The best 10-day itinerary in the Canadian Rockies

Touring the Canadian Rockies is the experience of a lifetime.

You can discover majestic mountains, remarkable wildlife and alpine lakes so beautiful that they are world famous.

If you only have 10 days for your vacation in Western Canada, this is the perfect itinerary the make the most out of your short time here.
 

Map of the 10-day itinerary in Western Canada

Map of the 10-day itinerary in the Canadian Rockies


Western Canada road trip summary

Day 1 : Calgary 

Downtown Calgary and Calgary Tower
Calgary is the starting point of your Western Canada road trip

Welcome to Calgary, a cosmopolitan city with an old-fashioned western accent that's sure to win you over.

This young, vibrant and trendy metropolis is an excellent starting point for a tour of the Canadian Rockies.

Start by soaking up the city on your way to the Calgary Tower's glass-floor observation deck . From the top floor, standing 190 meters tall, it will offer you an exceptional 360-degree panorama of Calgary and its skyscrapers, the prairies and the Rockies!

Then take advantage of the rest of your day to stroll through central Calgary and browse the many shops and cafes in the city center.

Visit Calgary Peace bridge
Peace Bridge, Calgary

Be sure to visit the Peace Bridge , a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Bow River. You will thus be able to enjoy a beautiful view of the river and downtown Calgary.

Are you planning to come at the beginning of July? So get ready for a unique experience in Canada: the Stampede, the largest rodeo event in the country.

Don't go to bed too late because you need to be in good shape for the start of the road trip tomorrow!
 

Authentik favourite :coeur: emoji :

Treat yourself to a drink or even a dinner in one of the two restaurants in the Calgary Tower. Unforgettable experience guaranteed.

 

Days 2-3 : Waterton Lakes National Park  (271 km / 02h48)

Canadian Rockies Waterton Lakes
Waterton Lakes Park

Your 10-day Canadian Rockies road trip begins today.

Pick up your rental car in Calgary and set off for Waterton Lakes National Park, made up of beautiful waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, rivers and towering mountains. It is not the most famous park in Western Canada, but yet it enjoys exceptional panoramas that are worth the detour.

For a first excursion and to stretch your legs after 3 hours of driving, I suggest the Bear's hump hiking trail, located just before Waterton Village. This is a quick, short hike and great for a first trip to the park. At the top, a superb view of the mountains of the valley and the meadows awaits you.

The next day you will have a full day to explore the park which, despite its small size, does not lack attractions and amazing hikes.

Red rock canyon visit Canadian Rockies
Red Rock Canyon

There are around 200 km of trails for all levels here, so the choice will be vast and you can go according to your abilities and your desires. Here are some examples of popular hikes in the park:

Crypt lake

  • Distance : 17,2 km
  • Length : 6 to 7 hours
  • Level : Difficult
  • Elevation : 700 m

Located at an altitude of more than 2,200 meters, this trail, accessible by boat, is reserved for fans of rather sporty hiking. The efforts you will have to cover during these 17 km will quickly be rewarded with the exceptional panoramas that await you.
 

Lower Bertha Falls 

  • Distance :  5,2 km
  • Length : 1hour 30 minutes
  • Level : Easy
  • Elevation : 175 m

A hike that presents several options, making it more or less long and difficult. Allow 1,5 h for the portion that leads to the lower falls, but note that you can also continue to the upper falls and finish at Lake Bertha (which adds 7 km round trip to the initial hike).
 

Red Rock Canyon 

  • Distance :  0,6 km
  • Length : 30 minutes
  • Level : Easy
  • Elevation : 29 m

A canyon with flamboyant colours accentuated by the surrounding lush vegetation and the peaks in the background. A privileged place for picnics and photography enthusiasts.

Otherwise, if you like water activities, know that you can rent a kayak, a paddle board or even a canoe to navigate on Waterton Lake.

On hot summer days you can also swim in the (very) cool waters of the lake.
 

Authentik favourite :coeur: emoji :

At the end of the afternoon, when the sunlight is the best, take a cruise on Waterton Lake and contemplate the Rocky Mountains from an exceptional point of view. Keep your eyes peeled and do not forget your camera because in addition to the sublime natural settings, you will certainly have the privilege of meeting many wild animals.

 

Days 4-6 : Banff  (372 km / 03h55)

Banff alpine village visit in 2 days
Banff

Your road trip in Western Canada continues to Banff.

This picturesque alpine village, perched at an altitude of 1380 meters, is located in the national park of the same name, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

During the next three days, stroll through the village, enjoy the many shops and restaurants along the main avenue with the impressive Cascade Mountain in the background, and explore the many hiking trails in the area.

In fact, directly from Banff, there are several to explore.

Among my favorite hikes are the Tunnel Mountain Summit and its breathtaking view all the way up and at the top, Fenland Trail which allows you to discover the region's ecosystem on a self-guided interpretive trail in the middle of old spruce trees or the pleasant walk along the Bow River, to Bow Falls Viewpoint .

Lower falls johnston canyon hike
Lower Falls of Johnston Canyon

Outside the village, do not miss the must-sees of Banff National Park, such as Lake Minnewanka , or the popular Johnston Canyon hike which takes you through the heart of a canyon to impressive falls.

Those who want to relax will appreciate the Upper Hot Spring , a public swimming pool fed by hot springs. With the view of the Bow Valley, relaxation will be optimal.

At the end of the day, head to Vermilion Lakes to admire one of the most beautiful sunsets in Canada.
 

Authentik favourite :coeur: emoji :

Take a little (a lot) of height and treat yourself to the incredible experience of a helicopter flight over the Canadian Rockies . Departing from Canmore, a charming village not far from Banff, climb aboard a helicopter, soar through the air, and gaze at mountain ridges, alpine meadows and the most beautiful lakes in Western Canada. Strong emotions guaranteed!

 

Days 7-8 : Jasper  (292 km / 03h41)

Driving the icefields parkway canada
The Icefields Parkway

On the program today, one of the most beautiful scenic roads in Western Canada to get to Jasper: the Icefields Parkway.

Along the way, do not miss these must-see stops: Herbert Lake , Peyto Lake or the impressive Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls .

You can of course make a stop at Lake Louise , but note that you will stay there one night on your return from Jasper.

Maligne Lake Jasper
Maligne Lake inside Jasper National Park 

Jasper National Park offers many excursions and there is something for everyone.

Jump on the Jasper Skytram  to admire one of the most beautiful vantage points in the Rockies (if you can, do it at sunset for an even more spectacular panorama) and if you're up to it, continue your adventure via the hiking trail to the top of Whistlers Mountain.

Out of all the things to do in Jasper, you must discover is Mount Edith Cavell , an impressive summit standing at 3300 meters. Be careful, however, if you are planning a road trip in RV in Western Canada as the road to get there is narrow and has tight switchbacks. From up there, hiking trails allow you to explore this area of Jasper Park.
 

Authentik favourite :coeur: emoji :

A road trip in the Canadian Rockies cannot be complete without a Maligne Lake cruise. This 90-minute excursion will take you to Spirit Island, the most photographed island in the world.

 

Day 9 : Lake Louise  (235 km / 03h02)

Lake Louise what to see
Lake Louise in the Summer

For the penultimate day of your tour in the Canadian Rockies, you will have the pleasure driving down the Icefields Parkway again, enjoying one last time the most beautiful wonders of Western Canada.

Leave Jasper National Park early to arrive at Lake Louise by the end of the morning and enjoy this panorama that you have seen so many times on postcards :;): emoji.

Admire it from the shore, by canoe or go (again) for a beautiful hike in the Canadian Rockies.

Yoho National Park guide
Emerald Lake inside Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park

Yoho National Park is about a 30-minute drive from Lake Louise.

I suggest you go there in the late afternoon and stay until sunset, to enjoy the beautiful light reflections. It will also be easier to find space in parking lots that are crowded in the middle of the day during high season.

A stop at Takakkaw Falls is a must, marvel at their 250 meters heigth and at the magnificent Emerald Lake and its exceptional panorama.

If you want to spoil yourself and end this trip to Western Canada perfectly, treat yourself to a drink or book a table to eat at one of the restaurants at the superb Emerald Lake Lodge.

 

Day 10 : Calgary (183 km / 01h57)

Moraine Lake visit
Moraine Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in the Canadian Rockies 

This morning, get up very early to see the famous Moraine Lake , located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, about 14 kilometers from the village of Lake Louise.

For many travellers, this is the most beautiful place in Western Canada.

After that, it will be time to return to Calgary to catch your flight back home.

You leave behind the majestic Canadian Rockies, but the wonderful memories you have just created for yourself will stay in your memory forever.
 

 

Here you go!

Tell us, how inspired are you by this 10-day tour in the Canadian Rockies?

Do not hesitate to ask your questions or share your suggestions in comments.

Karolane Lessard

An enthusiast of both our vibrant cities & great oudoors, my life revolves around travel & adventure. It's a no brainer that I have to share the wonders & secrets of my neck of the woods with other travelling souls. Enjoy the journey !

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