Alberta Canada Road Trips Nature sky Lake water reflection loch cloud wilderness Boat mountain tree lake district vehicle reservoir landscape calm boats and boating equipment and supplies River inlet watercraft watercraft rowing fjord hill bay mount scenery water transportation tourism
Road Trips

Your Ultimate Road Trip in Alberta, Canada

As America’s friendly northern neighbor, Canada has been getting a lot of due recognition in the past few years. Although the entire country is more than worth a visit, the province of Alberta stands out with its majestic—and massive—national parks, its artsy-cool cities, and some of the most scenic drives in all of North America. Here, we’ve mapped out the perfect 10-day itinerary, so pack your bags and hit the road.

Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.

See recent posts by Chelsea Bengier

Alberta Canada Road Trips mountain outdoor aerial photography sky bird's eye view metropolitan area Nature metropolis City cityscape geographical feature Town photography residential area landmark urban area skyscraper neighbourhood skyline human settlement valley horizon atmosphere of earth suburb Downtown canyon panorama overlooking tower
Alberta Canada Road Trips floor indoor room window interior design living room flooring Suite real estate furniture Lobby

Day 1: Edmonton

Old Strathcona

Kick off the trip in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. This edgy city is making a name for itself thanks to its boho vibe and arts culture—especially with the upcoming opening of the $375 million Royal Alberta Museum and the annual Edmonton International Fringe Festival, where 1,600 artists, performers, and musicians take center stage every August. To get a real taste for the town, check out the funky Old Strathcona neighborhood. Metterra Hotel makes for the ideal base on Whyte Avenue, the district’s main artery, which is lined with historic theaters, indie boutiques, cozy cafes, and local brewpubs. Don’t miss the vinyl records at Blackbyrd, homemade pastries at Block 1912 bakery, indie films at the 100-year-old Princess Theatre, and Tokyo street food at Dorinku (it’s worth the wait).

Alberta Canada Road Trips indoor wall floor room Living television ceiling Suite interior design real estate flooring Bedroom flat hotel furniture area

Want some suds? Alberta is one of the top places to taste local drafts as the craft beer scene is booming from the region’s pure wheat production. Opened last summer, Biera is the first dining concept to come from Blind Enthusiasm brewery and the latest addition to the Ritchie Market, a mixed-space that houses Creekside Cyclery, Transcend coffee roasters, and Acme Meat Market butcher shop. Order a flight of amber ales and lagers, plus some shared plates such as juniper-smoked beef tongue pastrami and charcoal grilled moonshell clams. You’ll also want to visit Situation Brewery to tour the microbrewery and try a pint—the WTF Blood Orange Gose and the Page Turner IPA are favorites.

Alberta Canada Copenhagen Denmark Food + Drink Hotels Road Trips Trip Ideas indoor food doughnut dish dessert baked goods fried food croissant produce cuisine breakfast pastry baking meal snack food danish pastry bread close
Alberta Canada Road Trips interior design restaurant tavern
Alberta Canada Road Trips Drink cup beer pint glass beer glass pint us beer cocktail beverage glass ale lager tumbler
Alberta Canada Road Trips person local food market marketplace City public space vegetable human settlement vendor standing floristry greengrocer sense produce food fresh

Day 2: Elk Island National Park

Just 45 minutes east of Edmonton, Elk Island National Park is known for its bison conservation efforts, making it a prime wildlife-spotting area. Cruise along the one-mile Bison Loop or head to Haskin Canoe and rent kayaks, canoes, or stand-up paddleboards to float around Lake Astotin. Come winter, opt for their private snowshoe tour where you’ll hike two hours across the lake and islands. The best part? The excursion ends with a bonfire, maple tea, hot chocolate, and maple taffy ice pops, made from syrup drizzled on fresh snow.

Alberta Canada Road Trips reflection cloud sky waterway water Nature body of water Lake tree loch Boat River reservoir water transportation bank wetland shore water resources bayou landscape vehicle plant lake district inlet pond meteorological phenomenon watercraft rowing boating calm
Alberta Canada Road Trips grass outdoor tree deer mammal animal field elk vertebrate Wildlife fauna grassland grazing prairie bull cattle like mammal grassy tall buck lush wooded

Days 3-4: Jasper National Park

Alberta Boutique Hotels Canada Hotels Road Trips swimming pool property Resort leisure estate resort town water real estate home reflection Villa house sky landscape cottage vacation amenity

Drive three hours west from Edmonton, and you’ll hit Jasper National Park. At 2.7 million acres, Jasper is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies and is bigger than Yellowstone and Grand Teton combined. Bed down at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, a 700-acre resort with ultra-luxe chalet suites—think spacious log cabins, stone fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows—that hug the shore of Lac Beauvert.

Alberta Boutique Hotels Canada Hotels Road Trips reflection Nature sky water Lake tree cloud mountain evening morning tourist attraction dawn landscape mount scenery dusk plant bank tourism Sunset mountain range Winter reservoir computer wallpaper pond sunrise loch City
Alberta Canada Road Trips Nature green yellow sky tree water Lake grass plant leaf reflection landscape meadow mountain cloud lawn field mount scenery grassland lake district leisure mountain range national park park estate tourism
Alberta Canada Road Trips sky outdoor grass mountain highland mountainous landforms wilderness mountain range field pasture landform geographical feature ecosystem grassland fell valley hill meadow landscape plateau ridge alps loch group Lake mountain pass mammal backpacking Adventure walking bovine national park grassy hillside lush

While you could spend days outdoors, horseback riding and downhill skiing, you’ll want to save time for the property’s unique cultural programs. On weekend nights, you can wander down to a lakefront teepee to hear a local Cree woman share fireside First Nations stories and songs with traditional drums. Or, there’s a dark sky experience, where two astronomy experts discuss the constellations, teach you how to photograph the night sky, let you star gaze through their telescope, and give you a tour of the on-site indoor Jasper Planetarium.

Alberta Canada Road Trips Trip Ideas outdoor Nature sky reflection mountain water Winter snow mountainous landforms wilderness Lake freezing mountain range morning bank tree alps mount scenery sunlight landscape River fell reservoir loch fjord water resources glacial landform national park ice cloud computer wallpaper calm lake district tarn
Alberta Canada Road Trips indoor Living table room floor window furniture living room interior design ceiling Fireplace wood real estate dining room Suite penthouse apartment interior designer daylighting area

The following day is all about embracing nature. In the summer, ride the sky tram to the peak of Whistlers Mountain for a 360-degree view of the Rockies. Keep an eye out for herds of wild elk on the way down. In the winter, don’t let the cold weather keep you inside. Book a trip to Maligne Canyon—15 minutes from the resort—with Sundog Tours to ice walk through a deep canyon, past frozen waterfalls, ice caves, and sweeping views of Pyramid Mountain.

Alberta Canada Montreal Road Trips Toronto Trip Ideas outdoor snow Nature sky mountain range cloud mountainous landforms piste mountain Winter ridge geological phenomenon glacial landform alps fell glacier arête terrain massif nunatak winter sport summit ice cap cirque hill station ice moraine hill mountain pass arctic landscape freezing meteorological phenomenon mount scenery day

Day 5: Icefields Parkway

You could technically drive the Icefields Parkway in three hours, but you won’t, with photo ops around every bend. Originally called the Wonder Trail, it broke ground in 1931 and took nearly a decade to finish. The 146-mile road, which runs from Jasper to Lake Louise, is Alberta’s most scenic drive due to the turquoise glaciers, crystalline lakes, and snow-capped peaks. If you’re lucky, you might glimpse moose, elk, bighorn sheep, or the rare grizzly bear and gray wolf. Halfway through the journey, stop at the Glacier Skywalk, a glass-floor path that cantilevers 919 feet over the Sunwapta Valley. Then, as you cross into Banff National Park and start to near Lake Louise, keep an eye out for the Crowfoot Glacier on the south end of Bow Lake. From here you’ll have a direct view of the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, a historic stone chalet built by mountaineer Jimmy Simpson.JS Tip: Before you go, download GyPSy Guide, a GPS-meets-travel-podcast app that tracks your location and tells you the history behind the sights you’re passing. It’s like having a private guide in your passenger seat.

Day 6: Lake Louise

Alberta Canada Road Trips reflection Nature water sky Lake mountain mountainous landforms wilderness mountain range morning loch reservoir cloud mount scenery fjord landscape Winter tree River glacial landform alps calm national park dawn evening fell lake district sound computer wallpaper moraine

There’s a reason why Lake Louise is one of Alberta’s most famous destinations. Besides its iconic alpine backdrop, this tiny hamlet is punctuated by the landmark Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which has hosted Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family as well as Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and Alfred Hitchcock. If the Fairmont Chateau looks like a Swiss wonderland, it’s because it is, in a way. From 1899 to 1954, the general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway (and subsequent founder of the original Chalet Lake Louise) brought over Swiss mountain guides to help train Canadian climbers to summit the peaks, and later, teach them how to ski.

Alberta Canada Road Trips tree outdoor reflection Nature pond water wilderness Lake home cottage plant wood real estate mountain Forest national park landscape tourist attraction estate mount scenery sky hut reservoir house log cabin wooded area surrounded
Alberta Boutique Hotels Canada Hotels Lobby Resort Road Trips indoor ceiling blue estate palace mansion room building Architecture function hall ballroom interior design arch hall furniture
Adventure Alberta Canada Grounds Natural wonders Resort Road Trips Scenic views Sport mountain sky outdoor snow skiing Winter piste mountain range geological phenomenon Nature season people ice winter sport footwear Ski ski equipment alps arctic slope ski slope

Today, this Swiss influence can still be felt from the decadent Swiss fondue dinner at its Walliser Stube restaurant to its Mountain Heritage Program—where a group of on-site adventure guides lead year-round activities, such as cross-country skiing, hiking to the historic Lake Agnes Tea House, exploring in a voyageur canoe, and snowshoeing under the stars to a secret candlelit igloo.

Day 7: Banff National Park

Although there’s always something new to see in Banff National Park, some not-to-miss activities are only a stone’s throw from the chateau. A half-hour drive will bring you to Johnston Canyon, one of the most popular trails in the region. Open year-round, this vertigo-inducing catwalk clings to the side of a gorge, overlooking the rushing creek and thundering waterfalls. It’s a 1.5-mile hike to the upper falls, and there are plenty of bridges and viewing platforms to snap a photo.

Alberta Canada Road Trips sky mountain outdoor road mountainous landforms mountain range Nature way scene cloud tree woody plant mountain pass infrastructure plant wilderness alps path landscape national park road surface cycling highway mount scenery Winter elevation road trip asphalt lane roadway meteorological phenomenon tourism hill
Alberta Canada Road Trips sky water outdoor reflection Nature River Lake cloud loch Boat mountain wilderness morning reservoir lake district horizon highland calm sunlight tree landscape bank mount scenery water resources traveling mountain range dawn evening hill meteorological phenomenon pond shore clouds surrounded day
Alberta Canada Road Trips sky outdoor grass Nature mountain wilderness water water resources mount scenery highland cloud Lake aerial photography mountain range reservoir reflection fell glacial lake crater lake national park landscape fjord green River ridge hill watercourse elevation inlet tarn tundra lake district alps

For a longer trek, take the 3.5-mile trail to the ink pots, a cluster of emerald mineral spring pools set in a bucolic meadow. Adrenaline junkies should visit in the winter, when it’s safe to ice climb the 160-foot frozen waterfalls with tour companies like Yamnuska Mountain Adventures. Then, continue on to the town of Banff to reward yourself with a glass of vodka, gin, or rye whiskey at Park Distillery, the world’s only distillery located in a national park. Using glacier water, foraged spruce tips, and wheat from local Alberta farms, these small-batch spirits are as fresh as it gets.

Alberta Canada Road Trips bottle person indoor Bar Drink alcohol sense distilled beverage drinking
Alberta Canada Road Trips person table food human action indoor dish meal lunch cuisine dinner brunch restaurant breakfast supper sense cooking

Day 8: Kananaskis

For a laid-back, under-the-radar getaway, look no further than Kananaskis, a ski resort village an hour west of Calgary. Movie buffs will go crazy for Fortress Mountain, which has served as the set for blockbusters like The Revenant, Inception, and X Men. The craggy peak has also been featured in so many Western movies that it has its own Cowboy Trail, where you can see all the famous film locations. While in the area, drop your bags at the Delta Hotels Kananaskis Lodge—soon to be a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel.

Alberta Boutique Hotels Canada Hotels Road Trips Winter mountain range mountainous landforms mountain snow sky alps tourist attraction real estate glacial landform reflection mount scenery tourism elevation tree vacation Lake roof landscape

Fresh off a two-year, $33 million top-to-toe renovation, the resort now sports a modern mountain design throughout its sprawling, apartment-sized suites, which come with a jacuzzi tub, wood-burning fireplace, and bar stocked with local spirits. The resort has also recently reopened its world-class golf course, and in June, it will debut a brand new three-story Nordic Spa, with a saltwater pool, exfoliation room, and heated outdoor hammocks that zip into toasty cocoons. To top it off, the hotel features signature tours and experiences such as fat biking, dog sledding, and cave diving in Canmore. It even has its own helicopter pad so you can splurge on a private aerial tour.

Alberta Canada Road Trips snow outdoor transport sky sled cow mountain vehicle dog sled land vehicle group herd cattle Winter season mountain range
Alberta Boutique Hotels Canada Hotels Road Trips window indoor Living room sofa floor living room interior design furniture real estate house ceiling window treatment interior designer daylighting area decorated leather
Alberta Canada Road Trips sky outdoor grass highland mountainous landforms Nature mountain landform geographical feature mountain range hill fell badlands ridge mountain pass cliff plateau valley landscape geology terrain walking Adventure alps trail hillside day

Days 9-10 Calgary

East Village

As the largest city in Alberta, Calgary is the province’s epicenter of culture. Stay at the Hotel Arts, a boutique hotel in the heart of downtown.

Alberta Canada Road Trips land vehicle road bicycle bicycle cycle sport lane cycling urban area vehicle sports equipment road street recreation City hybrid bicycle tree mountain bike racing bicycle sky flatland bmx bmx bike asphalt freestyle bmx pedestrian

From here, you’re steps from the East Village, which is home to the Snøhetta and DIALOG-designed Calgary Central Library, opening in November, and the new National Music Centre, an interactive museum, concert venue, and artist workshop within the Studio Bell complex. Classic rock fans should also check out the nearby Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, where music legends such as Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen recorded albums.

Alberta Canada Road Trips indoor floor restaurant interior design cafeteria
Alberta Canada Road Trips metropolitan area night Architecture urban area light City metropolis building lighting facade mixed use evening darkness window Downtown condominium street house
Alberta Canada Road Trips Architecture structure interior design ceiling tourist attraction daylighting Lobby loft house

Victoria Park

Eat your way through neighboring Victoria Park—Calgary’s up-and-coming culinary hotspot. Hit up Little Henry for coffee and simple veggie-centric bites; Native Tongues for beer-battered snapper tacos and mezcal; Proof for creative craft cocktails; and Two Penny for excellent Chinese lunch specials in a design-forward space. Bar Von Der Fels is a petit wine bar that pours local vintages next to farm-fresh small plates. Save an evening for Pigeonhole, an award-winning restaurant that serves inventive dishes like charred cabbage, BBQ carrots with bone marrow, albacore tuna tartare, red kuri squash, and ricotta black truffle dumplings drizzled in brown butter.

Alberta Canada Road Trips table color floor indoor room restaurant green Design interior design Dining meal classroom furniture dining table
Alberta Canada Road Trips person plate food dish meal lunch restaurant cuisine asian food dinner sense supper brunch produce piece de resistance


It’s only fitting to spend your last day shopping for local souvenirs. The quirky, riverfront Inglewood neighborhood is the place to go for vintage finds, indie threads, and eclectic home goods. Stroll down 9th Ave between 9th and 14th streets, and pop in Fresh Laundry apothecary, Recess stationary shop, and Plant terrariums. The Uncommons is a curated concept store filled with artisan goods and cool-kid accessories. Meanwhile, foodies will adore Silk Road Spice Merchant’s pantry full of exotic herbs, spices, and bitters.

Alberta Canada Road Trips neighbourhood Town landmark property car Downtown City mixed use house building residential area transport metropolitan area urban area Architecture street family car real estate commercial building home plaza facade metropolis condominium suburb apartment lane compact car sedan road

Want more?



All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you buy something through our links, Jetsetter may earn an affiliate commission.