Are you planning a road trip from Calgary to Vancouver?

Whether you rent an RV or small vehicle , you’re guaranteed to fall in love with the natural beauty of the Rockies.

However, there are so many things to see along the way, it may be difficult to organise an itinerary.

So we’ve looked into all the best stops along the way that your whole family can enjoy on the perfect Canada RV vacation.

Continue reading to discover the 20 best stops on a Calgary to Vancouver road trip.

Calgary

Calgary is the ideal starting off point for this road trip.

This Canadian city, nicknamed “Cowtown,” is steeped in Western culture and provides an ideal gateway to two of the most beautiful national parks in the entire country.

Keep scrolling for the top attractions in Calgary.

1. Calgary Tower

No trip to Canada’s fourth largest city would be complete without visiting Calgary Tower.

The mesmerizing tower opened back in 1967 to celebrate Canada’s centennial.

It stands over 190 metres tall and towers over the city down below.

The tower is one of Calgary’s best attractions owing to the 360 degree panoramic view it offers to visitors.

Take the elevator to the top and prepare to be delighted.

If you dare – step onto the glass floor and marvel at downtown Calgary down below.

There is also a gift shop, restaurant, and all-new theatre room on-site.

  • Address: 101 9 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1J9, Canada
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-9pm

Official site

2. Glenbow Museum

To learn more about the history and culture of Calgary, look no further than the Glenbow Museum.

The Glenbow Museum is a cultural institution in downtown Calgary centred on art and history.

It was founded by philanthropist Eric Lafferty Harvie in 1966.

Today, the site is a major research centre for some of the top historians and genealogists in Canada.

Meanwhile, its art collection comprises over 30,000 unique works of art from the 19th century to the present.

Finally, as you make you way into the museum, expect to see exhibits showcasing everything from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the indigenous peoples of North America.

  • Address: 130 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0P3, Canada
  • Opening Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, Saturday 9am-5pm; Friday 9am-8pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm

Official site

3. Calgary Zoo

Just east of downtown Calgary lies the Calgary Zoo.

This wildlife experience is fun for the whole family.

It is easily accessible by car and public transit.

There is also a walking and bike path that leads right to it.

The zoo is operated by the not-for-profit organization, the Calgary Zoological Society and is open to visitors daily.

As one of the most visited animal parks in all of Canada, Calgary Zoo is renowned for its conservation research.

This facility is home to over 1,000 animals, which are divided up into different exhibits based on geography.

For example, at the Destination Africa exhibit, you will see hippos, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and red river hogs.

And in the Canadian Wilds exhibit, you can expect to see foxes, otters, mountain goats, grizzly bears, and more.

  • Address: 210 St. George’s Drive NE, Calgary, AB T2E 7V6, Canada
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm

Check Tickets Official site


Banff

Banff is widely considered to be the most beautiful part of Canada.

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Banff is a charming alpine town with natural beauty at every turn.

Here are the best spots in Banff to explore.

4. Sulphur Mountain & Gondola

When in Banff, you have to experience the mountains!

Sulphur Mountain is one of the most popular mountains in Banff National Park, and it looks down on the town of Banff.

Hiking is one of the best activities on the mountain.

But be sure to check trail conditions in advance, as it can be icy and snowy in the winter.

In addition to hiking, Sulphur Mountain has a gondola that operates on the eastern slope.

The gondola travels up and down from summit ridge.

Upon arriving at the summit, you will find a gift shop, two restaurants, and multiple observation decks.

Don’t forget, Sulphur Mountain is the perfect spot for a photo opp!

  • Address: 100 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B2, Canada
  • Opening Hours: Times change depending on seasonality. Check daily operating hours.

Check Tickets Official site

5. Cave and Basin Hot Springs

Did you know that Alberta has natural hot springs?

That’s right, and they’re right here in Banff!

Also on Sulphur Mountain is where you will find the Cave and Basin Hot Springs.

The Cave and Basin Hot Springs have been commercially developed and are now easily accessible to visitors.

This thermal mineral springs is the only cavern large enough to accommodate groups of people, which is partly what makes it so appealing to travelers.

The site officially opened back in 1916.

Today, the facility features a bath house and swimming pool structure.

You’ll also find exhibits showcasing the importance of this historic site.

  • Address: 311 Cave Ave, Banff, AB T0L 0C0, Canada
  • Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 11am-5pm

6. Lake Louise

If you’ve seen photos of Banff, or even general photos of Canada, they probably include Lake Louise.

Lake Louise is easily one of the most famous lakes in Canada – and for good reason.

This alpine lake is an unbelievably vibrant shade of turquoise blue year round.

(It really does look like the photos!)

Located in Banff National Park, the lake is glacier fed and surrounded by snow peaked mountains.

In essence, there are few places as picturesque to experience in Canada.

Canoeing and kayaking are popular summer activities, while ice skating and ice hockey are common winter pastimes when the lake freezes.

  • Parking: Lake Louise Parking on Lake Louise Drive, close to Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Official site


Jasper

Just northwest of Banff lies Jasper, another of Canada’s natural gems.

This alpine region is the home of Jasper National Park and is filled with more glacier-fed lakes, coniferous forests, and of course, the Rocky Mountains.

7. Maligne Lake and Spirit Island

The first stop when in Jasper – Maligne Lake and Spirit Island!

Spirit Island is a tiny island that lies in Maligne Lake, and is one of the most iconic views of the Canadian rockies.

The area is found in Jasper National Park and is a popular spot for boat tours.

That is because it is only accessible by boat.

If you’re in Jasper, don’t miss the chance to see this natural site for yourself.

It is a great place for a photo opp and to just take in the serenity of nature.

8. Maligne Canyon

Maligne Canyon shows a different side of Jasper National Park – one you have to experience while on this Western Canada road trip.

This is the deepest canyon in the Rockies, reaching depths as far as 50 metres.

The canyon sits at the gateway of the Jasper Maligne Valley and thus makes it a great spot for exploring.

Hiking, walking, and wildlife watching are all popular activities in the canyon.

You’ll find an extensive series of trails maintained so visitors can easily explore the environement.

Whether you spend a whole afternoon in the canyon or end your day there after a scenic hike, you are sure to love this incredible natural wonder.

  • Parking: Maligne Canyon Parking off Maligne Lake Rd.

9. Jasper SkyTram

As you pass Jasper, going for a ride on the Jasper SkyTrain is a must!

After all, the Jasper SkyTrain is the the highest and longest aerial tramway in the entire country.

The tram was constructed in 1964 and has been wowing visitors since then.

At its peak, it reaches a height of over 2,200 metres and spans 6 kilometres in length.

As you soar through the air, you can expect to see unreal aerial views of the Rocky Mountains and the colourful forest down below.

Note that the Jasper SkyTram closes in the wintertime but reopens and is in operation daily between late March and the end of October.

  • Address: The Whistlers Trail, Jasper, AB T0E 1E0, Canada
  • Opening Hours: hours of operation change depending on seasonality.

Check Tickets Official site


Wells Gray Provincial Park

Congratulations – you’ve made it to British Columbia!

After taking the necessary time to explore Calgary, Banff, and Jasper, it’s time to continue your road trip into British Columbia.

The first stop: Wells Gray Provincial Park.

10. Helmcken Falls

Helmcken Falls should be your first destination upon arriving in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

This majestic waterfall stands 141 metres tall and was one of the reasons that a provincial park was created here.

It is the fourth largest waterfall in all of Canada.

There are many hikes that take you to the falls, and once you arrive, there is also a viewing platform to see the falls and the beautiful valley down below.

And that’s not all!

In addition to Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray Provincial Park is home to over 41 other waterfalls.

It’s no wonder they call it the land of the waterfalls.

If you’re a nature photographer or just love the magic of waterfalls, then this is the Canadian provincial park for you.

11. Trophy Mountain

Nestled in the southeastern part of Wells Gray Provincial Park lies Trophy Mountain.

Trophy Mountain reaches an elevation of nearly 8,500 feet and has nine peaks in total.

The mountain is often snow-capped, even in the summer, which means it’s always ready to be photographed!

In the summer, you can expect to find a meadow of wildflowers along the hiking trail, which helps make this one of the most beautiful natural sights in British Columbia.

Further, the mountain has diverse geological features on it.

The northern slopes are steep and home to glaciers, while the southern slopes have alpine lakes and the meadows mentioned above.

12. Clearwater Lake

There are six large lakes within Wells Gray Provincial Park, but few are as beautiful as Clearwater Lake.

Clearwater Lake is known for its crystal clear waters, which makes enjoying the water here a must.

It is an ideal spot for boating, such as kayaking or canoeing, owing to the still, calm waters.

In addition, as you explore the lake, you will be treated to a stunning backdrop of dramatic mountains.

What could be better?

Finally, there are a total of seven campgrounds located along the lake for those wishing to camp overnight, or even just enjoy a picnic.


Whistler

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, then you’ve definitely heard of Whistler.

Whistler is home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America and is conveniently located only a couple hours north of Vancouver.

13. Peak 2 Peak Gondola Whistler

If you’re travelling to Whistler, then the Peak 2 Peak Gondola is a must.

Enjoy the ride on this tri-cable gondola as it links Whistler Mountain’s Roundhouse Lodge with Blackcomb Mountain’s Rendezvous Lodge.

You’ll have a 360 degree experience that allows you to see both mountains in one incredible aerial ride.

The gondola is open year round, and is just as scenic in the summer as it is in the winter.

Especially for those not into winter sports or with mobility restrictions, the gondola is a great way to experience the mountains of Whistler.

Fun fact: Whistler’s Peak 2 Peak Gondola holds the Guinness World Record for the longest and highest lift in the world.

Official site

14. Whistler Winter Activities

Whistler is a haven for all winter sports lovers!

The alpine town is never busier than between November and March, when Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are covered in snow.

Skiing and snowboarding are definitely the most popular winter activities, with plenty of trails for people of all levels.

You also won’t have any trouble finding rentals or even signing up for lessons if you’re a beginner.

Beyond skiing and snowboarding, other winter activities include snowmobiling, snow tubing (great for families), snowshoeing, dog sledding, and ice skating.

And for all those adrenaline junkies, Whistler even offers the extreme sport of heliskiing!

Official site

15. Whistler’s Fall Activities

Though most people associate Whistler with winter, the town still has plenty to do in the offseason.

Fall is an especially beautiful time to visit owing to the stunning fall foliage.

Plus, there are lots of fun activities that do not require snow.

Kayaking, hiking, boating, golfing, fishing, and cycling are all popular.

For something a bit more thrilling, you may want to consider ATVing, white water rafting, bungee jumping, or ziplining.

Whistler Village is also a charming place to simply walk around, stopping in its many shops, restaurants, and cafes along the way.

No matter which activity you choose to do, escaping to Whistler no matter the time of year is always a great idea.

Official site


Victoria

While in British Columbia, be sure to visit the province’s capital: Victoria.

Victoria is the largest city on Vancouver Island, a short 15 minute flight or a scenic 2 hour ferry ride from Vancouver.

16. Royal British Columbia Museum

The Royal British Columbia Museum is one of Victoria’s biggest attractions.

It is one of the oldest in Canada, dating back to 1886.

The museum is specifically focused on British Columbia’s natural and history.

You’ll find numerous fascinating exhibitions, as well as an IMAX movie theatre which plays educational movies every day.

The museum’s collection showcases everything from fossils and mammals to BC archaeology and indigenous cultures.

All in all, the Royal British Columbia Museum houses one of the most impressive collections of artifacts and archives in all of Canada.

  • Address: 675 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8W 9W2, Canada
  • Opening Hours: Daily 10am-5pm

Official site

17. Butchart Gardens

Prepare to be amazed by Butchart Gardens.

Even if you think botanical gardens aren’t your thing, we bet you will love this impressive flora-filled site.

Rest assured, Butchart Gardens are not your typical public garden.

They date back over 100 years and are filled with lush and colourful blooms all year round.

The gardens are home to all types of plants and flowers, including a rose garden, Japanese garden, a Mediterranean garden, and an Italian garden.

Each season offers its own appeal, with spring and summer offering plenty of blossoming flowers, fall with its scenic fall foliage, and winter with its holiday festival (there is even an ice rink on-site).

  • Address: 800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J8, Canada
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-9pm

Check Tickets Official site


Vancouver

Your road trip is almost complete.

And what better place to end than Vancouver, Canada’s third largest city.

18. Harbour Centre Tower Lookout

To get your bearings in Vancouver, we recommend making your first stop at the Harbour Centre Tower Lookout.

This famous observation tower provides panoramic views of downtown Vancouver and English Bay.

It is the quickest way to get the lay of the land in Vancouver.

It’s also an ideal spot for a photo opp, and will look beautiful during the day or at night, when the city is lit up down below.

The Harbour Centre Tower Lookout is open daily and takes just 40 seconds by elevator to get to the top.

The deck stands over 550 feet in the air and is easily accessible by car or public transit.

  • Address: 555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 4N6, Canada
  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-9pm

Check Tickets Official site

19. Stanley Park

Stanley Park is the heart of Vancouver, which means you can’t leave the city without properly exploring this beautiful public park.

Set on English Bay, Stanley Park is 405 hectares in size.

The park is rich in history and was one of the first areas to be explored.

It is open year round and is a great spot for a simple walk, hike, jog, or bike ride.

In the summertime, the beaches along the edge of the park are a great spot for sunbathing or swimming.

Finally, don’t miss out out on the Vancouver Aquarium, which is also located in the park.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm

20. Gastown

Gastown is one of Vancouver’s hippest neighbourhoods, which means it is a must when visiting the city.

It was once a more industrial area of the city, today it is one of Vancouver’s most bustling boroughs.

Gastown is best known for its whistling Steam Clock and all-brick aesthetic.

Here, you will find everything from souvenir shops to boutique clothing stores, as well as some of the best restaurants and bars in the whole city.

There are also plenty of boutique hotels in the area for those wishing to stay in Vancouver for a few nights.

Explore Gastown


Overall, we hope this list has inspired you on your upcoming Calgary to Vancouver road trip.

Western Canada has so much to offer, from cultured cities to astounding natural beauty.

If you want to see all the attractions we’ve mentioned, get an RV organised and prepare for the ultimate experience.

Book RV Vacation from Calgary to Vancouver

emily
Emily is a freelance writer from Canada and it was during her time studying History that she became interested in travel. Countries I've visited include the United States, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, New Zealand, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.