Thousands of kilometres of breathtaking mountain valleys, icefields 3 times the size of Paris and more unique photography locations than I’ll be able to visit in my lifetime – that’s just a very short description of the Canadian Rockies.
After living in New Zealand for a whole year followed by five months spent on the little mountainous island of Tasmania in Australia I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay away from the mountains for too long.
Once again given the opportunity to work and live abroad, this time in Canada I knew exactly what my next travel destination will be – the Canadian Rocky Mountains!
Fast forward to today and I am looking back at 15 months spent in this part of the country. The majority of them were spent on the research for my photography and hiking guide to the Canadian Rockies resulting in this Calgary to Calgary two-week road trip plan, one of a few I wrote.
More Canadian Rockies itineraries
Are you travelling from Vancouver? You may find my other custom itineraries useful:
- Vancouver to Calgary through Canada’s Epic Landscape or
- The Ultimate 3-week road trip across Western Canada starting and ending in Vancouver
This itinerary is completely free for your own personal use. If you find it useful and would like to support me you are welcome to use affiliate links to hotel, rental cars and motorhome bookings.
It will cost you nothing extra! If you have any questions about this plan let me know in the comments!
Canadian Rockies road trip overview
As mentioned above this road trip is designed for those who love to be outside and don’t plan on seeing the Rockies through the window of their car.
The ideal travel time for this guide is between mid-May and the end of September. Any time before or after that, you may run into difficulties with finding a campsite that is open.
The itinerary starts and finishes in Calgary – the nearest international airport hub, and takes you through Banff National Park, along the Icefields Parkway and all the way up to Jasper National Park.
From Jasper, you will make your way back down through Yoho National Park and finish in the Kananaskis country near Canmore.
The optimal time for this road trip is 14 days, but it can also be easily shortened or prolonged depending on the amount of time you have planned.
The Canadian Rockies road trip map
Below you can find the map of the whole itinerary. If you click on the top left of the map you will find separate layers marking the route, photography spots, hikes, points of interest and campsites.
To hide and show different layers just click on the check box next to the layer’s name. You can also click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I have marked.
I will be talking about them as I break the itinerary down day by day.
Road trip logistics
Renting a vehicle
I’ve spent many months travelling through the Rockies in my minivan, which my partner and I converted into a tiny motorhome.
Understandably enough, if you choose Canada as your holiday destination, you won’t have time to do what we’ve done. In this case, you will either have to rent a car or a motorhome.
There is a vast array of campervan rental companies in Calgary and going through them all to find the best option will almost certainly give you a headache. To ease up your planning try the Motorhome Republic.
It’s an awesome search engine that guarantees the lowest prices and will help you choose a camper van tailored to your needs.
The rough estimate of this itinerary is 1500km. You will need to know this when booking your campervan as you will have to prepay for your kilometres.
This itinerary is optimised for camper vans but could easily be done in a regular car providing that you bring camping equipment with you.
If you are looking to rent a compact car try Discover Cars – World’s best car rental search engine.
National Parks Discovery Pass
This itinerary crosses through a few Canadian national parks, including the famous Banff and Jasper. Visiting a Canadian national park requires paying entrance fees.
If f you are travelling for more than 7 days then consider investing in a Discovery Pass, which works out to be cheaper than buying daily passes and it also saves money.
For example, the family/group pass covering up to 7 people in one vehicle costs CAD$145.25.
Avoid waiting in lines and purchase the pass online, directly on the Parks Canada website, before your trip.
You ou can also buy one at the entry toll gate located just a few kilometres past Canmore at the entrance to Banff National Park. Make sure to have your pass on display in the car at all times.
Information about staying at Parks Canada campgrounds
There is an ample variety of campsites all along the spots enlisted in this itinerary. The majority of them have been equipped with toilet and shower facilities as well as plugin options for those travelling in bigger motorhomes which require plugging in for electricity.
The cost of staying at the campsites
The cost in the Province of Alberta is usually 27.40 CAD per site per night and each site is permitted to hold up to 6 people and a max of two cars.
If there are only two of you and you don’t mind sharing, consider asking other travellers in the check-in line if they want to share a site. This will further reduce your travelling expenses.
There’s an option of buying a fire permit for an additional 8.80 CAD a day.
The permit also includes the firewood, so it’s an easy decision in my eyes. What’s a campsite without a fire, right? For a complete and current price list visit the Parks Canada website.
When to book the campsites?
In the peak summer months (July and August) you will find it very handy to book the sites in advance, especially in the more popular areas like Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper.
There’s nothing worse than turning up and finding out there are no more spots available.
All bookings can be made on the Parks Canada Reservation Website. Upon arrival at each campsite, you will be briefed about the wildlife awareness and measures you will have to undertake in order to keep the wildlife safe.
Furthermore, I would highly recommend downloading the Wikicamps Canada phone app. The app has proven very useful to me many times when I was searching for campsites or points of interest.
Everything is neatly organised and easy to find with this app. It also works offline, making it useful when you won’t have an internet connection.
Once you’ve arrived at Calgary International Airport, pick up your campervan and head to the closest supermarket.
Although there are supermarkets in all of our road trip destinations Calgary has the cheapest prices so it’s better if you stock up before you hit the road. Besides, once you get it over with you will have more time to enjoy your holidays!
Day 1-3 Banff and its surroundings
When you become acquainted with your new home on wheels for the next couple of weeks, then it’s time to hit the road. The main road from Calgary to the mountains is Trans Canada Highway 1.
Banff is considered by many to be the main hub in the Canadian Rockies. Its dream location coupled with its incredible geological features make it a top hit on our road trip.
Its quaint high street gets pretty busy in the summertime and so do many of the famous photography spots in Banff.
The best time to visit locations is as early as possible to beat the crowds or later on in the evening to watch the sunset whilst everyone else is having dinner.
Early starts may be a bit arduous some mornings but the reward greatly outweighs the indignation.
Once you arrive in Banff there are a few campsites that you’ll be able to call home for the next few days.
My favourite, due to its location and the beautiful views that go with it, is the Two Jack Lakeside campground. However, if you want to be closer to the town centre you should go to the Tunnel Mountain Campground.
Best things to do in and around Banff
A series of relatively steep switchbacks for 5.5km (3.4 mi) will take you to the Upper Gondola Terminal on Sulphur Mountain. You’ll ascend 700m (2,300ft) and it’ll take around 1-2 hours one way.
The views of Mount Rundle and Cascade mountain are well worth the effort. If you are not up for hiking you can take the gondola up and down instead. The current price is CAD 80/per person.
Whether you choose to hike or ride the gondola, you are up for the best views of Banff from above.
Banff Upper Hot springs
The Banff Hot Springs, which are conveniently located near the lower gondola terminal are a treat after a long day of exploring.
They are run by Parks Canada and at around $16.50 / person it’s a bargain. If you decide to hike up Sulphur Mountain you can treat yourself to the hot springs afterwards. It will be a perfect end to a long day.
Join a lake cruise
A cruise along Lake Minnewanka is an awesome way to see the Fairholme Range and the iconic Mount Inglismaldie. They depart every 30 minutes from the boat dock near the car park and prices start at 65 CAD per person.
Practice your photography skills
Banff is extremely photogenic. In fact, it’s world-class. Amateurs, hobbyists and professionals flock from all over the world to get the chance to take photos of a lifetime.
The biggest piece of advice I can give, when visiting photography spots in Banff National Park, is to make the most of blue hour, golden hour and sunrise and sunset.
Accommodation in Banff
Day 3-4: Bow Valley Parkway
Once you’ve had your fill off the electric atmosphere which surrounds Banff then pick up sticks and leave. Your next destination is going to be just as good, trust me.
Continue on the Trans Canada Highway leaving Banff. After a few kilometres turn right onto the Bow Valley Parkway (1a).
Your campsite for the night is called the Johnston Canyon Campground. It’s one of my favourites in the Rockies as it’s just had its facilities refurbished.
What to see along the Bow Valley Parkway
The Bow Valley Parkway is a mini version of the Icefields Parkway but it still packs one hell of a punch. It’s only a 51km (32 miles) stretch of road but you can easily spend a day there.
Since your time is limited I would highly recommend visiting Johnston Canyon. Make sure to get there early.
The morning light coming through the trees and shining upon some waterfalls in the early morning hours is a sight to behold. Providing the weather is good of course!
My favourite time of the year for visiting Johnston Canyon is in the winter when all the waterfalls are frozen giving an impression of being in a fairytale ice castle.
At first thought, it’s just some train tracks running through a forest, but the famous Morant’s curve has become one of the photography hot spots. If you are patient enough to wait for a train to pass for some long exposures then you are guaranteed a great shot!
Please note that From March 1st to June 25th, travel is not permitted between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on the 17-kilometre section of the parkway from Johnston Canyon Campground to the Fireside Picnic Area.
This is to ensure the area remains a high-quality home for wildlife. Remember to always keep your eyes on the road at any time.
Accommodation on the Bow Valley Parkway
Johnston Canyon Campground
Day 4-6: Lake Louise
The Bow Valley Parkway finishes just past Morant’s Curve near the Lake Louise Village. This is where you’ll spend the next 2 nights.
There are two campsites at Lake Louise, Lake Louise Tent (27.40$CAD) and Lake Louise Trailer (32.30$CAD). Both have encircling electric fences to deter the abundant wildlife living in the area.
Although Lake Louise is a popular winter destination it becomes even more hectic in the summer.
Bookings at the campsites are advised from the middle of June until the middle of September. Truth be told, there’s not much directly at Lake Louise Village, but it’s an excellent central hub to explore the beautiful surroundings.
IMPORTANT! due to the limited parking at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, a new booking system for the shuttle service is being introduced from the 2020 summer season. It will open on April 1st 2020. For more information go to the Parks Canada website.
Things to do in Lake Louise
Lake Louise is a few minutes drive away from Lake Louise Village. I hope I am not confusing you here. The village and the lake have the same names. The lake’s shoreline is a perfect location for the countless hikes in the area.
Lake Louise lakeshore
The 4km (2.5 miles) 1-hour return flat lakeshore stroll gets you away from the hustle and bustle of the world-famous Chateau Lake Louise and gives you the perfect view of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.
The Plain of the Six Glaciers
Further on along this path is the way to the much more impressive Plain of the Six Glaciers, it’s a longer 11km (6.8 miles) uphill 4-hour return but it’ll transport you in some of the most pristine wilderness Canada has to offer.
Surrounded by towering peaks and frozen glaciers, you’ll be blown away. Make sure your camera has enough battery and take some cash because there’s a teahouse on the way there too.
Visit Lake Agnes Teahouse
If you’re feeling a bit more energetic than the Lakeshore but don’t think you can tackle the Plain of the Six Glaciers then the hike up to Lake Agnes is a good middle ground.
It’s a 7km (4.4 miles) uphill return that should take around 3 hours.
You’ll not only be treated to the view of Lake Agnes at the top but also the sensational Mirror Lake and several vistas overlooking the Bow Valley on the way.
Again take some cash because there’s another tea house up there – the world-famous Lake Agnes Tea House.
Get a glimpse of the Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is one of the many famous postcard pictures of the Canadian Rockies. Its turquoise waters glisten in the sun and are incredibly framed beneath the famous Valley of the Ten Peaks.
It’s a short 15-minute drive from Lake Louise Village, but it gets intensely busy during the summer holidays.
The Lakeshore stroll is one of my favourites as it offers fantastic views with minimal effort. It’s a 2.4km (1.4 miles) flat return which only takes 40 minutes.
For the classic postcard view of the lake, you’ll need to climb the “massive piles of stones” as Walter Wilcox proclaimed when he was documenting the area in 1899.
However, it’s not as daunting as he made it out to be and only takes ten minutes to get to the top.
Hike the Larch Tree Valley
Another one of my favourite hikes (especially during September) is the Larch Valley Trail. It takes you 400m above the shimmering Moraine Lake through the forest amongst all the Larch trees before opening out amidst the valley of the Ten Peaks.
If you’re there at the right time of the year (early fall) you’ll be amazed at all the different colours, if you’re not then the surrounding peaks are enough to leave you speechless, either way, it’s a win.
It’s a 10km (6 miles) 4-hour return to the Minnestimma Lakes, a 14km (9 miles) 6-hour return to the Sentinel Pass.
Accommodation in Lake Louise
Day 6-8: Icefields Parkway
Lake Louise Village marks the start of the Icefields Parkway (93N). This is the main drag connecting Lake Louise and Jasper and it is where you will be spending your next two days.
The 232 km stretch of road which travels from Lake Louise in Banff National Park all the way up to Jasper encompasses, what I consider to be, the heart of the Canadian Rockies.
Travel past monumental glaciers, icy blue lakes, enormous mountains and stretches of road that simply have to be seen to be believed.
I have broken it down in a separate post to all the spots that I consider to be the best in order from Lake Louise.
The majority of travellers spend only one day on the Icefields Parkway, but in my opinion, you should spend at least two days exploring it.
I have driven up and down this road countless times and still didn’t get to experience everything!
Accommodation on the Icefields Parkway
Day 8-10: Jasper National Park
At the end of the Icefields Parkway, you’ll end up in the townsite of Jasper, a well-located little town with plenty of things to see and do.
The two major campsites here are called Wapiti and Whistler. Both are huge with plenty of sites and cost anywhere between 27.40$ and 38.20$ depending on whether you need electricity and sewerage.
I personally prefer Whistler but both are pretty similar. Both campgrounds are really close to each other and both are only around 5 minutes south of Jasper’s town centre.
I would recommend staying a couple of nights here. Jasper is the central hub of many beautiful spots in the Jasper National Park region.
Best things to do in Jasper National Park
Cruise down Maligne lake
A boat cruise on Maligne Lake has to be one of the best activities in Jasper National Park. It’ll take you halfway down the lake to Spirit Island (one of many top photography spots in Jasper NP) where you’ll disembark and have a chance to take in the view.
If you are feeling more adventurous you can rent a kayak or canoe and paddle there yourself, just be prepared for a long day (26 km round trip).
If you have an extra day you can consider staying a night at the Fisherman’s campground accessible only by boat or canoe.
This will require a bit more organizing ahead though. Maligne Lake is around 1-hour drive from Jasper.
Hike the Sulphur Skyline
The Sulphur Skyline, one of my favourite hikes in Jasper National Park, departs from the car park at the Miette Hot Springs which is a 61 km drive from Jasper.
Head north on Highway 16 for 44 km then turn right onto Miette Road next to the Pocahontas bungalows.
Follow the Miette Road until the end where you’ll find the trailhead. The hike offers unbelievable 360 panoramic views but is a steep 8km return which should take around 5 hours.
When you get down, a geothermal hot pool soak will be waiting for you.
Soak in the Hot Springs
Like the Banff Hot Springs, The Miette Hot Springs are also owned and operated by Parks Canada.
They have 2 hot pools and 2 cold pools which contain these 5 minerals: sulfates, calcium bicarbonate, magnesium and sodium. If you’re brave try the coldest pool.
If you’ve done the Sulphur skyline hike this will be the perfect way to relax afterwards. The hot springs are only 100 meters away from the trailhead.
Take the SkyTram up the Whistler Mountain
As well as Banff, Jasper has its own gondola too. It costs CAD45$ and offers spectacular panoramic views from the top.
You can hike up there too but it’s a 1000m elevation gain so I haven’t yet attempted it. There’s also a hike you can do at the upper gondola station to Whistlers Mountain or Indian Ridge.
Hike along the Maligne Canyon
Maligne Canyon is just 11km outside Jasper along Maligne Lake Road. It’s an undulating 7.4km return which should take around 3 hours.
It’s beautiful at all times of the year but my favourite is when the snow melts at the start of summer and the river is at its most ferocious. Always the further you get away from the parking lot the quieter it becomes.
Just a side note. There are two bakeries in Jasper called the Grizzly Paw and they do the most amazing cinnamon rolls. Don’t miss out!
Accommodation in Jasper
Day 10-12: Yoho National Park
On your return back south toward Calgary turn right at Lake Louise back on the Trans Canada Highway 1 on the way towards Field.
You will now be entering Yoho National Park. The best-located campsite is called Kicking Horse Campground and it costs 27.40$. A small price to pay for such an epic location.
What to do in Yoho National Park
A good half-day hike and one of the most popular in Yoho National Park. It’s a 12km (7mi) loop that should take around 4 hours.
It will leave you in awe of its natural beauty. After all, Yoho is the *Cree word for awe. That’s a Yohosome fact, isn’t it?
Another beautiful place to photograph in this area is Emerald Lake. Just a short 15-minute drive from the campground this photogenic lake should be on your list of things to do and see as it’s one of the most photogenic places in the whole of the Canadian Rockies.
Visit Lake O’Hara
If you are one of the lucky ones who pre-booked their bus trip to Lake O’Hara, good on you. This remote lake has a very limited visitor allowance per year making it sought after amongst outdoor lovers.
I’ve been here in both Winter and Summer seasons and have put together a separate guide to Lake O’Hara. You should check it out!
*Cree is a 3000-year-old language spoken by the Cree people.
Accommodation in Yoho National Park
Day 12-14: Canmore and Kananaskis Country
From the campground in Field, it’s a 102km (ca. 1 hour) drive to Canmore, your last destination on this itinerary.
The small mining town has, in recent years, seen huge growth due to the cap on building development in Banff National Park.
This is where I have spent the picturesque winter when living in Canada so maybe my opinion is a bit biased, but I truly find Canmore and its surroundings more beautiful than any other place on this itinerary.
The two campgrounds that I would recommend are the Bow River Campground (26$ per site) and the Spray Lakes West campground near the Spray Lake Reservoir (26$ per site), with the latter being my preferable choice.
Spray Lakes site is around a 20-minute drive from the town centre on the Smith Dorien highway (or more like a well-maintained gravel road). The views next to the campground are some of the best you will get.
If however, you want to be closer to the town, Bow River Campground should be your choice. Do bear in mind that it’s a bit close to the highway and it may be a bit noisy.
Best things to do around Canmore
Hike the Ha Ling Peak
Ha Ling Peak is the most popular summit in the Bow Valley. From the car park down Spray Lakes Road, it takes the majority of people 2-3 hours to get to the summit and just over one hour down.
The short 6km hike is quite steep as it includes an elevation gain of 737m (2417ft) but the views from the top are spectacular. I have done this hike multiple times including one sunrise quest to the top.
Rawson Lake and Sarrail Ridge
The Sarrail Ridge is a moderate 11km (7-mile) 5-hour return hike which starts down in Kananaskis Country near the eastern tip of the Upper Kananaskis Lake. The first half, although slightly uphill, is relatively easy.
The second half is a much harder 45 degree almost scramble to the lookout. This route, which is popular on weekends with Calgary locals, is very quiet during the week. It’s one of many superb hikes in Canmore and Kananaskis Country.
Look for moose near Mount Engadine
Engadine Lodge and the Moose Meadows is a 38km drive (1 hour) down the Spray Lakes/Smith Dorien trail from Canmore. It’s a beautiful place to go for a nice cup of tea or a slice of cake in the afternoon.
The meadows that surround it are very picturesque with little streams flowing through them. It’s also, as the name suggests, a very popular spot to see moose. The meadows are one of the best spots in the Canadian Rockies to spot wildlife.
Practice your photography
Canmore and Kananaskis, just like any other area in the Canadian Rockies, have some incredible photography spots.
They range from mountain peaks to alpine lakes and will fill your soul with inspiration. See how many of my awe-inspiring photography locations in Canmore and Kananaskis you can fit into your trip!!!
From Canmore, it’s just 120km or 1 hour and 15 minutes to Calgary International Airport. Follow the Trans Canada Highway back east and proceed along with the signs for the airport.
Accommodation in Canmore
Useful travel resources for your road trip around Canada
Below are some links that will become useful for planning your road trip, which I have mentioned before:
- Motorhome Republic – A great search engine for renting a camper van
- Discover Cars if you are after renting a smaller car
- Booking.com – for booking hotels, hostels and apartments
- Wildlife Guide – Info on wildlife in the Canadian Rockies
- Parks Canada – up-to-date information about campsites, trails & any wildlife warning
- Wikicamps app – it will help to navigate you to your campsite, popular visitor spots, public washrooms etc.
Have you got a question about this itinerary? Post it in the comments below and I will answer it. For more hiking, backpacking and photography inspiration go to my Canadian Rockies and Beyond Travel Guide.
We have our trip planned for end Aug, start Sept but only have 12 nights RV hire, where would you recommend cutting down the overnight stays. We will only be able to visit once so would love to get the most from our trip. We are more focused in the quiet than the hustle & bustle. Any help would be most appreciated.
Hi Sally. Thanks for visiting. This is the itinerary I would follow then: Day 1-3 Lake Louise, Day 4-5 Icefields Parkway, Day 6-8 Jasper, Day 9-12 Kananaskis Country. Don’t feel bad about not staying in Banff. This is definitely the most touristy area and if you wanted to check it out anyways you can do it from Lake Louise or en route back down from Jasper to Kananaskis. Lake Louise is in Banff National Park and most of its hot spots are there not in actual Banff. As for Kananaskis I recommend staying at either the lower or Upper Kananaskis campsites. It’s a wonderful area! One of my favorites in the Rockies. Do prebook your campsites though!
Let me know if I can help any further.
Hi Marta, great read thankyou, myself and my husband are due out for 3 weeks in an Rv sept 23, we plan to do a similar route to yours but over more time, jasper we are planning 6 nights, would you stay in one campsite or maybe two for change of scenery and different location? Also we would like to stop mid way on the ice field parkway but would this be possible in a 29ft rv?
Also I’ve read Edith cavell you can’t drive to the parking lot in an rv? Is this the case? If so do you know another way to get there?
Finally my husband is also a keen photographer so we are super excited and your photos on your blog are amazing.
Many thanks kate
Hi Kate. Thanks for visiting. Sounds like you have an amazing trip planned. As for your question regarding Jasper. The campsites are in mostly forested areas with not many views, so I don’t really see a point in moving from one campsite to another. Yes, Edith Cavel road has restrictions in place. Here is the info directly from the Parks Canada website “Maximum length 25 feet
No trailers and large motorhomes are allowed on Cavell Road. Drop-off area located in the parking lot at the start of Cavell Road on 93A.” You could cycle it but unfortunately, I don’t know of any shuttle.
You could travel down the Icefield’s Parkway. Plenty of campsite there and I have a whole post about it. There is a huge parking lot near the athabasca glacier with RV parking. Let me know if you have more questions!
Hello Marta! I love your blog and I am dreaming with this trip since 2020 when de Covid “pauses” all plans… We are again planning our trip with all your valuable comments and recommendations 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing. We are not sure wich month we should choose for this trip. We are not thinking in “July and August” because are the busiest times. September is your recommendation and we are wonder if the best days are early or mid September. The great balance for weather , colors 😉 and the best experience. We are going to rent a car and stay at hotels. Manuela
Hi Manuela! thanks for stopping by my site and sorry to hear about your ruined plans! Fingers crossed they will finally come to fruition. As for your question. Let me start by saying, the weather is never a guarantee. Whilst September is still a pretty stable month for travelling in the Rockies and in fact one of my favourite times there, you still should consider that you probably won’t have the perfect weather for the entirety of the trip. If you do, then you can consider yourself very lucky 🙂
As for the best time. Mid-September onwards is when the autumn colours start showing up so if you are after seeing the foliage that’s when you should plan your trip. I would even go as far as the end of September if you want to see the peak of autumn. I am very glad you are choosing to stay in hotels though. Camping in the Rockies during September can be quite extreme with temperatures reaching well below zero Celsius during nights. Let me know If I can help further!
Your blog has helped me so much- our trip starts the 10th sept ( stay in Vancouver for 2 nights then we head over to Calgary).
I have made lots of notes and recommendations re hikes/photo points. Cant wait to do this now 🙂
Hi Heather! Yey I am so happy to hear that! have an amazing time and let me know how your trip went. If you have any questions, please do let me know!
Hi, first thing, love your blog and your posts, we’re a group of 4 friends and we want to start our trip in Calgary but to end it towards Vancouver, what is the trail that you would recommend on? Thank you so much for your help!
Hi there! Thanks for visiting! I have another itinerary from Vancouver to Calgary which you could reverse and start in Calgary and end in Vancouver. It’s the most extensive itinerary I have built on my site! Do check it out and let me know if you have more questions!
I am so happy I stumbled upon your amazing blog, thank you for these awesome tips, these are super helpful!
I‘ve got a question, we (two from Switzerland who would enjoy to explore the canadian rockies☺️, most probably from Calgary with an RV) would want to visit around Mid September to beginning of October. According to your recommendations about Motor Home Republic, the vehicles are most likely winterized during the winter season (starting usually from October 1, depending on weather conditions), meaning there would be no access to shower toilet or sink.
This sucks as we would really want to drive around with an RV and it wouldn’t be worth the cost if we couldn‘t use its amenities. We really aimed to come over after the high season ended (mid September), would you say it would be just better to rent a car and pay for the amenities on the camping site so we‘d have access to the shower rather than booking an expensive RV? Or should we risk it and book the RV and book camping spots that have shower amenities (does that generally cost more compared to a normal parking spot)
Sorry for this long text but I am quite unsure on how to plan this😅.
Thanks so much in advance for your time and sharing your thoughts ☺️🙏🏻
Hi Kim! Thanks for the visit and your feedback. I am not exactly sure if I understood you correctly. You are afraid that when you book your campervan you won’t have access to its shower and sink? To be honest I don’t see why you wouldn’t. It has to get really cold before the water tanks start freezing and since the water tanks are usually somewhere inside the campervan and campers are often equipped with diesel heating I reckon you would be fine. What I suggest is to write to the companies directly, but plenty of people still rent campers during that time. Just bear in mind that during September and October it does often already get cold overnight. As for campsites, they usually remain open until the end of September and some are even open year-round. The ones that close sooner are the campsites on the Icefields Parkway, but you can also check which ones stay open and which ones stay close. It doesn’t cost more to book campsites when you want to use the shower amenities. As for your second question, I also don’t really understand: “would you say it would be just better to rent a car and pay for the amenities on the camping site so we‘d have access to the shower”. Do you mean you would be bringing a tent then? It it is a yes, then I wouldn’t recommend staying in a tent at this time of the year. Let me know if that helps and if you have more questions.
Fantastic – thanks very much – I’m sure I’ll have more questions to follow!!
No Worries! Ask away any time!
Hi Marta – great blog, we’re heading to Canada this summer and planning to hire an RV for 5-6 days to travel from Calgary to Banff and Jasper (then back to Calgary).
Can I ask a couple of questions – is there an RV Park/Campsite between Banff and Jasper – keen not to drive it all in 1 day.
Also, if you stay in a place for a few days (such as Banff) can you walk everywhere from the campsite or do you need to use the RV to get around town/to locations?
Hi Edward! Thanks so much for stopping by! I will get straight to the answers. Yes, there are plenty of campsites between Banff and Jasper. There is a campground near Johnston Canyon on the Bow Valley Parkway and also one in Lake Louise. Also definitely visit my post about Icefields Parkway, where I have a whole list of accommodation and campground options between Lake Louise in Banff NP and Jasper. https://inafarawayland.com/icefields-parkway-travel-guide/ As for the second question depends on what campsite you stay at. The tunnel mountain campground has a shuttle bus to town, but there is also a big RV parking lot right at the entrance from Banff which is a walkable distance to downtown. If I were you though, try to avoid Banff downtown as much as possible in the summer. It’s just one big commercial zone. Take advantage of what the Rockies have got to offer and plan a route that avoids towns and spends as much time in the beautiful mountains as possible. Let me know if you need any more help! Always happy to help!
Thank you for your wonderful travel guides! We are planning to rent a very large RV in August 2022 and follow your Calgary to Calgary trip! My question is…will we need to “unhook” the RV each morning to venture out sightseeing and hiking in the surrounding area, then “re hook” back up each evening in the campsite? Sincerely, Kelley
Hi Kelley! Thanks for visiting my site? I would love to help you but what do you mean by “unhook”? Are you renting an RV or did you meant to say trailer that you will pull with car?
This Canadian Rockies 2-week trip guide is fantastic, and I will make use of this guide immediately. I am planning a trip right now, including all the things provided in this guide.
Hi Marta, such an informative blog! And really stunning photos! I came across your website while searching for info on New Zealand some time ago, but actually you inspired us to go to Canadian Rockies now:). We plan to travel around mid-July for about 3 weeks (if the pandemics allows..), trying to squeeze in some day hikes. We plan to travel in a rented saloon car and our own tent + camping gear. The thing is we really don’t want to book everything in advance but rather have flexibility and go day by day (or few days in advance max). Would you say it is feasible? At the end we just need a place to pitch a small 2-people tent (no need for electricity for campervan etc). I understand that all the prime locations in National Parks might be fully booked, but maybe there are many other campsites in the vicinity of the NPs where finding a spot is easier? What would you recommend? Thank you!
Hi Bart. Thanks for stopping by and your awesome feedback! I am glad to hear my website inspired you to go to the Canadian Rockies. As for your question if you were going in the second half os September then I would say you can definitely wing it (apart from some places) but because you are going in July, going without bookings is a bad idea, unless you only plan on visiting off the beaten path places (and even those are often very busy with locals). Campsite bookings are notoriously difficult to get in July and August and that applies both to backcountry and front-county. Campsites are also quite limited. Now given the circumstances we are currently in, this July might turn out (and it probably will) a lot quieter than the previous years because a lot of people will be cautious about travelling overseas, but if it was me I would definitely make bookings (or move your travel to September) or you can stick to the area where campsites operate on a first come first serve basis (Icefields Parkway). Anyways I hope that helps! let me know if you have any more questions!
Hi Marta, many thanks for your reply! I am just reading on Banff NP website that there ~2500 camping sites / 14 campgrounds available in the park, which at first glance seems to be a rather high number to me. If you say these fill up quickly, it means the Park really gets crowded. Let’s see how the situation evolves this year. Thank you again for help, cheers 🙂
Hi Marta. First off, thank you for this unbelievable travel guide throughout Calgary! You have definitely taken some of the stress out of planning this trip by providing some great advice and tips on where to go, where to stay, and what to do. I can’t wait to get to Canada to see some of these breathtaking destinations!
I am trying to follow this itinerary as close as possible, but will only have 9-10 days in Calgary. Do you have any recommendations on how to plan this trip in 9-10 days? Maybe cut certain things out of the trip (even though that may be hard). I plan on going in September and will be staying in hotels. I am mostly going to see the breathtaking scenery, do some light hiking, and do small activities throughout the trip. I am open to any ideas you may have so please let me know what you recommend! Thank you!
Hi Patrick. You can connect the days and Stay 3 days in Canmore visiting the areas around Canmore and Banff. Then drive on the Icefields Parkway to Jasper , stay 3 nights in Jasper. From Jasper drive back on the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise and stay there for 3 days. That way on you last day you will be closer to Calgary. From Lake Louise you can also visit the Yoho NP. As for hikes I have recommendations for each regions so make sure to check out my other articles.
Hi Marta. What a great website, and stunning photos. Thanks for sharing all your info.
I will be travelling through Canada independently this August, and wanted to ask your opinion regarding which of the hikes detailed on your website you think are appropriate to complete solo, and which would require navigating in a small group (either with like minded travellers or an organised guide). At this stage I plan to stay in hotel accomodation and hire a small car for transport. Many thanks 🙂
Hi Abby thanks for stopping by. Because of the wildlife on the trails none of the hikes are really recommendable by Parks Canada to do solo, but there are some hikes that are lots busier than others meaning chances of running into wildlife are very slim. For example Edith Cavell meadows in Jasper has quite a few people on it, Parkers ridge on the Icefields Parkway, All day hikes in Lake Louise (particularly the plain of 6 glaciers, Lake Agnes and Larch tree valley). In Kananskis country Ha Ling Peak, EEOR and Rawson Lake always have people on them). Just don’t go super early in the morning when there is still noone on the trail. You can also always team up with others at the car park. I have done that once on the trail to Burstall Pass, as we have run into a couple who has run into a grizzly on that day. We were still at the start of the trail so we decided to turn around and then met a group of 6 at the carpark and asked them if we could join (I was there with my friend on the day). I hope that helps!
Sure does. Thanks for the advice.
Hi Marta, will this 2-week itinerary be suitable if the travel period is last week of July and first week of Aug? Will there be swarms of mosquitoes on the hikes mentioned? 😀