take a break here on this part of the Trans-Canadian Highway, but if you’re into rock-climbing, you might never want to leave.
The park itself is home to over 40 named waterfalls and is a dream for anyone who loves nature and the outdoors. Helmcken Falls is 141 meters of rushing water on the Murtle River and the park’s most famous attraction. Follow the Rim Trail for the best possible views – and if you’re visiting in winter it’s spectacularly frozen solid.
Days 10 to 11 – Whistler
Host to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Whistler is North America’s number one winter sports resort. It’s one of the most iconic ski and snowboarding locations in the world, and here you’ll be rubbing shoulders with people from just about every snow-loving country you can think of – plus loads of Australians, too!
The Peak 2 Peak gondola is a particular highlight, which connects the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb and is the highest of its kind on the planet. Whistler itself is a picturesque winter-wonderland, where the apres-ski is just as much fun as a day on the slopes. Make no mistake though, people here are obsessed with a good layer of fresh powder.
Day 12 to 13 – Victoria
Your Canada road trip makes its way to the coast now with yet another sensational drive that’s up there with the finest journeys on earth. Highway 99 will blow your mind with what you’ll see from your RV’s windows – so just make sure you focus on the road and take regular stops! You’ll be on your way to catch a ferry to the beautiful Vancouver Island.
Here, you’ll spend some time in the delightful town of Victoria – the capital of British Columbia. It has a historic harbor that is a must to walk around, but also you shouldn’t miss the famous Butchart Gardens – which is one of the best botanical and public gardens in the world and visited by over one million people each year. If all else fails, then a whale-watching excursion is essential. You’ll have front-row seats to watch these great behemoths of the sea showing off in the waters of the North Pacific.
Days 14 to 15 – Vancouver
Young, hip, trendy, and vibrant, Vancouver is a clean and cosmopolitan city that offers a rich tapestry of culture and the arts. World-class bars and restaurants are in abundance, and you’ll never be stuck for ideas of what to do on a night out in Vancouver which has become one of the most livable cities on earth – all nestled amidst an enviable backdrop of sun, sea, snow, sand, and sky.
This city is a must-see when exploring western Canada, with a seemingly endless list of sights and attractions. Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Grouse Mountain are not to be missed, and the Victorian-era Gastown makes for a perfect evening stroll to wind down your ultimate RV road trip. But don’t forget to hit up Robson Street for some last-minute holiday shopping and souvenirs.
The Ultimate Western Canada Itinerary
As far as RV road trips go, this is up there with the very best that money can buy. It’s simply got everything you would want from a touring holiday and then some. Leisurely taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery our little planet can offer, an RV tour through western Canada is a must inclusion on everyone’s bucket list.
Have you visited western Canada? Is there anything we missed on our tour itinerary?