Perfect if you want to explore the mountains in more depth, this self-drive takes you into the Kootenay Rockies. Cross mountain passes, explore lesser-visited national parks and relax in hot spring towns.
Suggested route & duration
Suggested route 10 nights from Calgary
Calgary: 1 night
Kananaskis: 1 night
Radium Hot Springs: 1 night
Nelson: 2 nights
Revelstoke: 2 nights
Field/Yoho National Park: 2 nights
About this independent tour
Why you’ll love this self-drive
Get away from the crowds by visiting smaller parks such as Glacier, Kootenay and Revelstoke
Stay at a cosy lodge on the shore of Yoho’s beautiful Emerald Lake
Drive the southern half of the Icefields parkway and enjoy an included trip in an Ice Explorer vehicle out onto the Athabasca Glacier
When to go
The weather is generally warm and sunny during the summer but this is when there will be bigger crowds
You can travel in spring or autumn but you may experience some wintery weather
In spring, the famous Rocky Mountain lakes will not have completely thawed and they don’t turn their famous turquoise colour until summer
Suggested self-drive details
Day 1: Calgary Soak up Calgary’s cowboy-town vibe. Stay 2 nights at Delta Hotel by Marriott Calgary Downtown.
Day 3: Kananaskis Head towards the Rockies and stay in a lodge at the foot of Mount Kidd in Kananaskis Country. Stay at Mount Kidd Manor.
Day 4: Radium Hot Springs Pass through Banff National Park before crossing into British Columbia. Hike through Marble Canyon and drive in the shadows of the Kootenay Mountain ranges on your way to Radium Hot Springs. Stay at Prestige Radium Hot Springs Resort.
Day 5: Nelson From the gold rush town of Nelson, you can explore the Selkirk Mountain Range and the nearby Kootenay Lake. Stay 2 nights at Prestige Lakeside Inn.
Day 7: Revelstoke Spend some time in the town of Revelstoke, the gateway to the national park of the same name. Stay 2 nights at Coast Hillcrest Resort.
Day 9: Field Explore the shore of Emerald Lake and set off on a full-day adventure driving the southern section of the Icefields Parkway. Stay 2 nights at Emerald Lake Lodge.
Calgary is where modern Alberta meets the wrangling days of the Old West
Into the Rockies
Your first taste of the mountains will be in Kananaskis – an outdoor playground with trails, lakes and rivers
During your stay in Nelson, sail, kayak or stand-up paddleboard on the beautiful Kootenay Lake
Enjoy your stay at the simple but beautifully located Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park
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
As you’ll be getting off the beaten track, the choice of hotels is limited and they are usually quite simple in style. However, a visit to the Rockies is all about being outside so they will just be a place to sleep. Emerald Lake Lodge, the hotel in Yoho National Park, is one of our favourite spots in the Rockies.
From Emerald Lake Lodge, you can walk around the lakeshore on the 3-mile trail as well as visiting the nearby Natural Bridge and hiking to the 373-metre high Takakkaw Falls. While driving between Field and Banff, stop at the Spiral Tunnels viewpoint to see the trains weave their way up or down the mountain slopes.
10 nights is the minimum time you should set aside for this as you’ll want to take it slow and enjoy the views. If you want to slow the pace a bit more or spend more time hiking, you can add nights in Yoho National Park or spend a night in Banff before heading back to Calgary.
Calgary is well connected to the rest of the country so you could head west to Vancouver or Vancouver Island or head home via the cities of Eastern Canada. Or, instead of returning to Calgary you can head to Jasper National Park and finish your self-drive in Edmonton.
Self-drive the national parks of Alberta and British Columbia
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