Day 1: Banff
Explore the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. This restored landmark commemorates the 1883 discovery of the hot springs that led to the creation of Canada’s first national park. For panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies, ride the Banff Gondola up Sulphur Mountain. Complete your morning with a relaxing soak in the Banff Upper Hot Springs mineral pools.
Learn about local wildlife, native folklore, early mountaineers and ancient glaciers, while cruising on a crystal blue mountain lake, just 15 minutes from the town of Banff. End the day with an early evening wildlife tour, which is the prime time for spotting Banff National Park’s animals, like deer, elk, and bears.
Day 2: Lake Louise
Set off on the scenic Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A) to the hamlet of Lake Louise and watch for wildlife along the way. En route, enjoy an easy morning hike around the shoreline of the famous glacier-fed Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Then, head to the Lake Louise Gondola where you’ll experience some of the best grizzly bear viewing opportunities in the Canadian Rockies. Banff to Lake Louise: 48 km (30 mi.)
Take a 7 km (4.4 mi) round trip hike to the historic Lake Agnes Tea House for afternoon tea and scones in a picturesque alpine valley.
Day 3: Icefields Parkway
From Lake Louise, drive north to the Glacier Discovery Centre along the breathtaking Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93). Here, you can board an Ice Explorer bus that will take you onto the Athabasca Glacier, where you can walk on ice up to 360 m (1,180 ft) thick. Then take the shuttle to the glass-floored Glacier Skywalk, suspended 280 m (919 ft) over the Sunwapta Valley for stunning aerial views of glittering glaciers and rugged mountain peaks. Lake Louise to Glacier Discovery Centre: 135 km (84 mi)
Return to Lake Louise, rent a canoe from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and paddle across the lake to the base of Victoria Glacier or take an easy stroll around the lakeshore.
Day 4: Calgary
From Lake Louise, drive east along the Trans-Canada (Hwy 1) to WinSport Olympic Park. Get your adrenaline pumping on the mountain bike trails and zipline, or if you’re feeling adventurous have a go on the 1.8 km (5,905 ft) Skyline Luge – it’s the world’s longest track. Then step out onto the world’s highest 360-degree observation deck at the Calgary Tower, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline and Canadian Rockies. Lake Louise to Calgary city limits: 180 km (112 mi)
Spend the afternoon at the country’s largest living history museum, where costumed interpreters populate streets and buildings depicting life in Western Canada between 1850 and 1950. Ride the steam train or take a spin on a paddle wheeler on the reservoir.