Mountain Express Self-Drive
This Western Canada self-drive is short but sweet. Set off from Calgary, head up into the Rocky Mountains and explore two of Canada’s most famous national parks – Banff and Jasper. Spend a night in Sun Peaks before dipping down to sea level and spending a couple of nights in Vancouver.
Suggested route & duration
Suggested route 7 nights from Calgary
• Calgary: 1 night
• Banff: 2 nights
• Jasper: 1 night
• Sun Peaks: 1 night
• Vancouver: 2 nights
About this independent tour
Why you’ll love this self-drive
• Head up to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, two of Banff National Park’s top beauty spots
• Drive the Icefields Parkway and stop off at glaciers, lakes and waterfalls along the way
• Stargaze in Jasper, the world’s second largest Dark Sky Preserve
• Hike and bike the trails in Sun Peaks
• Explore Vancouver’s parks, waterways and farmer’s markets
• This itinerary can also be done in a motorhome.
Suggested self-drive details
Day 1: CalgarySpend a night in Calgary before beginning your trip. Stay at Calgary Marriott Hotel.
Day 2: Banff Enjoy the views as you drive towards the Rocky Mountains. Spend a couple of nights in Banff and make the most of the mountain backdrops and glacier-fed lakes. Stay 2 nights at Buffalo Mountain Lodge.
Day 4: Jasper Set off north along the Icefields Parkway, a spectacular mountain road that connects Banff and Jasper National Parks. During your stay in Jasper, explore its breathtaking canyons and lakes and keep an eye out for elk, bears, wolves and mountain goats. Stay at The Crimson.
Day 5: Sun Peaks Hit the road again and stop off in Mount Robson and Wells Gray Provincial Parks on your way to the mountain resort of Sun Peaks. Stay at Sun Peaks Grand Hotel.
Day 6: Vancouver The last leg of your drive brings you to Vancouver, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. A hop-on/hop-off city bus tour and visit to the Vancouver Lookout is included during your stay. Stay 2 nights at Coast Coal Harbour.
Ride the Mount Norquay Sightseeing Chairlift and enjoy the views out over the town and mountains
Ride on ice
Elevate your day on the Icefields Parkway by adding a trip onto the Athabasca Glacier
See the beauty of Maligne Lake and the famous Spirit Island in Jasper National Park
Cycle Stanley Park
Add a cycling tour of Stanley Park, a great introduction to the city’s green spaces and beaches
Tailor your tour
Make it your own
We’ve crafted this self-drive based on our own experiences and customers’ feedback. It’s fully flexible, so talk to us and we can create your perfect trip.
Where to stay
We’ve chosen superior accommodation on this tour but it’s easy to upgrade your hotels. In Banff you can upgrade to either Fairmont Banff Springs, or the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise where you can enjoy traditional afternoon tea overlooking the lake.
There are a couple of Vancouver experiences included on this self-drive but there are plenty of other things to do. As you drive the Icefields Parkway, take a trip on to the Athabasca Glacier and later find a spot for a picnic lunch. In Jasper National Park, head out on a cruise on Maligne Lake.
This self-drive is just a week long so it’s a great option if you’re short on time or you want to add a Rockies self-drive to an Alaska cruise or a trip around Vancouver Island. If you have a few more days to spare, add an extra night in Jasper or extend your stay in Vancouver.
After your time in Jasper, add a stay in Wells Gray Provincial Park – home to the thundering Helmcken Falls – or the legendary mountain resort of Whistler. You can also head over the Strait of Georgia and spend a night or two in Victoria and Tofino or Ucluelet.
Good to know
When to go
• Late spring is a good time to travel but the lakes in Banff and Jasper will not have thawed and some seasonal roads may be closed
• Summers are busy in the Rockies so you’ll need to book early
• In October, the crowds thin out and the larch needles turn a beautiful shade of orange
• The first snowfall in the mountains can occur in late September or early October