If you want to experience a land of huge panoramas, great rugged mountain ranges, forests and wildlife that includes elk and grizzly bears…take 10 days to drive from Vancouver to Calgary. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll also discover cultured cities, welcoming out-of-the-way lodges, breath-taking coastlines and great food and wine.
It’s said that Vancouver is a city with its feet in the water and its head in the mountains. It’s a setting that makes it one of Canada’s most picturesque cities. Cycle around Stanley Park, for example and you’ll find beaches and temperate rain forests, totem poles and giant cedars. Then there is the warehouse district of Yaletown, the renowned Museum of Anthropology, cable car rides up Grouse Mountain, a large and bustling Chinatown and busy Granville Market.
Stay: Two nights in the Metropolitan Hotel.
Time to hit the road. Head north and drive to Whistler – famous for its winter sports and home to a previous Winter Olympics. Whistler also makes an ideal summer resort though, with a range of outdoor sporting events and activities.
Stay: Two nights in Crystal Lodge Whistler – a three and a half star boutique hotel.
Wells Gray Provincial Park
Immerse yourself in the scenery and wildlife of Wells Gray Provincial Park. Enjoy 5000 sq km of wild, rarely-visited countryside. The craggy peaks, plunging valleys and ice fields of the Caribou Mountains. Plus the extravagant summer flower gardens of the park’s southern mountains and the central plateau with its sparkling waterfalls and awe-inspiring canyons. Then check into your hotel on the edge of photogenic Hallamore Lake.
Stay: Overnight in three star Alpine Meadows Resort.
This time the road twists and turns its way towards Jasper, taking you past the majestic Mount Robson – one of the Rockies’ highest peaks – and on into the scenic wilderness of the Jasper National Park. Even your hotel is known to have wildlife wandering through the grounds.
Stay: Two nights in The Crimson.
Banff offers you the chance to learn – via the Luxton Museum – about the Plains Indians and their relationship with the great buffalo herds of yesteryear. You can also ride in a gondola to the heights of Sulphur Mountain for an eagle’s eye view of the Rockies – and explore one of North America’s most impressive national parks. You can even treat yourself to a soak in the Cave and Basin Hot Springs and visit Scottish Castle-cum-French Chateau; the Banff Springs Hotel.
Stay: Two nights in Caribou Lodge with easy walking access to the centre of Banff.
Return your car to the airport and board your flight back home.