Two Weeks In The Canadian Rockies – An Epic Road Trip Guide for Motorhome Travellers and Nature Lovers (2024 Update)

Thousands of kilometres of breathtaking mountain valleys, icefields 3 times the size of Paris and more unique photography locations than you will be able to visit in your lifetime. That’s what awaits you on my road trip itinerary around the Canadian Rockies.

Canadian Rockies Two-Week Road Trip Overview

Roadside Views 10

What type of traveller is this Canadian Rockies road trip perfect for?

Do you like to venture onto backcountry trails? Are you up for some hiking adventures? This Canadian Rockies 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. 

This road trip is mainly designed for Motorhome travellers, but don’t worry. You can easily follow along with a regular car and book accommodation along the way. I included hotel recommendations for each destination.

When is the best time to do this road trip?

The ideal travel time for this Canadian Rockies road trip is between June and August when the nights are warm(ish) and the campsites are operating. 

Though campsites already re-open in May and stay in operation until September, during shoulder seasons I would recommend that you opt into hotel stays. The nights can still be very cold in May or September!

Any time before May or after September you may run into difficulties with finding a campsite that is open. 

If your main objective is to hike, then aim to go between mid-June and mid-October.

Where does this road trip start and finish and what areas does it visit?

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 Provincial Park near Canmore.

How much time do I need to complete this Canadian Rockies road trip?

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 for your holidays. However, I would say you need at least 7 days to get a good taste of what the Canadian Rockies have to offer.

More Canadian Rockies itineraries

Two Week travel Itinerary through the Canadian Rockies

Are you travelling from Vancouver? You may find my other custom itineraries useful: 

The Canadian Rockies road trip map

Above 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.

How to use the map?

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. 

Canadian Rockies Road Trip: The Logistics

Tent Ridge 32
Dusk on the Tent Ridge in Kananaskis country, one of the stops on the itinerary

What’s the best way to travel around the Rockies?

I’ve spent many months travelling through the Rockies in my minivan, which I converted into a tiny motorhome.

Understandably enough, if you choose Canada as your holiday destination, you won’t have time to do what I’ve done. In this case, if you want to follow this itinerary, you will either have to rent a car or a motorhome.

Dodge Caravan Icefields Parkway 1
My minivan in which I lived for 6 months while travelling through Canada

Rent a Campervan with Motorhome Republic

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 RV search engine that will help you choose a camper van tailored to your needs by scanning the top Motorhome rental companies in the area.

TIP! 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. 

Rent a Compact Car with Discover Cars

This itinerary is optimised for camper vans but could easily be done in a regular car providing that you bring camping equipment with you or stay in hotels.

If you are looking to rent a compact car try Discover Cars – World’s best car rental search engine. 

Park Entries and Fees: National Parks Discovery Pass

This itinerary crosses through a few national parks, including the famous Banff and Jasper. Visiting a Canadian national park requires paying entrance fees.

If 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. For example, the family/group pass covering up to 7 people in one vehicle costs CAD$151.25 per year.

Avoid waiting in lines and purchase the pass online, directly on the Parks Canada website, before your trip. You can also buy one at the entry toll gate located just a few kilometres past Canmore at the entrance to Banff National Park, a place you will be crossing on this road trip.

TIP! Make sure to have your pass on display in the car at all times.

Information about staying at Parks Canada campgrounds

Two Jack Lack 2

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 plug-in options for those travelling in bigger motorhomes which require re-charging.

The cost of staying at the campsites in 2024

The cost in the Province of Alberta is usually ca. CAD 35 per site per night and each site is permitted to hold up to 6 people and a maximum of two cars.

There’s an option of buying a fire permit for an additional fee. The permit also includes the firewood, so it’s an easy decision in my eyes. What’s a campsite without a fire, right?  

Tip! If there are only two of you and you don’t hold a reservation, consider asking other travellers in the check-in line if they want to share a site and subsequently the cost. This is what I did a few times when the campsites were full.

When to book the campsites in the Canadian Rockies in 2024?

If you travel In the peak summer months (June to August) you will find it very handy to book the sites well in advance, especially in the more popular areas like Banff, Lake Louise or Jasper. After all, tourism has boomed here in recent years.

All bookings can be made on the Parks Canada Reservation Website and the system usually opens in March.  

Upon arrival at each campsite, you will be briefed about the wildlife awareness and measures you will have to undertake to keep the wildlife safe. 

Stocking up on groceries before starting the road trip

Once you’ve arrived at Calgary International Airport, pick up your car or campervan and head to the closest supermarket.

Although there are supermarkets in all of the 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!

14-day Canadian Rockies road trip: day-by-day breakdown

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 and it will take you to your first destination – Banff.

Day 1-4: Banff and its surroundings

  • Distance from Calgary International Airport: 143 km / 89 mi
  • Travel time: 90-120 minutes
Banff Vermillion Lakes 6

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.

Best things to do in and around Banff

Sulphur Mountain

Sulphur Mountain Banff 2

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. 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 $17.50 / 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 

Lake Minnewanka 5

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 Vermillion Lakes 5

Banff is any photographer’s wet dream. Amateurs, hobbyists and professionals flock from all over the world to get the chance to take their own version of photos from locations that have already been photographed to death.

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, sunrise and sunset.

Bow Valley Parkway

Grizzly Bear on Bow Valley Parkway 1
grizzly bear crossing the Bow Valley Parkway at sunset

Make sure to reserve one of the days that you spent in Banff for the Bow Valley Parkway. It’s a beautiful stretch of road which hides many natural gems.

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.

Johnston Canyon

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! 

One of the best ways to explore the Bow Valley Parkway and Johnston Canyon is on an E-bike and walking tour with an experienced guide.

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. During winter time you can join a guided ice walk across the Johnston Canyon.

Morant’s Curve

Morants Curve 3
Morant’s Curve in the Winter

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 in Banff

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

If you would like to be in a more remote location another great campsite to consider is the Johnston Canyon campground along the previously-mentioned Bow Valley Parkway which is a 30-minute drive from the township.

Day 4-6: Lake Louise

  • Distance from Banff: 57 km / 35 mi
  • Driving time: 40 minutes
Little Beehive 14
Me with the Fairmont Chateau and Lake Louise

Although Lake Louise is a popular winter skiing destination it is also famous in the summer for two big reasons: Lake Louise and the one and only Lake Moraine.

Truth be told, there’s not much directly at Lake Louise Village, but it’s an excellent central hub to explore the beautiful surroundings. 

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

If you don’t feel comfortable hiking on your own you can book a guided hike around Lake Louise.

Lake Louise lakeshore

Lake Louise August 2

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, built right on its shoreline, and gives you the perfect view of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. 

The Plain of the Six Glaciers

Plain Of Six Glaciers 4

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. 

Discover Banff Tours runs guided hikes on some of the classic trails around Lake Louise including the Plain of the Six Glaciers.

Visit Lake Agnes Teahouse

Lake Agnes Winter Hike 16

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 the most famous Canadian lake and 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.

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.

IMPORTANT (NEW IN 2023): Due to the high volume of traffic the road to Lake Moraine will stay closed for the entire summer season. Only shuttle and commercial buses will be able to bring visitors to its shoreline. Prebook your shuttle directly with Parks Canada or with a private company which I linked below.

Hike the Larch Tree Valley

Another one of my favourite hikes in the Canadian Rockies (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, but the surrounding peaks are enough to leave you speechless.

It’s a 10km (6 miles) 4-hour return to the Minnestimma Lakes and a 14km (9 miles) 6-hour return to the Sentinel Pass across the Larch Tree Valley.

Accommodation in Lake Louise

There are two campsites at Lake Louise, Lake Louise Tent and Lake Louise Trailer. Both have encircling electric fences to deter the abundant wildlife living in the area. 

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 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. There are plenty of stops along the Icefields Parkway hence I believe you should spend at least a couple of days exploring it.

I have driven up and down this road, countless times and still didn’t get to experience everything!

You can learn everything about the incredible Icefields Parkway with this brilliant smartphone audio tour between Lake Louise and Jasper.

Watch as your audio guide points out must-see sights, attractions, breathtaking mountains, and glaciers that you pass along the journey. Learn about the area’s early pioneers, animals, geography, and the historical events that led to the highway’s creation.

Accommodation on the Icefields Parkway

Day 8-10: Jasper National Park

  • Distance from Lake Louise: 232 km / 144 mi
  • Driving time: 3 hours (without stopping)
Bald Hills 21

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.

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

Maligne Lake Jasper National Park 7

Maligne Lake is around a 1-hour drive from Jasper. A boat cruise on the 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. 

Self-guided paddling trip

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 as backcountry camping spots sell out faster than tickets to the Glastonbury Festival.

Hike the Sulphur Skyline 

Sulphur Skyline Jasper 7

The Sulphur Skyline is one of my favourite hikes in Jasper National Park. It 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 many minerals good for your skin and body. 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 gondola too. It costs CAD62.95$ 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. It’s a busy spot, but the further you get away from the parking lot the quieter it becomes.

Get a cinnamon bun at the Grizzly Paw bakery

There are two bakeries in Jasper called the Grizzly Paw and they do the most amazing cinnamon rolls. I spent a little fortune on those and made sure to have one after every hike I did in Jasper. I am still trying to crack their recipe but to no avail.

Accommodation in Jasper

The two major campsites here are called Wapiti and Whistler. Both are huge with plenty of sites.

I prefer Whistler but both are pretty similar. Both campgrounds are close to each other and both are only around 5 minutes south of Jasper’s town centre.

Day 10-12: Yoho National Park

  • Distance from Jasper: 260 km / 162 mi
  • Driving time: 3.5 hours (but it will probably take a whole day)
Lake Ohara 21

On your return back from Jasper toward Calgary turn right at Lake Louise junction on the Trans Canada Highway 1. This road will take you to the little town of Field. You will now be entering Yoho National Park.

What to do in Yoho National Park

Takakkaw Falls

Roadside Views 1

A good half-day hike and one of the most popular in Yoho National Park. It’s a 12km (7 mi) 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?

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake Winter 5

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 Canadian Rockies.

Visit Lake O’Hara

Lake Ohara 19

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 the 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

The best-located campsite in Yoho National Park is called Kicking Horse Campground.

Day 12-14: Canmore and Kananaskis Country

  • Distance from Field: 105 km / 65 mi
  • Driving time: 70 minutes
Tent Ridge 14

Canmore is where I 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 Canadian Rockies itinerary.   

Best things to do around Canmore

Hike the Ha Ling Peak

Ha Ling Peak 17

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.  

You can either do this trip on your own or join a certified hiking guide on a half-day trip to the summit.

Rawson Lake and Sarrail Ridge

Sarrail Ridge 6

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 

Moose Meadows Summer 1

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

Wedge Pond 5

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 favourite 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

The two campgrounds that I would recommend are the Bow River Campground and the Spray Lakes West Campground near the Spray Lake Reservoir with the latter being my preferred 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.

How to shorten this two-week Canadian Rockies itinerary?

This is a question I get asked quite often. I get it, unfortunately, it can be difficult for some to carve out a full two weeks of holidays to travel up and down the Rockies. Here are a few ideas on how to make this road trip plan shorter.

  • Connect the days spent in Canmore with the days spent in Banff. They are only a 20-minute drive apart. That way you can save yourself a couple of days.
  • Don’t stay overnight on the Icefields Parkway. Whilst I highly recommend it, if you don’t have a spare day then don’t feel bad about it. You can spend the whole day driving from Lake Louise to Jasper and then another day when driving back. This will already give you almost two full days on the Icefields Parkway.
  • Cut out, Yoho National Park. Whilst amazing you just have to face the fact that you just can’t see everything! I spent 15 months in the Rockies and I still feel like I only scratched the surface. It’s better to take it slow than to try and see it all!

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Marta
Marta

Hi! I am the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.

45 Comments

  1. Hi Marta,
    Thank you do much for so detailed advice for 2-3 week road trip in West Canada, especially who want to use campsite in July, August. My plan is nearly 3 week from Vancouver (we will flight from Vietnam to Vancouver that’s halfway of the earth 🙂 We have 8 member (1 below 12) in a rented van, we dont know how we can gather, use only one campsite for 8 while the rules for up to 6 persons. We can book serviced camp or bring tents, either will best choice? Can we pay extra 1 adult and 1 kid via Parks Canada online? Or should we book 2 campsite and use 1? I read repeatedly your posts to make the plan and book along with your guidance!!AGain thank you that much!!!

    • Hi Angelina. Thanks for visiting. Since you have 8 people in the van I presume you are travelling with tents (I don’t really understand what you mean by saying we can book serviced camp). Yes there are rules in place when it comes down to how many people can be on one campsite, mainly so the facilities don’t get overloaded. You should book two campsites and you also should be asigned to campsites that are next to each other. This isn’t really a big deal and you still will be all able to hang out together on one of the sites, but sleep in separate tents on two campsites. It’s not like they are fenced off from one another or anything. You will be within each other sight. I hope that helps.

      • Hi Marta, we want to travel light but still want to experience camping site, and we found out all equipped camping in Two Jack Main are fully booked or unlaunched to be booked, is there any campsite provide equipped camping nearby?Or should we wait till May to book for late July trip?Thank you alot for you advices!

        • As far as I understand the all equipped camping still requires of you to bring your own sleeping bags which would be a lot of hassle to do if you are travelling from vietnam. I understand that you would like to try camping but ask yourself if it is really worth the effort. As for reservations I am afraid it all comes down to keeping your hand on the pulse in order to not miss the dates when the reservations open.

  2. Wow, I really liked your Rockies road trip guide, I plan to visit them a few times during my one-year stay in Canada, I already passed by from Calgary to Kelowna and spent 2 nights at Canmore/Banff three weeks ago. Although, I will visit them again at the end of the summer to see the beautiful blue colour of the lakes. My family is coming to travel to Canada, they are arriving in Vancouver on April 26th and leaving Vancouver on May 11th, I would love to do the Rockies Mountains with them in RV during this time. I hope the spring weather will be ok, that is not what you are recommending (mid-June to mid-October) but that was the only period they could come.

    • Hi Louis. Thanks for your great feedback. I am sure your family will love the road trip regardless. Whilst May is not the best time for hiking, there are still plenty of spot to see and visit on a road trip from Vancouver to Vancouver. By the way I have a dedicated Vancouver to Vancouver Itinerary which might be worth for you to look into. I hope you and your family have an amazing time on the road trip. Happy travels!

      • Hi Marta ! We are a family with 2 teens visiting BC and the rockies for the first time this summer. We really like your blog, it is great ! We intend to rent a VC or motorhome to do the trip you suggested in 2 weeks from Vancouver. Can we park anywhere for the night ? Do we have to book all campsite ? What is the best way to buy the pass to enter the parc ? Do we need to know already all our itinery per day ? Thanks for your precious help.

        • Hi Elodie. Thanks for visiting. I am glad you decided to follow my trip. As for your question, no parking anywhere is not possible. Whilst you might be able to park free of charge outside of National and Provincial Park boundaries, within those boundaries you have to stay at a campsite. Now another thing, campsites do book out well in advance so do get on it asap. Which answers the last question, pre-booking campsites doesn’t give you much of a room for spontaneous changes in your itinerary. 10 year ago you could have just go and get a campsite on the spot, but those days are long gone. As for the Discovery Pass you can either order it online or buy them at the gates of the park or in visitor centres.

  3. My husband and I plan to take a trip in the northwest US and on up into Canada, Alberta and BC, probably in August or September of next year. Do you have any information on dispersed camping? i’m hoping there is dispersed camping in Canada, to save money along the way. Thanks.

    • Hi Sue, Thanks for visiting. Camping outside of designated areas in National and Provincial Parks is unfortunately not allowed. Most of the places on this itinerary are indeed within Parks boundries. I am afraid you will have to book campsites. I hope that helps!

  4. Your itinerary is perfect! I did this trip in 2021 with some photographer friends, staying at hotels. We followed all your recommendations here! I loved it so much, that I want to take my husband back in July 2024. We are going to rent a motor home and stay in the campgrounds. My question is this… you don’t have any campgrounds listed for the icefields parkway. Where do you recommend staying for that part of the trip? I see they have rustic campgrounds through out the icefields parkway. Do you have a recommendation?

    • Hi Kari. You just made my day. Thanks so much for your awesome feedback. I do have a separate post about Icefields Parkway with all campsites enlisted. I really liked the Waterfowl lakes campground because of its proximity to the lakes. Yes the campsites along the Icefields Parkway are quite basic, but your camper should provide you enough electricity for a couple of days if you arrive with a fully charged battery. I hope that helps. I would really appreciate if you used my afiliate links to book your campervan. Let me know if you have more questions!

  5. Hi Marta, thanks for sharing a very informative blog. We are planning a 2 week motorhome trip for May 2024. We’re basically following the route from Calgary that you have described. We’re aware that many campgrounds will be closed at this time of year, but understand that there are a few year-round campgrounds. Do you have any particular recommendations or advice for Motorhoming in the Rockies in May. Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi Steve. Thanks for visiting. Yes there will be campsites in the Rockies that are open in May. The downside to travelling at this time is that most hikes still won’t be accessible, but with some research you will be able to do some regardless. Especially those facing South Side. Definitely pack warm clothes with you. The nights can still get very cold. Always have some windows cracked open because the condensation is relentless when outside temperatures dropped. You don’t want to wake up inside the campervan to wet blankets and clothes.

  6. Hi Marta, I truly enjoyed reading your travel blogs. We are planning on a week trip in late August to September, if it’s doable and we’d like to start from Calgary. I would like to know which main places I can get into a hotel. Possibly 7-10 days to maximize our trip. Can you please suggest what highlights I should be concentrating on. I know that there are so many nice places to see. Are there chances on seeing wild animals a well? I hope you can suggest things for us so I can get started on making my reservations.
    Thank you. Hope to hear from you.

    • Hi Revelyn. Thanks for visiting. I know the information can get overwhelming. If you have 7-10 days I would divide them as follow 2-3 days Kananaskis country, 2-3 days Lake Louise and 2-3 days Jasper. If you need help planning an itinerary I am happy to do that. Here is the link to my travel planning services.

  7. Hi Marta,
    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.
    Many thanks
    🙂

    • 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. HI Marta

    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 🙂
    Heather

  11. 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!

  12. Dear Marta
    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.

  13. 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?

    Thanks

    Ed

    • 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!

  14. Marta,
    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?

  15. 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.

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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? 😀

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